We’ve had a good day all in all today…here in Nice. However, there is a prevailing sadness tonight as we muse about the machine gun armed guards we saw walking through the old part of Nice late this morning and as we returned from a little excursion early this evening, the large van full of armed policemen who were standing watch over Place Garabaldi…the gathering place for families and friends and tourists coming back to town from the Old Port. Tables and tables of people enjoying an aperitif in the large open square…the presence of the gendarmes a stark reminder of open threats that we Americans were cautioned about today in a message from the US State Department. We are mindful of this as we plan for tomorrow…plan to stay away from Cours Saleya…also knowing all the farmers, vendors, and artisans will be fully engaged in business as they are every day except Monday in that beautiful market. As they bid us “passez une bonne weekend” they also reminded us to “stay safe”. This is reality today. This is reality tomorrow. And this is reality on Monday, Labor Day in France…a national holiday… a day to bring a bouquet of lilies of the valley (Muguets) and present them to friends with a bise on each cheek to celebrate friendships. A day of celebration for the Labor unions, a day of protests and manifestations for disgruntled workers in France. Considering there is a run off election next weekend between two candidates who are as vastly differing as two candidates for President of the United States were in 2016 one does not really know what to expect.
In spite of this melancholy machination, we enjoyed a reprise of our past shopping excursions for provisions for meals this weekend. The young woman at the Épicerie who really wanted to practice her English on us…who took our order for a roast chicken and stuffed vegetables and held the order until we returned from gathering fruits and vegetables. The lady and gentleman who are pictured below who picked out delicious strawberries and big fat stalks of green asparagus, carefully packing them into our red carrying sack and handing them over so the strawberries would remain upright until we arrived back at our apartment. The honey vendor who rememberd Jan from our visit with Rosa Jackson on our first foray through the market. The Socca lady who complimented me on my French. The cheese man whom we thought was kind of dour when we were at his shop with Rosa, but who turned out to have a wicked sense of humor today as we purchased our wedge of Tomme berbis cheese…nutty, creamy, delicious sheep’s cheese. We have carrots that are so sweet and fresh they need no peeling…just pop off the tops and eat them; radishes that have just a hint of heat; fresh mesculin and arugula that need no washing. We will dine in this weekend with pleasure as we enjoy all the fresh food we find in this glorious part of France.
We were back in Galleries Lafayette this afternoon and a man looked at me and said “I know you! Hello”. I was slightly taken aback. It was a couple from London who were dining at the table next to us yesterday in St Paul de Vence. While he showed me all the photos he had taken on his iPhone in Paris (really magnificent black and white photos, art-worthy) his wife proceeded to tell Jan where we should shop for shoes..Holland for heaven’s sake. They were headed back to London tonight but had just “discovered” Villefranche sur Mer and were so happy to tell us all about it. And the young woman who served us tea remembered us from earlier this week and relayed how hard her week had been because someone had broken a foot and she had to serve all the Italians who came over on the ferry. The pâtissier walked me out into the square and pointed to the boulangerie he was sure would still have bread at 7:00 PM tonight.
That is an overview of a bright and sunny and somewhat melancholy Saturday in Nice…two tired ladies who will fall into a deep sleep shortly and be ready for the next chapter tomorrow.