Photo Essay: Côte d’Azur Life Before the Throngs

As Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, French Lessons travels to their mother country for a spot of tea. But we’ll hardly leave our Francophile readers hanging! Back in the Côte d’Azur, the summer season is lurching into full swing.

First to arrive are les juilletistes – people who take their holidays during juillet, the month of July. Following quickly on their heels will be the so-called aoûtiens, who take the subsequent month of août off. A favourite destination for these holidaying masses? You’ve got it: French Lessons’ backyard.

To quote some British banter we heard on Riviera Radio, the Côte d’Azur’s English-language station: Enjoy the next couple weeks because then it’s all over.

That fine advice came over the airwaves a few weeks ago. Now the French Riviera is at its holiday crossroads. Here’s a glimpse of this summer before the madness even began:

Monaco parkingParking has always been a problem in Monaco. Signs like this one dot the principality’s roads, telling drivers not only where to park – but how many spots are left, too.

Meanwhile, our hometown of Antibes may have celebrated the opening of (the finished part of) its new parking garage, but that hardly solved the problem:

truckPhilippe swerved our car into a narrow spot along this road, and I ran out to take a few shots on my phone. The two truckers stood in a shady spot on the opposite side of the intersection, chuckling – hopefully at my eagerness rather than the sight of me in pilates gear. I flashed them the thumbs up for their perfect ingenuity before popping back into the passenger’s seat.

But our biggest problem this season can be summed up by this classic:

wifiYou never realize the depths of your addictions until they’re suddenly out of reach. Fortunately a couple WIFI-friendly cafés opened up recently in Antibes. Three cheers – no, a full-on, Fourth of July fireworks festival! – for Le Goût-Thé, which offers a true writer’s paradise:

gout-the cafe. . . and for Choopy’s, home to France’s reigning Number Three in latte art and to the Bounty (pronounced BOON-tee) cupcake:

coffeeSo we are managing quite nicely around the Côte d’Azur’s hiccups. And yet. And yet, there’s something far more fundamental – some je ne sais quoi – that keeps us coming back here, year after year, for more . . .

girlsLet the season begin!

9 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Côte d’Azur Life Before the Throngs

  1. Prince Albert’s smile is ” his mothers'”. Reading and seeing these details is interesting but I find the stories on French taxation VERY interesting—–much like our “Obama taxation”!

    1. A grow merci to Neva – and to Julie and JG – for remaining committed French Lessons readers. Without you . . .

  2. I love your updated “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”-that should be published with your name:)

    1. Thank you for another delicious taste of the French Riviera. I have never had much luck with French cappuccino but nothing beats their pastry …:)

    2. If only the diagram was mine! Many thanks to a dear English friend for recognizing my trauma and sending it along.

  3. I’m so enjoying my ‘french lessons’ this morning, you’ve inspired me to leave my desk and head out for a morning croissant!

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