My Winter Adventure in France – Part 4

Bon Soir!

I write this late at night looking out at the star filled sky with the bright moon winking at me! I love to write at night and am a night owl, but today I would like to share my continued adventure in France this past January 2018. I traveled to experience my writers and artist dream; to see the master’s artwork and write where the famous authors like Hemingway and F.Scott Fitgerald wrote. This was a trip of a lifetime for me and one I waited five years to take.

In my journey Part 4, I am in Antibes, South of France, right on the Mediterranean Sea. I begin my first two days there on a wrong bus and a trip to the Picasso Musee. (Catch up on my story on my previous blogs.)

January 16
“J’suis perdu.” (I am lost.) I told myself as I sat on the deserted plage (beach) on the cap du Antibes. I had gotten on the #2 bus at the bus station, a 10 minute walk from my hotel, and told the driver as the receptionist taught me:”I want to go to square Albert 1 and the beach.”

“En Antibes?”

“Oui”.

Well, I rode for awhile getting nervous and he finally dropped me at this little hotel and said “le mer is tout droit.” (straight that way.) So I begin walking through these huge homes with gates, and the fear starts to come.”Lord, I do not know where I am.” Some workers point me further down and voila, there is the plage Keller. I encounter a closed snack bar being renovated and the man there gives me some more water, to which I am grateful. I have two pieces of fruit in my bag, a kiwi and tangerine, so I know I am ok for awhile, as I am a diabetic.

I start to walk along the path of the sea and find a nice place to admire my fist look at the snow covered Alps, and a sea filled with azure and turquoise waters.I start to relax knowing I am not lost, Jesus is with me and I put my head on his shoulder.”Alright, Lord, send Francois to rescue me!”

People walk by on their hike and when every man passed by I asked the Lord, “Est ce lui?” (Is this him?) Finally, the sea having done its magic and refreshed me, I say, “Lord, I just want to enjoy the sea and have fun. I am not going to look for Francois or worry about him anymore.” Let me know how long I should stay in Antibes and when to book my return ticket.”

As I am waling back up the hill, I come to a fork, not knowing which way.”Lord, help me.” I look up and see a police car.The officer stops. “Escuzi moi Monsuier, je sues pedru.” (I am lost) He directs me up to the street to catch the bus and when I arrive it is there, so I hop on. I enjoy the view as we drive along the cap back to Antibes. I had wanted to walk along the cap to the Eden Roc Hotel but it is too far and closed. Most hotels and restaurants are closed up here for winter until mid April.

On the walk back to hotel, I stop at the bakery and get a slice of pizza for 2.45 euros and at the grocery for lemonade, Diet Coke, chips, yogurt, cambert cheese and Little Boy chocolate cookies, which are better in France. I am surprised how cheap the food is here in Antibes, compared to Paris.I paid 1.15 euros for a large container of yogurt, .89 cents for limonaid, 1.50 for a large round of cambert. My hotel does not come with breakfast here, so I will save money filling my small refrigerator with food.

It is windy, with 60 degree weather and sunshine all the way to Monaco. Tomorrow I am going to the Picasso museum in the castle he lived here in Antibes.For now a nap. Enjoy the pictures!

January 17

Hello from Antibes,it’s 54 degrees and sunshine on this beautiful winter day. I journeyed into the Old City today to see Picasso’s museum in an old castle overlooking the city walls.I walked without getting lost, as Aurelie, the night receptionist here at the Best Western Inn, drew me a hand map.Picasso worked here between 1946- 1948 after the war and created ceramics, and linocuts, new mediums for him.

The man who owned the ceramic factory in nearby Vallerius taught him. I met his nieces, two French/British ladies the other night outside the gelato shop and they told me their story. One lady, Lynette, shared she held one of Picasso’s sketchbooks wearing white gloves.The family sold the factory and she just bought a home in the new development.This pricked my interest as I believe the Lord has a home for me here too, and one day I will be a home owner.

It was another ‘ahah moment’ as I walked on the squeaky wood floors of his studio, with the little shuttered rectangular windows letting light into his studio. He had started to engrave a mural into the walls of this large studio, but stopped suddenly.You can still see the engravings.I felt his presence so strongly here. His unseen works exhibited here feature things special to his heart here in the Cote d’ Azur: sea urchins, octopus, owls, bulls fighting, to name a few. He also liked doing fauns and of course, nudes. I wasn’t really a Picasso fan until today. If you want to read book about his life here in Antibes, I recommend the book Cooking for Picasso, a fictionalized story of the young girl who cooked and fed him every day while he was here, and came to have his baby.

After the museum, I wandered down the narrow cobbled stone lanes of the Old City and came upon the Holy Spirit church and went inside.They were playing operatic music, which I found strange, but I was able to sit awhile and hear from the Lord more about his plans for my time here. This was good for me, as I was feeling so depleted, spiritually and physically, from all the travel. I came upon the marchee, or daily market, and bought some goodies: baby eggplant tapenade, some truffle cheese (at 12 euros enough to last all week from a pushy marketer), some dried figs and a baguette for.89 cents. I love how the French ensure their people have bread and keep the price so low.

I ate my picnic lunch outside the city entrance overlooking all the big yachts on Millionaire Row.This is the largest and wealthiest harbor in all of Europe. Perhaps Francois owns one, you can all come for a free boat ride! I walked the ramparts out to the giant sculpture of a man made out of letters, overlooking the harbor.

I almost bought the new John Grisham book at an English bookstore but it was 34 euros.($40) It would be nice to have something to read as all the television is in French.

Enjoy the master’s work! (Both God and Picasso)

Stay tuned next month for my continued journeys in Antibes and Nice in part 5 of my winter adventure in France.

A Bientôt (See you soon!)

Miriam


My Winter Adventures in France – Part 1

Bon Jour mes amis- (Good day my friends)

Yes, it happened. I finally went to France for three weeks and fell in love with it! God opened the door for me at the last minute to take the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southhampton, England on a transalanttic crossing. It was like Downton Abbey at sea. High tea every day with delicious gluten free scones, canapés and petit fours. Dressing for dinner, royal balls and walks around the deck after our two day hurricane adventure where I was seasick, but recovered nicely. We passed the point where the Titanic went down and it gave new meaning to the tragedy, as I could imagine what they felt, now being on a ship.

I arrived in Southhampton, where I took a shuttle to London, and then the Eurostar to Paris, arriving in early evening. My first look at Paris from the taxi was bigger than I imagined and somehow different. I cried when I saw the Arc du Triumph, the Louve and Seine. My room had a view of the muddy-brown Seine and the very next morning I got up before the sun rose at 8:30am and walked along it, counting the bridges till I reached Notre Dame, an hour later. That was what I wanted to do most, as if you recall, my desire to go to Paris and be like Sabrina in the movie of said name, was to write my book Becoming Miriam there.

Well, six years later, I arrived, and did get to sit in the booth Hemingway wrote his classics at Cafe Duex Magots and write some on my second book which highlights my journey to move to France. God fulfilled my dream and I ended up staying one month with me taking the train down to the South of France, to Antibes, where I fell in love with the blue blue sea and snow covered French Alps. More on that later…

I will be posting my journal I wrote every day and posted to my friends on Facebook for you to enjoy in a part of a series of my travels in France. I hope you enjoy them and my pictures of all the wonderful memories and friends I made along the way.

First day in Paris
Oovercast weather, walked all along Seine counting the bridges doing my Sabrina thing 5 Kilometers to Notre Dame, with stunning sculpture. Visited the Deportation Mermorial where 200,000 resistance fighters and jews were deported to death camps, along with the Memorial du Shoah, that has the 67,000 names of French jews deported engraved on walls. Very moving for me as these were the first authentic sites I have seen. Some nice British ladies helped me on my first harrowing ride on the Metro. The French do like Americans and practicing their English. Fun lunch with my waiters of French meatballs, frites and salad. No one tips here even taxis.

Day 2 in Paris
Today I ventured out on metro to Musee de Orsay, featuring the impressionists and a special exhibit of Degas. Tears have come to me in many unexpected places while here and looking at the beauty of brush stroke and color of Monet was one of them. I have been praying about a new vision for my art, and given I saw a modern impressionist exhibit in the art gallery on Queen Mary, (famous British artist Sheree Valenine-Dianes), I believe I will try leaning this style. Grabbed an apricot crepe and walked through Garden du Tulliniers, past the big Farris wheel, and danced down the Champs Elysess with Jesus to the tune of Ten Minutes Ago I Saw You, from 1960s Cinderella TVspecial. He had promised me we would, and boy did we. Yes, I got a few funny looks from the French, but I didn’t care! At the end is the Arc du Triomphe, such impressive sculpture, it blows my mind! Now a pro, I hopped back on Metro back to hotel for a break, then off to Eiffel Tower at night tour. I am depressed how expensive things are here, it really is ridiculous and a bit dark and gloomy, but hey, it is winter and it is Paris!

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!