Chagall in the a.m./moules-frites in the p.m.

It’s an easy walk from the main train station in Nice (Gare SNCF Nice-Ville) to the Musee Chagall (also known as Le Musée National du Message Biblique Marc Chagall) with just a slight uphill section before you arrive. Honest, it’s not like Grasse where we had to climb 200 stairs to reach the old town … but that’s another story and we could have taken a shuttle so I’m not complaining.

The artist Marc Chagall lived in France for most of his life and in the south of France for the latter half. He died in Saint-Paul de Vence, just north of Nice, in 1985 at the age of 97. He is buried in the beautiful village cemetery.

If you haven’t been to see this breathtaking Chagall collection, please put it on your list. You won’t be disappointed. The ambiance of the exhibition areas is calm with superb lighting and  opportunities to sit in order to appreciate the beauty of his work. The audioguide is excellent. A small outdoor cafe set amid olive trees and mounds of lavender serves superb coffee and light local fare.

Like everything else you may visit the museum online to whet your appetite.

 

 

And with that non-too-subtle segue, let me add a few words about lunch. As planned, we went to le vieux port (old port)

and were excited about finally going to a restaurant we have had on our list for years. Typical of us, we hadn’t checked first and it was … yup, you guessed it … closed on Wednesdays! It never fails. But I always say these things happen for a reason.

We walked down a block to sit right by the moorings in one of several old portside restaurants and had some of the best moules-frites ever. They were in a simple sauce of olive oil, LOTS of garlic and sauteed tomatoes. On the side, to dip in the sauce once the mussels were enjoyed to the very last one, were simple boiled shrimp to just peel and dip.

Magnifique!

Bonjour mes amis!

Please join me in the south of France for the summer! My husband and I have rented an apartment in Antibes between Nice and Cannes. We have visited this area on several vacations and fell in love with the beauty, the history, the culture, the people, the weather … I could go on but you will see what I mean … and besides that, I LOVE to speak French! I think I must have been born here in another life!

The two most important criteria we wanted for our accommodation were location and view and we have both to perfection. In fact, there really is no need for a car as we can get to so many places all along the Riviera and even into Italy from the train station just down the street. The town of Antibes is more like a village and one walks everywhere. There’s a car rental agency around the corner from us if we want to go further afield from time to time.

As you know, photography is a passion of mine so my beloved Canon Rebel XT has been steaming. I’ll get some photos organized and share them here in the next week or so. We’ve spent the past few weeks getting settled here and also having visits from some good friends, which we’ve spent exploring and discovering. I’ll share some of those discoveries as well – beautiful perched villages, switchback roads that open onto stunning vistas, talented artists and traditional artisans, fabulous coastal towns and beaches, architecture that takes your breath away from the very simple to the sumptuous, and restaurants … oo la la, the restaurants.

What does this have to do with my writing? Well I’ve been working on my next novel and when I knew we were coming to this part of the world for an extended time, my storyline moved over here too. I’m busy making notes and plotting and hopefully will have something close to a finished product by the time we leave. It’s easy to be motivated here as the ghosts of  artists come to you in the narrow streets lined with shuttered houses, many hundreds of years old. Writers as early back as 1500 BC left their work in caves in the area. In the last few centuries a long list of  influential writers found inspiration here including Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, DeMaupassant, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, Graham Green, James Joyce, Nabakov, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Sylvia Plath and the list goes on. Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Renoir, Chagall, Picasso, Bracque, Miro  are just a few of another equally long list of painters and sculptors who found the special light and air of the south of France irresistible.

The musical history of the area, particularly during the Jazz Age, is also impressive and we are excited to be here for the Jazz Festival of Nice in early July, followed by the 51st anniversary of Jazz A Juan in next-door Juan-Les-Pins. More on those later.

If spending an extended time in a different part of the world is something that appeals to you, talk to me about it. We are experienced home exchangers and renters and I have lots of good tips. I’m happy to say we have never had a bad experience.

There’s a small fish market on the pier at the end of our street so I’m off to consider our dinner menu and shoot some more photos of the local fishermen cleaning their nets.

A bientot! (Now I’ll have to figure out how to add the french accents to my text!)