So we’re not in the Alps anymore. I was especially sad to leave. Reading and drawing all day while watching the fog roll over the mountains… Pretty hard to walk away from.
But we did! We took the train to the Southeast of France to the little coastal corner between Spain and Italy. The Cotes d’Azur to put it in fancy terms. We reached the coast at Marseille and hooked a left, passing through Cannes and Toulon to end up in Antibes, where Thalia’s cousin is lending us a sweet apartment.
It’s got a huge sectional in front of an impressive Sony flatscreen, not to mention a superb collection of Disney DVDS and a Playstation 4. Haha! Fuck the Alps! Cote D’azur 4Ever! Just kidding… As much as we’re enjoying our new pad, we do get out some.
Turns out Antibes is the town where Picasso and Hemingway did a bunch of their drinking together. Nice! A former Roman stronghold, the old section of the city has a walled quarter that kept some barbarians out. Currently it seems to keep tourists in. The main landmark of the city is a seaside castle, which makes for a pretty superb skyline. Yellow stone walls coming out of the bright blue mediterranean, with fortifications jutting upward and Nice and Monaco in the background. Not bad!
That castle is actually now the Picasso museum. It was the home of one of his patrons and having spent a summer there, he took off at one point, apparently unable to be bothered to take the many minor works he had made there. So they made a museum out of it.
Taking a super sweet seaside castle and filling it with art by Picasso is like filling a Toys ‘R Us with rectal thermometers and tax forms. If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan.
We did go and I walked away impressed by the views from it’s windows and having learned that Picasso briefly owned a tiny owl named Ubu. The great artist rose slightly in my esteem.
As for the rest of the city, it’s kind of hard to determine the character of the place, or any other city on this stretch. Toulon, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, and Monaco all seem to be a continuous stretch of coastal hotel high rises that serve as backdrops for the yachts in the harbor. On the streets themselves, the boardwalk is full of shops selling cheap toys, sunglasses and swimsuits at a premium. On the beach side of the street you find restaurants covering the sand with white plastic chairs and umbrellas all the way to the waterline.
We made the mistake of showing up to one of these beaches with swimsuits, only to realize that there was literally no room for our beach towels on the miles long stretch. We found another beach with a panoramic view of the walled quarter, the castle and some french titties. I’ll send you a postcard.
When we first got here Antibes kinda reminded me an older James Bond movie. Like back when instead of location scouting for lavish sets, they would just shoot somewhere close to wherever the producer had a vacation home. Like if you drove a Jaguar on to the stone port here (nowadays the port is home to a half dozen Saudi yachts with coning towers and helipads), you could totally see a toupee’d Sean Connery hopping out. Today I found out I was right on the money, and Never Say Never Again was shot at Fort Carre above the very same port!
So the city is great, and the apartment is great, too. We’re a 30 minute walk from the old port and a 20 bus ride from the end of town with all the beaches. We’ve been enjoying the walking, but also enjoying the home life. Cooking in a kitchen all to ourselves, exercising, reading and, in Thalia’s case at this particular moment, watching French makeover shows and drinking Desperado. Desperado is beer infused with lime and tequila and it’s so goooood. It’s also one of those French things that Americans might have difficulty understanding, like, say, fine wine or unpasteurized cheese.
At this point, we should probably be posting a bunch of photos. I hear you. But our phones can’t connect to the wifi here sooooo rain check, k? We’ve got 3 more days before we leave for Bordeaux, alllll the way on the other side of France. In the mean time we might go check out Monaco tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that goes. Hopefully, they’ll let us in the Casino with flip flops and we’ll win enough money to buy a yacht with Wifi and upload some photos.