Borgers with No Borders.

our lives, our loves — through our earthly adventures.

Archive for the tag “France”

Snippets of Nice (Part 3)

We head into the town center, park our car, walk up the dark stairway … and voila!  You are greeted with a buzzling, terra-cotta-colored town center, palm-trees and all.  I could live here, I thought.  Surely less crowded than Paris, a permanent view of the seaside, probably more friendly people, and lower-stress levels I assume.

And when I feel I am beginning to look pale and sick … what couldn’t be more inviting than this?

Well, a bit rocky and probably painful, if you ask me — but heck, beggars can’t be choosers, right?  Or … if you don’t have the license or the right to bare it, perhaps we could settle for a walk.

And when you’re tired and worn out, go slow and visit the brocante (flea market) — which will surely do more than just arouse your curiosity.  It has everything — from clothes, to jewelry, to silver cutlery, to vintage Louis Vuitton bags.  And while you’re shopping, errrr — resting your feet, there’s even enough groove to cheer you on.

Just a warning to would-be tourists to Nice or anywhere else in Paris:  When you want a photo taken near  a performer, a statue-look-alike, or any of such artists along the streets — it is common courtesy to drop a coin in their hat.  If you don’t … be ready to take the screaming that will follow after you press your camera’s shutter!

We enjoyed a whole afternoon just walking along the narrow streets with laundry lines criss-crossing old homes that seemed to each have their own stories to tell.  The shops were homey and quaint … and these items were the ones that blew me away.  Salt … and soap.  In every conceivable flavor, aroma, and color.

On this day, I knew, that if one day my life should flash before me — it would surely be worth watching.

A Weekend in Burgundy & Port Lesney

burgundy

Our first weekend of work and play, sans kids.  Final destination was to spend a day with an old friend of DH who was turning 50:  a 2-star Michelin chef, super cool, headband-cum-leather-pants-sporting dude who shoots with the conventional film loaded on his 21-year-old Nikon.  He does not own an email address, does not work a computer, runs one of THE best restaurants in Nice which does not accept credit cards, does not have a phone, does not take reservations.  No menu, you eat what he finds in the market each morning.  Epitome of simplifying life.  Cool, right?

But before we reach the final destination, a quaint and beautiful chateau in Port Lesney, we take the opportunity to visit Burgundy.  But of course!  Vineyards, wine-tasting, picturesque scenes.  Home-cooked Escargot and Beef Coq au Vin for dinner, ending with a taste of their local cheese.  Yumm begins.

vineyards-burgundy

While in the area, we visited the Hospices de Beaune, also known as the “Palace for the Poor.”  Founded in 1440 by Nicolas Rolin, to house the poor and the needy.  A spectacular showcase of French architecture in the 15th Century!

beaune

Then, we finish off the 425 kilometer drive at our destination:  Chateau de Germigney, Port Lesney.  We join the birthday celebrant and his 20 some guests at a typical bistro just “down the road.”  An even yumm-ier lunch:  Frog Legs and Oysters to start, a huge beautifully-stuffed fowl, and the most mouth-watering dessert I have yet tasted:  a Paris-Brest.  A nice light pastry with whipped cream, with subtle hints of crunchy caramel and almonds.

The afternoon was then spent visiting another historical place — a castle built in the 1500’s, where a “village” was formed within its walls to produce salt.  The architecture of the building looked almost “modern” — a sign of a creator born way before his time.  The “village” was contained in a semi-circle lay out, with the Director’s house smack in the center.  Imagine living in a structure like so:

thanks to master liv for helping me edit this photo!

thanks to master liv for helping me edit this photo!

Dinner was the clincher:  a 7-course meal that necessitated 4 cigarette breaks, and 4 hours of emptying each plate of exquisite dishes prepared with such care and love.  Did I mention the matching wines as well?  Truly an evening of fine taste.  (I must add that those ciggie breaks had to be taken in the adjacent terrace, amidst the winds of winter, with frozen fingers, a cocktail dress, and only a pashmina to throw around my shoulders.)

Oh… it was a tough weekend indeed.  Especially when we had to eventually retire in a room that looked like this.

chateaux-de-germigney

Life is certainly beginning to brighten up on this side of the world (despite the temperatures at -5 degrees)!

Weekend Rating:  9.5 out of 10. (Also because I managed to find my way home!  DH had to continue driving down to Cannes for business, so I had to take the TGV from Dijon to Paris.  I alight at Gare de Lyon, armed with my “metro instructions” all memorized, only to find out that Line Number 1 was “out of order.”  Panic… NOT!  Because I never leave home without my Metro map!  I figured a reroute and skipped all the way home, proud to be slowly developing into a more learned Anglophone.  Yay for me!)

One last P.S.

Can’t leave this post without a picture of  the loo.  I mean… how bloody cool is that?  How much french-ier can a french loo be?

chateaux-bathroom

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