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Paradou and the Château d’Estoublon

Friday, September 26, 2014


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Les Baux de Provence from the highway

Les Baux de Provence from the highway

Our last day in the Luberon. We left early for Paradou and, after passing Les Baux de Provence high on a hill, had no trouble finding it or finding parking. We set off on foot following signs to the santon museum, La Petite Provence du Paradou. We walked until we ran out of sidewalk and then walked some more but there were no more signs and no museum. Back to the car! Following the same signs we drove on and out of town, and there was the museum so we parked under a plane tree and entered. It is a truly fun museum that seems to be based on a prophecy by Nostradamus that the people of Paradou would preserve the life of Provence as it was then, and they have done an admirable job. There are several sections and all are identified. Life in Old Provence has been created with models of buildings, tools, some working, and the tiny, well-dressed and painted clay figures called Santons. Some moved such as a man turning wood on a lathe, an organ grinder, a woman ironing clothes and dancers at a wedding by the church. There are more than 400 figures involved in cutting lavender, tending sheep, carding wool, etc. There was a movie all in French but the exhibit cards have English on them. It was great fun. We exited through the boutique where I got colorful paper napkins and soaps. [La Petite Provence du Paradou; 75 ave. de la Vallée des Baux 18520 Le Paradou; tel: +33 (0)4 9054-3575; fax: +33 (0)4 9054-3567; e-mail: lapetite.provence@wanadoo.fr; web site: http://www.lapetiteprovenceduparadou.com/]

La Petite Provence du Paradou, the Santon Museum

La Petite Provence du Paradou, the Santon Museum


Santon Exhibit in La Petite Provence

Santon Exhibit in La Petite Provence


Moving Santon Exhibit at La Petite Provence du Paradou

Moving Santon Exhibit at La Petite Provence du Paradou


Santon Exhibit at La Petite Provence du Paradou

Santon Exhibit at La Petite Provence du Paradou


Santon Exhibit at La Petite Provence du Paradou

Santon Exhibit at La Petite Provence du Paradou


Gift shop Santons at La Petite Provence du Paradou

Gift shop Santons at La Petite Provence du Paradou


Château d’Estoublon and Chapelle St. Hubert

Château d’Estoublon and Chapelle St. Hubert

Next we drove to Château d’Estoublon to see what we could see and to check their restaurant menu. We parked and walked toward the château. The first thing we saw was the Chapelle Saint-Hubert so we stopped in to see the inside. It’s very interesting because the stained glass windows are scenes of hunting and nature since St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. The glass is modern and created by a Swiss artist. There is also a marvelous Nativity Scene under the balcony that is featured at Christmas. There are murals on the stairwell walls and around the entry door.

Chapelle of St. Hubert, stained glass window

Chapelle of St. Hubert, stained glass window

Chapelle Saint Hubert

Chapelle Saint Hubert

Château_d'Estoublon under scaffolding

Château_d'Estoublon under scaffolding

Leaving the chapel, we walked to the Bistrot Mogador and were cheerfully greeted by a young lady who showed us the various menus. She disappeared with a delivery and we discovered no price on the menu du jour so when a man walked by, we asked him and it was 23 euros. Sounded good to us so we reserved a table and set out to explore. It’s harvest time so the vineyards were cordoned off, and they are renovating the château under copious scaffolding so we walked around the front garden, took duck photos and that was it. Thence to the boutique which was fun because it was inside the château so we saw three rooms and a stairway with lovely ironwork banisters.

Bistrot Mogador at Château_d'Estoublon

Bistrot Mogador at Château_d'Estoublon

Bistrot Mogador at Château_d'Estoublon

Bistrot Mogador at Château_d'Estoublon

Fountain at Bistrot Mogador, Château_d'Estoublon

Fountain at Bistrot Mogador, Château_d'Estoublon

We returned to the bistrot and got a lovely table under a huge umbrella with views of château, chapel, fountains and garden on a picture perfect day. We ordered kirs since it was our last day in the Luberon and then ordered the menu du jour of gardienne de taureau which was fork tender and delicious. We were served the estate olives and wine and enjoyed both. After a delicious baba au rum dessert, we went back to the boutique and bought a bottle of their wine for our last picnic of the trip tonight. The château and its bistrot made for a great last day. Tomorrow we’ll be eating in Nice. [Château d’Estoublon, Bistrot Mogador, Route de Maussane (D17) 13990 Fontvieille; tel: +33 (0)4 9054-6400; booking: +33 (0)4 9043-8255; GPS Lat. 43.735; Long. 4.742; http://www.estoublon.com]

Bistrot Mogador at Château_d'Estoublon

Bistrot Mogador at Château_d'Estoublon

Drove back to Paradou with the thought of taking pictures but we’d pretty much covered it earlier. Drove on to Mausanne-les-Alpilles but couldn’t find parking so we took the long scenic route home where we found Claude cleaning the gite next to us. They’ve left already . . . short stay.

Chapelle St. Hubert, Château_d'Estoublon

Chapelle St. Hubert, Château_d'Estoublon

We have to pack and clean tonight and are checking out in the morning. We did drive into town for a baguette and flan for supper. Sorry to leave our nice little gite.

Posted by Beausoleil 13:11 Archived in France Tagged chateau santons Comments (0)

Moving to Nice and turning in our car

Saturday, September 27, 2014


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Up early to finish packing and clean our gite. We breezed through and were ready right on time so relaxed and waited for Claude who was a few minutes late. We thanked her and told her how much we’d enjoyed her gite and then were on our way. We drove through Plan d’Orgon and got on the A7 south, easily changing to the A8 east to Nice. About a half hour out of Nice, I turned on the GPS which took us right to TT Car . . . 2 hours before our return appointment! Fortunately one of the TT Car fellows was just getting two women their car so he let us in, checked us out and cancelled our two o’clock appointment.

Walking from the bus stop to Old Town Nice

Walking from the bus stop to Old Town Nice

Cours Saleya, Nice

Cours Saleya, Nice

We grabbed all our stuff and walked across the street to the Novotel where we checked in. Left everything in our room and went down to the restaurant since we hadn’t time to go anyplace else before the sacred two o’clock end of lunch in France. As luck would have it, they had pintade (guinea hen) and sea bass, each of our favorites. We cheerfully ordered and thoroughly enjoyed our lunches with a terrific ratatouille very highly seasoned with rosemary. Yum! After our delicious lunch, we walked to the bus stop and waited for the #52 bus downtown. We got off at the end of the line, the Old Town, and headed into Old Nice looking for a very elusive cathedral. What we found was the Basilique Notre Dame de l'Assomption with a Saturday 4:30 PM Mass. Hooray.

Flower Market at Cours Saleya

Flower Market at Cours Saleya

Having some time to waste, we walked around Cours Saleya taking pictures of flowers and a Nice Culture market du jour and then returned for the 4:30 Mass. Unfortunately no photos are allowed in the newly renovated neo-Gothic church so we’ll have to rely on their web site for memories. We did get photos of Eglise St. Jacques le Majeur which was pretty impressive. [Basilique Notre Dame de l'Assomption, 37 Avenue Jean Médecin, 06000 Nice; tel:+33 (0)4 9388-7363; e-mail: Mail : notredame.nice@orange.fr; http://notredame-nice.com/]

Eglise St. Jacques le Majeur

Eglise St. Jacques le Majeur

Fenocchio, a great gelato place

Fenocchio, a great gelato place

After church we walked down the street and got an ice cream at Fenocchio, Maitre Glacier at 6 rue Maitre de la Poissonnerie. Their dark chocolate gelato was memorable. We then wandered Old Nice and finally found the Cathedral that was draped and under serious renovation. I got a few photos but much was covered in protective swathing.

We walked through the Promenade where all Nice seemed to be at play. We loved all the little guys zipping around, especially this cute fellow and his bright yellow ball. There is also a fountain the kids can run through if you walk further down. It's a great place for kids and seemingly, their parents. Alas, it was getting late and we were tired so we walked back to our bus stop. It was a good day in Nice.
Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, the Lantern

Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, the Lantern


Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate in Nice

Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate in Nice


Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, Nice

Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, Nice

Place Rossetti, Nice

Place Rossetti, Nice

Promenade de Paillon walking back to the bus stop

Promenade de Paillon walking back to the bus stop

Posted by Beausoleil 10:34 Archived in France Tagged churches nice Comments (1)

Nice, the Beaux Arts and the Nice Triathlon

Sunday, September 28, 2014


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Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice

Slept ‘til 7:30 this morning and ate a very nice breakfast at the hotel. We took the bus to the Magnan stop and started a search for the Nice Beaux Arts Museum. A kind gentleman pointed us to a set of stairs and we climbed up to discover more stairs. We continued climbing and arrived at the Beaux Arts to discover it’s free. Hooray! The first painting you see is a very small, dark Delacroix. The current exhibit by Jules-Henri Lengrand seemed odd until I read it was “exploring worlds on the frontiers of reality with Genesis and the Apocalypse in colorful abstract works;” then it made more sense. In the permanent collection, they have a Fragonard, several Boudins, a Corot and a couple Rodin sculptures and a really cute museum cat. The velvet settee covered with cat hair not so cute . . . Normally, I'm not too excited by Fragonard, but his portrait of an old man is wonderful and full of character. There was a marble statue of a woman that was her veiled head. Hard to imagine a veil sculpted in marble, but "Femme voilée" or "Le silence" a sculpture by Luigi Guglielmi is exactly that. Amazing!

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Special Exhibit of Jules-Henri Lengrand

Special Exhibit of Jules-Henri Lengrand


Leaving the Musée des Beaux-Arts; notice the fountain

Leaving the Musée des Beaux-Arts; notice the fountain


Hotel Negresco, a Nice landmark

Hotel Negresco, a Nice landmark

We walked back to the bus stop and decided to go to the Promenade Anglais to get our bus on to Vieille Ville. When we got to the Promenade, it was closed to traffic; hence, no bus. We didn’t know the other bus routes and it was a gorgeous day so we started walking toward Old Town on the Promenade enjoying all the people out relaxing . . . and wondering why the street was closed.

Hotel Negresco, Nice

Hotel Negresco, Nice

Volunteers for the Nice Triathlon

Volunteers for the Nice Triathlon

We passed famous beaches and finally found a shady seat near Blue Beach near the famous Hotel Negresco. We started to notice people in red tee shirts clearing crosswalks and generally acting “in charge” so we watched more carefully. Soon we noticed a strange, very clear diagonal wave approaching the shore. I zoomed in with my camera and it was a long row of swimmers headed our way. That stopped and soon a swish of bicycles swooped past in the street behind us. They went round and round and people started cheering them on. By this time we had managed to read a red tee shirt and discovered it was the Nice Triathlon. Fun, and we had front-row seats. We didn't see the runners until we walked along the shore toward Old Town and got around the awards stand and triathlon sponsor tents. As we crossed the street, the runners came zooming past.
Kitesurfing at Blue Beach in Nice

Kitesurfing at Blue Beach in Nice

Nice Triathlon swimmers arriving

Nice Triathlon swimmers arriving

Nice Triathlon Bicyclers passing

Nice Triathlon Bicyclers passing

Nice Triathlon runners passing us

Nice Triathlon runners passing us



Ds Délices on Cours Saleya, fun coffee and sandwich shop

Ds Délices on Cours Saleya, fun coffee and sandwich shop


We were originally looking for lunch so started again for Old Town with bikes zooming past every few minutes. We continued on through a triathlon sports boutique and the awards stage with very loud music. Finally escaped the fences at the Théatre de Verdure and crossed the street walking into Vieux Nice and along Cours Saleya until we found lunch at Ds Délices near the end. We wanted a sandwich and on Sunday at noon that’s difficult but they had a focaccia poulet that served the purpose. I got a really good iced coffee with mine and Ed tried a French beer that he liked. It came with a salad so our “light” lunch was quite substantial. [Ds délices, 16 Cours Saleya, 06300 Nice; tel: +33(0)4 8914-5803; e-mail: dsdelices@gmail.com<dsdelices@gmail.com>; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ds-d%C3%A9lices/103347479767455]

Cours Saleya, Nice

Cours Saleya, Nice

After lunch we started walking again and ended up at the bottom of a huge stairway to the château. No more stairs! We walked back down to Pl. Rossetti and looked for ice cream. Ended up at Gelateria Azzurro that bills itself as the second best glacier in France. We decided to try it and they are good! We loved it. We started thinking you can't get bad gelato in Nice. That seems to make sense since it is so close to Italy . . .

Fun Fountain at the Promenade du Paillon

Fun Fountain at the Promenade du Paillon

The adventure began. We walked to the Promenade du Paillon and down ave. Felix Fauré to our bus stop on rue Gubernatis. There was another bus there so we asked the driver if he went to the Promenade/Airport stop. He said, no, we’d have to take the #98 bus from Place Massena. We asked about our #52 bus and he said it wasn’t running on Sunday. I pointed out that the #98 bus was très cher and he said 5 euros. I corrected him to the current 6 euros and he agreed. We went back to the schedule post to try to figure it out and he finally came over and told us we could walk a few blocks to another stop and get the #23 bus to the airport. He gave us careful directions and we set out. Found the stop but #23 wasn’t listed so Ed asked another driver and he said the #23 would arrive. We waited and suddenly our #52 bus appeared. Joyfully, we hopped on and decided the bus drivers didn’t know much more than their own routes. The street was still closed from the now-completed Triathlon. However, the buses were driving around it if you knew where to find them . . . or, in our case, were lucky.

Arrived safely and are repacking for the flight ordeal tomorrow. The trip is great fun; the getting there is not. Flying used to be a very special experience. These days it is certainly special, but not necessarily in a good way. It is fast . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 12:58 Archived in France Tagged art museums markets nice triathlon Comments (0)

The Airport Adventure

Monday, September 29, 2017


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Leaving Nice International Airport

Leaving Nice International Airport

Up at 2:15 AM and downstairs before 3:00 to check out. The shuttle was already there so we decided to go to the airport. It was open but barely. We found seats near ALM check in and I tried the automatic kiosks which actually worked. We got all our boarding passes and the luggage checked through to Sacramento. When the world started to wake, other people arrived and naturally pushed in front of us to check in. However, since we had our bags labeled, we were escorted through first. Ha! We opened the security check line and had no problems. They even let us keep our shoes and jackets on. A short sweet flight to Amsterdam.

Flying over the Alps

Flying over the Alps

The adventure began! Nice to Amsterdam was an EU domestic flight but we then had to get on an international flight to Seattle, and when we got to our gate, we discovered another passport check that took forever because nobody seemed to know what they were doing and everyone wanted to supervise. Next was a nightmare security check run by Dutch control freaks. We removed shoes, belts, jackets, emptied pockets and were told to take out anything electronic . . . phone, cameras, tablets, e-readers, chargers and all cables and cords. Needless to say, it was complete chaos. I tossed my entire camera bag and purse into a bin. In another bin I put all my voltage converters, shoes, etc. I got through with a small fuss about something, but Ed was caught and couldn’t get through. I asked the man on my side what was going on and he said Ed had a camera. I told him I had the only family camera. They kept holding him and going through my briefcase that Ed was carrying for me. They finally brought it over to me and we found an old hard drive I’d brought as a spare and forgotten because I hadn’t used it. That was solved but they started on Ed’s backpack at that point still claiming a camera. From the depths of his backpack, they finally dug out the (also forgotten) speaker for his iPod. He hadn’t used it and had forgotten . . . just as I hadn’t used the hard drive and had forgotten. It would be nice if the airline would warn you to go through your luggage and put all your electronic stuff in one place so you could grab it. At any rate, they finally set Ed free and we put all our clothes back on, found seats and waited to board, none too cheerfully. What a hassle. Never had to do that before . . . In retrospect, never had to do that since.

Landing at Amsterdam

Landing at Amsterdam

A very long, boring flight to Seattle with a couple pretty bad meals, the last one of which I skipped. Then we landed in Seattle to more chaos. They had more people than Immigration could handle so we were kept up a flight of stairs for a while. Finally we were allowed down and joined the long snaking lines that were roped off. They moved quickly but only because not much checking was happening. We got to the new digital passport readers and you do your Customs form on screen; they photograph you and give you a couple tickets with your photos. This, of course, is after you have filled it all out by hand and have to toss that when you get home. Then we had to find our luggage and get back in long snaking, roped off lines with that. We walked the entire length of the long passport area at least six times in the roped lines. Finally got our stamp, gave them the ticket and rechecked the luggage. We checked the board for our gate and took three trains to get there to discover the gate had been changed so we took two trains to get back to the correct gate. We’re in flight now and with luck will soon be home. Long day not helped by a complete lack of organization at both Amsterdam and Seattle. These are usually well organized and fairly pleasant airports . . .

Mimi, our kitty welcoming us home.

Mimi, our kitty welcoming us home.

Postscript: Arrived safely and with all luggage. The SuperShuttle driver managed to spend nearly an hour getting us from the airport to home but we did make it and Mimi was waiting for us. Good kitty . . .

If you have questions about traveling in France, you may find some answers here. Check the table of contents. FeeI free to ask questions in the comment section and I'll see if I can answer them. Click here: Questions about France

Posted by Beausoleil 13:23 Archived in France Comments (2)

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