Viva La France

by Gavan on June 18, 2009

Had a great time on my hols but now it’s back to reality, back to the grind. Not before one last jog of the memory. If you were keeping up with my travels you already know I spent a lot of time slacking by the pool with the fam mixed with a perfect amount of sight-seeing. Paris, Grasse, Cabri, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Vence–all were amazing sites to visit and actually all of them had fresh food markets located around their respective cities–brilliant for a guy like me who eats non-stop.

To recap, we started our journey in Paris, the most romantic city on Earth, they say. We were only there for less than 24 hours but you can definitely feel the ‘love’ vibe–it’s a beautiful city with parks, amazing architecture and art, baguettes, coffee, wine and fashion, not to mention the French Open which was being held during our stay. We may have tucked into a bar (or 3) to catch a match, as you do on holiday. The best meal we had was in this city of love at an outdoor cafe in a prime spot for people watching. A simple lunch of mussels, fresh bread and a bottle of Rosé with the Missus was the business.

Next stop: Nice. We took the train down to meet the fam bam, which was the smartest thing we could’ve done. No stress from flying, just sitting munching on our fresh baguette, cherries and cold beer, enjoying the views of the countryside and the cities we passed through.
Once we got everyone packed in our rental cars we headed to our new home about an hour away in the hills due north of Cannes, near the towns of Les Jaisou, Peymeinade, Sperecedes & Cabri (in case you are familiar with the area). Cabri was a gorgeous little village at the top of the hills which marked the spot for early pints. The views from this town were amazing–you could see the entire coastline of Nice and Cannes from the hilltop. Amazing isn’t it?

Cabri, France

Grasse is the world capital of parfumiers. Cannes was still trying to recover from the film fest and you already know about our joy in Monaco and Monte Carlo. One of the best surprises was our half-day road trip to Vence, a medieval town located in the hills above Nice and Antibes. We had good luck in our timing and arrived just as their outdoor market began to get busy. Here you could buy stuff from local artisans such as clothing, shoes, handbags, table linens and torchons, paintings and art in addition to many food stalls. It’s been said to be one of the most expensive streets in France for food. I was excited to see it for myself. It was pretty much a culinary haven of restaurants along with stall after stall of fresh ingredients: fruit & veg, meat, fish & seafood, cheese, bread and wine, sea salts out the wazoo, herbs & spices, and the largest selection of olives I’ve ever seen. Impressive for a small medieval town.
(I just read Vence is famous for its spring water, which can be bottled from numerous fountains throughout the town” which makes total sense why we saw people filling their water bottles from the fountains! I thought it was holy water at first which, in hindsight it very well may be to the locals.)

I think I ate my weight in bread during this trip. How can you not with boulangeries on every corner? Bread was always freshly baked and I found myself enjoying every bite–after all, I was on my holidays! Though we indulged in restaurants (I had to get my veal scallopine fix!) we cooked as well (“we” meaning me & the Missus but I’ll admit, I love cooking for my family but don’t let them know that or I’ll be stuck in the kitchen forever!) Since I’m not a big ‘heavy sauce-on-my-food’ type guy, eating in was a perfect way to chow down. With fresh meats, fish & veg we all ate like kings and queens in the comfort of our own abode in the hills of France. One could say we didn’t exactly slum it.
Cheers to my fam–good times. Looking forward to seeing what crops up next year.

Murphy clan in France

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