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A Weekend in the Southeast of France

by Daley

This year, I got to spend Easter weekend in the southeast of France!

When it came to actually planning everything out, this trip was super last second for me.

JP had been doing branding work (he freelances in art direction/graphic design for those of you who don’t know! Feel free to check out his portfolio here heehee) for some dear friends of his, Simeone and Enzo who have just opened The Fork and Beaver in the lovely village of Pignans.

I had seen JP and his bff/creative mind parter, Vivien spend months working on the logo, fonts, menu, website and more! JP was all set to drive over to the southeast a few days before the restaurant opening to help get everything set up and put on the finishing touches.

I had work at the lycée so we didn’t think I would be joining him. But, the week before, we found an Easyjet ticket from Bordeaux to Nice for 30 euros on the Saturday morning before the restaurant opening. JP’s sweet sister, Lauriane lives in Antibes (not too far from the Nice airport) and was totally down to have a sister-in-law sleepover and host me that night, then we would join JP at the restaurant opening the next day (Easter Sunday)!

I arrived in Nice that morning and Lauriane and I had lunch with her and JP’s mom in downtown Antibes.

I love living in Bordeaux, but being a California girl, I sometimes forget how much the sun and ocean can affect my mood. It was so nice to be able to walk around and see the water. It reminded me of my high school days back in Santa Cruz.

After lunch at a crêperie, we made a little stop at the Picasso museum. The museum was pretty small and as luck would have it the floor with most of Picasso’s actual pieces was closed off for renovations. So, instead, we took in some of the work from other artists and the museum terrace’s pretty views.

(tbh I didn’t really get with this one…so much glitter)

I do have to say, I have the best sister-in-law ever. I felt like I was at a hotel staying with her with my perfectly folded towels and waking up to an adorable breakfast. She is the sweetest host and it was so nice to be able to hang out and spend some quality time together.

Before I had left for the weekend, I got a text from Lauriane telling me to pack a swimsuit. While the weather in the southeast is definitely warmer than Bordeaux, I didn’t think it was quite warm enough for the beach.

I’m all about body positivity but I’m also all about being honest. And, to be perfectly honest,  my first reaction when I got this text was panic. I was not feeling great and the thought of being in a swimsuit around strangers pretty much terrified me.

I called JP in a frenzy because of course, this whole swimsuit issue was much more important than the actual work he was doing in the southeast.

He answered before the first ring even finished.

“YOUR SISTER TOLD ME TO BRING A SWIMSUIT DO YOU THINK WE’RE GOING TO A POOL OR SOMETHING I’M FREAKING OUT”

“What?” I could feel his brow furrowing through the phone, “no, my sister hates public pools.”

***(SEGWAY, but did you know in France at public pools men have to wear speedos!? They’re not allowed to wear swim trunks for hygiene reasons–in case they wear their swim trunks out and about in town and bring dirt back into the pool–anyway I just thought this info was worth sharing.)

“THEN WHAT ARE WE DOING?”

“Hmmmm….hmmmm….” he mumbled, “Oh! Oh yeah, I saw some spa tickets in her bag! She’s probably taking you to the spa.”

My anxiety was immediately replaced with intrigue and appreciation. A spa?? How nice! How thoughtful! Annnnnd, I had just ruined what was supposed to be a very nice surprise. MY B.

The next morning, Lauriane drove us out to a beautiful little spa in Cannes. We had some relaxing treatments at the Cannes Riviera Hotel’s “Marilyn Spa” and then hung out in the steam room and tub area.

We then headed out to the restaurant opening! I was so proud to see everything come together. I never realized how much work actually went into branding until meeting JP. There’s so much thought and time that goes into something like a logo or font and I was so happy I was able to see the restaurant and vision come to life. And, of course, I was ecstatic for Simone and Enzo (the proud owners)!

The day was full of complimentary small plates, wine, and live music.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I do not joke around when it comes to food and restaurants. But, I’m telling you, if you ever find yourself in the little village of Pignans, you have to check out The Fork and Beaver.

The day after the opening, we were able to actually dine here and it was so delicious. We got seats on the lovely terrace and dug in. The menu changes every day and prices are more than reasonable.

We then headed to JP’s mom’s place in Fayence (a very cute little town about an hour-ish from Nice and where JP grew up)! One of the things I most love about France is the dynamic of a French dinner. Dinners here are much slower and usually have a few steps involved (apéro, dinner, dessert and maybe coffée or a digestif after).

This time, we had an apéro dinner, which basically means little dishes and drinks. It was a delicious spread of dips, foie gras, and champagne. We all sat around the fireplace talking, eating and drinking until it was time to go to sleep.

The next morning we ventured out for a long drive back to Bordeaux. I say “we” when really it was JP who drove the whole time. My California driver’s license isn’t valid in France and I don’t know how to drive a stick shift…but JP handled the drive like a champ and we were back to our little studio by sunset.

What about all of you? Have you got any traveling in these last few weeks?

Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo

Daley

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