Promenade du Paillon

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The Promenade du Paillon in Nice, France is a wonderland for children and adults alike with lush gardens, creatively paved walkways, and unique water features. It opened in October 2013 after 3 long years of construction that included the demolition and relocation of the bus station. The promenade was constructed over a river of the same name that was covered over in the 19th century. The river still exists below the promenade and flows from it’s source, Lucéram, in the Alpes Maritimes into the Mediterranean Sea near Nice Old Town (Vieille Ville).

Sunset

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Coucher de soleil  [kuʃe d sɔlɛj ] English translation: sunset I witnessed this beautiful sunset while on vacation in the South of France. After a much needed nap I walked over to my window and pulled back the draperies to see if the rain had stopped and I could not believe my eyes. I had only a few seconds to find my camera and capture this image before the sun completely disappeared and as you can see, it is breathtaking. I wish you could have been there to see it in person. G-  

Has Been Under Shower

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Reine and Guy Sammut’s Auberge La Fenière is a wonderful place to stay in the South of France. It also offers two exceptional dining options. The Bistrot La Cour De Ferme, a casual dining experience that frequently combines great food with absolutely fabulous musical entertainment. If you are lucky the featured band will be HBUS, (Has Been Under Shower) with Guy himself for a nostalgic blast back to the 60’s with such hits as the Rolling Stones, “Under my Thumb”. The Great Restaurant, a bit more formal, will delight with Guy’s wife Reine Sammut a Michelin chef with one star. The rooms are equally marvelous and if you choose one of the Bellevue suites you will find a lap pool right outside your patio door that is to die for! Speaking of to die for, the inspiration for my latest book “To Dye For” is drawn from my good friends at the Auberge. No that is not a misspelling. “To Dye For” is a lighthearted, spy thriller about big business and yes, you guessed it—- hair coloring! The illustration above is the band featured in my book under the pseudonym AWHFY or “Are We Having Fun Yet”? Enjoy! G-  

MOTO

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Moto [moto] English translation: Motorbike If you have ever rented anything larger than a SmartCar in Paris you have probably found parking an automobile in the city next to impossible. The ever increasing number of motorbikes whizzing by and between the automobiles on the city streets and highways adds to the sport of driving in Paris. In addition to bicycle sharing and well planned bicycle lanes, the city’s answer to overcrowded streets is to also encourage transport by motorbike or moto by repurposing 2,500 revenue generating car-park spaces to free moto spaces. A total of 18,000 parking spaces will be available in Paris by 2014. Butter1 is my vehicle of choice in Paris and the winding, narrow backroads of Provence on my daily trek to the markets in search of the finest ingredients for my Chez Grenouille & Chez G Spa & Bistro plats du jour. G-  

flèche

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flèche [flĕsh] Suivez les flèches bleues. English translation Follow the blue arrows. If you have seen the movie Amélie, you will remember the clever trail of blue arrows she leaves in front of Sacré-Cœur for Nino to follow. The playful arrow above is just one example of what you will find while visiting the Musée Picasso in Antibes. You will be captivated by both the sculptural works of art on this outdoor terrace and the magnificent view of the Mediterranean sea beyond, with a shade of blue known only to the Cote D’Azur. This arrow is a work by Anne and Patrick Poirier whose work is exhibited in the “most important museums and private galleries” throughout the world. The first floor of the Chateau houses temporary exhibitions, the second floor displays Picasso’s work throughout his former studio area where he painted from September to November in 1946.  

vent

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Vent [vent] Il y a beaucoup de vent sur Mont Ventoux! English translation There is much wind on Mount Ventoux! If you ever venture to the top of Mount Ventoux in the south of France, as the name suggests, you will find it very windy and very cold even on a sunny, warm day! The wind is relentless, clocking in at approximately 55 miles per hour most days of the year and has been measured at speeds as high as 200 miles per hour during the mistral, a very strong, regional wind in the South of France. These winds often prompt the closing of the road over the top of the mountain. On a recent trip up the mountain in September on my Vespa,  Michele’s hair flying in the wind tells the story and she is definitely not dressed for the occasion, but in her defense she did not know she would be making the ascent that day. If you are a cycling fan, Stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France, a grueling 242 kilometer ride, will finish on top of Mont Ventoux on July 14th. Chef Grenouille will host the winner and his teammates at ChezG Spa & Bistro for a grand Bastille Day celebration. Of course, the next day will be a rest day for the Tour participants.

piscine

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piscine [pisin] Grenouille a appartenu à la piscine.   English translation Grenouille fell into the swimming pool.  A pool of water suitable for swimming. The magnificent lap pool pictured here is located adjacent to the private patios outside the five Bellevue Suites at Auberge La Ferniere in Lourmarin France. Swimming pools are in abundance in the South of France. And of course, who can forget the cliff-side swimming pool, starring Charlotte Rampling, in Francois Ozone’s movie of the same name.  A must see movie about a British mystery author in a writer’s slump. Her publisher offers the solitude of his home in the South of France, where she is surprised by the visit of his uninhibited daughter and the odd turn of events that follow.

crème brûlée

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crème brûlée [krem broo-ley] English translation burnt cream The literal translation must not be taken to heart when preparing crème brûlée, this dessert is magnificent when torched to a perfect color and consistency, not burnt! The image above is a scene from my second book, “Deux Pastis S’il Vous Plait” where Chef Plombé is attempting to perfect his crème brûlée recipe for his boss, French President Monsieur Petit and his wife Clarisse. An E-book version of this humorous adventure is now available for viewing on your Ipad in Ibooks. A crème brûlée offered with a  flavor added or fruit on top does not generally appeal to me, I prefer the traditional recipe. But this trio of miniatures (pistachio, chocolate & au natural),  with exceptional preparation and wonderful flavors, intrigued my friend Michele at La Mère Germaine in Villefranche-sur-mer a seaside restaurant located at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. As you can see, she really did not enjoy them……..