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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vence: Around Town

Vence:  Around Town

Old Village Plot
 Vence is an old medieval town, not a perched village, but a walled city.  The high wall surrounded the village for protection from pirates of the Mediterranean.  The ramparts were built in the 13th Century.  As you walk the narrow streets you can see its age in old wooden carved doors and arched doorways.

My first full day in Vence began shortly after sunrise partially due to the change in time zones and mild insomnia.  My first challenge was to figure out how to make a pot of coffee in a Melitta carafe coffee maker.  This is a tall cylinder shaped pot with a lid with a push pull strainer.  Coffee makes when you combine boiling water and coffee.  I pushed the strainer all the way down, added about 3-4 tablespoons of coffee and poured the boiling water on top.  I let it dissolve for about 5 minutes and lifted the coffee grounds out of the carafe.  Coffee.  It was not my Mr. Coffee but would do for now.  MA woke up after 11 hours of sleep.  I got my walking shoes on and I headed out the door, walking to the Matisse Chapel to take some photos of this famous landmark of Vence.

The Rosary Chapel or Matisse Chapel, was an idea of the artist.  He wanted to create a monument of sacred art.  Matisse worked on this project from 1948 to 1951, drawing plans for the building, designing the interior and ceramics.  Every detail in the chapel has his signature. 

On my walk up to the Chapel I crossed a Roman looking bridge over a small estuary.  I was an hour too early to get inside so I took some photos from the exterior in the soft morning light.  The Matisse Chapel is in the above photo.

Got back to our apartment ready to meet Randy and Nola at Henry’s for coffee.  On our way into Vence we stopped at the Hotel Diana and said hello to the owners, Cecelia and Paul.  What amazed me was MA’s French.  She is in her wecond year of learning the French language and listening to her converse with these two, well she’s come a long way.  We continued on to Henry’s and found Nola had our favorite table (for people watching).  The town attracts a lot of European tourist as well as Texans.  I heard, in addition to French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch from people passing by and at adjoining tables. 

Typical French outdoor cafe
After coffee we walked around the old town and decided to have lunch in the old square at the Restaurant Clemenceau.  As we sat down, a funeral began for a man who recently died.  It started with flower upon flower deliveries and culminated in the Hearst arriving and a large crowd gathering outside the church.  Randy and Nola had known the man.  He was a flower salesman.  He must have been someone highly respected because a lot of people, about 200, gathered outside the church for the funeral mass. 

My lunch consisted of a pizza which was not bad.  We were off to a French supermarket to get some groceries for the next few days.This supermarket is similar to Krogers.   What got my attention was how the store controlled losing its shopping baskets and getting the customer to return them to a stack.  To get a shopping basket(push cart) you have to insert a 1 Euro coin into a slot which unlocks a chain.  The basket is then free from the row of baskets it is attached to.  After shopping you bring the basket back to the stack and lock the basket with the chain and you  get your coin back.  They don’t have to send the sackers out hunting down baskets and customers don’t leave them in the parking lot.  I wonder if Kroger would think of doing this?

Well we got back before it started raining, got the groceries put up.  MA finally got her phone to work with a European SIM card.  She’s happy.  If I could only figure out how to get the wireless on her IPAD to work? Today is Wednesday, expecting storms today, but we're off to Nice to get our rental car, a new adventure for me, driving the narrow French windy roads!  


  1. Second try to post - first time got error message.

    This is a test. dave b.

  2. OK seems to be working.

    Looks like you and MA are off to another great start. Thanks for the update and looking forward to all of them. Tell MA and Nola hello for me.

    HAVE A GOD BLESSED DAY - dave b.


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