Tuesday, February 14, 2012

france: day 7

Lucky number 7. We decided to take a little trip to Saint-Paul de Vence, an amazing medieval village in the hills near Nice. We took the bus there, wandered around for most of the day then hopped a bus back. Here we are eating and waiting for our ride. It was pretty crowded by the time we got on, standing room only. We did find a little rest on a bar that was connected to the seats, not very comfortable. We distracted ourselves by playing hangman- only French words or things to do with France allowed. The bus ride was about an hour long.

Once we exited the bus we all had the pleasure of using the coldest draftiest toilet in the country.
From the bus stop we walked down to the entrance of Saint-Paul de Vence. There is a huge wall all around the village. Outside the wall, a pretty market was set up tempting me with sausages and cheese. I love sausages and cheese!
Ada going through the passage. It felt as if we were going back in time, except for the modern art above.

All of the streets were tight and twisty like this. Some even more narrow. There were beautiful shops and restaurants and galleries hidden everywhere.

These men were moving a sculpture to a new location, not an easy job. The hill doesn't look very steep but it is. When they completed their task, a handful of us started clapping and cheering. The men loved it! There is such a positive and happy atmosphere in this ancient place. It was contagious. It was so easy to celebrate such a simple thing, a job well done, with perfect strangers. I truly loved it here.
Another part of the beauty of this place is found in the details. The stones set in the ground, a pretty lantern, a cool piece of iron, a perfectly placed flower pot, all come together in a way that is really inspiring.
One of the most intriguing things about Saint-Paul de Vence is that people actually live here. It is subtle but signs of everyday life are there, like seeing laundry hanging or a cat sunning itself on a stoop or carefully tended flowers.

A view from the street.

It felt very enclosed all around and then suddenly it would open up to a courtyard like this. Most had some type of fountain set in the middle. Me, Adaline and Junior.
I didn't find out I was having a boy until after I returned from France. I almost bought a pair of earrings for the little girl I was sure was in my tummy. Good thing I just took a picture instead.
Adaline wanted to come home and make an owl like this.
The super sweet man who sold me my handmade flower papers. I was in there quite awhile trying to choose the perfect ones.
Taking a small rest.
The cemetery was so cool. Since the village is built on a hill, the cemetery is laid out in three tiers. It was very well tended. Most graves had flowers or pictures or some memorabilia.

This is an especially creepy one. If you look closely you can see the headless statues on the dirt.

More lovely laundry.

We had an amazing lunch on the terrace overlooking the countryside.

Ada making a wish at another fountain. Notice the splash from her coin. I'm pretty sure she wished we could come back again.
Love the pots on the ledge.
Pretty blue flowers. They look kind of like lupine. Would love to find out what they are.

When we arrived back in Nice we decided walk around the point and explore a little bit. We found a harbor with some pretty amazing ships then walked into Old Town where there were tons of narrow streets and people crowded in going about their daily life. We found butchers and grocers and flower shops and normal clothing stores. I wish I had taken more pictures of that kind of stuff. We also came across some pretty cool old churches.

Best fruit snack ever!!!
More playing in the sea.
Ada was talking to me and all the sudden her eyes bugged out of her head and she turned away. I asked her what was wrong, what did she see? She replied in a whisper, "That lady is getting undressed on the beach!" Her face was priceless. In North Idaho we suffer in cold sandy suits. Not in Nice.

This car did a 30 point turnabout trying to get out. We couldn't get around so we just had to watch and wait.
Another church. It was quite dark in there maybe because it was set in the midst of all the tall buildings and didn't get much sun. Didn't get many good shots but it was so beautiful.
We were tired after our long day so I went to get some take out. We kept passing a Chinese? place on the main street so I decided to give it a try. It was like a buffet. I couldn't read any of the descriptions so I was a little nervous. I made some good choices though and eating in our room was fun.

Ada's glass.
So we played some cards. It was hilarious. We started with some Slap Jack then we taught Ada how to play Black Jack. Jodie entertained us with her life stories. Good stories good times!

Adaline's piano teacher was having a contest to see who could practice the most. There was a cash prize involved. She practiced every day for 5 months, even in France. She was very determined and she and Alice ended up tying for first place!