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Published: April 17th 2011
Wednesday 16th – Thursday 17th March 2011
The weather was still bad, so we decided to keep moving and drove to Le Muy. The campsite was only on its second day of opening for the season and we were the only guests. On arrival, the weather precluded much exploring but it brightened slightly on the second day, allowing the boys to do some trampolining and perfect their somersaults (not in mid-air I hasten to add). Meanwhile, Max and I were able to trade in some of our English books in the site’s book exchange – very useful. We ended the day with a family basketball game on the purpose-built pitch – got to get our exercise somehow.
Friday 18th March 2011
When paying our bill at the campsite, the very friendly (Dutch) owners recommended a visit to a local winery. We didn’t need asking twice, so we drove the short distance to Santa Rosseline’s winery – an ex-convent with an adjoining vineyard. We mistimed our visit for the full tour, but had a quick walk around before sampling the goods. At the campsite owners’ recommendation we bought a 10 litre box of the table wine for 27 euros.
We’re going to try to save it for the villa in Greece later on in the year if our willpower holds out.
From there, we continued on our journey to Viileneuve-Loubet –Plage, a small town near Antibes on the French Riviera. Although still a tad windy, the sun was bright and strong so we ventured a walk down to the beach where the boys made makeshift crabbing lines and tried for a bite. Sadly no luck today but we promised to come back and try again with some proper kit.
Saturday 19th March 2011
Took a busy bus into sunny Antibes. The market was in full swing in the morning, crammed full of delicious local produce. We bought some asparagus and some dried fruits before heading towards the absinthe bar. This was a very strange place. It is open for the sale of absinthe during the evening, but is also open during the day as an absinthe museum. The walls are covered with posters through the ages, showing the times when drinking absinthe was the stuff of high society. The drinking area is set out in small tables, encircled by stools. At the centre of each table
was a large glass vessel with taps lined up with each stool – obviously absinthe drinking was seen as a very social activity.
On the way back through the market we noticed that one of the restaurants was offering steak with hollandaise sauce and French fries as the plat du jour. At ten euros this was not to be missed and it was truly glorious, washed down with a full-bodied red. By the time we emerged in the early afternoon, the market had been swiftly cleared away, so we made our way to the marina area. As with other marinas on the Riviera, we were treated to the sight of some truly magnificent boats. One day…
All that walking around, eating wonderful food and enjoying ourselves had worn us out so we went down to the beach for a quiet lie down. The weather was glorious and the boys were soon messing about in the sand and paddling in the sea. Happy days!
Sunday 20th March 2011
The beautiful weather dictated that today would be a day for enjoying ourselves outdoors, so we fulfilled our promise to the boys to take them back to the beach for
fishing. Armed with fishing rods, crabbing lines and nets, we headed out, full of optimism. Although the morning’s toil didn’t produce lunch, it did produce two happy boys who really enjoyed striding out over the rocky outcrops, eager to find the perfect fishing spots.
The indoor heated pool on site was open and inviting, so we spent an enjoyable couple of hours in there in the afternoon, followed by a table tennis tournament. Having ignited our competitive spirit, the evening was rounded off with a game of poker which Max won (as usual).
Monday 21st March 2011
The nearby railway station served all the major towns along the Riviera. We got up early (for us) and took the train to Grasse, the small town in the mountains that is the home of the Fragonnard perfumery. The free guided tour in English provided details of the origins of the different scent ingredients, how the scent is extracted and intensified and then how it is blended to make all the different scents available from Fragonnard. Although little of the production is carried out at the factory itself (only the blending and bottling occurs there), the tour itself was highly
interesting and interactive, allowing us the opportunity to identify different scents and choose our favourites. Needless to say. Max found a scent that she liked, so the free tour was not exactly free in the end, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Later in the afternoon we boarded the train again and made our way to Cannes. The boys were impressed by the grand hotels and we couldn’t leave the place without having an ice cream on the beach and visiting the grand film theatre where the annual Cannes Film Festival takes place. We arrived back at the campsite tired, but not too tired for a family viewing of Mr Bean’s Holiday, where we relived the journey through to Cannes through the eyes of Rowan Atkinson. Great!
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