We left Caux for the sunny south of the French Riviera. The iron of it all was that as we travelled the 250
km four hours journey it was in the rain with temperatures hovering around 16 degrees Celsius. At the same time in the fridget
northern country of Canada in Toronto the home of the Ice Capades commonly called the Leafs the temperatures were at 30 plus.
We had decided to move down the coast from Caux, which were one hour, NW of Montpellier and end up staying at
the perfume capital of Grasse north of Cannes. We drove past Marseilles, St Tropez and arrived in Cannes. We along the way
convinced ourselves that because Grasse was in the hills Cannes was by the seashore and therefore warmer. We were wrong Cannes
was 2 degrees colder. We turned around and headed for Grasse. We got off at the exit for Cannes and were immediately ensnarled
in a huge traffic jam stretching 2 miles to the beach. It took us some 45 minutes to accomplish the two miles.
The last 5 blocks nearest the beach is where the action is. These streets are teaming with people and shops.
Restaurants, clothing and gift shops, bakeries, butchers, jewellers and more. This area about is behind the magnificent famous
hotels that line the 3 mile bay of Cannes along the road know as the Croisette. Here is the where the Festival Hall is and
where the stars gather. Along the street are the most expensive shops and restaurants.
We headed for Grasse couldn’t find accommodations and returned once again to Cannes. The only hotel we
could find was the familiar Holiday Inn. What a grand mistake that was. It billed itself as a 3 star hotel it was a ½ star
hotel. You can't park your car out front and go into the lobby to check the place out. You have to go into the bowels of the
building into a descent several levels down via circular ramps that leave scant room on each side to travel down. On arriving
in the are to park you cannot go in forward since the space is so narrow you must back in. That accomplished you to to the
elevator to go to the lobby and have to be buzzed through for security reasons. Should have told us something. It was late
and we were tired so we rented. The rugs in the hall were dirty, the room had clean linen but you couldn’t leave
and open suitcase on the floor to access it. This was caused because there was a cupboard that held 3 shirts only. We elbowed
politely past each other in disgust. The next morning we couldn’t leave this hotel as soon as we could.
The only saving grace was that we found a little restaurant around the corner called Joseph’s Garden.
It was visually warm and welcoming and we choose to eat on the patio under vines. We also choose to be daring and eat items
on the menu you normally don’t see in other places. Elizabeth had a kidney stew served in a pot that was tasty. In my
case I like the marrow in the bone when I have Osso Bucco. I guessed on the menu that they had an item with marrow. I asked
the lady who was the wife of the owner what was it. She told me it was the a section of shin bone of a cow cut open exposing
the marrow and then cover with cheese, seasoning and garlic. I was up for the adventure. It was wonderful, tasty lots of marrow.
If I could only it here in Toronto. I am going to look for it.
As it turned out the chef was Joseph of the Garden fame and it was his wife who waited on us. A charming family
business where they lived in the back and the restaurant was more like you were being invited into their home and patio. He
was half French and Vietnamese. His father was a military officer who served in Vietnam and his mother Vietnamese. I invited
him for a drink of cognac after the meal and that lead to several drinks of Cognac with pleasure. We struggled in our conversation
but learned he had worked in some of the best restaurants in Paris and Cannes. Learned to cook on the side and wanted his
own business. The cognac was never charged so I off set it by leaving a sizeable tip. Both he and his wife were charming and
the type of people and circumstance that makes the trip to France a wonderful adventure.
When I think of it when you are in France the tip is included in the bill and if an American during the first
day hadn’t made us aware of this we would have given our usual 10-15% tip. They told us if we care to leave something
leave a Euro or two and that’s it.