26.03.2011 - 01.04.2011 16 °C
After a couple of days unpacking and resting, we were ready to get out and see the countryside. We began with a little morning jog. This turned out to be quite an adventure for me when I tried to circle back to the house in a different way than I had begun, and of course got completely lost! Here's a little map I drew for myself with a little help from Google Maps France, which has always worked in the past. Not so in France.
Little running map
We live on Chemin du Camouyer, which when heading east dead-ends to turn left at the Chemin de Terres Blances. When I turned around on that road, I returned via Traverse de Vieux Fort, which becomes Chemin de la Combe Nicette. Somewhere between the two, there's a significant, unmarked disconnect in the road. Or maybe I just took a wrong turn. I took an unmarked, unpaved path and ended up way at the bottom a rivière, which split into a few different trails that I wasn't about to explore given my extremely poor sense of direction.
Finally I backtracked and found the right connection between the two routes, which was not exactly in a straight line as the map suggested. Nor was the route anything close to flat as the map suggested. I was gone twice as long as normal, and Eric was about to hop in the car to find me. Of course he had run a normal, completely sensible circle by staying on the main roads.
Quickly moving on from that experience, we met Claire and Fanette for yet another excursion in the countryside. There is a nice walking trail near us that takes just over an hour to complete. Fanette loves it. The town of Roquefort-les-Pins is actually a popular hiking destination within the Cote D'Azur area, with many different trails to explore.
Here are some photos of our walk including a nearly abandoned house. Apparently the owners are "working" on the house, but they are rarely there and it's currently boarded up. It seemed a bit haunted to me, yet the view was spectacular, so it was a worthwhile outing.
Walking with Fanette
Pepe Jean's old car
French cell phone tower
Eric, Claire and Fanette walking
Front lawn of the old house
Side of the old house
Claire, Jennifer and Fanette
Eric, Jennifer and Fanette
Eric in front of the old house
A beautiful view
Fanette in hot pursuit
After all the excitement of the morning, we returned to the house to have lunch with Claire. We also had two visitors, Phillipe, the son of Eric's great-uncle Jo by marriage, and his seven-year-old daughter Lana, pronounced La Na. Très chic! Claire had asked Phillipe to assist with a chainsaw problem; of course in good French custom, no visit to the house would be complete without a leisurely lunch first. I am pretty sure that Kevin Kline studied with Philippe when he prepared for the role of Luc Teyssier in the truly awesome 90's movie French Kiss. Lana spent her time playing with the dog and making pretty drawings for Eric and me.
Philippe, Claire and Eric, with Eric demonstrating "Le Buffalo" fire aeration technique
Lana with her drawings
The next day, we had yet another leisurely lunch in nearby Le Tignet, at the home of Eric's great uncle Alain and Aunt Hélène. For dessert, Claire and I made a delicious lemon-lime tart. We also spent some time planting tomato plants and playing Scrabble.
Fanette wearing her black turtleneck
Fanette's car seat
Repotting tomato plants
Three kinds of tomato plants
Claire and Hélène playing Scrabble
A nice warm fire
On Tuesday, we stopped by for teatime with Jan, the mother a friend and probably our closest English-speaking neighbor. Jan is a member of the International Women's Club of the Riviera, whose mission is to gather women of all nationalities to take part in social, cultural and sporting activities. Formerly a club for the wives of the expatriate technology leaders posted in nearby Sophia-Antipolis, twenty years later this club has more than 750 members and plans all sorts of activities, ranging from charity events and hiking excursions to book sales and cooking demonstrations. Jan was pretty eager to sign us up for Scottish dancing the next evening, but unfortunately, we had to decline her invitation as we already had dinner plans with Claire. What a wonderful way to meet people when arriving to a new town!
Jennifer and Jan in her garden
Here are a few more pictures during our first week in town.
French TV guide
Eric making caponata
Receiving the mail
Fanette chez nous
Above all, we spent a lot of time the first week doing our grocery shopping. We went to the local Intermarché, the natural foods store NaturMarché and the much bigger have-everything store E.Leclerc in Grasse, and finally, the local farmer's market, held every Wednesday right here in Roquefort-les-Pins. We've heard that there's also a nice farmer's market in nearby Valbonne every Friday morning, so we're eager to check that one out soon too.