Headed to Grasse from Gap just yesterday, (Sunday). A few people recommended that we take Rue de Napoléon, which is a road that was originally used by Napoléon to bring his armies discretely through the mountains without Louis the 18th noticing. It is now known for being a spectacular drive through some very scenic parts of France. Along the way we stopped in Castellane, a slow moving town where I got to sit down with some locals, watch some football (you know what sport I’m talking about) while the bartender casually went about fixing the humidifier, intermittently taking pause to refill a beer.
Back on the road and on to Grasse! Grasse is considered the world capital of perfume. Every other shop you walk past is a perfume store and there is the Fragonard Perfumerie which offers free entrance to its museum and production site. Being so close to Italy, it certainly has an italian feel. The town doesn’t have much going for it. The food is mediocre. There isn’t too much to see. I do have to admit though, that walking through the backstreets it may have been one of the most maze-like and fun cities to get lost in. You can just wonder and there is always a tiny corridor that will lead to the next narrow street.
We hit the road again and headed to Nice, or at least nearby, to meet up with our friends Florian and Maïa that we had met in Céüse. We met up on the beach, so much warmer than Céüse! ahhh! …and then headed to a nearby crag in the town of La Turbie to get in some climbing.
We stayed the night at Florian’s parents house in St Laurent du Var, just outside of Nice. His mother got stressed out due to our abrupt arrival at the house, not because of our intruding, but rather as in french fashion she was upset that she had not had the time to properly prepare and host us. I enjoy mentioning this because despite her concern, we had a spectacular home-cooked meal that she just whipped up on the fly. It was a bit more italian than french, consisting of bruschetta topped with melted cheese and meat and pasta with fresh homemade pesto. Terrible hosting, right?? But seriously they were amazing hosts and Kristina and I can’t thank them enough for everything. Merci beaucoup!
The next day we swung by a bakery where we shared a tourte aux blettes. It’s similar to a quiche but has rice and spinach inside and the whole thing is soaked in pig fat. Yum!!! I highly recommend getting one if you come to France! We then headed to a different climbing crag where…drum roll, I onsighted a 7a and climbed my first 7b (5.12b)!!!
That night we followed Florian to a beautiful peninsula beach just outside Antibes for some campfire cooking and boozing to celebrate Kristina’s birthday. Couldn’t have been a better day.
The next day our tour guide Florian brought us to another beautiful french beach, this time with cliff jumping and deep water soloing!
Deep water solo time!