Dernier Jour

Embracing the idea of returning home tomorrow, I wake up and begin packing.

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The only thing I do differently this time, is take out the bag that has been lying flat and dormant the entire trip and stuff it will all the ephemera I have collected; train tickets, every single receipt, empty sugar packets, an espresso spoon from here and there (ssshhhhh), map after map, corks, labels, pamphlets, flyers, menus….I have an affection for remembrances like these.
The plan is to create a piece of art or two with them….better in my opinion than anything one can buy.

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Removing this amount from the Ferrari makes it much easier to zip and a bit lighter as well. Only needing to make it from the cab to the airport checkin with 3 bags, I think it is doable. I will also pack my black borsa into the Ferrari putting all important items into my “overnight” bag.

As I pack, I consider what to do with my last day.
I could take the bus again into Nice and hangout at the beach…but I have to tell ya, after the waters of Cinque Terre and Capri…these waters/beaches do nothing for me. The only upside would be being able to say “yeah, I spent a day lying in the sun on beaches of Nice”…..I decide I have enough stories….stories that I love. So I cross that off my list.

I decide I will walk through Vence again and then take a short bus ride to Saint Paul. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French RIviera. It is well known for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries. Plus I already know how to get there….

When I walk out of the B&B I notice that Wednesday must be Vence’s “market” day.

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These are basically the same in most towns. A market where you can buy a bra, a pair of harem pants and a skillet from the same vendor…
After I pass through the area of the gypsy vendors, I come across the food market….this, I like.

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I buy some more cherries; a bag for today and a bag for the plane.

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I buy two of those little muffin things….both for the plane….

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As you can tell, by 9:30 they are almost already sold out.

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Are these the cutest little bags ever!? After I step away, I put both muffins in 1 bag to save the other for my growing pile of treasures.

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20130726-132026.jpg Another crepe place I would love to squeeze in…

20130726-132056.jpg Love their mosaic tables.

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I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something different between Italian vegetables and fruits and French ones….I think one seems a bit more rustic and the other a bit more polished.

20130726-135744.jpg Baby olive trees!!!

20130726-135814.jpg Complete with baby olives!!

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20130726-135953.jpg Another item for the “road”.

After walking through the market, I decided I needed to go back to Le2 to rid me of my haul before going on to Saint Paul.
When I arrived Caroline was pulling this out of the oven.

20130726-140208.jpg tarte aux pommes…que c’est beau!

She told me they were having a dinner tonight and did I want to be included? Since this place was advertised as a “Bed and Bistro” and I had yet to see them cook….it was now or never.

Before leaving town, I visited Our Lady of the Nativity. One of the pieces of art there is a mosaic by the artist Marc Chagall.

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In the balcony area of the church, there are also wood carvings depicting Christ’s Crucifixion.

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After this, it was on to Saint Paul. Oh…..but wait….another street vendor selling something that looked good to eat….I had to stop and try.

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He would ladle a liquid onto a large, round pan he had just prepped with olive oil.

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He would place it in the wood fire oven and slowly turn it, allowing it to bubble and brown.

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This is when he asked me how many pictures I was taking. “A lot” I replied. He then told me how much he would charge me for them…..he was joking….I think.

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After about 5 minutes, he takes it out of the oven and

20130726-141612.jpg viola!

At this point I still have no idea what I am waiting in line for (kinda like the people at the Duomo). Is it savory? Is it sweet? I think it is sweet.
I ask him what is in the mixture.
Chickpeas ground, olive oil and water….that’s all. Ok…I think it is savory.

He then takes a little spatula and begins to quickly scrap up pieces adding them to the plates that number however many people are waiting.
He then asked me if I wanted the seasoning on mine. I told him I wanted it however he thought best.

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20130726-141930.jpg Salty and Crunchy on the outside, a bit gooey on the inside….my kind of cheap eats!!

OK…NOW off to Saint Paul…

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In Saint Paul, I am greeted with these wonderful mosaics in the streets. Saint Paul is another precious little medieval town, definitely worth a visit.

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I head back to Vence, clean up and I still have a couple of hours before dinner at Le2. So I roam a bit more then light at a cafe for a glass of the rose and some time to reflect. I am starting to fill in my “Best Of” list.

20130726-151906.jpg Oh yeah, and some french sweets for the plane.

When it is time to find my spot at a dinner table, I say au revoir to the streets of Vence and head back to Le2.
Again I think the gathering is that of friends. I am totally confused by the “bistro” title in their name. When I arrive, another table has to be set for me, which feels a bit awkward at first but what the heck. They throw out another red and white gingham checked table cloth and we are set.
One of Caroline’s friends (they send whomever speaks the best english my way) comes over and asks what I would like for dinner. I am thrown because there is no menu, nothing posted…
she asks, “plat d jour?” “Sure” I respond.

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20130726-154323.jpg My last glass of wine….

After a while the area is pretty crowded. People hover not knowing whether it is a restaurant or a party. I still don’t know because at times, they would go in, return holding a table and a few more chairs and more people would join in.
I forgot to mention that there is music as well. Really nice guitar and saxophone. They said it was “bassa nova”.

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Later in the evening, they ask if it is ok to sit somebody else with me. I get a Sammy Hagar looking frenchman. He speaks a little english so we talk a bit. At one point he tells me in a hushed tone that he is an “actor”. When he says this, he holds his hand to his face as if to say, “Please don’t tell anyone else….I am trying for incognito”. Secret is safe with me buddy.

Before I turn in, I ask for a piece of Caroline’s dessert and cannot be understood. I whip out my phone and show the photo of it I took earlier…Like Napoleon said, “Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours.”

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I return to my room enjoying the sounds from the party below before saying bonne nuit one last time.

2 thoughts on “Dernier Jour

  1. Thank you Paige for the wonderful trip! I have enjoyed it so much. This last day my thoughts were with you in terms of “how bittersweet the last day might be” and “is she wishing for one more day or ready to go?” and “how brave and incredibly wonderful that you have gone off to do this! The memories will last a lifetime!” I am wishing you a safe journey home. I can’t wait to see the art you create from the treasures in your bag- and the pictures in your heart and head! xo Carolyn

  2. So many sites and wonderful things reminded me of you. If ya ever need a person to make an Italy run for great finds….I am your girlinroam!

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