My assumption that it doesn’t rain that often in the Cote d’Azur was definitely wrong. The last few weeks seem to be filled with more cold, rainy days than warm, sunny days. I’m not really complaining, just admitting that my knowledge of the weather here was either wrong or the rain we are experiencing is abnormal. Most people have the impression that it is hot and sunny here year round, but the reality is the Nice area is farther north than Boston and has a climate with mild temperatures for most of the year.

house in the clouds, valbonne

The nice thing about the rain is that the plants are starting to get very green and we were blessed with amazing views from our house. The photo above is our house in the low clouds and the photo below is an amazing rainbow that appeared to end at our house a few days ago.

A rainbow in France

Maybe it’s all the rain or maybe it is normal here, but we have some of the largest and loudest frogs I’ve ever seen or heard. The video below is an attempt to let you experience the sounds of the frogs. The video is from my iPhone so it isn’t very good, but turn up your speakers and listen.

 

View of the Mediterranean from St Paul de Vence, France

On Easter Sunday, the storms rolled away and the son was out and shining brightly. We traveled about 15km to Saint Paul de Vence to attend church, have lunch, and do some shopping (mostly looking). We attended the English speaking International Baptist Church and after chatting with some friends, stopped for lunch at La Petite Chapelle. The restaurant is very quaint and has a great patio with amazing views of the valley below, but the food was mediocre (a trend at many restaurants here) and the service was about the same. With three kids, we’ve come to expect a certain level of expedited service to get through a meal with little to no crying, fussing, or whining, so our expectations of service are typically higher than most. It’s easy for a restaurant to graciously serve two well behaved adults, but the true test of their service skills and patience is to serve my family while maintaining composure.

Still, the experience of attending Easter service and having lunch in Saint Paul de Vence is a memory we won’t forget. After promising dessert to the kids at the restaurant and then opting to avoid waiting for another 30 minutes to get it, we decided to stop at at Les Gourmadises du Tilleul for gelato and espresso. During our trip to Italy, the kids developed a fondness for gelato, so it is now a frequent request and they are on the look out for cafes or other vendors who are selling it. The place to get gelato and other goodies “emporte in St Paul is definitely Les Gourmadises du Tilleul.

Glaces in St Paul, France

As the kids ate their gelato and I sipped on my espresso, we walked through the pathways of St Paul browsing at the various shops, art galleries, and historical attractions and admired the views surrounding the village.

st paul shopping, france

Along the way, we stopped to admire the paintings of Jean-Claude Tron and take a quick tour of his studio. We are hoping to take one or more of his paintings back with us to Colorado when our time in France is over, but we haven’t bought any of his art yet.

St Paul Paint, France

Used tubes of paint in the studio of Jean Claude Tron.

Jean-Claude Tron- saint paul de vence artist

Courtest of Jean-Claude Tron

You might remember this view from a photo I took while we were in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany.

Painter in Saint Paul, France

Another artist in the streets of St Paul.

Our French Garden Valbonne

We spent the rest of our Easter afternoon prepping and building a vegetable garden at our house. It took several hours to break up the earth, pick out the rocks, and mix in soil amendments, but we (mostly me) got it done. Right now we have an assortment of tomatoes and peppers planted, but we are growing quite a few more vegetables from seeds indoors. As soon as it warms up and the plants are large enough, we will be moving them to the garden outdoors.  The hope is that by mid summer we will have an abundance of veggies to eat and share with friends.