Wednesday, July 25, 2012

European Extravaganza - Part IV a - Cannes

To France!

It wasn't that far away from Italy.  We bought a ticket to the border.

See that excitement?

Made the switch to French rail.

No one on the train on a Saturday morning.

I really didn't know what to expect in southern France, but everyone I know seems to love it.  Was it going to be over-hyped?

It was wonderful in every way!  Definitely a place for repeat visits.  First great view from the train.

We checked into the JW Marriott in Cannes, which was filled with movies, movies, movies.  Of course.

Time to explore La Croisette.

Cheesy movie photo ops - check!

We had just missed the Cannes Film Festival by a few days - something we should've thought about.  There were a ton of tourists around, but I managed to sneak up the red carpet and get a photo.  Now if only I'd been wearing a fabulous gown...

The red carpet from afar.

We walked towards the old city to find some dinner options.

How cool are these mini bus things?  I wish I'd had a reason to ride one.

We got sidetracked by macarons and tarts.  There is so much dessert in France!  Somehow I managed to eat dessert four times a day and still lose a few pounds.  Miracle of miracles.  I wish that could be my diet plan for life.

The streets of the old city were full of choices for dinner, but we decided on Echiquier and went with the prix fixe menu.  Every bit of it was delicious.  This would be the first of many amazing meals in France.  They know what they're doing in the kitchen.

First courses - a risotto that was sooo tasty.  Lots of Italian influence down here.

A fantastic salad.

Ravioli in southern France is done in a beef broth.  I liked it.

And the all important dessert options.

We walked away stuffed to the brim. Seriously good food.

So many good shopping options in Cannes.  Mostly window shopping for me.

This store name made me laugh.

Some street art?

La Croisette lights up at night!  People just sit along the path and enjoy the view.  It's quite the life.

Becca and I decided to have a day of rest on Sunday since being a tourist is hard work.  We'd lugged our bags around, walked a million miles, hit all the tourist sites and done a lot of things in the week we'd been on the road.  It was time for a relaxation day, and Cannes is the perfect place to do that.

We started with a breakfast tart of raspberries and pistachios.

We had a leisurely stroll over to the market and figured out how to say some things in French so we could buy some goodies.

I love olives.  We bought a couple varieties.

We did not buy onions.

Nor fish.  I don't know why fresh fish are so fascinating to look at, but they are.

Back through the shopping district.  There's Quentin.

Through the artists market.

Look at those skies! Perfect for a beach day.

Anyone scared of clowns?

We headed back to the hotel, changed into swimsuits, and decided to hit the sand.  There are a few different ways to do the beach in Cannes: 1) your hotel has a private beach (ours did not) or you can eat at the affiliated restaurant and enjoy their beach, 2) there's a beach where you can pay to rent a chair/towel area for the day, 3) there's a fully free public beach.  We're not fancy - we went public.  

The paid / public divide.

We grabbed a panini from a beach stand and ate our dried strawberries and olives.  

These kids in front of us were kind of little punks, but we exchanged pleasantries when they asked us to watch their stuff while they took a dip. I should've thrown out their cigarettes while they were gone.

It was blissful.  

A few hours later with some redder skin, we went back to the hotel.  The pool/roof deck was kind of under construction, so it wasn't the greatest place to hang out.

I took my brand new pair of running shoes to Europe, but I hadn't used them yet.  It was time for an early evening jog after a little rest.  All those desserts to work off!

Another Russian church!

Ever wondered how to park a yacht?  I had to watch this thing back into a tiny spot.

More window shopping.

Finally it was dinner time, and Pastis is the place to go.

This crazy couple came in and sat next to us - the guy was American, but he was with some tall, blond lady with an accent (Nordic?).  She ignored the menu completely and just kept yelling, healthy! healthy! at the waiter, she wanted grilled fish and salad with the dressing on the side.  I hear the French don't take kindly to menu substitutions.  Man, they were needy people.

I was happy with my $5 coke, salad, and pizza.

Perfect relaxing day in Cannes - this place gets two thumbs up.  

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