Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cote D'Azur

Once upon a four-day holiday weekend in France, five girls decided to celebrate the “anniversary” of Christ’s ascension into heaven by piling into a rental car and heading South…because nothing says “heaven” like the Cote d’Azur and a weekend away from kids (especially the latter). With our oh-so-plentiful Au Pair salaries, we found accommodations through Couch Surfing, meaning that we found a guy who complimentarily offered us his apartment for our stay. It was in Cannes. It had the most perfect ocean view. It was amazing and it welcomed us, after 6 hours of driving, with aperitifs and three of the host’s seemingly charming French friends who were ready to take us for a night out.

So, that’s exactly what we did. And by 2 am, we found ourselves wrapping things up at the bar after sipping drinks and exchanging expat stories. Despite the hour, the streets were still swarming with people; their cameras ready for star sightings and their heels ready for the dance floor. It was your typical middle-of-May night out in Cannes during the 63rd Annual Film Festival.

Lauren, a few of us are going dancing,” Our host mentioned. “Are you coming out with us or going back to the apartment with the others?”

The thought of sleep was whispering in my ear: Use your better judgment and return to the apartment. Hmm… But on the other hand, how often am I in Cannes with my friends, being toured around by four French locals. No, it’s been a successful day. End it on a high note. Call it a night. Get some sleep. Go sight-seeing in the morning…and maybe even a jog on the beach? Yeah, okay. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll definitely head back now.

I didn’t go back. I stayed with the remaining five of our group in pursuit of an overly pretentious Cannes dance club. (Because in the French Riviera, which is frighteningly similar to Newport Beach, that’s really all you’ll find). Okay, yes, maybe I am easily influenced at times, but after our last victorious vacation in Barcelona, I had no reason to believe this would be any different. Yet, I should’ve known. I should’ve known that after the “luck” I’ve had with France since January that it wouldn’t be so easy-breezy without some sort of hiccup.

Because somewhere in the midst of standing in the streets waiting for our host to decide on a destination, and me explaining to one of the French friends why I’d make a good Wingman for him, I realized the rest of the group was gone.

Yes, there I was, lost in Cannes. But, but, at least I wasn’t alone. I was with Cyrus, one of the three friends who welcomed us into Cannes. And don’t fret Mom and Dad, because though I may not have remembered his name at the time, it was written on a piece of paper in my clutch (along with his email for, duh¸Facebook), and he was quite attractive (despite what his name might lead you to believe). Plus, he worked in Finance, said that his job title involved the word “executive” and he had his MBA, which totally equates to being dependable, right?! So, don’t worry because I wasn’t worried in the least. Plus, how hard could it be to find the other four people when the there’s only a couple of streets of nightlife?

Apparently, very... While searching for the others, we danced, twirled, spun, weaved, and giggled our way through club after club, landing ourselves empty handed without a smidgen of success... but it was an adventure, right?!

Okay, no big deal.. Let’s just call them,” I suggested to the cute business (though probably a junior, if that) executive.

Yes, but my phone died about an hour ago. I may be able to turn it on long enough to get their number and then we can call them on yours.”

And here is where I feel the need to articulate, at least to myself, that I’m generally a very responsible gal: I jog on the right side of the road, I carry Purel hand sanitizer in my purse, I file my taxes before April 15th and have a savings account (which okay fine, is dwindling far quicker than I’d like). I keep a listing of American Embassy locations in my wallet and an overly organized accordion folder in my room with copies of my passport, birth certificate, plus any other ostensibly vital document. And if you’re still not convinced, I get the flu shot.

So on a night out in Cannes, a place I had never been, one would think that this ever-so-responsible gal would bring with her, oh, I don’t know, a cell phone? But alas, the space in my black Coach clutch that is supposed to hold the aforementioned phone, was substituted with a copy of my passport (responsible!), 20 euros (responsible!), lip gloss (eh, not so much, but I needed it!), and a camera (because in event that I actually did run into Ryan Reynolds or Mr. Clooney, I wanted photographic proof). Plus, straying from the group was not a part of the original plan….at least not mine.

By the end of the night, it seemed that Murphy’s Law --if something can go wrong, it will-- wouldn’t give us a break. Cyrus had his phone, but it was dead. My phone worked, but was at the apartment. Someone on the streets let us use theirs, but when we called, it went straight to our friend’s voicemail. We tried to take a taxi, but we didn’t know the address of the apartment. We finally found the building, but didn’t have a gate key. My previous childhood days of gymnastics enabled me to climb over the steel studded gate, but not without it puncturing through my shoe and making my foot bleed. We found the apartment building, but didn’t have a building key. And at 3 am, we regretfully had to ring every resident’s pager to please buzz us in, but no one answered…. Until they finally did on the second attempt. (I know, you hate me right about now…. I did, too. But if it helps, I did find a guy’s fully loaded wallet that night and rightfully turned it into the police so I’m not all bad!)

And if you’re wondering if it’s finally over, yes. Yes it absolutely is. We finally made it up to the apartment and more importantly, inside of the apartment. Then when Cyrus ultimately realized that his solicitous efforts were failing and it wasn’t going to be that kind of night, we retired to our contiguous sleeping areas and fell asleep.

Even though the night's calamity put an awkward start to the next morning (because you can take the girl out of the Catholic church but you can't take the Catholic guilt out of the girl), I decidedly left it in the past because well, it was a new day and everything worked out. As for the rest of the French Riviera, it was pretty much stunningly beautiful. Idyllic beaches, quaint villages, Italian influenced French bistros, and an ocean so blue, so glistening, that you’d think you had died and gone to heaven; After all, it was the Ascension holiday. After two days of sight-seeing, picture taking, Grand Prix watching, Cannes Film Festival Star Searching, lunches in cafes and gelato on the go; after hiking up the hillsides of Monaco and down the sandy beaches of Nice, five girls piled back into their cozy French car and made way back to our respective Au Pair families in Lyon.

  • My mom just celebrated her fifty-something birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom!
  • I have a full weekend ahead of me and I'm feeling pretty excited about it: BBQ, Provence, mini road trip, and most of all... SUNSHINE!
  • Great friends... here and back in California!
  • Courtney H and Stephanie who are keeping me updated with pictures of Kiki being a goofball and videos of her having doggy dreams! Thanks ya'll!
  • I think I figured out a plan for July.. It's in the works though. :)


  1. I love going away with you! Bring on this weekend!

  2. You are too funny. I love the link to Urban Dictionary. What an adventure :) I really can't wait to catch up!

  3. what a fun trip!!! that night sounds like a night i would have, no joke.. lol