A PLACE IN THE SUN – merci, Cote d’Azur!

Sun and cafes - Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Sun and cafes – Villefranche-sur-Mer.



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.

The cafes aren't yet crowded, but I bet they soon will be.

The cafes aren’t yet crowded, but I bet they soon will be as summer creeps in.

Colourful old back street shots are always enhanced by including a charming  local character.

Colourful old back street shots are always enhanced by including a charming local character, or someone who looks local.

There are still quiet corners in the old town.

There are still quiet corners in the Villefranche old town.

They must just leave colourful fishing nets lying around for the tourists to photograph.

The Villefranche art director probably instructs residents to leave colourful fishing nets lying around for the tourists to photograph. They caught me.

14 Comments

Filed under France

14 responses to “A PLACE IN THE SUN – merci, Cote d’Azur!

  1. Linda C

    Snap!we leave cold, drizzly Plymouth for Nice next Sunday. How reassuring to see that there is actually some colour, somewhere, in May!

  2. Jealous, Richard, very very jealous!
    You might want to visit the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. They run a Gloria Friedmann exhibition now (although their regular collection and the building alone are worth a trip).
    -Mina

  3. Wonderful! Yes you are so lucky to have so much at your fingertips in Europe to explore!!

  4. You’d only have a few minutes’ bike ride to the Villa Ephrussi de Rotschild. I’d love to see the gardens, especially the roseraie, this time of the year. We visited last August and I yearn to return. http://amateursventuresonlife.blogspot.fi/2012/08/not-one-garden-but-nine.html

  5. I love Villefranche-sur-mer! Great photos.

  6. Looks wonderful – love the colours!

  7. Libby

    Since when has twenty degrees been toasty? here in sunny Petersham at the weekend it was a cardigan wearing twenty four. The difference in perception between hemispheres. Does sound like you’re enjoying it
    though.

  8. A spot of sun and time beside the sea sounds like a lovely break from miserable weather in Amsterdam. The colourful fishing nets would get me too 🙂

  9. The whole place just exudes photogenic charm, doesn’t it? Glad you got ‘caught’. 🙂

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