Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Provence Lampoons Family Vacation: Part 5

"He who has seen Paris and who hasn't seen Cassis can say I have seen nothing"
-Frederic Mistral

Sitting outside our hotel in Cassis, sipping an apéritif and admiring the view, The Husband posed a question...

If I won the euromillions, would I choose Cassis or Châteauneuf-du-Pape? 

That's a tough question because you all know about my feelings for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I'm really not sure. That's how much I liked Cassis, I might take it over Mecca.

Let's try and figure it out with some points for Cassis...

Point 1: me and my yacht.
(Look how happy I am. And I'm in white because I'm sailing to St Tropez to go to P.Diddy's end of summer bash. P.Diddy throws one hell of a soiree, just don't show up in any color other than white, Homeboy will freak out)

{I'm lying}

Point 2: stunning hotel balcony views 
(although after winning the euromillions I'll be enjoying the view from my yacht)


Point 3: cocktails at night
(the yellow one on the right is a Sex on the Beach... mmmm... tastes like Spring Break '95)

Point 4: The amazing Restaurant Le Bonaparte 
(If you ever find yourself in Cassis, you HAVE to eat here. Seriously fresh and inexpensive seafood and the owner/ chef visits every table to help you with your order. It was so busy they were turning people away, on a Wednesday night. Of course by the time you visit, I could be the owner) 

Point 5: good morning Bloody Marys
(Unfortunately these did not taste like Texas; much more Tabasco and vodka is required. And I prefer celery to lemon, but I think if I win euromillions, I can hire a Texan to make them for me. Everyday. And they can pick up my Starbucks. Screw it, I'll buy Starbucks)


I think I might have to choose Cassis. 

If only I can find a way to sail my yacht to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

And to win the euromillions.




Sunday, August 29, 2010

Provence Lampoons Family Vacation: Part 4

After Marseille, Forcalquier, Avignon, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (aka Mecca), there were two remaining stops on our Provence road trip; Arles and Cassis.

(By the way, this was The Husband's first family road trip. Ever. It may take him awhile to recover)

Arles is famous for it's Roman Arena...

Arles: Arènes d'Arles/ Roman Coliseum

Théâtre Antique...

Arles: Roman Ruins/ Antique Theatre

 And this lunatic...

{I hate ears}

It's a sultry little city with a Spanish vibe (probably due to the bullfights).


And it's hot as hades (just how I like it).

We walked through the streets, heads down, staring at the ground always on the look out for one of these...

Because it would lead us to one of these...

A sign posting the place where Van Gogh had setup his easel and painted one of his masterpieces. 
Unfortunately, at times it was a bit of a let down. Your expecting the beautiful image in the painting but time rolls on and you get this instead...

A boring building. And cars. Bummer. 

That's progress for ya.



Friday, August 27, 2010

Provence Lampoons Family Vacation: Part 3

Because we live in a teeny house (or as I may refer to it from now on; a bungalow) I had planned our itinerary to get us out and about as much as possible and to tucker everyone out.

Monday morning destination: Forcalquier Market.

Normally, the Monday morning market in Forcalquier is like a field of dreams for women visiting Provence. Not so for my mother and Aunt. I forgot they aren't normal. They couldn't have seemed more annoyed to be there, so after a quick lap, we left.


Heading to Avignon, we stopped by L'Isle sur la Sorgue for lunch.

Gold Star for Sara Louise.

They oohed and awed at the quaintness and beauty of the small village on the water.

I oohed and awed at the lemonade...

P - Sh*t... Now that's refreshing.

After enjoying salads with goats cheese (give my aunt a salad topped with grilled goats cheese and she's all yours) and the refreshing P - Sh*t, we continued on to Avignon. 

Even though I've been to Avignon more times than I can count, this was my first time going as a tourist. 

See, that's us being tourists at The Pont d'Avignon (Saint Benezet's Bridge). 

Since we had seen the bridge in the song, and visited Palais des Papes, my mother and I were itching to move on. We had places to go. We left my aunt and uncle to further explore Avignon, but we let The Husband come with us (we needed a driver). 

Mecca was a mere 18km away. Or as it's known in French; Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

(If you listen closely you can hear the angels sing)

Vineyards, wine shops, and degustations, oh my!

(I think I've found my new home)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Provence Lampoons Family Vacation: Part 2

According to my laminated itinerary, after collecting my mother at Marseille Airport Saturday morning, we were to head to Aix-en-Provence for a stroll around Cours Mirabeau and lunch at this place that has all you can eat Beef Carpaccio (The Husband can never get enough raw meat).

Unfortunately my mother brought Irish weather with her, actually, it was more like she flew by Bangladesh and picked up a monsoon.
It was a huge downpour. Buckets of rain were being thrown on us, and at one point, the thunder and lighting struck almost simultaneously. It was clear we would not be heading to the car. I suggested we wait it out and have a coffee.
The Husband does not have that kind of patience. He insisted that he make a run for the car and come back to collect us (actually, he may have been trying to ditch us). We all said no, but he went anyway.

For the rest of the day, I had to hear from my Aunt and Uncle, all about how I made The Husband run out into the rain and get soaked. Repeatedly. And naturally, The Husband loved every second of it. Whatever.
(They treat teasing like it's a sport. I didn't like it when I was twelve and I don't like it now).

Skipping Aix and the raw meat, we went straight to Le Petit Village, settled in, and waited for the rain to pass.

And then it did, just in time for the village festival...

After the fireworks, came the dancing and champagne induced shenanigans (Mr Honey was generously supplying it so we drank loads of it).

The new Mrs Cousin was there, and although she wasn't drinking due to Petit Cousin growing inside her (Petit Cousin is due in December, feel free to do the math) it didn't stop her from busting out her own shenanigans...

{Hey! You stole my stache!}


I'm going to blame baby hormones. But she does look adorable in The Husband's jacket.

Even the tourists got into the mix.

This Belgian lady and her friend were flirting with The Husband and The Cousin. The Husband told them that they were married but this nice old man was George Clooney's father. Looks like she may have believed him...

{Not Mr. Clooney}

(For the record, this is not George Clooney's father. This man lives in Le Petit Village right around the corner from our old house. He is still thanking The Husband).

And of course no champagne induced shenanigans could be complete without me injuring myself in some way...

After The Husband and I delivered my Uncle safely to his bed, we headed back to the festival. We were holding hands and happily skipping along when I tripped, and went airborne until I landed flat smack down into a briar patch.


(To help your visual, I basically belly flopped)

Being a tad tipsy, and ridiculously strong (seriously, he's like the Incredible Hulk), The Husband continued to drag me along with him until I was able to yell "stop!" loud enough for him to notice that I wasn't actually running along with him, but being dragged through thicket.

But since I'm a trooper and was high on champagne, I jumped up, dusted myself off, and returned to the festival.

 Because that's how I roll.

Although everyone did want to know what I had been up to in the woods. 

(as they pulled twigs out of my hair).


P.S. I was in a whole lot of pain the next morning. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Provence Lampoons Family Vacation: Part 1

A hot and sunny Marseille welcomed us last Friday. We brought my Aunt and Uncle to Notre-Dame de la Garde, because walking your 70 year old Irish Aunt and Uncle up a 154 meter hill with a bazillion steps in scorching south of France heat is always a good idea.

(It is like a bazillion steps, I counted).

But when you get there it's worth it...

{some of the bazillion steps}



You can see all of Marseille from the top...

{a whole bunch of buildings}

And where one of my favorite literary characters, Edmond Dantes, lived for awhile. The small island in the middle is Chateau d'If from Count of Monte Cristo, or as I called it when I was little, Count of Monte Crisco... 

And see this wall, it's got some big bullet holes in it...

And then you find out why...

An American tank is parked down down the hill from the Basilica. It is situated roughly where the Allied troops were shooting from. Apologies for not taking a photo, I was too busy taunting The Husband.

{Sidebar - whenever I see something like this, I like to look at The Husband and say, "You're welcome." He hates it when I do this. I love it.}

I grabbed this one from the Internet for you...

After the Allied troops bombarded the Nazis, the Nazis then moved to Le Petit Village where they became Nazi Ghost Zombies. 

True Story.



P.S. Leaving Marseille we drove by a Starbucks! My beloved, allusive lover Starbucks! Starbucks moved to Marseille in May and nobody told me. 100km journey every morning, not that big of a deal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Going Places...

Somebody thinks I'm going places...

Little miss witty, Allison (she'll make you chuckle), at Adventures of Kiddo and Ramona passed on the You're Going Places Award to me.

And she's right, I am going places...

The family arrives today and we're off to Marseille, Aix-En-Provence, Avignon, Arles, and Cassis in the next week (see, told you I'm going places). But the best place we'll be going is to Le Petit Village's festival this weekend. It's going to be a doozy.
(But, last night I was having a drink with the Epicerie Lady and she told me that the man who sets up the bouncy castle and bumper cars - lets call him Carny Guy - was supposed to show up yesterday and he didn't! Scandal alert! All the village is talking about it.)

Back to me going places...

In a few hours I'm headed to Marseille and I have to get Fifty prepared for his sleepover at Papa's (he has the cutest little jammies). But first I'm going to pass on You're Going Places to two ladies who I think might be going places too...

(Did you see how I just used to, two, and too in the same sentence? I'm crazy this morning!)

One Blonde Girl


Harriett Starr at Down and Out In Primrose Hill.

If you want a chuckle, have a look.

(I'm all about the chuckle today)

And thank you Allison.    


P.S. Kidding of course about Fifty's jammies. But wouldn't he look adorable in jammies?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

4 Days At French Mommy's : A Photo Review

{La Bourboule}

We left Le Petit Village at 9am. Under normal circumstances we would arrive in La Bourboule right around 3pm. But circumstances are never normal; it took us two hours to reach Avignon. Two hours! We normally make it there in under an hour.

The abnormal culprit...

{I hate cars}

Fifty threw up twice before we even got to Avignon. 

At least at that point we knew that the chances of anymore throw up were pretty minimal. After the amount of upchuck we cleaned, it was doubtful there could be anything left inside the dog. 

Finally passing by Avignon and feeling like we were on our way, it was only right that I got to stop and pick up a bucket of chicken...

Or as I like to call it; a fucket of chicken. As in; "fucket, I'm going to get me some chicken".

On that long hot drive we drove by where Homer Simpson works...

{Springfield Nuclear Power Plant}

I would have stopped in to say hi, but I didn't want him stealing any of my chicken (mmm chicken).

A little after 5pm (eight hours!) we pulled up to French Nana's bar... 

Just in time for one of these...

{tastes like summer}

And for The Husband to have a plate of specially made just for him beef tongue...


And because eating one gross thing is not enough for The Food Whore, aka The Husband, while we were in La Bourboule he also ate tete de voeux, or as it's known in English, veal brains...

{double gross}

Back at French Mommy's house...

Fifty celebrated his birthday (11 months) with a real cheesecake (slice of Cantal with a couple of matches stuck in it) and cuddles...


But because a slice of cheese and a hug does not a birthday celebration make, we took Fifty for a walk in Fenestre Park where he got to see the little train...
(which we didn't take him on because of his vomiting issues)

The cable cars...
(also avoided due to excess vomiting)

And the carousel...
(see above, RE: vomiting)

But Fifty's favorite present...

Marking his territory on a Sequoia. 

That's a big present.


P.S. Fifty only threw up once on the trip back to Le Petit Village

P.S.S. The horse meat butchers was in the village where The Cousin got married. I haven't eaten any. Frog legs and snails are OK, but I don't think I could bring myself to munch on My Little Pony.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tastes Like Chicken

Your friendly neighborhood horse butcher...


the other white meat.


P.S. No horses were harmed in the writing of this post

P.S.S.  Some horses may have been harmed at that butchers

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