Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring, is that you?

{Mimosa tree, which is in bloom right now}
       I know I am breaking a cardinal rule here and talking about something that we don't want to jinx but the weather has been great.  Yeah, we had some rare snow a few weeks ago, but aside from that, our winter has been a very mild one.  It seems like the weather everywhere is a little random with record highs or lows but I will take what we are getting here any day.  It has been sunny and in the high 60's (low 70's if you're directly in the sun) for the last week or so and it seems like it is here to stay (damn meteo, you better be right).  I know I know, by just saying it out loud I risk losing this warm weather all together, but it is just too good not to acknowledge.  France is still a beautiful country when it is grey and gloomy outside, so you can imagine what it is like sunny and warm.  That proves especially true down here on the coast.  Much of the culture here thrives on warm weather ie.. walking to the markets, outdoor dining/shopping, and nature in general so I am thrilled to be able to enjoy that again.  We always laugh because as soon as it is warm, little restaurants and cafes that you never knew existed or even forgot where there, spill out into the squares and come alive again. 
     While I am not ready to pack away all my winter clothes just yet ( I have learned my lesson before), all heavy clothes and boots are slowly moving their way to the back of the closet and even Shaun has retired his beanie.  Here's hoping I won't be fooled.... again (and that beanie doesn't make a re-appearance).

{Even our sunsets have been great..}

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nice Carnival! Part Trois!

  It's official, I am completely Carnivaled out!! You were great while you lasted and will surely hold me over until next year. I have brought home my last bit of confetti from you, in my boots, jeans, bra, hair, purse etc... I have had my fill. I've watched you dazzle and entertain thousands, specifically 3 times in 4 days, but I've hit my limit. You can never accuse me of not being festive.  You saw me dance, you saw me laugh, you saw me throw confetti that made its way back into my own hair, and most of all, you saw me smile.  Today I am beat, who would of thought all that standing and watching others would be so tiring?  Not me. Thank you Carnival, had a great time and until next time, pictures will have to do.  Ciao!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nice Carnival! Part Deux!

{See the people down around the floats?? That's where we were.}

    So after the Bataille des Fleurs during the day, we milled around Nice for a few hours until the Corso Illumine started at 9 pm. As anyone who has ever been to Nice knows, it is not a tough place to pass the time in. We strolled the promenade along the sea, wound our way through the paths of the old part of Nice (Vieux Nice), ate dinner in the Cours Saleya then had coffee and tea at a little brasserie overlooking a quaint square. Oh, let me back track a bit, when it was time to decide what type of tickets we were going to get for the Corso Illumine, we had 3 options: pay to sit in the stands, pay to be in the standing area, or don't pay and be one of the many pushing to get a good view in the limited 'free zone'. We weighed our options and decided to be in the standing area. Since we did not know what to expect, we made sure we arrived a little early to ensure a good place.  Turns out, there was no bad place since having a standing ticket meant you are essentially walking with the floats and part of the parade. The parade lasted around 1hr 30 minutes and we took many pics (again, I know). The theme of this year's carnival is sports (guess they were not that bitter about losing the Olympic bid to London) so you will see lots of sports themed floats, Olympic rings and an appearance by The Queen. We had such a great time that I am going back tomorrow for the official 'mardi gras' carnival day parade with Fatiha, such a pity there is no basketball team in Nice...sigh.

{Big Boy up close and personal}

{Shaun was worked up at how flat the top of his head was...}

{The Queen}
{Followed by Will and Kate}

{So I asked Shaun to take a picture of me with this British Guard dude and he took one of me and the guy in the costume...seriously? At least he lowered his glasses for me...}

{Little better...}

{Zidane, Obama, the Pope...oh my}
{Loved how these guys looked through the hole and mugged for the camera}

{Shaun getting prepared for the next photo......}

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nice Carnival! Part One!

    After hearing from many people how great the Nice Carnival is, we decided to see for ourselves this year. There are 3 parts to the Nice Carnival: Bataille des Fleurs ( flower parade), Corso Illumine ( night parade) and the Corso Carnavalesque (day parade) all taking place on the promenade des anglais and the surrounding squares. For those who don't know, the promenade is the boardwalk that runs along the sea in Nice.  So really what I am trying to say is that the backdrops and settings are unreal. Yesterday, we saw the Bataille des Fleurs and stuck around for the Corso Illumine at night. The flower parade is just what you would think, floats adorned with flowers.  But what makes it even more fun is they throw flowers out to the crowd as well. So if you really want to be 'that person', you can go home with loads of flowers or wait until the very end when they strip the floats of all their flowers. We decided not to be 'those people' which would of been really easy considering Shaun is much taller than the average French person but instead, we took pictures (and the occasional flower to the head cause we weren't always paying attention).  Overall the flower parade was a really cool experience except for a few pushy people who were very rude.  I honestly thought I was going to have to dip into my old Karate repertoire for a second but alas, kids were present and we are in Europe where personal space doesn't translate to begin with so I simmered down. Since I still have that snazzy camera I posted about earlier, I took loads of pictures so I am still going through the Cosro Illumine pics so those will have to come later. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

There will be photos...

     Let me start this by stating, there will be lots of photos in this post. First off, there were too many beautiful places not to take pictures and secondly, my friend Fatiha loaned me her super-snazzy nice camera to try out before I take the plunge and purchase one myself.  So far, I have LOVED using hers and can't wait to get one for myself when we are back in the states... by the way, think I just heard Shaun's eyes roll all the way from upstairs.  Ok, enough day dreaming of my new camera.....Like I said before, Shaun's team has had the week off so we have been trying to enjoy the nice weather.  It has been awesome, clear and sunny, so I am hoping this is the beginning of the end of winter, which may be wishful thinking but a girl can hope can't she???  We had originally pondered taking a trip up to the mountains but since we got some snow here, it kind of satisfied our urge to see snow (don't really know if Shaun ever had the urge to be honest).  Instead, we decided to visit Aix-en-Provence for the day.  We've been there many times before but it's the type of place that you question why you don't visit more often.  We dined in the sun, strolled cobblestone streets, perused the 'famous' Aix market, took in a movie and even saw a choreographed 'street crossing' dance.  Lucky for me (and you) I had an awesome camera to document it all. Oh and I guess if you want to follow on Bloglovin', you can (really have no idea what the difference is but wanted to throw that out there).

{Tree lined streets}

{Provencal fabric}

{Sachets of lavender}


{Beautiful facades}

{Church front}
{Choreographed dance}

{In deep concentration}

{The finale}

{Oh wait...the real finale}

{That red hair I was talking about in an earlier post}