Thursday: arrived via plane. Was talked up the whole flight by an older Frenchman who lives in my neighborhood. Missed the chance to go to the cockpit because I told the stewardess I was "well distracted enough". Simon was a good boy! Well behaved and amused himself. Gorgeous views of the mountains and incredible coastline...
Friday: sunny day. Fun "model shoot" in the playground with Simon and me. Visited the set. Lunch with Fred and Caroline (E's assistant) at Mick Elly's for pizzas. Simon was a good boy - drew on napkins and we played games/stories with forks, knives, water and oil bottles.
Saturday: RAINY. egg hunt was rained out but Simon got his face painted with 2 blue Easter eggs on his cheeks and a yellow Easter bell on his forehead. Went on a menage where the electricity was cut because it was raining so hard so the man had it on slow. All the children looked so sad!!!! Then we went on a pony ride (Charlie) who was pretty jumpy and filthy! I felt so bad for the poneys--they looked like they hadn't been brushed in a year and Charlie even had a tail with a lot of brambles entangled in it. Saw sheep, petted a baby sheep, Simon "milked" a rubber cow that produced real milk, he fed a donkey and horse. Finished with playing in an all-natural type playground. Rainy the whole time. Came home and relaxed. Then went for drive in afternoon. Simon fell asleep as E and I drove from Mandelieu-La Napoule to San Raphael. Agay and Anthos are really pretty--beautiful drive along the coast.
Sunday: got up and ready to get to Nice by 10:00 AM. Parked in Espace Grimaldi and walked to the boardwalk. Simon threw rocks into the sea. Beautiful setting. Lots of Chinese women tourists taking selfies with their phones. Walked back to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church (11 rue Buffa) and waited for the service to start at 11am. There was an older man with a white poodle/bichon type dog in the pew! I wanted to sit next to him but E said it would be too distracting... Simon was very good in the service. A woman came and gave him colored pencils and a pre-printed sheet he could color. The service was lovely. I loved how they had The Gloria part sung by the Cantor, and then alternate parts sung and spoken by us. Beautiful! Nice sermon about how God calls us by name as Jesus called Mary in the garden by her name. And how we know the voice of a good friend instantly. So true.
Afterwards they hosted an Easter egg hunt in the cemetery and there was a lady hiding eggs as fast as the children were finding them. Well, there were only about 4 children. Simon got some orange juice and some potato chips and 2 younger English women complimented me on my hat. I wore my Blue Hydrangea hat that a former beau bought me during a wild weekend in Newport. It's about 20 years old! Aie aie aie!
Then we drove 1/2 hour to Theoule-Sur-Mer for a nice lunch where E's Production Director and wife were already established. We all dined together and the PD's wife was very playful with Simon during the lunch. Afterwards she and Simon went running around the beach together and played "cache-cache" with me. I had Nicoise Salad as an entree and Lamb brochettes for Plat Principal. The restaurant is simple but good food and the owner is très charmant. Plus, he knows E and the PD as they eat there all the time.
We went home to change a bit and then went back out for another exploratory drive--this time up through a mountain pass to Frejus. We listened to and sang along with Simon's French comptines (nursery rhymes). E decided to take PD's suggestion and take me to Saint Tropez for a vrai Tarte Tropezienne, but as it was already 17h30 I said we should do it another time. We made our way back and stopped at a beach for a little promenade where Simon collected a good bunch of driftwood pieces.
Monday: Simon and I relaxed at home until 11:45 when E came to get us and we went to the set. We waited till lunchtime and then had lunch with the crew and actors of the show. I had the salmon on a curried barley with vegetables. Delicious! Frank (one of the actors) was so friendly and so fun and playful with Simon. Everyone gave us such a friendly warm welcome. I got to see another part of the vast industrial building where they create and recreate different sets for the show. Christian showed me the "loge" for the male striptease dancers which was this episode's theme. Before, other rooms were prison showers, prison visitors room, administrative offices and more! Very cool! It's amazing how they have this raw space and how it can get totally transformed depending on the episode.
I went for a short walk up to the Fragonard factory for a (free) tour and then sampled lots of beautiful fragrances. Saw a chicken coop on my way back and got a few more shots... Simon was entertained by all of the crew at various times. We took out his bike but because I left it near the entrance where they were filming, Frank couldn't resist the temptation and tried to ride on it. It broke, of course! So, he frantically tried to repair it between takes, which he did eventually. Emmanuel escaped at 18:30 and we picked up fresh pizzas and McDo (for Simon) to eat back in our bungalow.