Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thalazur - the spa of Antibes

Now, I did mention the crime in the French Riviera. Yes, yes I know crime happens all over the world ... but what better place to be a criminal than in one of the richest resorts in the world? Unsuspecting tourists arrive with their new expensive camera, their iPods, their laptops ... are away at the beach for most of the day ... eat out at the cafes in the evening ... and sleep with their windows open.

Sadly, yesterday evening, my very nice neighbors visiting from Belgium were robbed. They had the exact camera that I have - the incredible OLYMPUS e620 - just purchased for this trip. The robber climbed up on their car and hoisted himself into the upstairs bedroom window where their daughter slept. She awoke to see him reaching for her iPhone ... and then he ran ... carrying with him their belongings. It's a real problem here. WHO are these people that steal ??? I live my life and support my life as an artist ... certainly in the lowest earning bracket in the United States ... and saved everything I could to purchase the things I brought with me. And these people are unconcerned about the financial and emotional damage that they bring to trusting people. It's sad. Now I live with the cage closed and locked ... and although I hate to do it, and haven't done it yet, I may now sleep with the upstairs window closed. The last thing I could handle is another computer and camera stolen -- so, must safeguard with my life.

The morning of July 21st, these two men from the city come to weld a lock on the gate to the terrace. I like to have the gate open and enjoy the view to the sea - over the gardens and clay rooftops ... but, certainly at night when I paint, or catch up on my writing, the gate is closed and locked. Criminals have very little fear and will enter your home - even when you are there.

Walking to the market

Jim, Diana and I take the bus to Thalazur. Well, not exactly to Thalazur ... we still have a 15 minute walk from the bus stop. Thalazur is the wonderful spa in the north of Antibes where I spent three glorious weeks last year. Thalazur has five swimming pools, sauna , seaweed wraps, all sorts of massages ... you name it, they have it. And all of the spa goers walk around in their spa bathrobes and special flip-flops. I just use the gorgeous swimming pool with the saltwater piped in from the Mediterranean.

The other great thing about Thalazur is that they have three of my Jazz series oil paintings hanging in their beautiful solarium. They are in excellent company with a high glass ceiling, wrought-iron furniture and glass tables. It's a real thrill for me to see them there. And if I must say so myself, they look great.

the proud artist

So ... after the painting photo shoot, we are ushered to our table on the terrace. Thalazur serves wonderful food - fresh from the sea. The only disappointment is that last year, the chef cooked your food on a large outdoor grill ... and for some reason this isn't so this year. I loved seeing the chef busy over the smoking grill with the fish sizzling and the aroma filling the air ... but there is still much beauty to look at under the bright yellow umbrellas. You can see as far to the Mediterranean ... over the treetops ... and the large Ferris Wheel of 'Antibesland'.

Mmmm .... oysters ... with lemon and diced onions in a vinegar and oil combo
Le Poisson of the day - served whole ... but then the waiter came by and said that the chef will fillet it for me. Well, really there is no need as I am able to fillet a fish on my own. I learned it last year in Antibes when six of us dined at the Le Transat Restaurant. I watched as Monsieur Rambaud delicately sliced the top of the fish from the bottom and removed the spine and bones in one fell swoop. Of course you probably will always have a stray bone here and there, but it's the art of the fillet that I enjoy. But, respecting the chef, I hand over my plate and let the expert prepare it for me. It arrives back at the table sans head and tail and bones (mostly).

Jim and Diana choose the Poulet (chicken) with an incroyable sauce !!!
The palm tress of Thalazur looking past the Ferris Wheel of Antibesland

The spa at Thalazur
Setting the table at the Villa Fontaine

One of the nicest things to do - and the least expensive - is to purchase your baguettes, frommage, salade and vin from the local market. I go to the store 'Champion' for what I consider the best bread that I have ever had. I have been told which are the best boulangeries in Antibes ... but, trust me on this, the baguette avec multi-cereal (baguette with multi-grain) is THE best. More crust than fill ... and great crunch - just the way I like it. Americans take note: put the white Wonderbread down and go to Wegmans just to try a crunchy baguette - and remember more crust, less fill. It will change your life. And maybe your waistline. Of course, it's so delicious that I could eat the whole baguette - so maybe it equals out in the end anyway.

Ok ... so we purchased three cheeses: Swiss for Jim, Brie for Diana ... and Roquefort for me. I love the strong cheeses with a rich deep red wine. We also buy the most delicious cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor, mache (look for it at Wegmans ... ??) and the black Provencal olives in brine ... totally awesome. You will have a 'What about Bob' moment for sure !!!!!

And a word about the wine. You can buy an great bottle of wine for less than three euros. Ok, maybe Baron Philippe de Rothschild would not agree or a a lover of Chateau Margaux ... but, why spend hundreds of dollars on one bottle when you can buy a plethora of inexpensive bottles for the same price I say ??!!

So, we had dinner by candlelight ... listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong ... a really great day ... a really great dinner ... a really great life ... in beautiful Antibes, France.



Blogger Mark Bridges said...

Bummer about the thieves. One trick you could do for night. Get thread and a beer bottle. Tie one end of the thread to something solid on one side of the door opening and then the other end to the beer bottle neck on the other side of the doorway. Pull tight so now you have a trip wire about 5 inches above floor blocking the door. See what i mean? Only drawback is the "Cat" can trip the thread and knock the bottle over.

5:23 PM  
Blogger PaintingEachDay said...

Gotcha .. I'll play 'to catch a thief' as with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly ... which ... coincidentally .. was filmed here in the French Riviera .... !!!

6:17 PM  

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