21 February 2007

Wandering the streets and market of Nice

It was a bit grey, but still very interesting to stroll the streets of old Nice. The city is in a bit of an upheaval right now as they are refreshing the center plaza and building a much needed tram system. We walked the flower market that then turned into an antique/brocante market on Monday. Celia enjoyed nibbling on the marzipan miniature fruit and we snacked our way through the beautiful olive vendor's wares.

Dinner at the Negresco

We were fortunate enough to be able to meet up with Debbie Nelson and her colleague David in Nice for dinner at the Negresco. The Negresco looks older than it actually is...it was constructed in 1912. The dining room had real carousel horses that moved every half hour to music. It was beautifully painted with murals on every surface.

After dinner, we wandered around the lobby decorated with museum quality portraits, sculptures and furnishings. The chandelier was made for the Russian Czar. Its twin hangs in the Kremlin, but this one never made the journey due to the untimely overthrow of the Czar. It has well over 16000 Baccarat crystals on it.

But my favorite part of the lobby was the resident cat. This feline has the life! It wanders from luxurious rug to sofa .

20 February 2007

Mardi Gras on the Cote d'Azur

Mardi Gras in Nice was such fun! Confetti...silly string wars...goofy hats...loud music...weird and wild floats...it was something. Mike, Nathan and Celia got into a silly string fight with a family behind and in front of us as well as one two rows down and to the left. It was mayhem. We were covered with confetti and silly string by the end. The theme of this year's parade was the 2007 French election and the upcoming rugby world cup...so Sego and Sarko and Chirac were shown in irreverent and sporty costumes and poses. We felt pretty up on French politics as we were able to identify most of the caricatures...The gentleman sitting next to me kept asking who everyone was supposed to be. The only one we did not recognize was Arlette. But as we were walking around the city, we came upon a poster with her picture on it...it turns out she is a communist party politician and perennial candidate for president. You learn new things every day here!

08 February 2007

See what happens when you turn 40!!

You become a big LIAR after you turn 40!! Last night we dined with some friends. She is a wonderful cook and served us four fabulous courses each containing CHEESE. As most of you know, Mike has stated on numerous occasions and in front of many witnesses that he does not like cheese or yogurt. He not only ate his way through these courses with gusto, but he plowed through the leftover cheesecake again tonight (See picture attached marked Exhibit A). A partial list of the types of cheeses he consumed in this meal were: Chevre (goat), mozzarella, Parmesan, feta, a very moist bleu, more chevre, Camembert and a very creamy plain cheese cake. Now I plead my case to my friends once and for all...Is that a list of what a cheese hater would eat?????????? From this day on, I reserve the right to cook with any and all cheeses a recipe calls for. Mike has been put on alert that it is all fair game. There are an infinite amount of recipes over the last 16 plus years I have known him that I have just died to cook, but held back in deference to his taste buds. All that is over!!
As a final note, please also record for posterity that I have been secretly supplying him with yogurt since we moved here. I rest my case.

06 February 2007

No More Smoking!!!

It is truly a day to celebrate! As of the first of February, you are no longer allowed to smoke in public places in France. This means that we can now walk through the malls and not get overwhelmed by that horrible cloud of smoke that hung over every coffee bar that are strategically placed in the center of every mall. The first day of the new law, Mike and I went to have breakfast in the Polygone Center in Montpellier before his medical appointment for his Carte de Sejour (see our last post regarding Mary's appointment!). Much to our amazement, there were new signs everywhere that said it was forbidden to smoke in the center! Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then we went to do our grocery shopping. In the mall where LeClerc grocery store is there are two coffee bars and a pizza restaurant. Previously, these were incredibly popular with smokers as they were the only places in the mall where smoking was allowed. Now not a single smoker was seen and again we saw the blessed no smoking signs. What a difference it makes to walk through buildings and breathe cleaner air!!