Day 13 — July 13, 1996 (Saturday)
13.07.1996 - 14.07.1996
Woke at six, showered and packed. We were the first ones at breakfast — café au lait today. We bid the kindly nuns farewell and drove down into centre Grasse looking for a bank. We found three in a row and free parking — a great deal. We used the ATM and walked around town a bit. Nothing was open.
We followed signs to Fragonard Perfumerie, my raison d’etre for coming to Grasse. We pulled into the parking lot and parked under a huge plane tree as directed by a gentleman who worked there. We had to wait ten minutes until they opened, and another few minutes for our English-speaking guide who was a very nice young French woman who once lived in England. She guided us through the various stages of perfume making, both historic and present, and then took us into the sales room where I asked her to let me smell every fragrance in the room. I finally chose five and headed for the soap room where we got Monsieur and Madame soaps for Charles and Angie, and a selection of soaps for everyone else — including us. Fragonard has a great gift shop.
That delightful chore over, we headed north to Jausiers . . . . only getting lost once. We drove up and up and up. These really are the Alps! The French like to drive with one wheel over the center line which is somewhat unnerving with no guardrails and a several-thousand foot drop. I was glad Ed was driving.
We stopped north of Digne at a country auberge (The Edelweiss). I had lamb broquettes and Ed the lentils and sausage. We split a crudité to start and a chocolate mousse for dessert. We ate on the terrace with a great view of the Alps. The crudité was the best we’ve had . . . no shredded carrots here! There was a selection of nice crisp fresh vegetables that had been perfectly marinated.
Going on north we ran into light rain. We found Barcelonnette (with a Casino Supermarché) and Jausiers which is much larger (though small) than we expected. Checked into our timeshare early and relaxed for a while. I put my new Provençal tablecloth on the table to brighten up the living room. We need some flowers and Ed wants a candle. We even have table and chairs on the balcony looking out over the Alps.
We walked into Jausiers looking for a light dinner — very difficult in France — and couldn’t agree on anything so we drove back to Barcelonnette to the Supermarché to shop. We got bread, cheese, fruit, butter, wine, coffee filters and coffee. At the checkout the lady indicated the fruit had to be weighed, so Ed cheerfully handed the bag to me. I headed back to produce with no idea what I was doing, and fortunately happened upon a French woman in the same state of utter ignorance. Her pre-teenage daughter carefully explained the mysteries of the scale to us. You put the fruit on the scale, push the button corresponding to your fruit, and the machine spits out a ticket with the price. That done, we paid and drove back to our home for the week.
I moved some furniture around a bit and we tried the television for a while. French TV may be worse than American. There were some American sitcoms dubbed in French. There were ads for movies (both European and American dubbed), but nothing started until 10 P.M. or later. The French stop the world and eat from noon until 2 P.M., and again from 8 until 10 P.M., so it stands to reason that there is nothing interesting on television at those hours since no one is watching anyway — except possibly visiting Americans. We turned it off.
We ate our bread, cheese and wine and Ed figured out how to turn our sofa into a bed. As soon as our heads hit the pillow, I heard three shots and saw a flash through our drawn drapes. Ed, with his earplugs, heard nothing. After a few minutes, I heard more fireworks so went out on the balcony and then to the other side of the building at the bathroom window, but couldn’t see anything. Obviously, early Bastille Day revelers! I went to sleep.