Côte d’Azur #1 – I’m the King of France!

I’m sleeping in a French palace that was built in 1844. No really I am. Actually, it’s called a villa but it might as well be a palace to me because it’s the best place I’ve ever slept in my life. We are the only two people here except for the housekeeper from Guadalupe named Josette and a 13-year old German Shepherd named Obie. They are the keepers of the estate and our hosts for a night of unexpected wonderful. I am sitting in front of a set of true French doors (in FRANCE) in one of the second floor bedrooms, or shall I say “salles”. My writer’s desk is a match to the same mid-classic French design armchair that I am sitting on. They are twins. The views over my left shoulder are mid 19th century columns and the view out the windows is the city center of Cannes looking out over the sea and into  the mountains with the night lights. The lights twinkle in the distance and I’m not sure if it is from the sea, the horizon, or that second bottle of Provence rosé we opened after dinner. CJ is asleep, wrapped in a towel post-bathing in a tub that has likely served celebrities and the wife of a Russian Czar. The air temperature is 61 degrees and there is a smell of wood burning but not the same smell as back in the States. It’s that smell that you only get if you are near the sea and there is non-American wood burning. If you’ve been there you know what I mean, and if you haven’t… I strongly suggest that you get there someday.  To describe this moment as surreal understates it by the largest possible margin I can imagine. And yet here I am, drinking it in, and wishing as hard as I can wish that it will never ever end, and so I write. It’s midnight and I push on, having switched to a Cru Bougeois Haut Medoc called Chateau Verdignan from 1999, which ironically may have been the last year I was in the South of France.

The night view fro Villa Le Favorite - my bedroom window

As you may have read, we almost canceled our visit to the South of France. That same current that we try to use to carry our decisions seemed to be directing us elsewhere yesterday evening. The train problems combined with the sleep deprivation and the expense of the trip were all weighing heavily on us and moving us in the direction of throwing in the towel and just enjoying the next 5 days in Paris. But then we made the other decision to pay the “few” extra dollars to move our flight time to Nice back to the afternoon instead of 5:45 a.m. and everything fell into place. Sort of. A little bit more stress and a few more hoops jumped through and we were on our way.  Fast forward to Monday morning: a reasonably well-rested couple gets up in Paris, packs, eats a couple of chicken baguette sandwiches, and heads out to the Orly airport via train with the mission to keep the commute low-key and to stay in it together. For the most part we pretty much do exactly that. We left our apartment three hours before our flight just to be totally sure we could figure out our way. The universe tried to challenge us a few times but we didn’t let it! When we arrived at the Peletier train station to get info about the fare to Orly we were met with a sign that said “Back in a few minutes” yet we didn’t let that get us. We instead figured out the automated machine that so well foiled us when we arrived from DeGaulle. I say WIN, bitches!!! We traversed the colossal Chatelet train stop on foot and on moving sidewalk with ease and speed.  Then lastly we road the RER to the Orly connection train all in 45 minutes allowing us enough time to sit for an hour prior to our boarding. Really? An extra hour (finally) and we are in an airport? But then we just sat and talked about which were our favorite parts of the trip so far and the minutes flew by until it was time to go through security. “I’m feeling better now,” declared CJ, which was nice because there were at least a few points where we both looked at each other wondering if maybe we had made the wrong choice about pushing on with this journey to the coast. How little we knew at that point just how right our decision would turn out to be…


About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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One Response to Côte d’Azur #1 – I’m the King of France!

  1. Pingback: October 3rd | Jimswhimz Blog

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