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a little lesson in french law

law_ebay_french_courtThere are somethings that just aren’t covered in the books on living in France and can be only learned from experience.

A friend of mine, who I’ll call Michel, learned something new just last Friday night.   This is his story.

What he remembers:   He went to a friend’s house, drank a bottle of champagne, a bottle of rose followed by ¾ of a bottle of Jack Daniels. He headed home around 3AM.

His final memory of the evening was singing Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” while performing an awesome air drum solo as he walked home.

He woke up the next morning in his bed with a bad hangover, which was to be expected. What he didn’t expect was to find himself wearing a pair of boxer shorts that he had never seen before. They were definitely not his.

Clearly, there were a few blank spots, so he called the friend he spent the evening with to find out what he missed.

Turns out, somewhere between the drum solo and home, he was arrested.   He was quite incoherent, but managed to give the cops the name and number of the friend who he had spent the evening with (merci a dieu it wasn’t me).   The cops called him and asked him to pick up Michel and to bring some pants.

His friend went to the police station and found Michel quietly playing poker with imaginary cards and opponent.  He also happened to be buck-naked from the waist down.   As near as Michel can figure it, he must have seen the bus station which is very close to his apartment, figured he was almost home and started taking his clothes off.

Apparently, the neighbors complained about the noise and the cops came to investigate and found Michel singing, without his pants on.   They brought him in, not because he was half naked, but because he was loud, and very, very drunk. They were worried he was a threat to himself.

As you might imagine, Michel was feeling pretty crummy as he told me all this.   Being the pain in the ass I am, I asked him if he learned anything from the experience.

He thought about it for a moment and I could see see the sparkle of realization in his eyes.

“Yes!   It’s legal to walk down the street naked in France!”

all hail the mighty lemon!

Monet's rendering of a branch of Menton lemons

Monet’s rendering of a Menton lemon tree branch

Last year in French class, there was a discussion about the Menton Fete de Citron.   My friend Michel scoffed at the idea, wondering how can they have a whole festival for a goddamn lemon?   He wound up going and returned a changed man, with a newfound respect for both lemons and the French who gave the lowly fruit the love and attention it deserves.

This year, my friend Angela and I embark on the same pilgrimage hoping for a similar transformation.

Menton is two or three train stops east of Monaco/Monte Carlo (about 10 minutes), on the French/Italian border.   You can feel the Italian influence as well as hear, smell and taste it.

IMG_6954For a place you’ve probably never heard of, it’s quite beautiful with grand buildings built in the 1900′s when rich nobles wintered here. It boasts a long pebbly beach fringing blue, blue water, an old town splashed in the warm sunny colors of this patch of the Mediterranean. It’s surrounded by dramatic cliffs that seemingly drop from Alps to the Sea in a heartbeat creating a perfect micro-climate (316 days of sunshine a year, they say).

So, what is Menton’s main claim to fame?   Lemons, of course.   Well, citrus in general.   But the Menton lemon is special.   It’s larger, often misshapen.   It’s also supposedly sweet enough to eat like an orange (I beg to differ).

Legend has it that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve grabbed a big, golden lemon from paradise and took it.   When they finally settled in Eden-like Menton (which was probably called something else back then), she planted it.   An industry and tourism hook was born.

Every year at the end of February-early March, the town of Menton holds a Fete de Citron.  It’s their equivalent of Mardi Gras except replace the beads, masks, great music and young people with lemons and oranges.

IMG_6812The place is packed.  I’m a little frightened despite the fact that half the attendees are walking slower and more laboriously than me (the median age here, appears to be about 70—I feel like a spring chicken)..  This is my first major public outing without my walking boot, and one pushy German could ruin my hard won, still tenuous mobility for me.

Orange trees line the streets, full of ripe oranges, festive in their own right. There’s something very reassuring about a place where food grows on trees.   I put Menton down on my list of possible places to be broke and homeless.IMG_6845

The theme of this year’s festival is “20,000 leagues under the sea.” I honestly don’t know what it has to do with citrus, but what the hell. The parade is the strangest combination of floats: ships, fish made of citrus, mermaids and the most baffling float of IMG_6797all, a kangaroo made of citrus.   Possibly left over from the Australian themed Fete de Citron, or maybe the Marsupial themed one?  There’s also a garden of displays (like the Eiffel tower and pagodas done entirely in citrus) and fireworks at night, and all kinds of citrus based products being sold.

Rumor has it, the lemons and oranges used in the floats and displays come from  Morocco—which I suspect is true, given their uniform, smallish size.  Some of these Menton lemons are bigger than a pamplemousse!

Possibly the most exciting part of the Fete de Citron for me, is the Menton lemon honey I sample in the one the stores, Mille et un Miels.   OMG.   Give me a straw.   Hell, I’ll chug it straight from the jar.  I’ll eat it with my hands.   Angela and I both buy a jar.

When I get home, I sit down to Google Menton over a nice hot cup of Lemon Honey (with a little water).   I discover that Jean Cocteau the French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist, filmmaker. and general post-modern Renaissance man was an important part of Menton.   There is a Cocteau museum showing his work, as well as that of his friends’ Picasso and Matisse.   You can see more of his art in the Bastion, on the waterfront.

Being a person of taste and culture, suddenly, I’m obsessed with going back to Menton.  I’ve got to get more of that lemon honey!

my triumphant return to new york

IMG_6684I haven’t been to New York in over six years.   Going there in the dead of winter with a broken foot probably wasn’t my wisest decision.  Doing it during record cold and snowstorms, well, what can I say?   I’m an idiot.

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Rex Bennett

When I get to my friend and host, Debbie’s apartment she’s on the phone with her 18 year old son,Rex, who is away at college.   She tells him she’s giving Dante (their dog) an M&M (she isn’t).   Rex’s response comes booming from the little iphone:   “DON’T give the dog chocolate, it will kill him!!!!!”

Apparently, now that Rex is a college man they practice this ritual in many of their phone calls,.   It’s called long distance button pushing.  I’m familiar with the practice.   I do it to my mother all the time, except in our case, I’m the tormenter.  Just replace “I’m feeding the dog an M&M” to “Hold on a sec, I’m lighting the bong” or “I’m putting a glass of water on the coffee table without a coaster.”

Debbie has been my partner in crime ever since we met at Scali, McCabe Sloves, an ad agency where we were copywriters 20 years ago (or so…I don’t have the heart to do the actual math).   We first met while waiting for our shared art director in her (the Art Director’s) office.   We chatted as I watched Debbie open the drawer, take out a tampax, open the tampax, free the tampon from its cardboard applicator and color the cotton with a red magic marker.   When we gave up and left the office, Debbie casually tossed the now red tampon on the Art Director’s chair.   At that moment, I knew we’d be friends for life.   We’ve been saying, doing and laughing at inappropriate things together ever since.   We’ve been ROFL before it became an acronym.

So here I am in NYC, at Debbie’s with a broken foot, snow all over the ground and frightening ice patches everywhere.   I had originally planned to see friends, wander around Manhattan and revive my materialistic longings with window shopping in Soho.  Not gonna happen.  The sidewalks terrify me.   We decide to stay in, order Chinese and watch the Olympic opening ceremonies.

After dinner, right around the time the teams enter to wave their country’s flags, we break into the Lindt Chocolate bars she had purchased for my arrival.

Naturally, Dante comes over to investigate what we’re eating.

I don’t know exactly whose idea it was, or how it happened, but the following series of text messages transpires.   Whether it’s inappropriate or not, you’ll have to decide.  So far, the comments have ranged from blank looks, to hysterical laughter to wondering how much therapy Rex will need.

8:17PM (to Rex) IMG_1272

8:20PM (to Rex)

IMG_1278

8: 23PM Rex:  stop, you monster

8:24PM   Deb:   what?   do you think the hot pepper flavor is too spicy for him?

8:27PM (to Rex)IMG_1290Deb:   not to worry, I’m giving him the heimlich.

8:30PM  Rex:   You are sooooooooo LAME

8:35PM (to Rex)IMG_1294Debbie:   I’m giving him mouth to mouth.   tastes like chocolate.

8:40PM (to Rex)

IMG_1298Deb:   Oops.   You were right.

In the end, I didn’t accomplish a lot in NYC.   Nonetheless, t can leave knowing that I got everything I possibly could out of the once in a six-year visit.   My work here is done.

No animals were harmed in the making of this post. Rex is another story.

french vocabulary for the lame

les bequilles

les bequilles

Since my recent Strasbourg trip (in every sense of the word), I’ve learned some new French words and phrases that have come in handy.  This list should prove invaluable to anyone who plans to break a foot in a French-speaking country.

English:  I need a doctor.

French:   J’ai besoin d’une docteur.

 

English:  My foot hurts.

French:   Mon pied me fait mal. (or just point frantically at your foot and say:  “ce fait mal!”)

 

English:  I climbed to the top of the cathedral and when I came down, I fell.

French:  Je suis montais au les hauts de la cathedrale et quand j’ai descendu, j’ai tombe.

 

English:  X-ray

French:  Radio

 

English:  Plaster cast

French:  Platre

 

English:  My foot is broken.

French:  Mon pied est casse.

 

English:  I hate these crutches.

French:   Je deteste ces bequilles.

 

English:   Kill me now.

French:  Me tuez maintenant.  (this is when you’re addressing someone formally.   The familiar would be “me tues”)

 

English:   No!   Wait!  Don’t kill me!  I’m not serious.

French:   No!   Attendez!  Ne me tuez pas!   Je ne suis pas serieux.

 

English:  I hope you don’t mind that I’m leaning on you.

French:  J’espère que cela ne vous dérange pas que je me penche sur vous.

 

English:  Do you deliver?

French:   Livrez-vous?

 

English:   Great.   Please deliver me home.

French: Superbe. S’il vous plaît me livrer à domicile.

 

English:  Excuse me.   Can I borrow your wheel chair?

French:  Pardonnez moi. Pourrais-je emprunter votre fauteuil roulant?

 

English:   Do you have a strong back?

French:  Avez vous un dos forte?

 

English:  Please carry me.

French:  Me porter s’il vous plait.

 

English:  I’m sorry if I smell bad.   Bathing is difficult with this cast.

French: Je suis desolee si j’ai un odeur mauvais.   Baignade est tres difficile  avec cette platre.

 

English:  Are you blind?   Can’t you see I have a broken foot?

French:  Etes-vous aveugle? Tu ne vois pas que j’ai un pied cassé?

 

English:  I’m sorry.   I didn’t notice that you really are blind.

French:  Je suis désolé. Je n’ai pas remarqué que vous êtes vraiment aveugle.

 

English:  Help me!

French:  Taxi!

i’ve always depended on the kindness of cab drivers

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Where we left off: God just pushed me down the final step of the Strasbourg Cathedral stairwell and did something mauvais to my foot.  I’m in the lobby of the Hotel Gutenberg waiting for the doctor.

The doctor arrives.   He only speaks French so we communicate in the language of pain.   He taps my foot, moves it around and I yelp when it hurts.   He tells me he thinks it’s broken (casse) and I’ll need to go for “radio”.    He gives me a couple of pills, makes a few calls and escorts me (okay, drags me), downstairs to get a cab.

After a brief conference with the doctor, receptionist and cab driver, the doctor passes me off to the driver who pretty much holds me upright as I hop to the cab muttering “merde, merde, merde.”  He compliments me on my French.

Somewhere along the way, the pills kick in and I start to enjoy the chauffeured tour of the outer reaches of Strasbourg.   Woah, full moon.  We arrive at the Clinique St. Anne Urgences entrance and the driver gets me a wheelchair.

In the back of my mind, I believe that once I sit in the wheelchair, all is lost.   So it’s either that, dumb pride or that all-powerful feeling you get when floating on a schedule 3 narcotic that makes me refuse the chair.

I hop bravely up the ramp to the door…well, half way to the door.  Fortunately, the cab driver has the foresight to follow me with the wheelchair, providing a comfortable place to collapse.   He wheels me the rest of the way in.

off to get an X-ray

being chauffeured to my X-ray

I sign in, give them my insurance card, fill in a form and somebody pushes me to the waiting room.  I’m not sure, mais je pense I’ve been parle-ing fluent Francais and understanding tout ce qu ils disent.   Yaaaay!

There are a few people already ahead of me, so I fear a long wait.  Five minutes later, my name is called and I’m wheeled into x-ray.   An intern takes a picture of my foot and tells me to wait for the doctor.   Gotta love French healthcare.

In another few minutes, the doctor comes in and introduces himself as David.   Not Doctor David, just David.   Maybe he’s a night janitor.  I don’t care.  He’s cute.  He confirms that oui, my foot is broken and I will be getting a cast up to my knee.  Honey, you can put that cast as high as you want.

Then a horrible realization hits me.   I’m wearing skinny jeans.  There’s no way I can fit a cast under them.  I’ll have to take them off (well, at least one leg).   I haven’t shaved my legs.   I need a pedicure.   Dear God, what underwear am I wearing?   What will I wear back to the hotel?   What will I wear home?

After the cast is put on, the intern devises a lovely outfit by jauntily throwing the empty pant-leg over my shoulder.   She cuts some gauze as a belt and fashions a skirt out of a paper scrub top.   I feel like I’m on Project Runway. Fortunately, I have no photographic evidence of my one-of-a-kind look.   I’m pretty sure Tim Gunn would be mortified.

My cab is waiting, and I’m faced with a new dilemma.   In France, the hospitals don’t give out crutches, they’re prescribed.   It’s 8pm and god knows how I’ll deal with it.  It’s times like this I wish I was married.   Not that my husband would be of any use to me.   He’s probably back at the hotel watching football. Bastard!

bad

evil crutches

The cab driver, lady at the registration/incoming wounded desk and I discuss the problem and the next thing you know, the taxi driver makes a few calls, finds an open pharmacy and we’re on our way.

The pharmacy is in a huge complex set back about 30 meters from the sidewalk.   Both the driver and I know there’s no way I’ll be able to hop up there without taking several naps along the way, so he goes in and gets my crutches.

I had envisioned myself swinging breezily from the kind of crutches that rest under your arms, but in France these forearm wrapped ones are de rigueur.   I hate them.   The design forces users to rely on balance and core strength, neither of which I seem to have.   I’m more of a leaner.

I attempt a graceful exit from the cab.   The driver’s arms are out, ready to catch me as I stand up shakily and freeze like a dog on an escalator, trying to figure out what goes first, the crutch or the foot.

The trip to the hospital and pharmacy took an hour and a half.   It takes another hour and a half to get to my room.

I immediately start to pack (well, after a short rest).   My plane leaves at 7:30 AM and I have a lot to figure out before then. I’m happy to discover that I did pack pajamas.   I can wear the bottoms to the airport.   A thrill rushes through me knowing that for the first time ever, I will have worn everything I packed.  I’m also pleased to discover that I’ll save a lot of time in the morning because I can’t take a shower.

The next morning, I get to the airport (by cab) without a hitch.   The driver passes me off to the wheelchair and attendant he wrangled for me inside the airport.   I feel like a rolling baton being passed from person to person.

IMG_6531

At first, I’m a little embarrassed.   Yes, I’m that unkempt person in pajama pants being wheeled through the airport.   But as they whisk me through security, keeping close track of my passport, purse, coat and even wheel me over to the cash machine on the way to the gate.  I even get a whole row to myself on a packed plane (could this be because I can’t take a shower?).  They even fasten my seat belt. I could get used to this.  Maybe I’ll save the cast and crutches for all future travel.

Another wheelchair and attendant await me in Nice as well as my checked bag.  Once I’m comfortably in the cab, I realize a new set of obstacles await me.   Have I mentioned that I live in a third floor walk-up?

I’m pretty sure  I can get the driver to carry up my bag, which despite being small is way too much for me to handle with these godforsaken crutches.   But what about me?   I just fell down a stair.   The thought of three flights fills me with terror..   Maybe I can crawl?   Slither up on my belly like a snake?

In the foyer of my apartment building, the cab driver assesses the situation and has an idea.  First he carries my bag up the three flights.   Then he carries me,  piggy back.   He sets me down and holds me upright, while I open the door.   He carries my baggage in and helps me inside.   I pay him (HUUUUUGE tip).

I close the door and lean against the wall feeling an enormous sense of triumph and relief.   I made it!   I’m home!

A half hour later, once I’ve rested from the exertion of being carried up the stairs, I make the ½ hour trek to my couch   I begin to realize that getting home was the easy part.   How the hell am I going to get out of here?  How will I bathe?   How will I cook?  How will I get groceries?  How will I clean the apartment? How will I hang up my goddamn coat?   I’m alone now.  I have nobody to love and care for me. I’ll probably starve to death and my cat will have to eat me until someone discovers my remains.

Or, I can call a cab.

 ***

Postscript:   Don’t feel too sorry for me.   My niece, Alex came down from Switzerland and waited on me.   I’m so glad my sister had the foresight to breed!

notre damned

notre dam strasbourg

Look at this thing.   It cannot be ignored.   When you’re in Strasbourg, or even 100 miles away, it’s there.   Either a pale ghost in the background, or an ornate, breathtaking, slightly ominous presence that leaps out at you between streets and alleys.

It’s Cathedral Strasbourg de Notre Dame.  Or as Goethe described it, “a sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God.”

The first time I saw it was from the airplane.  Flying over the Vosges Mountains, then the Alsace plains from which this gothic beast rises, ringed by the city and the Ill river like a huge moat.

Visiting the Cathedral certainly wasn’t on my list of things to do (not that I had a list).   My objective was to see Strasbourg and fill my annual quota of one top IMG_6441European Christmas market city every December (last year was Vienna and the year before was Berlin).   Strasbourg is the self-proclaimed Capital of Christmas, and home of the best Christmas market in France.

I generally try to avoid churches or God forbid, enter them for fear that He will sense my agnosticism and smite me.   But everywhere I go, every Christmas market, every sight, every stroll, every place I visit, it’s there watching me.  And yes, I’m intrigued.  It seems to have a gravitational force all its own.

IMG_6228

I resist for a couple of days.   Distracting myself with all forms of wursts, choucroutes, flammkuchens, pastries, mulled beverages, the full moon and Christmas displays that would be tacky almost anywhere else in the world, but somehow, are cute and picturesque here.

I’m mildly interested in the fact that the first printing press (the forerunner to the internet for those of you unfamiliar with books) was invented.  But my main preoccupation in Gutenberg Square, where this year’s Croatian Christmas Market resides, is to wonder what the view must be from that 466 foot spire looming overhead.

IMG_6479

By the third day, the lure of the church is too much to resist.    I hesitantly approach the door and enter, waiting for either a person or powerful Godly force to stop me.   No such luck.   I take a quick look around at the statues, astrological clock, soaring buttresses and stain glass windows.   It’s beautiful and it’s impressive and I’m kind of itching to get out before something falls on me.

I emerge from the church, and take a few gulps of pagan air in relief.   I take one last lap through the Christmas market in front of the cathedral to fortify myself for the more daring task ahead. I’m going to climb that 330 step spire and have Strasbourg at my feet!

I’m hoping that I’ll be less exposed to the wrath of God in a dark, narrow, cobbly stairwell than the chapel.    I buy the five Euro ticket from a women who wishes me “bon courage.”   I wonder if she knows something.

There’s a 20-something-ish couple also making the climb and I strategize whether to go first and have the luxury of falling back on them, or letting them go first and not have to worry about slowing them down when I collapse in heap of exhaustion on the 207th step.

I opt for the latter, but we quickly change places when it turns out they’re slowing ME down with their incessant photo taking. Fortunately, the stairwell isn’t completely dark, and little glimpses of  outside pop up along the way.   It makes the climb a lot less tedious.  It also allows me to stop and pretend to look at the view while nonchalantly gasping for breath.

I don’t know if the endorphins are kicking in, but I make it to the top without becoming a doubled up, sweat-drenched, cramping, pile of protoplasm.   On the other hand, it’s also possible I am all that, but too delirious to notice.

IMG_6487

The view?   Eh.

I kid, it’s great.   But as with most things arduously won, a wee bit of a disappointment follows the win.   When you climb 330 stairs, you kind of feel like you deserve to see God and Truth and blinding beauty.   My real reward was to see the two young photo-taking whippersnappers emerge from the stairwell 15 minutes later wheezing and doubled over.   Score one for the older woman!

But this is no time to get cocky.   Sure, going down as opposed to up has it’s advantages, particularly from a gravity point of view.   But it certainly has its perils.  Those stone steps can be slippery.  And they’re freaking narrow and it’s dark.  For a moment, I freeze in terror and consider calling for a helicopter rescue.    Must. Not. Dwell. On. It.

Every step I get closer to the bottom, the lighter I feel.   Wow.   I climbed up and down all those steps and I’m not all that tired.   But maybe that’s how you feel right before you die… Then I see the light coming from the door leading from the street to the entrance.  Well, it’s either the exit or the white light of death.

My heart leaps as I take the 559th step.   The only problem is, it turns out to be the 558th th step and while my heart is leaping, I fall.   I come down hard on my left foot and fall into a belly dive across the floor.   Yes, I have been felled by the “tree of God” and damn, does my foot hurt!

Somehow, I make it back to the hotel (cursing everything from God to Gothic architecture to Germans who I’m sure have some part in all this), which is fortunately only about 100 hops away.   I tell the receptionist that “je pense ma pied est casse”   She gets me some ice, calls a Doctor and asks me how I did it.   I tell her I was smote in the Cathedral and that I think God must be punishing me for something.

She exclaims, “No, it is a miracle!   You could have fallen at the top!”

***

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my lavish lunch at the hotel du cap (or thereabout)

hotel du cap eden roc exteriorThe Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc is a landmark.   Well, it should be a landmark.  Maybe even a UNESCO world heritage site.   It was built in 1869 by the founder of Le Figaro newspaper as a sanctuary for writers seeking inspiration.

In 1889, it was sold to an Italian hotelier and became the Grand Hotel du Cap.

Up until the 1920’s the hotel was a winter escape for the wealthy and was closed for the summer.  Until Cole Porter introduced Gerald and Sara Murphy, two wealthy American ex-pats to the Cap d’Antibes and they fell in love with it.   The Murphys begged the hotel management to keep the hotel open for summer to accommodate them and their friends.   The management was more agreeable back then —  in 2011, they refused to open for President Barack Obama during his visit to the Cote d’Azur for the G20 conference in Cannes (maybe the current owners are Republicans?).

The Murphys brought F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and ultimately ushered in a resurgence to the area.

Fitzgerald immortalized the Hotel in Tender is the Night as the Hôtel des Etrangers. Marc Chagall sketched from one of the shady beachside cabanas (now over 500 Euro a day) .  Kennedys had trysts here.   World leaders negotiated here.   Everybody who is anybody in Hollywood has stayed here, from Gene Kelly to Cary Grant to Robert Redford to Johnny Depp.

The hotel is now owned by an elite German hotel chain.  It may be the only place left on the Cap not owned by a Russian or Saudi.  These days, a room goes for 830E -6150/night.   Cabana not included.   And don’t even ask about the Villas.   No prices are listed and I assume, they’re going by the philosophy that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Up until now, I’ve walked by the gates of the hotel, but was afraid to go within 10 meters of it for fear of setting off some poverty alarm and being tackled by the security guards flanking the gates.   But today, dammit, I’m going in.  Even if I have to shell out for a 90Euro lunch!   Rumor has it, the food is impeccable and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a room (hell, I’ve stayed in hotel rooms that are cheaper than lunch at the Hotel du Cap).

I take the number 2 bus from the Antibes Gare Routiere to the tip of the Cap (probably not the most elegant vehicle from which to make one’s entrance to the hotel, but what the hell).   It’s about a 10 minute bus ride.

I get off the bus and walk confidently towards the hotel, getting closer to the gates than I’ve ever been before.   My heart is racing.hôtel du cap Then I read the sign:   Fermature Annuelle.    Sigh.  A couple of gardeners open the gate a bit to roll out a dumpster of leaves.  I consider making a break for it and running through the gates, but figure I’d be shot.    Damn, I’m going to have to wait til April to see this place. And I’m as hungry as hell all of a sudden.  And there aren’t a lot of (any) restaurants here on the tip of the Cap d’Antibes. 

My plans are ruined.   I intended to eat a lovely, civilized  lunch, walk the grounds, look for famous people and walk back to Antibes.   But here I am, locked out, starving and weak.    How will I make it back without sustenance?   Maybe I’ll collapse in the middle of Boulevard Kennedy and get run over by a rich handsome man with an exotic accent in a Ferrarri.   Maybe he will stop, pick me up and gently deposit me into his Ferrarri,  drive me to a hospital and never leave my bedside until I fully recover and by then of course, we’ll be madly in love even though I’ll never walk again.  That sounds great!   Clearly I’m getting light-headed.

IMG_5880Then I remember that I wisely put a banana in my purse before I left.   I find a nice spot across the street from the hotel, which just happens to be the garden of Les Chenes Verts, the villa where Jules Verne lived and worked.   I sit down and elegantly devour the banana (pinky finger out) and savor the sweeping vistas over the Golfe Juan.

I still can’t speak to the splendor of the Hotel du Cap or the skills of its chefs. But I can honestly say, this is the best damn lunch I’ve ever had.

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