The rain came down hard as we left our pretty little coast town in Italy. With not much to see or do in the rain, we decided we would leave the other 4 Cinque Terre towns for another time and blasted up the coast through horizontal wind and rain storms until we reached the French border. We turned off the highway, and drove through Monte Carlo, Monaco!
Between Cannes and Nice lies the French Medeterraen city of Juan les Pin, part of the commune of Antibes.
We stumbled across this spot, after a whole day of travel. We thought Nice was our destination point, but not so! Not so nice, Nice, as we got lost, circled, double parked and probably committed more traffic violations in the 2 hours than in our lives combined! Hungry and lost, we hit the info centre, where a totally indifferent woman directed us out of the city, saying if you have no business here, get out! She gave us a brochure on resorts along the coast that might have a swimming pool, as was our Angelina’s birthday wish. Ok, don’t have to tell us twice, we are outta here! Famished we pulled up in the Meridian Hotel drop off parking, which was beside a McDonald’s. Lucky for us the Meridian ‘airport pickup’ vans are Mercedes Vianos like ours! We ran in, ordered the worst late lunch we ever had and made our way to the closest hotel with indoor pool!
Garden Beach Hotel would have been great, except no pool for kids after 4:30, and it does not open until 11:30 the next day! What? 200Euros/ night plus 20Euros for parking, plus 10Euros/adult and 5Euros/kid for the swimming pool we can’t use. Are they kidding!? Welcome to the French Riviera! Good bye Garden Beach, hello Best Western, 82Euros/night, the man gave us the best room they had with a sea view! Harry loves Canadians! Kids ate breakfast for free!! SOLD
By then we were completely exhausted. The rain got us chilled to the bone, we came upstairs with just our Pyjamas in hand and left our luggage in the van thinking, don’t get comfy we leave first thing. Deciding to grab a cheap bite to eat and walk around, we were turned on to a lovely little pasta restaurant, with reasonable priced food. Buyer beware! Drinks are the killer on the Riviera! 4 Euros for a 2 ounce apple juice, 7 Euros for a small beer, our meal totalling 70Euros!! Ouch! I was ready to leave right then. Back to the hotel for a sleep, I let the kids stay up late to watch Flicka in French. Does that count as homeschooling? Yes!
By morning the weather had changed, 20 degrees, and this little village came alive with people walking about, swimmers, sun bathers, street sellers, and tourists at every turn. And it was Angelina’s birthday! We decided to stay another night and looked around town for Angelina’s present, a baby doll that cries. The kids scooted around.
After we let the kids swim in the sea until it got too cold! Alfonz and I sipped beer, ate olives and watched our kids play. Finally a moment of peace. Now I understand the appeal of the French Riviera. White sand beaches, little coves instead of one long beach, seaside rental beach-chairs with waiters that serve you and the warm fall weather, that even today it was hot enough to swim! Excellent 🙂
After quick showers, we went to the grocery store for some food, and stopped in at a fancy ice cream cafe and ordered a special birthday treat! Happy Birthday Angelina!