Barb and Baden’s Excellent France Adventure 4.0 – Final

Côte d’Azure

It’s Friday morning right now and the end of our trip is in sight. By Sunday we will be heading back to the airport for our return flight home to Vancouver. Well, hopefully on Sunday. As of this morning, this is not 100% certain. More on that later.


As I write this last chapter of our trip to France we are still in Cannes (properly pronounced: cahn) but we still have one destination left to go and we will be moving for the last time this afternoon to the small hill town of Saint-Paul de Vence. Barb and I have been to Saint-Paul de Vence on our first Adventure to France back in 2002. Back then we just visited for a few hours as a day trip when we were staying in Nice but the memory has obviously stayed with us and today we will be returning for a two day visit.

Very Splendid

Here in Cannes we have been staying at the Hotel Splendid and it was a great choice on Barb’s part. The hotel was built in 1871 but of course is fully up to date. There are pictures of the hotel in the lobby from the early days and from the look of it there wasn’t much in Cannes when the hotel was first built.

The best part of the hotel is the location as we have been able to walk everywhere and all of the things that we have wanted to do here has been literally blocks away.

After our stay in the fairly sleepy Bordeaux town of Margaux, Cannes was just the change that I was looking for as it has a very good energy about it. Either walking along Rue Antibes for shopping or just walking around the streets looking for a restaurant at night there’s plenty of people out with you at all times but not in an overwhelming way. To me, this time of the year in Cannes is just perfect for temperature and amount of people.

I look forward to a return trip to Cannes in the future.

Hill Towns and Work Stoppages

One of the things that we have done before when we stayed on the Côte d’Azure is to use the train that runs along the coast to visit other towns. Yesterday we did that very thing as we took off to the small hill town of Èze for the day. Located about 10 Km from the city of Nice, Èze has a train station that would normally allow us to get there directly from Cannes. I say normally as yesterday things didn’t quite work to that way.

Many people have been asking us if the well publicized strikes that have been occurring across France over the past month have affected us or not. The best answer is that before yesterday the impact to us was fairly minimal.

On our train ride to Èze we stopped at the Nice main station and were told that our 10 minute stop was going to be more like around 2 hours due to the trains shutting down for a protest. We ended up taking a taxi for the final few kilometres to Èze so the impact of the strike wasn’t huge other than the Euros that we had to pay for the taxi. Nonetheless the weather was sunny and we enjoyed an afternoon in Èze with spectacular views of the Mediterranean.

Flight Risk

As I was saying earlier, we have a bit of a risk for our return flight home to Vancouver on Sunday. As of right now (Friday morning) there is a small chance that our flight from Nice to Amsterdam will be delayed due to labour problems and this may cause us to miss our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver which only flies once a day. This exact thing happened when Peter, Liz and us were returning home from Italy five years ago and we ended up having to spend the night in a hotel in London to wait for the flight the next day which also only occurred once a day.

Last night Barb and I were on the computer looking at all kinds of options to mitigate the risk of missing that flight out of Amsterdam but it looks like we will have to go on the originally booked flights and see how it goes.

Hill Town #2

It’s Friday now and we’ve now left Cannes and have arrived in Saint-Paul de Vence. Saint-Paul and Vence are actually two separate towns about 5 kilometres apart and the hotel that we are staying in is just down the road from Saint-Paul. We visited Saint-Paul for just a few hours on our first trip to France back in 2002 and we have thought about returning ever since.

Saint-Paul is a walled medieval hill town with narrow stone-lined streets featuring small shops and art galleries every few steps. It has to be one of the most visited places in all of France and during the peak of summer the streets of the village must be impassable. However now in mid-October the town is just perfect. The weather is sunny but cool (in the high teens) and there are hardly any crowds. Walking along the streets, visiting the shops and taking pictures can all be done with ease and little tension.

One of the most common things that one sees in Saint-Paul de Vence are art galleries. In fact for the past eight years Barb and I have talked about how we should have bought a painting from a small gallery but were indecisive about it. Barb still had the brochure in her purse for the gallery that we visited and the gallery still is there but are featuring a different artist now.

And Finally…

Last night was Saturday which means that it was the final night of our stay in France. After we had finished doing what suitcase packing we needed to do we reflected on our Excellent France Adventure and shared our thoughts about this fourth visit.

The one thing that we both would have changed with the itinerary of this trip was probably to spent a few days less in thr Bordeaux area and add some days to Cannes. Exploring more of the Côte d’Azure by train is something that we would have liked to do more of but we were limited by the time we were in Cannes.

I’ve now had a full trip to assess the value of having an iPhone with me. Having the iPhone with us in a large city like Paris was great to have. The most useful apps that I used were thr Metro Paris Subway app and the built-in Map app. Both of these apps leveraged the iPhone’s built-in GPS and instantly told you were you were and quickly gave either street or subway directions.

However, I should clarify that the iPhone was not used anywhere near as much outside of Paris and certainly during our time in Bordeaux we exclusively relied on our car’s GPS. We have rented cars twice now with GPS in different countries and we will never rent a car again without it. If only we had a GPS on the car that we rented in Italy! The time we could have saved getting lost. 🙁

Speaking of my iPhone, getting the iPhone connected in France was an excruciating experience. I intend to write a completely separate article on this issue but suffice to say that people in at least 5 stores in Paris told me that I could not get my iPhone connected with Internet access for a short term. C’est impossible! Fortunately I persisted and finally found someone who worked in an FNAC store (which is like a Best Buy in Canada) who was able to provide me with what I needed to connect.

In most ways this trip to France was had far less pre-planned items on our itinerary and that was exactly the way that we wanted it. It may be several years before we return to France again but return we will certainly do as Barb and I cannot see ourselves not tasting some part of France for too many years.

We have several different vacation plans that are in various stages of development. We see ourselves doing more of the single city short trips as we had recently done with our New York City Adventure this past spring where we spent about 9 days.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed following along with us through our latest Excellent France Adventure and hope that you will enjoy being there with us for future Adventures.

Oh, and before I forget, all of our flights getting home from France worked out OK without any delays as there were no labour disruptions. As I write these final sentences we’re both at home now as of about 2 hours ago.





  • Pyrenne & Dave

    Sounds like you two had a great time and great photos too.
    Loved reading all about your trip. Next stop Australia?
    Come on down!