Cap d’Antibes

The 68th Festival de Cannes 2015 is in full swing and with the Monaco Grand Prix coming up, May on the French Riveria’s filled with glitz and glamour. But you don’t have to be a millionaire billionaire to appreciate its beauty or taste those yacht views.

Cap d’Antibes not far from Cannes, after Cap d’Ail is France’s 2nd most expensive real estate. Millionaires villa garden paths lead to gates opening up to spectacular Mediterranean Sea views. My one biggest regret leaving France was we’d only just discovered you could walk its coastal path, Chemin des Contrebandiers or Smugglers Path where these gates open up to. Previously I’d just ran on the main road through the Cap. We’d walked part of the path, but not its entirety. When I was in France a few weeks ago for my friends wedding, I had a spare few hours before my flight back. I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Cap d’Antibes and Parc Vaugrenier!

The path’s open to the public except in bad weather. Starting behind the Restaurant le Cesar and Plages/beaches Keller and Garoup, it snakes along rocks, up and down steps over looking the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) until you it takes you inland for the return. I skipped the inland bit and walked back along the sea. Trainers and jeans are fine to walk it in. It’s also a great trail path for runners. Don’t expect thanks for letting people pass by when the path narrows. Few did and few let me have right of way and those who did got thanks. That’s just how it works there. That aside, it’ll take 1-2hrs depending on how many photos you’ll take. I highly recommend walking it if you’re ever on the Côte Azur. Enjoy!  Cap d'Antibes

Villa gates leading to the seaCap d'Antibes

Cap d'Antibes

Cap d'AntibesI swear this is the tree Monet painted in Cap d’Antibes! On a clear day you can see the Alps in the distance as on the notice below. The day I went was hazy. During a Mistral or bad storms, the path maybe closed, but the water is an amazing shade of turquoise. Cap d'Antibes

Parking is free, busy at the weekends so arrive early especially on Sundays when the restaurants are in high demand. There’s a public WC on the beach, but I couldn’t find it. If you need to go and can’t find the toilette publique you have to buy a drink in one of the restaurants. That’s how it works in France!

France For The Weekend

Already waking up to birds singing and listening to frogs at night is now a long distance memory. This time last week I was packing for the weekend away in France to celebrate my friends wedding. It was also my first non family or course obligation holiday, break since 2011. 3 days away, 3 days back and it’s like I was never away! Flight from BCN to NCE

My friend and I met when we were neighbours and hit it off straight away. It amazes me that we come from completely different cultures (British and Vietnamese) yet, her and her then room mate, Huyen, who’s also a great friend have much in common and always have something to talk about. Maybe not food, ‘You don’t eat fish either?!’ What do you eat! We may not see each for weeks, months or like this weekend a year and catch up where we left off. Those are the best friendships!Linh

Linh was beautiful. They’d already got married a few weeks earlier in Hanoi and earlier that day at the town hall, a formality in France. Antibes Cathedral was the final ceremony! The whole service was in Vietnamese, so I have absolutely no idea what was going on! Fortunately for me, everybody spoke great English, which helped at the reception. I was seated next to Huyen and I think we caught up on everything! The biggest surprise however was at the reception. Linh is/was 4.5 months pregnant! I did have a sneaky feeling in the cathedral, but thought no, she would have told me. She wanted to tell me in person! Ling and HuyenLinh's beautiful bouquet

P couldn’t come due to work, so it was just me, myself and I and I surprisingly had a great time on my own some. I also surprised myself with my driving. Driving in France can be hairy at times and the hire car just had 6km on the clock. Brand spanking new. No pressure. Full insurance? Yes please. I had some tight parking reverse spots I would have panicked about previously. Lots of reverse, 1st, turn the wheel as much as you can, you can do its. Sometimes you’ve just gotta get on with it! I also asked for a room change, something I might have just accepted before. I stayed in an apartment hotel so I could eat my veggies and the first room stunk of smoke. Being a holiday weekend, I knew they’d be fully booked. Smiling and asking politely worked. I was transferred to a non smoking room with a sea view from the balcony if you stuck you head out. Sea View!

The ceremony was on the Saturday and I arrived Thursday to stock the fridge. Friday being May Day everywhere would be closed. My plan worked. After landing and collecting the car, I had 45 minutes to find a supermarket! Friday, I knew exactly where I’d be running. When I first received my invitation, my first thought was ‘She’s getting married! Yay! My Linh’s getting married!’ Second thought, ‘I can run in the park!’ The park I spent many hours running and biking around. 10km of birds singing, light drizzle, green all around, wind in the trees, a green woodpecker and a swan. Apart from my friends, allowing the import of cosmetics, that park is the one of the few things I miss about France. Back for one day running in the woods

Friday afternoon, post run with hand santizer working in a pinch for deodorant, I set off for Eze. I hoped it would be the one place all weekend I’d be able to look around Fragonard the Perfumer. I don’t wear perfume, but I love their soaps. Every year they feature a flower of the year. This year’s jasmine, which along with lilac is my favourite scent. I couldn’t not go! They have shops all along the Cote Azur, however being a holiday, most would be closed. Eze just outside Monaco is home to the Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or, so Fragonard had be open. My gamble paid off! I also wanted the drive there. The coastal road to Italy is pretty, but it was my first time driving it, rather than begin a passenger so my views were limited. Hitting the rain cloud on the way up that engulfed Eze was a little scary. Especially at it’s thickest across the viaduct in!

Drive along Nice, Promenade d’ AnglaisNice, Promenade de Anglais

Eze. On any normal day, the Med sea’s visible. Eze Eze

Fragonard, EzeMy flight on the Sunday wasn’t until late and checkout was early. Just before moving back to Barcelona, we walked a little of the Cap d’Antibes. If I have known about it sooner, I would have walked it more. My one regret was that I didn’t walk it’s full distance. I’ll put my hands up and say I was completely ill prepared for this walk. Firstly, I really needed the bathroom, I didn’t take water, I said only a little way, then turn around for the bathroom and I was wearing slip on skater shoes and a lace t-shirt (I’ll accept the odd looks I got). That’s the last time I listen to my internal advice! I walked the whole coast part, skipped the inland return and walked back along the coastal path. My reasoning, I’m not going to get to listen to the sea as quietly for a long time. My Mum’s right. You can take the girl out the countryside, you can’t take the countryside out the girl. That said, I did shed a tear landing in Barcelona. I don’t when I’ll get to see my friends again, but my life is for now in Barcelona. I’m happier here and I know we’ll find a way to say hello in person again. I can always go back to visit. France I’ve learned is a lot nicer to visit than to live in. It’s charm wears off after a while! If I do, I can take that trip I wanted to take Sunday, but I listened to that internal voice saying, Cannes is closer. Less traffic for the airport back. Shoulda gone to Monaco!

Cap d’AntibesCap d'AntibesCap d'AntibesCap d'AntibesCannesCannesWhere’s the furthest you’ve travelled for a wedding? Place you’re happy enough visiting, but wouldn’t like to live there?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

I’ve split this weeks challenges into 2 parts. Walls in the traditional sense and what goes on walls. As usual a little tale with each one and who know’s maybe one day I’ll edit to just 2 photos!

Cap d’Antibes, France, 2014

Cap d'Antibes Cap d'AntibesCap d'Antibes

After living in France for about 2 years and month before leaving we finally hiked the Cap d’Antibes, a 5 minute car journey down the road. I know and if we had known before you could hike around it, I’m sure  we’d have explored all it. If you’re ever on the Cote d’Azur, it’s well worth the trip, once you’ve found the trail head.

Sea Wall Antibes, France, 2014AntibesI kinda took this view for granted after a few months. Build in the Roman times with some parts still standing, painted by Monet and countless other artists, it adds to the old town charm.

Pigeons, Marble Arch, London, UK, 2013Pigeons, Marble Arch Pigeons. Marble ArchEarly December and freezing! These guys were taking advantage of the late morning sun spots. I love how they look huddled sporting big winter coats as they puff out their feathers for warmth. You can almost hear them talking in a Lundon accent. “Alwight, Gov?”

Graffiti Barcelona, 2014Graffiti, Barcelona

Taken on a morning run. Sometimes graffiti’s an eyesore, other times it brightens up your day. These guys reminded me of Grease.

Christmas, Barcelona 2014Christmas Barcelona Exploring a side street off Passeig de Gracia, nestled in all the window ledges a restaurant had decked them out with lanterns and pine cones adding Christmas magic of Christmas past. Sometimes it’s the small things, the attention to detail that bring everything together.

Las Arenas, Barcelona 2014Las Arenas BarcelonaWhile this technically isn’t a wall, a restaurant in the old bull ring, had stars lined up in the bushes outside which added to the Christmas feel. Unfortunately they weren’t doing a good job go enticing people in.

Euro Nettuno, San Remo, Italy, 2014

Euro Nettuno San Remo

A beautiful place and I loved how this private beach (all are nearly and €5 for an all day sun lounger isn’t bad) had a 1950’s Sophia Loren feel. All the cabins/changing rooms doors were blue turquoise with white washed walls. Flowers added pops of pinks and purple. San Remo is another must if you’re ever travelling/visiting north west Italy. A beautiful part of the world.

Enjoy!

Wall” title=”WPC Wall” target=”_blank”>Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall