I landed in Nice last Thursday to spend some time with my mom and stepdad, who are staying in France for the next couple of months. Thank goodness for spare bedrooms and EasyJet flights! Thursday was spent in a short, hot trip down the mountain to Monte Carlo, where I haven’t been since I was fifteen. A giant palmier later, I finally was admitted to the Monte Carlo casino (fifteen year olds are barred at the gates). Only to find you have to pay to get in and gamble, so my plan to make like Lucy Ricardo and “accidentally” win several hundred thousand francs at roulette was foiled.
But I did pass by the Café de Paris, where my mom and I had lunch after I was barred from the casino thirteen years ago. It wasn’t a total loss, because I had the best ratatouille of my life, cut into a miniscule and perfectly cubed dice (a brunoise if you’ve been to cooking school). I never forgot it in thirteen years. But that’s when we were on the franc! Now, it’s 14 Euros! Maybe you get what you pay for.
Later on, a train of open army jeeps drove by our apartment, filled to the brim with men dressed as révolutionnaires and women dressed as Madame Lafarge. Edith Piaf blared from the cars, and they shouted the time and place of the fireworks for Bastille Day. So dutifully, at 10:30, we sat by the sea in Menton, eating ice cream, while the sparks flew.