21 November 2010

FRANCE: Day 2 - Antibes y Cannes

Both CA and I went to bed around 7:30pm last night. It seemed later. We both have colds and were a bit travel wearied. Amazingly, I slept for 12 hours. Very refreshing and good for my cold and my stamina for the coming days.

We’ve planned a trip to the market in Antibes after a stop at our local patisserie-boulangerie for café crème and almond croissants. There’s a sign indicating the shop is under new management, and the new managers are going out of their way to be friendly and engaging with all the customer—stopping just short of kissing cheeks and tickling babies. CA wants to come here every morning! It’s a short 5 – 7 minute walk down our narrow winding lane, but there’s a competing café that we certainly don’t want to short-change.

We take the local roads to Antibes, following the well-marked route there’s no need for a GPS. It’s a cloudy rainy morning and just as we find the market, the sun comes out for a bit. We head straight for the socca purveyor, with a quick stop for a healthy slice of soft Parmesan to add to our larder. While CA pays I purchase a 2€ wedge of socca, hot and peppery and fun to eat.

We’re still in our window shopping mode, and don’t buy anything more at the market. Soon we’re driving toward Cap d’Antibes, o-ohing and a-ahing and enjoying the water, the boats, the architecture, and the general ambience of one spectacular piece of real estate.

The road continues around the Cap and back toward Cannes. It seems everyone heads to Cannes for a sunny Sunday in November. Still parking is easy and we’re soon wandering through our first-ever brocante (flea market) in Pantiera. Coffee spoons in silver plate tempt, but the 45€ tag seems excessive. We’re soon in a café ordering Café Vennoise—thrilled with the heaps of whipped cream lavished on our espresso.

We climb the cobblestone lanes of the Suquet (quartier historique) toward the main restaurant area on the winding streets we discovered in 2008, walking past Le Marais where we enjoyed such a fine dinner with SN2. Not much is open on a Sunday morning and we wander back toward the waterfront, stumbling into Cannes indoor market which is bustling with customers.

There we find the best baby radishes we’ve seen in two years, and a pair of herb/salad scissors with 10 lames (blades). What an efficient method for ravaging basil for pesto and bruschetta or cilantro for guacamole and Mexican recipes. Later I tell CA that we have to go back another day and purchase a few more pairs of Ciseaux Hachoir vu a la TV (as seen on TV).

We weave through the narrow lanes and end up at La Piazza, a pizzeria, which we spotted just as we initiated our ascent into au Coeur du Suquet. We have a water view, and take just a few minutes to decide on pizza authenica (fresh tomatoes and garlic, with basil and tomatoes) and pissaladeria (with sautéed onions, olives, and anchovies). Our Coca-Cola Lights arrive with both ice and lemon. Unbelievable! The next table is served a anti-pasta tray that drives us to lust and envy. We’ll come back for that another time.

When I wash my hands in the toilette, there is a very expensive gold ring with a panther’s head of diamonds and other small stones sitting on the sink. I take it to the bartender, who passes it to the manager—we all understand that someone will be back for this ring.

By 1:30pm the streets are quieter and the market has closed. CA and I drive back to Mougins. The French devote Sundays to family and friends. Most shops are shuttered, and grocery stores are closed by noon. We’ve got a lovely villa to return to and stunning views of the Maritime Alps.

We’re here for three weeks this time. It feels good to settle in and know that there’ll be enough time for a lot of activities and explorations. Already I’m thinking, four weeks next year?!

It seems just fine to have some cheese and baguette for dinner. Couldn't be finer. I also have some Framboise (raspberry) jam on a couple of slices. To die for!

There's lightning in the distance inn the High Alps of Provence that soon moves over Grasse before arriving above our heads. The storm just adds to the coziness of our Sunday evening en famille.

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