03 December 2010

FRANCE: Day 14 - Biot y St. Paul-de-Vence

We’re up and out at the café for coffee just after 9:00am, spending just a bit of Internet time and then heading to Biot, an 15th century hillside village between Cagnes-Sur-Mer and Villeneueve-Loubet, known for its glass making. CA and I wander the quaint medieval streets—its colder today but the sun is shining and we’re happy to be exploring again.

Just after noon we enter Le Café de la Poste and are reassured to see locals clustered around the bar—an indicator that this is the place to eat in Biot. We both order the Plat du Jour—lasagna this time—and that’s when it all goes wrong. Without any ceremony at all, the waiter plunks a porcelain dish of “lasagna” in front of each of us. It’s burning hot, and that’s the best thing that can be said about this 13€ offering. And, there’s not a scrap of lettuce or legume in accompaniment.

We’ve decided that Le Café de la Poste is the exception that proves the rule—the one time we’ve experienced the local’s hangout being incredibly inferior. We later observe that the large group of locals around the bar are drinking. Not one of them sits down to eat. Hm-m-m-…

After café crème, we drive on to Nice to meet LFW’s 2:25pm Luftansa flight from Frankfurt. We’re able to drive on a local highway through Cagnes-Sur-Mer to Côte d’Azur and are dazzled by the blue-blue of the Mediterranean Sea .Nestled high on the hillside is the imposing medieval St. Paul de Vence—our destination for later this afternoon.

CA is soon reassured when he spots LFW at the baggage claim just on the other side of the arrival doors. Too much time goes by, and eventually we learn that her baggage did not make the Frankfurt connection. The airline promises to deliver the bag late tonight or early tomorrow, and we’re happily in the car and on our way to St. Paul de Vence.

These December days are getting shorter and shorter, and it’s already almost dusk when we arrive around 4:00pm.LFW is suitably impressed by the walls and ramparts and mysteries of this ancient village. I’m surprised when we discover this to be a village of boutiques, galleries, and shops—all set in the midst of narrow winding, cobbled streets steeply perched up and down the narrow lanes.

Marc Chagall and his wife are buried in a cemetery on the southern edge of this village. In addition to Chagall, both Matisse and Picasso spent time in St. Paul. We may need a return trip to SPDV to see the glorious Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence proper, designed by Matisse in 1951.

We take LFW back to the villa at Club Mougins, CA breaks out some of the rosé he’s stockpiled for her visit, we watch Weakest Link and Egg Heads, and eventually walk down the hillside and into Mougins to another dinner at Le Petite Provençal.

Tomorrow we’re back to Nice for the Saturday markets and a visit to the Christmas market. We’ll walk LFW all over the city, and see what other adventures we fall into.

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