At last. Friday. Quelle week! But it’s nearly done. And momentarily, I am no longer the chauffeur, the middle-of-the-night chef, or the sponge, amply absorbing adolescent angst and aggravation.
Friday in my “usual” life? No.
I’ve disappeared, and reappeared – can’t you tell? I feel the lapping of waves and foam curling over my painted toes… the glittering blue of the French Riviera… the Mediterranean sea and sky enveloping me… the sound of gulls overhead… okay, okay. It’s my French fantasy. It’s Friday. A girl can dream.
Sink full of dishes? What dishes?
Taxes still unfinished? Je ne comprends pas “taxes.”
The masseuse is waiting?
Ah yes. Désolée.
Might he give me another minute so I may order one last cocktail? I do so love the twinkle in my waiter’s eye, and the delightful view as he turns to leave. Could he be aware that I am enjoying the pleasure of his departure, and his oh-so French, oh-so tantalizingly tight fesses? Isn’t France a wonder – so much culture and color. So many forms of art…
Nice or Cannes?
Cannes may be the location in the South of France that is best known; there is the Cannes Film Festival, the Intercontinental Hotel Carlton where so many famous scenes have been immortalized. There are glorious beaches, silky sand, and to say that Cannes is grand is to understate a very lovely hand indeed.
Yet I love Nice. My treasure is Vieux Nice, despite the bustle of tourists during peek season. I love the old city center, its marvelous dining, the clattering colors that pulse with heat. Steep hills and long strolls, even the feel of the stony beach beneath my feet, and the sun’s kiss on my collar bones as I return to this, my very own lapis dream.
My ideal hotel
My fantasy travel destination?
A luxurious place where no, I have never stayed – the Hôtel La Pérouse, in all its Mediterranean splendor with breathtaking views of seductive sea and sky, its garden terrace, its elegant and intimate rooms decorated in oceanic blues and ruby reds… its inviting tables, its cushions, its beds…
Should I tell you what wonders I tasted as a 15-year old in Nice? That very first summer I lived in France?
Oh, so many pleasures for the tongue and palate – oozing bries to make the mouth water, plats prepared in lavish sauces, large leaves of lettuce that must be folded while eaten with your fork and knife, extraordinary wines, though I could never retain the vintages nor the varietals.
I have returned since that age, of course – to see friends, to walk the Promenade des Anglais again, to experience the beauty that is the French Riviera, le Côte d’Azur, and whatever the reality of my life at this time I can close my eyes and imagine the hours drifting without beginning or end.
And still, always, dreams of the Mediterranean, at my feet…
Rooms with a view
Stacks of books and bills, the bank, the laundry, the everything else that never quits. Can I push it all out of my mind – just for awhile longer? Mais oui...
Oh, and I want the red room! Surely I will bring all my finest shoes (was there any doubt?) and of course, mes foulards – the lightest, gauziest of my scarves that are barely there. No need to cover all the skin that is sweetened by the perfumed air and Mediterranean sun. Whatever I may select to wear tonight – the sandals, the fluttering skirt, the satiny camisole… will it matter, really?
What will he see when he enters the room? Mes yeux de braise as he is fond of saying?
How long until the bubbles of champagne go to my head? Shall we linger on the balcony overlooking the Riviera, or tumble like teens onto the pillows and spread?
Will he attempt some English and utter the dreaded “Dear” or stick with French and call me ma chère? (I know, I know. Just a sleep-deprived ramble, and Danielle Steele has nothing to fear.)
TGIF (Thank God It’s France)
It was another near all-nighter, another sullen face this morning, another race to get to school on time. There was coffee again at 11 last night, once more at midnight, and then café au lait and eggs at seven. Oh for the heaven of parental escape… (TGIF? Exactly.)
In this tiny window of quiet I conjure France, a gentleman at my side – or at least a masseuse! And vistas of blue; it is, after all, “The Blue Coast.” So what might I toast? Simply, to the South of France, and returning soon…