Emergency support required, after emotional and unexpected break with boyfriend! What to do when stranded alone in the middle of France? Why, decamp to the South of France, call girlfriends, get alcohol. Specifically to Lou Messugo, a Gite in Roquefort Les Pins midway between Nice and Antibes and towards the mountains.
What do you need to aid in heartbreak – friends, a respectable amount of alcohol, decent weather and if not decent weather a nice place to enjoy whatever the weather presents.
Friend #1: Phoebe. We shared a flat the mid ‘90’s, and during that time we travelled up from Hanoi, across China and Mongolia, Siberia, Russia and into Finland. Part of which of course is the Trans Siberian railway. Part of which was also a horseride through the Altai mountains on the border between Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Phoebe and her husband met in Hanoi.
I met my now ex-boyfriend in Argentina and it hasn’t lasted beyond five years. It has abruptly ended with the Gallic shrug and the ‘I don’t love you anymore so there is nothing to discuss’.
The Gite belongs to Phoebe and her husband, who together with their two sons live in a large house above it. I have the fully contained apartment to myself when I want and I move upstairs to get a break from my over-analysing of what went wrong.
Friend #2: Ruth. Also a friend from Hanoi all those years ago. Also met her husband in Hanoi and being both British moved back to London. Ruth has pledged to a dry January, but this is an emergency and so she has kindly agreed to break her pledge.
Alcohol – well it is France, so a wide variety available. Large quantities of red wine, and then because I am now slightly anti-French, Gin and tonics. I am told that Gin is now a ‘thing’ and that people attend Gin Bars and drink it like whiskey. I didn’t know that. Hopefully this trend has made it to Australia where I am bound, on the weekend.
The Gite opens onto a garden that catches the sun, even in winter. I have escaped from the middle of France where I fell in the snow and ice as I made my slightly un-focussed way to the train station on the way south. The mimosa is flowering and the lavender is fragrant. I have to keep reminding myself that this is actually winter.
Ruth and I are semi-frequent visitors and so waive off the options to visit nearby Grasse, Nice, Cannes or Antibes or to go further afield to Monte Carlo or Ventimiglia. We contemplate a drive to Marseille to see Le Corbusier’s Cite Radieuse , but ultimately decide to book a coiffeuse to come to the house set up the Gite as a personal salon for some pampering and a variety of treatments. For Ruth and I, a ‘brushing’. Phoebe has a couleur and her son has his six-monthly haircut. At one stage Ruth and I find ourselves watching Phoebe’s son have his hair cut as if we were watching TV and we laugh and shake ourselves out of it.
The final day, still preferring a quiet life we take a stroll in the La Colle sur Loup, along the river in the sun. Then I get to choose and I choose lunch … on the water along the Promenade de la Plage in Cagnes sur Mer. Later Ruth flies out – a quick flight across the water to London and the next day I prepare for the long flight back to Australia.
Which is OK. There are worse places.
Even if you are of sound mind and body Lou Messugo is an easy and good place to stay for a holiday. There are plenty of things to do. Shops and restaurants within walking distance, the South of France on your doorstep and easy access to all the famous places – Nice, Cannes, Antibes or further afield to Marseille, Monte Carlo or the Italian border.
Click on this link to get through to the Lou Messugo website to read more or to make a booking.
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