Today we drove to Nice Airport in the morning to drop Gigi off for her flight back to California. Before we left, we had decided that about mid-way through our trip she would return home to visit her mom. The cold Mistral wind has been blowing 6 of the last 7 days, but today when we arrived at the airport, the air was calm and the sky blue. Off to the north behind Nice, we could see snow covered mountain peaks. Justin asked, “Is that the Alps?” The answer is no, but I hear that there is skiing off in those mountains, maybe 30 minutes from Nice. Gigi was relieved for the calm weather, the plane would not be bobbing and weaving from a buffeting wind.
Gigi was encouraging us to go exploring the coast, not just take the freeway straight back home. I decided to drop into Cannes and see what was there. Cannes is only about 30 minutes from Nice on the way back to Grimaud. It took quite a lot of weaving through the streets from the freeway to actually get down to the town center/harbor area, Cannes is part of the densely populated Cote d’Azur, much different from the St. Tropez area, which is downright rural in comparison. Once at the harbor, we parked in an empty parking lot right at the harbor. The sun was shining, the car thermometer showed 13 degrees Celsius. From the car, we saw people wearing fairly heavy jackets, but we ventured from the car only in our long sleeved shirts, and soon took those off and just had on our T-shirts. This felt sooooo good! For the past week we have been bundled in our heavy jackets, gloves and hats whenever we went out. I feared that winter had hit, and it was going to be long and cold. Today broke that pattern. After taking a picture in front of the Hotel de Ville, we doubled back and went down to the beach. Maybe 20 people were on the beach, all of them sitting up against the rocks or concrete wall and sunning. Only Jordan and Justin were close to the water. They took off their shoes, hiked up their pants and went looking for polished glass and pebbles in the sand. They also rock-hopped on the small jetties that are spaced every 100 meters or so to prevent beach erosion. Justin was very excited to find geode-like crystal deposits in the large rocks.
Such a beautiful day. I just read a book called ‘The Olive Farm’ that is set in the hills just behind Cannes. Very much in the same vein as Peter Mayle’s ‘A Year in Provence.’ The author comments about the crazy crowds each summer. I can’t imagine what that would really feel like as we enjoy an empty beach for as far as we can see, and walk-up sidewalk café tables. I am willing to forgo the warm summer Mediterranean waters and sun worshipper people watching for this opportunity to have the beach at Cannes almost to ourselves, and in T-shirts.