Morning in la Cote d’Azur.
I’m cleaning up from a breakfast of hot, crusty toast with butter (see previous post, purloined, Cafe de Paris, et al), cheese, and fresh cherries we brought with us from Provence. I also managed to make coffee using a French press – hadn’t done that for years – and it was pretty good, thick and black and rich with the cream we bought yesterday. Sitting out on our balcony, we could hear the voices of children from the street below as they waited for their school bus, and the constant drone of passing cars and motorbikes. We’ve decided our little street is one of the main arteries up and down the residential hill.
In the distance is the Mediterranean – it draws a wide swath of sapphire around the whole distance. I see a cruise ship in port. flanked by a couple of large yachts. Despite a restless night last night sans A/C, we are both making the best of all this, and enjoying the truly breathtaking views.
Before we left the Chateau Talaud in Provence, one of our fellow guests (also from America) commented that he found Monaco to be “a dirty little city” and didn’t bother to spend any time here when he’d driven up the coast with his wife earlier in the week.
I guess the Monaco I’ve seen – especially on the French side – is not as pristine as the Chateau or little towns of Provence, nor as sophisticated or upscale as St. Germaine de Pres in Paris. But there is something wonderful and earthy about it nonetheless. What if a neighborhood in France spent the week in Italy? You’d get Monaco, with its ancient apartment buildings and homes, their roofs of terra-cotta tile and clothe lines in the yard and mothers admonishing sobbing children in rapid French? Italian? and little motorbikes whizzing around tiny, winding streets at top speed.
The sun is full and high, and I’m dousing myself with sunscreen; I won’t bother with makeup. I don’t think anyone will bat an eyelash. Soon, we’ll be off to explore the French Blue Coast.