27 November 2010

FRANCE: Day 8 - Cagnes Sur Mer

Since we have to “move house” today from a one bedroom to a two bedroom villa—just next door as it turns out—we mosey on down to the café for café crème and a croissant, and a free (and more-to-the-point fast) Internet connection. CA gets his sports news fix, and then surrenders the laptop to me for blog posting and emails to family and friends.

I’ve taken some of our down-time in the villa and sorted photos, so posting is far easier than if I had to view, sort, and post this morning. It’s fun knowing that family and friends can follow along on our travels this way.

About 11:30am we get the all-clear to move into the new villa (CA takes care of everything as I’m oblivious--in the café), and by noon we’re in the car and on our way to the Danish Christmas Market in an ancient Swedish church in Haut Cagnes-sur-Mer. We’ve scouted the location via the Internet, which turns out to be fortuitous as we’d never have found this place otherwise. The Swedish church is located in the Medieval Village of Cagnes-sur-Mer—up, up and around the cobbled streets to the top of the hill. As the lady we met on the street suggests, “Just follow the blondes.”

The Danes haven’t exactly knocked themselves out with the Christmas market, but the food is well done. CA and I choose open-faced Scandinavian sandwiches and find a seat at a communal table. The food is delicious and fun, and we’re soon on our way to explore this ancient hilled village. Very cool. Lots of people live up here in these quaint homes, and there are a bunch of small restaurants, too.

We’ve been walking in the rain for some time when we decide that the only way back is back—retracing our steps—because these villages cut into hillsides weave and wander, and there’s no telling where we’ll end up if we continue forward.

We’re thoroughly damp and tired. Amazing how navigating on the roads and in the traffic of a non-English speaking country can wear one out--that, and our hour of hiking through Haut Cagne. If not for the rain, we’d visit the Renoir Museum, but we’ll come back another day. Renoir lived in Cagnes-sur-Mer from 1907 until his death in 1919. Apparently his olive and citrus groves are as much of an attraction as the museum.

And, we’ll make a short day trip back to this area to Villeneuve-Loubet Village to visit the Musée Escoffier—Auguste Escoffier is considered to be France’s first great chef.

Back in Mougins, CA parks by Carrefour and I take on the shopping for dinner while he walks over to our local boulangerie for a baguette and some pastries. Very efficient. By the time he finds me at the Carrefour I’ve done plenty of shopping but no selecting other than four large bags of Révillon chocolates to take back with us to the U.S. Wonder which Christmas stockings will be filled with these? We eventually buy baby radishes, mixed greens, grape tomatoes, and a mustard vinaigrette for salad, and a prepared white sauce to go over the raviolis we purchased earlier in the week.

It’s not that we’ve planned to eat in for evening meals, or that we’re economizing in any way. We’re usually happily ensconced in our villa by early evening, and it seems natural to put together a simple meal. As the pasta cooks, we find the fresh baguette (.90€ each is quite the bargain) quickly disappearing when spread with Chaumes cheese or French butter. Chaumes hasn’t been as stinky this trip, and tonight’s portion is actually runny. YUM!

We’re really enjoying the British quiz shows—Weakest Link and Eggheads. Because it’s Saturday we find only football on all the BBC stations. CA is happy, and I’m just as pleased to settle in with a new book—The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry.

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