Our first full day in Vence began with coffee and croisants at what was to become my favorite bakery/pastery shop, Pâtisserie Palanque, creator of the famous Craquelin almond brioche.
Before the others arrived,Carolyn and I took the bus to a nearby town to see how easy it would be. It was. The bus stop in Vence was a few blocks away in a beautiful setting (man and musical instruments are topiary). Since we were just learning to use a French bus schedule, we missed the right bus and had to wait for the next. No problem. We just sat and sketched.
Our bus took us to Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a tiny medieval village just a few miles away. We had read all about it in Mary Busse’s book, Hermitage, Olive Grove, Village. We found the cafe she went to every day just a few feet from the bus stop and enjoyed their violet ice cream. T-s-L is called the “city of violets,” and a full range of violet-based products is on sale in the village shops. The violet fields can be visited from November to March.
When we returned, the others had arrived at our door for the week. After a well-deserved nap, we all went out for our first French cafe with its charming waiter.
Sunday. We had been told that there was a mass at 9:00 am at the Cathedral de Notre Dame, so a few of us set out. When we got there, there was a hand-written notice (in French, of course) which we finally understood to say there was no mass at 9 that day, but to come back at 11:00. There was a large mosaic by March Chagall there, so since there was no one else in the church, we said a prayer and got out our paint. It’s called “Moses Saved from the Nile.”
The rest of the day consisted of an orientation with another group who was painting in oils, a lunch with local residents and just getting acquainted. Dale finished her amazing painting of her seatmate on the plane.