Travel Log: Travel Thoughts

July 8, 2011

It finally feels like summer – and at airports around the world, travel is in full bloom.

My summer vacation will be coming up in August. My family will travel by air – Delta – to France.

We will fly from Boston to Charles DeGaulle in Paris and then on to Nice.

For those of you who haven’t been to France, and especially for those of you who have heard countless stories about how rude and insufferable the French can be, I believe from experience that the opposite is true.

I have now been to France probably 25 times in the past ten years for as along as a month and for as short as a week. I have never experienced a bad moment at the hands of the French, but then, I travel to the south of France where life is very different than in Paris in the summer.

First things you notice getting off the plane in Nice is the Mediterranean in all its gorgeous blue splendor, the mountains behind Nice and the beauty of the immediate surroundings with palm trees and flowers, soaring architecture and the definite feeling that the place is arid. The air is perfectly dry and the heat of the day, although hot, is never uncomfortable as there is almost the total absence of humidity. The Nice Airport hugs the sea. I get my rental car. I put on my favorite station that broadcasts out of Monaco, and I’m on my way.

The French Riviera was settled by the British, mostly, during the late 1870’s. By the Roaring 20’s it had become one of the world’s most famous destinations. It remains a famous destination today but without the panache it once held for everyone who couldn’t afford to be there trying to get a glimpse inside.

The Riviera today is a crowded, lively, fun filled getaway – not just for foreigners from all over Europe and the United States but for the French themselves.

The French go on vacation in mid-July, beginning with Bastille Day. The French are still vacationing in September, amazingly enough.

We will spend ten days in Cannes at a private home owned by friends of ours. We are traveling with another couple with two daughters 12 and 10, the same ages as my two daughters.

Compatability is important. Girls need other girls their age to really enjoy.

Cannes is situated on a series of rolling hills and the city itself runs down to the water and the water is framed by the mountains and a day at the beach in Cannes is to die for.

The city literally glitters and vibrates with activity at the same time.

Life is crowded in the South of France and there are hundreds of thousands of visitors vacationing at any one time.

But everything seems to work.

The food isn’t as sophisticated as Paris offers but it is fine as far as I’m concerned. If you like mussels, you’ll love the South of France because they do up mussels a hundred ways.

Pasta dishes abound. Salads are exquisite and simple things like bread – cooked twice daily – is as light as a feather. There is really nothing that compares with French bread, vine grown French tomatoes and French peaches. They are sweet and succulent.

French pastries are to die for.

Need a change of pace? Want sun, sea and mountains with perfect climate?

Go to the South of France.

You will return home with the deepest, darkest, healthiest tan of your life – and with wonderful memories, too.