Thursday, June 28, 2012

Making a new friend in Menton. Summer 2012 Travelogue (6)

Tomorrow morning, I will say goodbye to Nice, and the French Riviera, or as we, French people, like to call it, "la Côte d'Azur." 

It has been quite the vacation. Tonight, as I am packing my bag, enjoying one last evening in my cozy apartment in the heart of le Vieux Nice (Nice's old town,) I can hear the street below, restaurant patrons laughing; the clinkering of wine glasses; a band playing. I know I will remember the sounds of la Belle Nice for months to come, counting the days until I can return.

I will miss exploring favorite neighborhoods, on my own, or with my friend Malyss

Blogging has been good to me. I have met in person another fellow blogger here, and made a new friend in the process. 

Her name is Jilly, from Menton Daily Photo. She lives near Menton, a short train ride away from Nice. Jilly is English, but she has traveled the world, and eventually chose to settle down near the last French town before the Italian border. 

Today, as a special treat before I head back to Paris where Junior and my family are waiting, she showed me around Menton, and the quaint perched village of Gorbio. After so many years here, and thanks to her popular blogs, she knows everyone in town and introduced me to all her friends.

- Jilly: "Voilà Véronique. Un French blogger de Seattle, Etats-Unis."

- Locals: "..." [insert puzzled look]

- Véronique: "Enchantée. Je suis Française. Je vis aux Etats-Unis. Je visite la région avec mon guide anglais, Jilly." (Nice to meet you. I am French. I live in the United States. I am visiting the area with my English guide, Jilly.)

- Locals (thinking: "It's a strange world we live in"): "Ahhhh... Bonjour... Bienvenue." 

We had a long, and interesting day together, filled with lively conversation; laughs; many photos (we are both bloggers after all,) and enough breathtaking sights to turn this French-Americanized tourist into a Riviera-convert for life. 

I want to do our time together justice, but it is late, and I am catching an early TGV back to Paris. Menton and Gorbio deserve a real story. I will get to it after I return to the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, here are some snapshots of my fun day with Jilly.

First, there was a 30mn train ride (I will never praise the fantastic local public transportation system enough,) and I arrived in Menton where Jilly picked me up outside the train station.

We toured peaceful Menton in the morning before the weather got too hot. I saw enough to make me feel like coming back and exploring further during my next visit. I loved the beach, and the quaint old town, with its steep streets; cathedral; cemetery; and amazing views of the coast. Along the way, Jilly stopped to snap shots of local dogs. If you do not know her other blog, Riviera Dogs, I encourage you to visit it. She has an uncanny ability to capture our four-legged friends. 

Jilly, hard at work...

Mid-day, Jilly and I drove up a winding road and arrived at her home, a.k.a. "Pension Milou," a boarding place for [lucky] local pooches. While Jilly called a client in Australia to check on the whereabouts of a three-year old Lab that had been "shipped" back home to be reunited with her owners, I played with some of her furry guests. 

The terrace chez Pension Milou
This little one captured my heart...
So long, Roxy!

Life is good at Pension Milou, eh, "Beau?"

The "pièce de résistance" was a visit to Gorbio, a perched village just a few minutes outside of Menton. Jilly loves it there, and her enthusiasm is contagious. A special place, certainement, and not a tourist in sight. Incroyable. The local restaurant served us the best meal I had during the whole vacation. The owner and his family took turns greeting Jilly, who is a bit of a local celebrity thanks to her daily chronicles of life in Menton and Gorbio.  

Ah, the smell of the jasmine laden trellis!

There is no good meal in the South without Rosé wine...

Later on, we walked off our delicious lunch - slowly, due to the scorching heat - and explored the streets of Gorbio. There were several art exhibits in ancient buildings; breathtaking views of the mountains and the coast; a plethora of old houses and cobbled streets. Gorbio does pittoresque et authentique like no other village I have visited so far on the coast.

Les chats de Gorbio

When it was time to leave, Jilly and I hugged, promising to keep in touch, and I know we will. A bientôt, Jilly. Stay cool. Bonne chance pour le vernissage!

Back in Nice, Malyss was waiting for me at the train station. She had prepared a simple farewell meal at her house so we could chat one last time, because, you know, that's what girlfriends do. Merci encore, Marie.

As for you, ma chère Nice, you and I know... Ce n'est qu'un au revoir. 

A bientôt.

All photos by French Girl in Seattle
Please do not use without permission


  1. A l'année prochaine! :o) Bises!

  2. Merci de ces belles photos de Nice qui apportent du soleil chez moi ou les temperatures ce matin sont a 9 degres. J'adore ton header tres perso avec l'enseigne du blog de veronique. Amities d'Australie. Marianne

  3. Oh my dear JIlly. First Malyss and now J!!! You have had quite a trip south. I recognize Gorbio and Pension Milou et BO!!! Love photos.

  4. You are too cool, meeting another blogger and having such a great time. You are a role model for all women travelers! I certainly would like to return to the south of France again. Continue having a fab time!

  5. Je suis contente qu’il y ait un train pour aller à Menton car nous n’aurons pas de voiture quand nous irons à Nice cet automne. Ma cousine a été à la fête des citrons à Menton et cela m’a donné envie de connaître cette ville. J’ai dit à mon mari que nous irons à Menton, à Antibes et à Vintimille en train, mais je n’étais pas sûre. Encore de jolies photos Véronique et un très beau voyage.

  6. how fortunate for you happy the days in nice were so nice-but the greatest of all souvenirs are the new friendships gained.... twice blessed you were this trip-looking forward AGAIN to all future stories -

  7. I loved taking this vacation with you. Nice was the first town I landed in when I visited Europe and I loved seeing all th pictures you posted. I follow Jilly's Monte Carlo blog and Menton blog. Great post and thanks for sharing.

  8. What fun your are having. How fortuitous to have met Gilly and Gorbio looks like a wonderful place. Enjoy the remainder of your stay and thank you sharing your life

    Helen xx

  9. Looks like the vacation is going well. ;-)
    Thanks for taking us along. ~ Sarah

  10. What a pleasure it was to finally meet you and find you as delightful as I knew you would be! Thankyou for the kind and generous words and super photos. So happy you loved Menton and Gorbio as much as I do! Adore your enthusiasm and what a good day we had together putting the world to rights. It was fascinating for me to hear what it's like to be a French woman in America. Bon voyage and as Malyss said, a l'année prochaine. Big hug. Jilly xxx

  11. I'm so happy that you met the fantastic and charming Jilly! ... and of course that you could visit Menton and Gorbio!

  12. What a wonderful holiday you must have . We have been in Nice last Saturday for a couple of hours before going to the airfield and I think it is beautiful. We loved walking around there.It was very hot so sitting on the beach was great.

  13. You'll find the dog Veronique and I were photographing here, on Riviera Dogs.

  14. Found your Blog via Jilly's Blogs, looking forward to following your adventures. What a fantastic time you had on your vacation to one of my favorite destinations.

  15. umm excuse me time.. take me with you?;) Okay Roxy was too much to handle and you went for the jugular with the best meal ever with Jilly. C'est pas possible!! ;) Have a terrific weekend. Like you won't! xx

  16. Bonjour Véronique,
    Aujourd'hui en traduisant le blog de notre amie Jilly, j'ai lu votre nom et je me suis souvenue d'un de vos commentaires où vous parliez de vos grands parents pieds-noirs. J'espère que nous aurons l'occasion de nous rencontrer quand vous reviendrez nous voir à Gorbio.Nous parlerons de l'Algérie.Cordialement

  17. Bonjour Véronique! I discovered your blog through the wonderful Helen Tilston and must say I'm quite mesmerized by what I see here. Being a lover of anything and everything French and having lived in Seattle for a few years, for me, this is absolutely the place to be.

  18. I visited Menton several years ago but Gorbio looks wonderful - what a discovery and what a beautifully presented lunch. Just popped over to Jilly's lovely blog.
    Certainly a holiday to remember.

  19. Isn't it strange how blogging almost makes the world seem smaller? To think you could meet up with a fellow blogger out there and meet new ones...I think that is pretty cool.

    I love your friend's dog blog. She takes gorgeous photos and finds the most interesting dogs. :)

    I also like that photo of the kitty.

    I'm glad you had a wonderful trip back home. And thank you for blogging about it live. I feel as though I've been on vacation with you! Hehe.

  20. It can't be easy to leave France after so many interesting places that you have visited, so many interesting people that you've met, and so much delicious food that you have tasted.

    The dogs on your photos are really very special. Although my heart belongs to the ginger cat :)

  21. What a great post about your day in Menton and Gorbio, two places I don't know anything about except for what I have read and seen on Jilly's blog. Thanks so much for sharing.

  22. Gosh what a brilliant time you have had Veronique, it was interesting to see Gorbio through your eyes also, I have loved Jilly's images for as long as I've been blogging. It's hard to image two countries that could be more different than ours but yet in some very small way quite similar in lifestyle. I have a feeling that you'll be in for some very 'hot' weather when you return home from what I can gather reading my USA blog buddies posts, I'm a little envious, I'm wearing gloves as I type this haha!

  23. O.K., it's official! I am officially out of superlatives. What can I say? The adorable dogs and cat just did it for me. "Je jette l'éponge." Jilly sounds delightful. Isn't it wonderful how brief encounters can add so much to our lives? Sometimes they become special Malyss.


Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle