Eze, France Day 3

Ready for Monaco. Photo by BW

Driving in our little village is . . . interesting. We walk down, down, down to where they keep the car. We have a pretty big SUV as there are four of us, and we’ll have a load of luggage when we travel to Provence, then back again to Nice. These roads are happier with scooters and minis.

There are round-abouts and strange angles and intersections with cars pointed nose-to-nose. BW gets us through it, and we have the Navigation–with her classy Brit accent–set for Monaco.

It’s a windy route, the cliffs on one side, the sea on the other, and cars and scooters zooming. Until they don’t. Traffic jam as two lanes go into one. It’s only about ten kilometers, but it takes awhile with the switchbacking and the traffic. Then there’s Monaco, hilly and charming with its softly colored buildings–creams and ecrus, pale roses and yellows. An odd and somewhat elegant mix of old and new with the lovely lines and curves of older buildings and the high-rise (gotta go up as it’s a tiny country) flats. So many balconies, and most with the lacy iron rails that remind me of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The fabulous marina with its city of white boats.

Monaco and beyond. Photo by BW

We make a wrong turn, end up at the docks where the biggest private yacht I’ve ever seen is prepping to leave. It’s nearly cruise ship size. I’d want to be on it in the event of a zombie apocalypse as I suspect you could live comfortably at sea for a couple years until things sorted out.

We look for parking–all of which is underground, and plentiful. But it’s finding the right lot for our walk to the palace. And traffic is amazing. Our Nav is directing us to a lot, but how could she know that lot was FERME? You can’t blame her. We wind and loop and find another.

Then the adventure truly begins. These multi-level underground lots are designed for toy cars. I’m talking Matchbox. Narrow, skinny, sharp turns, down, down–and the tires makes this hideous noise. Like fingers rubbed hard on an inflated balloon. Cars are jammed into tiny spaces angled so sharply it’s a wonder anything can maneuver into them. And we’re in a big boy. We try for one–soon realize it’s just not possible. Physics and geometry are real.

Down, and down those skinny turns. All the way to minus four. Jason gets out, does a scouting mission on foot. Finds one. But no. While BW–who is steering and slithering through this labyrinth–manages to get into the space–with Jason helping him navigate–our ass-end is poking way out.

Try again. Wind, wind, and finally manage to get our big guy into a space. But it’s so tight I have to get out first, then after easing it in, BW has to climb over the seat to get out the passenger door.

But it’s parked. One hour after heading into the lot. Kudos to BW.

We find our way up–after taking a picture of our parking space number, just in case.

Ah, fresh air. Lovely, lovely, breezy air. Palm trees and flowers and blue, blue water.

Monaco colors against a blue sky. Photo by BW
Monaco spread before you. Photo by j a-b

A pedestrian area, also lovely. Pretty little shops and restaurants, and no cars! We stretch our legs, do a little shopping, stroll. BW finds a liquor store–and the man deserves a vodka tonic tonight after this driving feat. He and Kat go in–to what turns out to be the oldest wine store in Monaco. They bring photos of the gorgeous interior, the friendly shop keeper. Jason and I have wandered down, found a restaurant for lunch. Italian, busy, lots of outdoor tables. There’s a small park directly across, with a sign letting us know Princess Grace cut the ceremonial ribbon to open it.

Kat and the wine shopkeeper. Photo by BW
BW in the wine store. Photo by kat
The wine store treasure trove. Photo by kat.

Pretty flowers and shrubs, a bandstand. A large statue of a mermaid with a long, serpentine tail who appears to be singing to a mannish lion who wears armor.

Maybe a local legend. Or a mashup of Beauty and The Beast and The Little Mermaid.

We’re hungry! Settle at a table by a fountain. Our waiter’s charming and funny and the pasta’s terrific. Refreshed and fed, we’re ready for the climb to the palace high above the city.

Jason volunteers to take our bags back to the car first, and because we didn’t know what we assumed was the walkway across was FERME to pedestrians, we lose him. Texts back and forth working out a new meeting spot. Technology is great when it works. There he is! Here we are, and now we’re all together for the steep, long climb.

Steps, steps and more steps. Gardens and trees, views of the marina. And steps. I should have the legs of a teenager after all this. If only.

The climb’s worth it. The palace and its plaza are beautiful. Soft, creamy colors, elegant lines against sections of gray stone. Not fussy, just lovely. But lines of cannons let you know it can serve as a fortress on its high perch over city and sea. Throngs of tourists. We opt out of the tour of the interior. The views are magnificent enough.

BW lining up the shot over the cannons. Photo by kat
Yachts at the ready. Photo by j a-b

I like watching the palace guard, splendid in white, march back and forth or stand soberly in front of his guard house.

We buy a few souvenirs, wander and stroll, wander more and find narrow streets lined with shops, the buildings high and tight and beautiful. And ah, gelato. I believe we will.

Wander and poke. Lots of people leading dogs. Lots of languages bouncing in the air. I don’t need another scarf, but I spot one that’s irresistible, and now I have a momenta of Monaco.

We find the cathedral–more magnificence–and go inside. I realize I’m walking down the same aisle Grace Kelly walked on her wedding day. She and her prince are buried here, behind the great altar where they exchanged their vows.

The cathedral. Photo by BW
Final resting place. Photo by kat

Now we go down, down, down, steps and ramps–shady benches tucked in corners–and work our way back to the garage.

It’s easier getting out then getting in, but still no easy feat. And since none of us want to face another parking garage, we eliminate visiting the casino. We still have that drive back–and the trick of getting the car dropped off. Again easier then the outward bound, but no snap.

Now it’s more climbing. Up and up to the hotel. We left Eze about eleven. We get back to our room about six. That’s a good day’s adventure.

Time for a well-earned drink.

Sunset near the hotel. Photo by j a-b.
Jason and Kat. Photo by BW.
Final evening in Eze. Photo by j a-b

Dinner at eight, and we go for Italian again–it’s easy, close and we know the food’s good. We have an outdoor table, I have a glass of red. There’s a handsome dog under the table across the brick path, and people passing by on their way up or down.

Then some rain drops. Unexpected. The waitress directs us inside.

It’s like a cave, but in a really good way. Stone walls, curved stone ceiling, little niches with lights or odd art. Glorious scents. Tables crowded in together, and the kitchen in view down at the end of the cave. Fresh salads, fresh pasta, fun companions and conversation, friendly service. That’s a good end to a good day. Especially when you add one more gelato. I get a scoop of strawberry and a scoop of vanilla. Two gelatos in one day! I need to keep climbing steps.

Definitely ready for bed!

Today we leave Eze for Provence. It’s been a wonderful stay, and I’ll miss the view off our terrace and the cheerful staff of the hotel, the equally cheerful shopkeepers and waitstaffs. I’ve loved this slice of France.

Quirky pano #1. Photo by j a-b’s phone.

Gotta workout, and pack it up.

Nora

From Laura: #randomkatness (it’s a thing).  Today we have two.

Heh heh. Photo by kat. #randomkatness
A puzzle. Photo by kat #randomkatness

41 thoughts on “Eze, France Day 3”

  1. I always feel like I’ve been there when I read these posts about these amazing places. Would love to know what kind/where to get a bag like Nora is carrying. I love it!

  2. The pictures are just wonderful, the gelato sounds Devine, and pasta sounds great. Thanks for sharing with us. I can close my eyes and imagine that I’m there too!

  3. It looks like you all are enjoying yourselves! The pictures make you feel like you are there, have fun!

  4. I feel like I tagged along on this trip. Great pictures and narrative. Can’t wait to hear more of your travel adventures!

  5. I am enjoying Nora’s vacation so much! I’ve read about the areas she’s visiting, but have never been.
    This year with the totally new kitchen do over, the unexpected ceiling collapse and unexpected, related costs to clear out the broken ceiling, broken hot water pipe and the loss of my entire bedroom set, clothes, 3 ceiling high bookcases and all their books (my entire “in Death” collection, from the first paperback Naked in Death to Echoes in Death, and the new Naked in Death hc , then entire O’Hurley’s paperback collection including all the related books of the grandchildren and cousins. My “Wiyhout and Trace” Nora autographed for me. I’m still crying over the loss of 500+ books, especially my “in Death” books. I’m still fighting with my neighbors insurance about what they will pay to replace and at what rate. Everything was not “used” or “old”. Echoes in Death” and the new hc “Naked in Death” were definitely new! A vacation is not in my budget. Not even a Fall one. The best I can probably do is 2 nights at my friend Henri’s B&B “Twin Gables” in Woodstock. Terrific place to unwind. Even that will be after the Leafs Changing Season, very colorful in upstate NY. So late Fall will probably be it. Trying to work out how to get ALL the in Death books and anthologies.
    Keep the vscation tales and pics coming, so I can live vicariously!

  6. Love the vacation and the commentary, but especially the pictures! Thank you so much for sharing it all with us. I whimpered at your parking space nightmare, been there done that. My knees are crying in sympathy over all the steps, but the views and sights would have been worth it. I’d have needed more than a gelato or a drink at the end of it all.

  7. So great to see where Princess Grace is at peace. Beautiful pictures….thanks for sharing. As always, you feel like you are there too!

  8. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful pictures and great descriptions. Wondering… does Nora use a travel agent or does she find all these great places on her own? Love that Kat seems to find all the quirks. Safe travels!

  9. Another great day. Pictures are awesome. Always wanted to go see where Princess Grace lived. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Love tagging along on your adventures, all without having to fight the traffic, endure the winding hairpin turns, and hunt for the elusive parking spot. I have an idea for your next trip. Rent a yacht and take your accommodations with you and let the crew worry about parking (mooring) at the dock. The accompanying photos are lovely and capture the essence of your day. That last photo of Kat’s looks like something out of a Harry Potter novel!

  11. Beautiful pictures! Thanks so much! Kat & Nora, you looked fantastic for your Monaco adventure – the boys looked great too, of course. Drooling over that wine shop – what fun. Looking forward to the next randomKatness!

  12. Having lived in Germany for 6 years, I really miss the Italian cuisine. I thoroughly enjoy your travels. Have a wonderful trip!

  13. I loved seeing these sights of Monaco, plus Nora is great at descriptions! ( & why not? ) loved seeing where the lovely Grace lies…. fantastic! ( the only way I could see it, so thank you)awesome….

  14. I live for these travel posts, thank you! Love Kat’s necklace. Would like to know where I might be able to find it. Any special meaning?

  15. SO much lovely history!!! And do forgive me, I’m unfamiliar with the term FERME. Could someone educate me please? Thank you kindly 😊

  16. Loving this!

    Seeing Grace’s resting place and the church where she was married reminded me that I was married in her family church in Philadelphia. The DH lived in East Falls in Philadelphia not far from her family home. The church still stands, it is St. Brigit’s RC church.

  17. Please thank BW, j-a b and Kat for the beautiful photos – truly makes me feel as if I am in France and Monaco as well. So very kind of Nora to write about her holiday (a busman’s holiday) but all your readers appreciate it!

  18. I totally love the bag but the dress Nora is wearing is really stunning and I love it. It really looks beautiful on her as well.
    Aww to visit the Cathedral where Grace Kelly married her Prince and buried there is so beautiful.
    I have always dreamed of visiting Monoco and now I feel like I have.

  19. Always love all your travelogues. So thoughtful and generous of you to share. You’re appreciated!

  20. Another fabulous and descriptive travelogue. The description of the parking garage and getting the SUV parked is priceless – I could see the whole experience.

  21. I’m enjoying your colorful narrative of your trip. Makes me feel like I’m there too. Thanks for sharing with all your fans.

  22. I’m enjoying your colorful narrative of your trip. Makes me feel like I’m there too. Thanks for sharing with all your fans.
    Whoopsie..fingers don’t work well sometimes on tablet..corrected email address.

  23. You have more fun going alone w/your group, but when we went to the South of France, we went w/a larger group, & a tour bus. They drop you off in front of the palace, then park the big bus outside the city somewhere. Their headache, not ours. But you can’t go exploring on your own, which is most of the fun. I don’t remember where it is, but it’s either in Nice or Provence- there is a beautiful little Chagall Museum that you should try to see. Next to it are fields of beautiful lavender. I’m enjoying and reliving it all through you.

  24. Nora,
    I have been loving your vacation shares for the last 3 years,
    I love to see the pictures, but the narrative brings us along for the fun! So thank you!
    Maureen Winter reader since 1991

  25. I had to come back to this day and look at Kat’s necklace. That is so unusual. I bet she will wear it all the time.

  26. I’m thoroughly enjoying your travels. Monaco and Southern France are so lovely. I look forward to reading about your time in Provence. Thank you for sharing your journey! p.s. I love the #randomkatness photos. 🙂

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