‘I didn’t know the sky was blue until I came here,’ said Valerie.
She used to live in Paris. Pregnant with their second child, Valerie had the option to take a break from her career (in PR/marketing) for up to three years with the guarantee that she could return to her job. Such is the French support of new mothers. (Amazing.) She and her husband Raymond, a journalist, decided to move to the Riviera. Valerie became a teacher, and now, ten years later, they wouldn’t dream of going back. They’ve discovered the sky is blue.
Ouvrez les yeux. Les ciel est bleu.
Evidently it even inspires me to write bad rhyming poetry in French. (That phrase worked its way into my head on the way to the post office this morning.)
Colours here have arrested my attention. Today, in fact, the sky is not blue, but grey. I was just taking in the laundry as a few raindrops began to fall. Yet it is a bright grey, unlike that of the northern skies. Grey, blue, and green here all become a silver, like the leaves of the olive trees. Colours are rich, but muted.The oranges and peaches of the buildings compliment the lavender for sale in the markets, and the lavender-coloured shutters on old stone buildings.
There is a fecundity here, a bountiful ripeness, that inspires a gluttony of the senses – yes, the food, of course; but also bringing those same scents – lavender, honey, olive oil, milk – into the toilette, with shampoos, lotions, bath salts and body oils. Everything is delicious. I want to absorb this landscape with my pores as well as my mouth, nose, eyes, fingertips.
Caitlin said it was appropriate that I was writing Venus Heart here because the landscape is ‘sexy.’ She described it as ‘rolling and curved; sharp, too, with angles.’ I laughed. It’s hard for me to think of ‘sexy’ when I think of most of the village as consisting of retired people. ‘Not sexy, but sensual,’ I insisted.
Sensual. Curving and rolling, with the bounty of the natural harvests & feasts. It’s delightfully Pagan, rustic; The Esterel, The Riveria, are providing me with opportunities to experience new things, gather a new language, and take the time to closely consider what I encounter – all things that are difficult to do in the city. Though, I must admit I have wanted to write about the sensory abundance of Borough Market in London just as much as I want to write about the sensory abundance of the Market in Old Town Nice. Such wonderful contrasts and comparisons.