Carolyn's and Tom's Trips to France: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Le weekend in the hill towns

A fine weekend combination of recreation and working on our 15-minute talks before the class (en francais, bien sur! Quelle stress!)

Saturday we took a lovely walk around Cap Ferat (see last blog entry). Sunday we took the bus to a medieval hill town, tres touristique, called Eze. Beautiful but perhaps too pretty and too many tourists. Then home to work on our presentations.
Monday we had a day off for a field trip to St Paul de Vense -- another ancient fortified town that has been an artistic center for 100 years. Home to Chagall, Miro, Monet, Braque, Giacometti, etc. Richard Gere was in town, too. But we had no time to chat. Fabulous museum, Foundation Maegt, with an interesting collection. First pics of a couple cool statues in the musee, then pics of the town. Also a bit touristy but really lovely.



A Miro we liked.



Another cool Miro

The village:










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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cap Ferrat - a day with the incredably rich

We look from our apartment in Villefranche over the bay to Cap Ferrat (the picture at the top of the blog is of Cap Ferrat from Villefranche).  Cap Ferrat reported has the most expensive real estate in France. Summer homes of -- historically -- Charles DeGaulle, Edith Piaf, etc.  Now second homes of Nick Jagger, Bill Gates, Tina Turner, etc. etc.  A lovely trail circles the peninsula below the houses of the rich and famous.  Finally things have warmed up (I hiked in a golf shirt!), the sun was shining.  Nice to see how the other .005% lives.


View from the trail to Villefranche

View from the trail; above were the mansions


Lighthouse at the end of Cap Ferrat - we see it  from out apartment


Salad Nicoise and Pizza on Cap Ferrat


Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Nice Market and Sunshine

A lovely Sunday morning, and a trip to the market in Nice. It was warmer than we're used to, but still fairly chilly -- in the high 40s.  But the outdoor cafes were full; there were folks on the rocky beach (with coats, bien sur) and everyone was out enjoying the sun.  The market, of course, was typically full of great stuff.   Some examples:


Marzipan fruit

Candied flours






Why aren't these people all fat?

Pics of our morning walk


8 am, 33 degrees, the view from the door to our apartment building.
 (note palm trees)

Up the steps from our apt on onto the road

The beginning of the 300 steps
(note: you can't see the top)

Looking down the 300 steps - whew!

Bienvenu a l' Institut

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A day at l'institute de Francais

A day at l'institute: Up at 7. Out the door at 8 or so. A 20-minute walk to school, up the killer 300
steps. Then a fine French petit dejeuner of coffee, pastries, yogurt, and bread.

Then on to class. Ten students per class. I'm in "high intermediate," believe it or not, and Carolyn is in "lower advanced." maybe 90 minutes in class, with constant back and forth with a truly amazing teacher who manages to make the whole thing fun. Then on to time on the lab, or work on basic social situations (at the restaurant, store, meeting a friend in the street, etc.) At least an hour in the "laboratoire," the language lab. At 1 pm we have lunch with the other advanced students. There is a teacher at each table, who makes sure we speak only French and facilitates the conversation. Quite well-prepared food Then on to more class, perhaps a discussion of a clip of TV news, and then attendance of the truly scarry part of the course, the "expose" where we have to talk for 15 minutes on a topic of our choice (in French, of course) and then respond to questions. I've seldom been at a loss for words, but the words have always been in English.
Classes are over at 4:45; there is a 15-minute tea time. Then home, usually after a beer at "Chez Betty's."
We originally thought we'd be going onto Nice for dinner, going for evening strolls, etc. Turns out we get home, throw the equivalent of a Stauffers in the microwave, drink some wine, do our homework (just a half hour or so) and go to bed. The day is pretty tiring. Somewhere in there we tend to our email, do our blog, etc.
Our apt is lovely, with an amazing view of the harbor. Villefranche is beautiful. But it's been really cold -- colder than Maine on several days. Supposed to warm up a bit next week. A good thing since the wind chill
has been been well under freezing.

I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow. It's too late to fiddle and I need to go to bed

Bon journee,
To


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Monday, February 6, 2012

First day at Institut de Francais

Took our placement tests this morning. Not so bad. We shall see.
Sunshine, but still cold -in the 40's.



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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our Villefranche digs

Here's the view from our lovely apt. But it's COLD--40 degrees. Supposed to warm up Ina couple days.


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Saturday, February 4, 2012

We're off!

Dropped the car at Portsmouth. They'll keep it free for six weeks. Amazing. 30 degrees but no snow on the ground. Next stop Logan airport.


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting ready!

Packing, getting computers set, paying bills. We leave Saturday. Here's what it looks like outside. Will surely be warmer in Nice. (trying new app to post directly on blog. We'll see)



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