Saturday, March 7, 2020

The South of France - Two Weeks Speaking French

We departed Barcelona and had gotten 30 minutes out of the city when we received a text from our host that we had left a bag behind.  We quickly backtracked to discover it was Bobbie's purse...ugh.  Once back on the road it was a beautiful drive through the mountains and into Andorra.  Hoping to find a local restaurant to enjoy some local delicacies we sadly discovered that if the town did not have something to do with spring skiing, everything was closed.  We found a decent burger joint along the border and settled in for lunch.  Once back on the journey, we climbed higher and higher over the Pyrenees and into the ski resort area.  Lot of snow, lots of skiers, and a decent amount of traffic made for a slow journey over the high mountain pass.  Luckily the roads were clean and in great shape.

Into France and a couple of hours, more of driving brought us to Toulouse where we would stay for a week.  It is a large city, sprawling over the plain at the base of the mountains and we had a nice apartment in the city center.  Great bus and tram service allowed us to get into and out of the historic district.  It was off-season and not much to offer other than a few art museums, a walk around the old town and such.  One the day we were able to book a walking tour, it rained.  All in all, we enjoyed a restful week of watching movies, taking daily walking into the city center and visiting the space center.

Driving south, it took us a good eight hours to reach Nice on the coast.  The French Riviera was all we expected.  Clean, pretty, great beaches, and decent winter weather.  It was sunny for our entire week with only rain on one day.  We had a grand apartment on the ground floor just a few blocks from the city center, complete with a private parking spot that was ideal and cost-saving.

It was a grand week with long walks a great walking tour, a lovely botanical garden, and a movie house where we were able to see two new US films., Judy and The Gentlemen.  It has been a while since we had enjoyed a flick and we settled into the older, nicely appointed movie house easily.  

As usual, our walking tour guide was charming and effective...a transplanted Irish lass with a nice grasp of the city.  We walked about 5 miles that day, up and down the main hill.

We took the tram and bus into Monaco for the day and visited the Oceanographic Museum.  It had a great aquarium.  The rest of the exhibits were lacking and disappointing.  It was in a magnificent building though and that made the visit more worthwhile.  We wandered around a bit, caught a little of the changing of the guard at the palace, had lunch and opted to head back into Nice midafternoon.  We did not visit the Casino and lose $1,000 in a minute, as I pretended to do on Facebook.  That was fun and solicited an assortment of interesting replies to my posts.

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