Provence: Nyons-Grignan-Nice-Antibes

21 Feb

Why Nyons?
Stuart had waterless toilet business to conduct with a local manufacturer. The fact that it was in Nyons, the picturesque olive/wine/apricot/walnut/lavender/nougat centre of Drome, Provence, was purely incidental. Tip for travellers: The best restaurants are in Rue Des Deportes. The photo shows Chef Christophe, host Fred and a very full Stuart after dinner at D’un Gout A L’ Autre. Also memorable was our meal at La Farigoule run by Thomas and Chef Dominique.

Why Grignan?
The view of the imposing Renaissance Chateau De Grignan from the highway is alluring and closer inspection was warranted. The village’s current economic health and the ongoing refurbishment of the state-owned chateau is thanks to the cult of the Marquise De Sevigne (1626-1696) as the Chateau was sacked during the French Revolution. Mother of the Countess De Grignan, the highly educated Marquise De Sevigne (born Marie de Rabutin-Chantal) visited her beloved daughter, Francoise, from her home in Paris for lengthy periods on three different occasions in the mid-1600s and fell in love with the place. She’d been widowed at 24 when her husband was killed in a duel over his mistress leaving the Marquise with debts and two children to raise. She never married again. Sevigne wrote hundreds of witty, descriptive letters to her daughter over a thirty year period, many of which were published in her lifetime. These were the first and best examples of the unguarded thoughts of a 16th century aristocrat and caused a sensation for the insights they provided. The chateau was rebuilt in the 20th century by Madame Fontaine who spent her fortune to return the Chateau to its former splendour.

Why Nice?
Carnival! (definitely weird but not a patch on New Orleans or Dutch Karnival). The human zoo of Boulevarde Des Anglais. Pastis before every meal and Cote Du Rhone accompanying it. Moules et Frites. Le Vieux Port and its pretty painted dinghies. Free entry to state museums. Nice Opera where the chandelier is to die for and they use real candles and live horses*. Gelati-coloured Fin De Siecle apartment buildings with Trompe L’oeil balconies (yes, I know that sounds wanky but I love how the words roll off the tongue).

But Nice, why oh why still dog shit every four paces?

Why Antibes?
This was a day indulging in our version of soft porn – slobbering over super yachts in Antibes marina and exquisite glossy real estate magazines fueling the fantasy of owning our very own super yacht plus Mas (house constructed of local stone) with olive grove, fireplace and infinity pool with sea and mountain views…

Now dear reader my beloved and I part ways as he heads back to the ski slopes and I make the annual pilgrimmage to the Jerez Flamenco Festival. A toute a l’heur!

*Hot tip you won’t find on Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor: For some Nice Opera performances you can rock up two hours before showtime and buy a 12 euro ‘standing’ general seating ticket that gets you into the ‘Paradise’ uppermost level, or ‘The Gods’/nose bleed seats as we call them. You don’t actually have to stand but the earlier you queue the better view you’ll get from your red velvet covered bench seat.

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6 Responses to “Provence: Nyons-Grignan-Nice-Antibes”

  1. Alyson February 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Dear Sharon – you write so wonderfully well – when are you publishing??? With warm thoughts from Brisbane. x

    • Sharon Tickle February 22, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      Merci Alyson. This is all the publishing I’m interested in for now. Hope all’s wonderful with you. Sxx

  2. Charmaine February 22, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Love the photos – ‘specially the last one!

    • Sharon Tickle February 22, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      That was a memorable Provencal picnic Charm and an excellent bottle of wine (Stu driving). The house in the background is of the kind we covet. Sxx

      • Maryse Chevalier February 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

        You are such a good photograph Sharon I like to visit my country with your eyes and feelings. Bye, Maryse

      • Sharon Tickle February 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

        Thanks Maryse. Lyon is such a photogenic city. We look forward to a return visit! Sxx

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