Rendezvouz with Renoir

If yesterday’s drive was beautiful, today’s was simply stunning.  Unfortunately being the driver, most of the scenery will stay in my head, but let’s just say there were quite a few times when I was like wowa weewa!

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After a quick little visit to the village of Trigance, cut short by rain, we hit the windy roads again to travel towards our next destination, Nice.  Fog spread its hands protectively over the valleys and there was a vista like no other around every corner.

We meandered along enjoying every moment, stopping to buy preservative free perfume by the roadside and attempting to stop in towns along the way (driving here is not like driving in Australia AT ALL – in Aus, if you need to pull over or stop, there is plenty of places to do so, the bays are nice and wide and there’s just room.  Here, cars literally cram every little space on the roadsides, the bays are tiny and the drivers totally impatient – it can be quite panicking when you just want to stop to check directions or take a breather!).

Driving down through Grasse, the valleys and greenery give way to Tuscan style villas crammed on hillsides.  Somehow we missed the turnoff for the town centre of Grasse and continued on to Cagnes Sur Mer, where after circling the same set of streets for ages, we finally found the Renoir Museum.

Pierre Auguste Renoir settled down in this property known as Domaine des Collettes in 1908.  He was already suffering from rheumatic arthritis badly by this point, requiring his paint brushes to be strapped to his hands to allow him to continue painting.  From the Impressionist school of painters, his most famous works were Luncheon of the Boating Party (my favourite), the Ball at the Moulin de la Galette and La Loge.  He also took up sculpting when he moved to this property and continued his artistic ventures until his death in 1919 at the age of 78.

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It’s not far to Nice now, but I’ve somehow to got to find some petrol and return the hire car in the centre of Nice which is harder than it looks.  Finally we find petrol, but when you return the car, there’s no clear lots to drive into like back in Australia.  Instead you need to park in an underground car park and then lug all your luggage up some flights of stairs before you find a lift to get back up to the road.  I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed the last bit of today’s journey.

One more obstacle faces us before the day is out – to find our apartment (which we do without much struggle thanks to the directions of the Air BNB owner) and lug our suitcases up four flights of stairs, taking instructions about the apartment completely in French from the owner’s friend.  I hope we have understood everything correctly as she leaves, but my head is still spinning from the drive.  I need a drink.

Thank goodness we find that without much hassle and we sit overlooking a fairly quiet Place du Palais watching a drunk madman throw things around the square.  Ah, welcome to Nice.

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