We’ve made it to Menton, our ‘home base’ for the next 3 months. Referred to as the “pearl of France,” it’s busier & bigger than I’d expected.
We’ve spent the last week or so traveling between Azille & Menton, covering much of France’s country side. One quickly passes by acres & acres of vineyards to then arrive in yet another beautiful, quaint French village always consisting of a patisserie, boulangerie & cafe.
Almost a month in I’ve, of course, made more observations:
Contrary to the reputation the French may have, I’ve encountered very friendly & helpful people.
France’s well signed highway system & its use of round abouts has made navigation relatively painless even with my severe lack of a sense of direction.
This trip consists of a very tight budget as we’re both (at least for the moment) without paid employment. Therefore, we’ve been very strict about meals out. A majority of meals have been consumed (& created) in hotel rooms, the rental car, or parks & have been delicious.
Restaurant meals have largely been underwhelming save the aforementioned meal in Paris & my birthday dinner at La Fourchette in Avignon where everything from the service to dessert was fantastic.
High quality raw ingredients are readily available & for a decent price making dining in very enjoyable (traveling with a chef also helps) but clearly venues for meals out need to be chosen more deliberately. Simply being in France does not guarantee well prepared food! On this same note, I’m still waiting for a really great coffee & croissant.
Finally, my French skills need work. I can handle basic, short conversations but would really like to improve. It’s difficult when most people default to English. However, advances must be made as there have been some translation mishaps. Turns out I’ve been telling people like restaurant servers & my brand new French tutor that I’m “sexually aroused” not simply (& innocently) “excited” as I thought! Oops. First lesson’s scheduled for tomorrow.
Menton is situated on the water & right near the Italian border making for an interesting mix of people. The next challenge is to acquire accommodation at a reasonable price, which may prove difficult as it’s entering its high tourist season.
Time for more photos!