Provence 2

We stayed in a lovely house in the hills behind Cannes owned by a friend who kindly allowed us to rent it for the week.   10 of us fitted in very comfortably, so it was a large house.  It had been owned by a Simone Beck who was basically the 'French connection' of Julia Child.  The kitchen was adorned with Simca's diplomas from the French Academy of Cooking etc, so we had a fun time figuring out what all the cooking implements were for.

The house was near Plascassier, and very close to Valbonne (an atypical French village because it is ~75% English), Chateauneuf and Opio were down the road (and up a 12% climb - great!), the gorgeous Mougins was 15mns away, Gourdon was up the mountain, Vence and St Paul de Vence were 45mns away, and Cannes of course was down the road.  But with all the traffic it took the longest time to reach.

Here we have Janet (our very own haut cuisine chef!) suffering from the effects of her first bottle of Rose at lunch in Valbonne.  (The daube at this restaurant was the best we had.)

Valbonne about to burst into spring bloom

Well after a week of riding, the sudden luxury of having two washing machines was too much to pass up.  I think the only thing Robert Buck didn't wash was his bike (and he may have snuck out to do that too..............)

Our first attempt to imitate the previous owners, very bloody good it was too.  As you can see, everyone was terribly bored and morose.  We usually ate in one night, then out the next.  The only problem with dinners was that pastis after the meal wasn't quite the same as limoncello.

Patty-Ann taking a quiet moment early one morning to catch up on her French lessons.  We usually did a run to the local boulangerie before the rest of the house was up.  That way if there were only two almond croissants left, we could explain the icing sugar on our guilty faces.

La Campanette, the house.  Which was really two houses joined together.  A really lovely refuge from the bustle of city life.

Spent a day touring Vence, St Paul and the Maeght Gallery there.  Regretfully St Paul de Vence is a lovely village that has been ruined by it's own success.  The place retains it's old charm, but is full of shops selling to tourists.  The only way to really appreciate life there would be to stay overnight so you could see the place after 19.00 when it closes to tourists.

My arty attempt at show St Paul in a more interesting light.  I like it.

Victor, Janet e moi outside St Paul thinking about lunch and more Rose.

You nearly have to wear a parachute to eat at this restaurant at the lovely mountain top village of Gourdon, in the perfume centre of France.

More arty stuff.  I like this too (but then I'm biased!).  Gourdon again.

Aix-en-Provence here, the gates to the City hall actually.  Another day trip, filled by coffee stops happily every several steps, shoe shopping, old churches, and the Cezanne Museum.  Don't waste your money on it.

Flowerpots in Mougins.

Well, were we lucky to find some extra boules.  For our very own boule pitch.  It was a bit grassy, but that didn't stop an excellent game.  Final score was Victor 4, moi 3 and Bill 1.  Notice how Bill could multiskill, holding his boules in one hand while drinking with the other!

Janet and Patty-Ann (aka Principessa Poopy Shoes) cheering the game on.

Off for a quick ride around the locale.  La Campanette was ideally situated for great rides close by, Gourdon was a climb to 2500' and only 16 miles from the house.  Here are Robert, Jan, Patty-Ann, Victor, LeaAnne and Walter.

Did what we thought would be a quick trip to St Tropez one day, but who was to know that the European Harley Davidson Riders' Club were having their annual meeting there??!  Snarled the traffic up for miles around.   Were it not for lunch under the pines and a cool refreshing Rose, we would have suffered more than we did.

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