May 2006 - Tokyo & Europe
Since this was my one and only full day in Provence I decided to make use of it. So I jumped in my car and before 8am I was weaving my way into Grasse. Grasse is known for it's perfume, so I decided to go and 'sniff' it out. I had no idea where to park so at the point that I got over tight, narrow roads I decided to park the car in the first carpark I found. And I did just that, without any clue where I was in Grasse (I just followed the signs, because reading a map whilst driving would either lead to a number of beeps from annoyed French drivers, or end with my car in a ditch). I walked out of the car park and wrote all the information down on where to find my car. I found the parking station on the map only to find that it was literally around the corner from the Fragonard and the Perfume Museum, the main site I wanted to see!
So I waited patiently for an English tour of the Perfumery, which was really interesting. Found out about all the old and new methods of making perfume and soap. We saw the Fragonard 'Nose' (the maker of perfume) and apparently he can decifer over 2000 different scents, but he is not allowed to smoke or drink and he can only spend 3 hours a day in the smelling room or it would be too much. The tour ended in the perfume store where our tour guide gave us a informative smell of the different perfumes on offer. All the rage at the moment is to have perfume that smells like food. They have one that smells a bit like marshmallow and one that smells like dark chocolate.
I also had a walk around the upper part of Grasse (there was no way I was walking downhill only to have to walk back up!) and went into the perfume museum and was fascinated by the old bottles, especially those from Eygpt, Rome, Greece and Carthage. Out of all the rooms in the museum I spent most of my time in this one. I found my car ok as I fortunately I didn't venture too far away. So by 11am I was off again driving into Cannes.
I had in my head a rough map of where I needed to park, but once again I was doing it by instinct. Parked the car at a parking station and pulled out the map to find out where I was and low and behold I was exactly where I wanted to be! Cannes was in full setup mode for the Film Festival next week, but I managed to find a small area of public beach so I could dip my feet in the Mediterranean.
After that I went and had a look around the shopping area and along the beachfront. Was chatted up by the banquet manager of the Intercontinental along the way. He invited me out on the town that evening... Don't worry Mum I declined respectfully saying I was only in Cannes for the day. I walked up many a step to reach the top of a hill overlooking the whole of Cannes and beyond only to find that my camera battery was suffering a slow and painful death, fortunately I managed to get all the photos I wanted and stumbled back down the hills and steps to my car.
With my camera battery gone I thought there was no point in heading on anywhere else. I was hoping to get to Monaco by train from Cannes but earlier in the afternoon I found out there where no trains going to Monaco today (I found out later on the radio that they were on strike... figures). So I went back to the Hotel and took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. I had another delicious dinner (Chicken with Mushroom and Bacon served in a hot pot/pan) I managed to fit in this Caribbean Chocolate Tart too. Oh and then there were the Mojito's, the first packed a punch and when asked if I wanted a second I explained that the first was strong enough, but he did such a great sell of a 'watered down Mojito' that I couldn't refuse the offer of a second. I don't think the second was as potent.
I went back to my room and turned on MTV only to find 'Making the Video' was Mariah Carey's 'Say Somethin', shot in Paris and more specifically some scenes were at the George V, which made me even more excited about going to Paris!
So I successfully managed to navigated the crazy streets of Southern France and was becoming a little more confident by the end. I started listening to the radio on the way back from Cannes. I did not in any way enjoy the narrow roads with nothing more than a white line before the road drops off to the side, especially when there was on coming traffic.
I will do a whole seperate entry for Paris tomorrow, but it is now 1am and I think I should get some sleep.