Cagnes-sur-Mer on the French Riviera

The train station in Nice was lovely, and presented our first real challenge in navigation and communication.

A subset of our camera club (Photographic Society of Orange County) went to Cagnes-sur-Mer by train on our first full day in France. Next to the farmer’s market at Nice, this was my favorite place on the Cote d’Azur.

Our first stop was the Renoir Museum, where he lived for the last years of his life. Beautiful place, but we got lost twice and arrived two minutes after they closed for lunch. After a long, hot walk, it was frustrating to not get to see it.

Stymied in our attempt to see the Renoir Museum, we walked back down the long hill and had lunch at a small cafe. I had Croque Monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. This one had Bechamel sauce on top and was delicious. Wine was cheaper than water, so I had wine.

This beautiful gate to an estate was close to the Renoir Museum.

After lunch, we caught a bus to Haut de Cagnes, a medieval castle and village atop a hill in Cagnes-sur-Mer. Instead of getting physically lost on unfamiliar streets, I got wonderfully lost in the beauty of the old doors, windows, and stonework. Imagine, a medieval village dating back to the 1300s with people still living there. Small apartments were selling for half a million Euros, if you’re interested.

Haut de Cagnes

Grimaldi castle

The old stone entry to the walled village of Haut de Cagnes. Imagine how many people have passed through these stone walls for so many different purposes over the past seven centuries.

A courtyard in Haut de Cagnes

Windows

Succulents in window

Window with ancient wooden windowsill

Window and lamp

Window with geraniums

Window with green shutter

Window with pansies

Window with succulents II

Ivy on wall

Glowing courtyard by church

Church courtyard

Potted plants by doors

Shuttered window

Closed door

Courtyard scene by Grimaldi castle

Outdoor cafe outside the entry arch to Grimaldi castle

The group gathered for a respite before catching the bus to the train back to Nice. I'm in there third on the left in a dark green t-shirt, looking pretty happy after my glass(es) of wine.

Salty olives and vin du pays

Others opted for non-alcoholic beverages. I'm not even going to try to pronounce the one on the left.

 Maybe I shouldn’t have had that second glass of wine. I ended up dancing hiphop with a group of young men who were listeing to loud American West Coast rap on the very crowded bus. (Keep in mind that I work with Hispanic gang members at the Orange County Conservation Corps. Despite the fact that I’m 67,  I’m familiar with rap and hiphop, plus the dance steps.)

I borrowed a ball cap from one of boys who was wearing it backwards. Very old school. I showed him how to put it on bill forward, then rotate it back about 20 degrees. Yeah, I was down with it! I was movin’! One of the boys told me in English that I “must shake your ass more.”

My group was so (embarrassed, mystified, enthralled, entertained–take your pick) that we missed our stop and ended up dashing across the busy street to catch the bus back to the train station. What a day.

In Nice, we went to a nice Moroccan restaurant for dinner.

I had lamb tagine with prunes and almonds, sweet, exotic, delicious.

I slept like a stone. I was in love with France.

Stay tuned for photo essays on Nice and Monaco/Monte Carlo.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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4 Responses to Cagnes-sur-Mer on the French Riviera

  1. graceonline says:

    Delicious images and a delightful story about your hip-hop adventure.

  2. Great photos! Although I admit, my favorite is probably the salty olives and vin du pays. Good for you dancing to hip hop…I might need a third glass to do that…as I don’t know the steps!

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