Every afternoon at two, most French businesses close for a siesta. What that means for clueless foreigners like me is, no lunch.
The siesta, for me, has always been an abstract concept. However, now, I have first-hand experience. As we walked around French villages, we needed to be mindful of this custom. The best rule is to get up early, get out, and stop for lunch at a reasonable time. But getting up early doesn’t always work out when you’re on vacation, so thoughts of lunch get pushed out as well.
On more than one occasion, we’d see an enchanting little place like this, and think to stop for a taste of local cuisine: not during siesta. It’s the law, and if you think you’re going to starve, then pack a snack.
These boats are in Collioure in Southern France. It’s a Catalonian village known for sardines, among other things.
After I took the photo, I saw a couple of street artists selling paintings of these same boats. They seem almost picture-perfect, almost as though they were placed here for effect. But that could just be my jaded view of things, and it’s not something the French are prone to do.
One of the primary industries here is sardines. The last time we came through, I ordered a plate of them at a seaside cafe. For all I know, these may be sardine boats that returned in the morning. The rest of the day, they are click-bait for photographers like me. That was a lame joke.
I’m aiming straight up at Phare de la méditerranée, which translates “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean.” Despite the name, it’s not a lighthouse.
The top of the tower is a revolving restaurant with views of, you guessed it, the Mediterranean. There are a few touristy places like this because Palavas-les-Flots is a French vacation town. But it’s not over-the-top commercialized as you might find in other areas. There is a casino, but it’s low-key, not overly flashy.
Depending on the time of day, the scene at this beach is entirely different. I’m not sure which one I prefer better.
Having spent almost a week here, I had plenty of opportunities to take in the view. I think perhaps that I like the early morning view for the stillness of the water. If I think about it much longer, I’ll probably change my mind.
The defining characteristic of Carnon Plage is the circularity of the shore. (BTW: Plage is the French word for beach.) Breakwaters were constructed to prevent erosion such that waves passing through form rings. The beach is therefore circular and, there is more of it than if it were merely straight. In the end, it makes for good picture taking, which for me, is all that seems to matter.
In my next life, I’ll be born in France and, when I go to school, it will be in Montpellier. They have by far the best nightlife.
Not that I am suggesting one should go to school because of the nightlife, but if one did, this might rank high on the shortlist. But to be fair, I’m rating it more on aesthetics than academic qualities. In fact, the medical school is quite good; it’s the oldest in Europe.
Anyway, I wandered around the narrow streets shooting scenes on a school night. There were a lot of people out, and I’m sure some of them had to be up for class the next day. But, I suppose that’s just training for the sleep deprivation they’ll experience the first years of residency.
This picture feels a little like a gloomy Monday morning, even though I took it on a Friday.
I took this near our friend’s house at the beach in Carnon. I never tire of these minimalistic scenes because they leave much room for interpretation and reflection — however, calm thoughts were the last thing on my mind when I took this.
I was about to go for a swim and, the water was chilly. Getting in took two types of effort, one of the mind and one of the body. Neither my mind nor body was overly enthusiastic at the prospect. In the end, I completed the swim, which left the rest of the day to contemplate sweet nothing.
What do you get when an architect designs a city? A collection of eccentric-looking buildings along the Mediterranean.
La Grande-Motte is a French beachside resort town. Spain has dozens of these that attract their French neighbors. However, someone got smart and built this town in France about fifty years ago. Now there are many beach towns along the French Mediterranean, and no need to cross into Spain for a holiday.
My recollection of the last time I visited here in Carnon is a little spotty. I seem to remember something about fresh croissants every day.
That, and the scenery and the excellent food and, let’s not forget the wine. My memory of the trip is a string of highlights all tied together. I’ve been thinking about it lately because I’ll be heading back in a few months.
Here is another photo from Nice France. I took this as I walked around the streets above the harbor on a hot August morning.
The hill above the harbor is steep, and I remember thinking to my self that I didn’t want to get too hot first thing in the morning. So I paced myself and took slow steps, trying to avoid exertion. That was a fool’s errand because I quickly became covered in sweat no matter how slow I walked. I ended up getting ice cream for breakfast to cool down. That’s just how I roll.
Nevertheless, I prefer to walk around these little streets as opposed to the more famous beaches of Nice. Beaches I have all around me in Florida, so when in Europe, I like unique places like this; even when covered in sweat and eating ice cream.
This is a section of Nice where cruise ships dock and people come ashore on a tender. That’s what I was doing when I took this picture.
While waiting for transport to other parts of Nice, I walked up and around the narrow streets. It was in the middle of summer and hot. I remember trying to decide whether to have a beer or ice cream to cool down. My only hesitation was that it was nine in the morning so I opted for ice cream.
The famous beach is west of here, but since I live close to beaches in Florida, I visited other parts of the city including an art colony in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. As that was up on a small mountain, it was a little cooler, but still quite warm. I ended up getting a beer there, but it was midday at that point. Such are my memories of ice cream and beer.