Our “petit maison” for the summer in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Our “petit maison” for the summer in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

20130716-112333.jpg This stone house, built in the early 1800’s, is perched high up in a rocky outcropping overlooking the Mediterranean in a town called Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Monaco and Menton on the French Riviera. The owner refers to it dismissively as “le petit maison” and is consistently amused by how enamored we are of the little house. She clearly has no idea about the size of New York City apartments.

20130716-104158.jpgMost of all I love throwing open the sea-green shutters each morning to greet the expansive view of the Mediterranean. It’s amazing how many square feet a good view can add to a tiny house.

20130716-102451.jpgMornings always have different moods.

20130716-102855.jpgAfternoons are predictably bright and sunny. As appealing as this “office” is, admittedly, the glare on my screen can make telecommuting and travel writing virtually impossible and I’m forced to retreat indoors.

20130717-100333.jpg The beach just below our house: aptly named le Golf bleu, we swim here in the afternoons if we can motivate ourselves to descend hundreds of steps down the mountain. If I were a better photographer, you could see how the sunlight hitting the Mediterranean looks as if thousands of fireflies are pulsing across its surface.

20130717-105455.jpgOur nearest town: this 10th century Carolingian castle, allegedly the oldest in France, is just down the road in the medieval village of Roquebrune.

20130717-110141.jpgDespite its conspicuous lack of a boulangerie or even a simple tabac, we love this town which maintains its medieval character to an eerie degree. The narrow alleyways are full of stairways, the stones worn to a treacherous slippery texture from the foot traffic of 11 centuries. Romanesque arches cover the one-person-wide walkways, creating deep dark vaulted passageways that wind chaotically around the base of the castle.

20130716-103623.jpgFor dinner, we typically return to our petit maison, which sounds deceptively like a fancy French restaurant. This rosemary bush, taking over the stone wall outside our kitchen, is responsible for inspiring many meals. It also makes for interesting tea (essentially the French equivalent to Peptobismol) to digest all the rich Camembert.

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In the early evenings, before supper, we watch the swallows, admiring their bouts of aerial ballet against the silvering sky. Sometimes I feel guilty devoting so much time to watching swallows. The New Yorker in me occasionally starts screaming, “Are you crazy? You could be writing, or grading papers or reading War and Peace!” What do you think you’re doing?” But the longer I stay, the softer that voice becomes. The new voice is much nicer to me, and speaks French.
Soyez heureux.. détendez-vous… mangez pesto…it seems to purr in my ear.

12 thoughts on “Our “petit maison” for the summer in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

  1. Wonderful! I feel as if you invited us to spend a relaxed, sun-lit day in your glorious Mediterranean hideaway. I read just the text and found your description vivid and engaging. Then I clicked onto the text with pictures and it all came alive. Wow! Thanks for having us over.

    1. Thanks Mary and Ray!! We finally managed to leave our “hermitage” after a few sedentary days of taking in the views and hiked all day yesterday (not in flipflops;) Today is market day. I love the idea that I can devote a whole day to going to the market. Well, it is also tango day, as the Menton tango festival is now underway.

    2. Thank you Mary and Ray! We finally left our “hermitage” after a few sedentary days for a day long hike (not in flipflops:)
      Today is Market day in Ventimiglia. I love the idea that I can devote a whole day to the market. Well, it is also tango day, as the Menton tango festival is now underway.

  2. Emily & Rob: WOW! Your vivid words and visuals have a distinct way of pulling the reader right into your world. Absolutely beautiful. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.

    Jim

    1. Thank you Jim!! Hope you and Sheila are enjoying your summer and pool and garden! We’ve been enjoying pictures of your garden, and oh my, the weathervane photo is suberb! love Rob and Emily

    1. Thank you Cynthia! I’m not very good at it, especially meditation. But where we are feels like a hermitage way up in the cliffs so it helps us relax. Just visited the house of Alexandra David-Neel in Digne les Bain

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