2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Our day with the jet set of the world – Monaco for a day

Lifelong dreams often can turn out disappointing when realized. That was definitely not the case for us yesterday in Monaco. A stunningly beautiful day awaited us in the principality as we arrived by train. By the way, it is the way to see the Côte d’Azur as the tracks go along the coast more closely than any road. 

Everything was well organized as the Monequasces have hosted this race for decades. In fact, today’s edition was the 75th. Greg and I were part of history so to speak. And let me tell you, what a day it was. 

I have been to many tracks before, Hockenheim (the original course), Monza, Magny Cours (France), Indianapolis, Austin, and Montreal to name a few. But nothing compares to this. We were so close to the action, the yachts were everywhere as was the jet set. Add to that the victory of the Ferrari boys Vettel #1 and Kimi #2 with a super exciting third for Ricciardo on Red Bull (my team). The day could not have been better. 

Now it’s time however to say good bye as we make our way to the airport in nice fir our journey home. Back to reality is the motto of the day. 

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

The Grand Prix awaits

Today is our final day in the south of France and Greg and I are headed to Monaco for the Formula 1 race in the streets of the municipality. For those not into motor sports, I have been a fan of F1 since 1977 when Renault entered the series with their revolutionary (at the time) turbo engines.

I have remained loyal to Renault all these years through highs and lows be it as a factory team or engine supplier.

However today I will. E rooting for Ferrari and their driver Sebastian Vettel whom is on track to lead the 2017 championship.

More later, it’s off to the race now.

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Farewell to paradise

A bit earlier than the last few days, we got up to pack our stuff together to get ready for our drive to Eze and eventually Juan-Les-Pins.

We bid farewell to our home La  Moisonne and travelled on the A8 toward Monaco. 

We planned a. Is it to the hill town of Eze. What a sight!

The visit inspired my change in long-held plans (for the very distant future) to have my ashes spread in this magical town instead of Bryce Canyon. It is that amazing. 

Take my word for it, it is stunning. 

This stunning view and magical town was followed by a drive on the middle corniche over to Monaco where we heard the engines vroom through the streets of the municipality for qualifying. 

I am thrilled with the outcome. Kimi on pole and Vettel 2nd and best of all, Lewis only 14th. It will be a race for the ages. 

The evening ended at a beachside dig called Jazz Plage with a great dinner. The waitress’s uncle lives in Sunnyvale of all places. It is a small world. 

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

The hills above Nice

Another restful night over, we all agreed that the Rose the night before helped us get to rest, we made our way to some of the most lovely villages in France.

First we stopped in a town call Gourdon, perched high in the pre-alps. A stunning vista over the region made us fall in love with this small town. 

Then we drove down the gorge du loup across steep cliffs and waterfalls to make our way to the town of Tourettes-sur-loup. 

From there we drove down to the famous town of St. Paul de Vance. 

Then we stopped to shop for dinner and of course more rose to get is through the last night of our rented home. 

One last day to go as we prepare for the Grand Prix on Sunday. 

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Paradise found…in the hills of Grasse

We were all a bit nervous as we made our way through the south toward our home for 3 nights. I had secured it online and then spent time by phone working with the owner, Lady Maggie Lockett whom owns the estate. Drive no up, we had some doubts about it all but once the gatdner arrived and escorted us in, we all couldn’t believe our eyes. 

What a setting and every detail is lovingly designed and cared for. We may never leave this paradise.

I thought I would also share our first car photo. It is indeed a Renault Scenic. In fact, this is Greg and my third rental in france and we had a Renault Megane/Scenic every time. So the tradition is now set for future trips. 

More on our adventures along the cote d’azure in my next blog. 

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Nimes and Aix-en-Provence

Another good night of rest and we were all ready to continue discovering the ancient city of Nimes which is flush with Roman artifacts, ruins and sights to behold. The city made its fortune in the textile trade. You are most likely wearing a piece of this famous garment today. “Denim” means really de Nimes or translated “from Nimes”. 

Of course today it is supplied worldwide from factories in third world and developing countries much cheaper than the people of Nimes could make it but the town prospered on it. Evidence are the fantastic public gardens complete with Roman watch tower “La Magne”. 

Onward from there, we walked through narrow cobblestone streets to the ancient water distribution center where the water from the Pont du Gard aquaduct was routed to the various purposes. It’s is amazing to see the level of ingenuity the Romans had developed. 

From there we continued our walk to the next Roman building called the “Maison Carree” or square house. It is really a temple which was recently completely restored. Back in 1998 when Greg and I last saw it, it was as black as coal from pollution. 

Finally, we promenaded along the waterways back to our car and embarked on a 2 hour scenic drive to the city of Aix-en-Provence for lunch. 

Next stop will be our VRBO rental in Grasse. Just a tad nervous that it will work out ok. More on that on my next post. 

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Avignon and beyond

After a restful night sleep in Avignon, we got our Renault Scenic loaded up to hit the countryside. First we made a detour down memory lane to Tarascon where Greg and I spent our first night back in 1998 with my mom Hanny. We drove along the town to revisit those moments. It was a special treat. 

Then we headed back to historical sights with a stop at the Roman Aquaduct from 50 A.D. At the Pont du Gard. This UNESCO world heritage site is s must see on anyone’s tour of the South of France. The pictures tell it all. 

The day the continued with a drive to the city of Nimes where we had lunch before discovering the most preserved Roman Arena in the world. Another must see for sure. Oops, did I mention the Padtries along the way that made our afternoon even more special!

Safely tucked in at our hotel in Nimes, we all reflected on a perfect day.  Good night and sleep well, more on tomorrow’s adventures when we get going. 

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Reflections on Avignon

This was my second visit and first overnight in Avignon. It is a lovely city with two main sights. The famed Pont d’Avignon about which the children’s song was composed and the Palace of the Popes where the papacy resided in the 14th century to evade chaos on Italian soil. 

Reflecting on the statue of Virgin Mary, I saw her finger pointed at the people on the square below and all I could think of is a hat she was so upset about “No, no, I did not have sex with that man.”  

2017 South of France with Monaco GP

Farewell to Paris – in pictures

We made it to the South of France. Arrived rested and in splendid spirits in Avignon after a 3 hour High-Speed train rode on a TGV. 
The pace is totally different here and we all adjusted to it rather quickly. That is after a 45 minute ordeal at the Hertz counter to secure a French make. In the end, much to Greg’s chagrin we settled on my dream vehicle of a You guessed it – Its a Renault Scemic (pictures will follow tomorrow). 
Enjoy today in pictures.