You have to love Europe. The weather in Amsterdam is cold, grey, wet and miserable. Mevrouw T has a heavy cold. So all we have to do is wake at 4.15am, struggle out to Schiphol Airport, catch a plane to Nice and an hour and forty minutes later here we are, in the sunny south of France.
It’s a toasty twenty degrees, there are people sitting on the terraces, a few brave souls are stripping off to sunbathe and there are even two people swimming. In the sea. No, not us, but it could have been us.
We’ve organised a week’s apartment swap with Muriel and Jean Louis in Villefranche-sur-Mer, on the French Riviera, the Cote d’Azur. From the sound of it alone, you’d assume only the mega-rich could afford it. This way, we can too.
We get rich people’s boats bobbing in the harbour, Matisse and Chagall on display in their respective museums just up the road and the Cannes Film Festival about to start a little further along the beach. Across the water from our apartment we can see the notoriously prosperous St Jean Cap Ferrat.
Thanks to www.homeforexchange.com this is costing us no more than a modest airfare. Muriel’s parents, our guests in Amsterdam, have mercifully reported that they’re happy with their part of the deal and are enjoying the views of the Schinkel Canal and the Vondelpark despite the drizzle.
We can stock up with cheese, bread, quiches, salad and wine at the shops down below us and make ourselves le pique-nique. We’ll no doubt report on other Cote d’Azur attractions during the week.
Meanwhile, the sun is shining on Villefranche so it’s time to get out and enjoy it, camera in hand.