Sunday, January 27, 2013

Off Season

Sunshine on the Mediterranean   Laurie Fox Pessemier   7.5 x 13 inches  SOLD
 View of Villefranche Bay   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  15 x 18 inches
 Winter Cherry  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acyrlic on linen  9 x 13 inches
Flowering Cherry   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  18 x 15 inches


“This place is great until March”, the German man tells me.  “After that, the town is packed with tourists with 800 Euros to spend --  they could be anywhere.  “   He’s been here twenty three years and twenty-five days he tells me.  Blair saw him again today at the market.

It has been incredibly wonderful  in Villefranche-sur-Mer this month.  Harika and I and a half dozen other people spend our sunny afternoons on the beach.  Harika digs a hole to keep her belly cool, and lies in the blazing sun.  I am constantly rearranging, dipping in the water and painting pictures, pinching myself to be sure this isn’t a dream.  As soon as we’re out of the sun, I have to put my coat back on – a little reality.

We’ve found ourselves a decent coffee shop, right on the Darse, where the boats are docked.  Blair and I painted there on Thursday, while Harika chatted up the crowd.  Coffee isn’t great here, which is surprising, so close to Italy.  The more “ Italian” shops near Monaco are better  -- we’re only twenty minutes from the border.   I had a great dish of eggplant parmesan in Beauiieu, where we do our grocery shopping.

We’ve been to Monaco and Menton, Beaulieu and St. Jean Cap Ferrat.  At the Rothschild Gardens, we were almost the only visitors.  We’ve been without a car on this trip, which has done wonders for our marriage – no fighting.   We’ve taken buses and trains everywhere, to the tune of a euro or so per trip.

On the other hand, I’ve got housemaid’s knee from so much walking.  At the market today a weed-woman sold me Tamuss root.  She shows me how to grind it and apply it.  “Let me do it,” she says.  I beg off as I am wearing tights.  She goes on to suggest we wash the inside of our body:  tilluel.  I giggle at the thought, and leave with a large root.

I am surprised more people don’t vacation off-season.   Of course, I am glad they don’t.  This way we talk to the locals.   There are people here from all over the world.  Signs are in several languages.  To date, I have heard English, German, Russian, Danish (well, a Scandinavian tongue, in any case), Italian, Spanish, and of course, French.  An Englishman Blair spoke to today told him this international flavor exists year round, even more in the summer.

We’ve been watching movies here at our apartment.  It’s a shock to us both, who only went to the cinema twice last year, once the year before.   Clearly, it’s the proximity to Cannes.  When I look at the films, I am astonished at how empty the Jersey Islands are, and the Italian coast.  But of course, it must have been filmed off season.

 Boats at the Darse   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen   10.5 x 16 inches  SOLD

 At the coffee shop   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on wood  19 x 8.5 inches

Wooden Boat  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on wood 14 x 5 inches

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