Markets Merciers and Mozart

Sunday morning Heather rested. She is still not 100% well at this point, while I headed off to find a phone box to call Mum. I walked for ages and was directed eventually up around to the area which turned out to be to very old section of Nice with its little winding alley ways and shops. Everyone was very busy. In a quiet little square I found a phone box. (I’ve since discovered one 100m down the rear street from our flat, and several others at closer proximity – oh well I wouldn’t have discovered this magical little area if I hadn’t followed those directions that morning). I spoke to Mum for a while, assuring her that we were still alive, despite our language barrier frustrations, etc.

My journey ended up at the big markets on the other side of the hill from our place where I bought a baguette and a 1kg bag of strawberries. The strawberries were 2€5 (say $4AU). This amount would’ve cost about $12AU at home. And yum! They were unbelievably good!

That afternoon we just went for a short walk over to the seawall that leads out to the little lighthouse at the mouth to the harbour. Little did we realize that it was pickup place for people requiring a special kind of ‘service.’ A young woman was heading out that way as well. She found a spot and whipped off her clothes (down to a G-string) and began to sun-bake. It became blatantly obvious that this was a young man with a boob-job. On our return from the light house there was a man lurking nearby obviously waiting for us to rack off so he could approach madmoiselle/monsieur.

After having told Heather about the fabulous food market around the corner, Monday morning we sauntered off to see it again. However this day the place was transformed into an antique come bric-a-brac market with the most amazing array of genuine antiques, paintings and paraphernalia which from homes probably 100+ years old. I spied with my little eye a lovely little Limoges pot with lid, and thought I’d think about it and possibly come back on our way back from the Tourism Office – but by then the people were packing up and all was gone. Might wait and see if that same stall is back next Monday. We had a couple of pizzas at a restaurant that day. They were gigantic – honestly they were so big they actually overlapped on the table. Needless to say we ate about a third each and brought the rest home. The leftovers lasted for about 2 more meals.
Monday night we met Sue and Dominique Mercier. Sue (nee Grady) is an old school friend of mine. They’re down here on a week’s holiday from Tours. It’s their place which we’ll be looking after in August while Sue goes back to Australia for the school re-union (which I’m supposed to be at as well). The market place which had previously been a produce market, and then a flea market had suddenly transformed into a string of open air restaurants with red and white striped canopies, full of tables decked out in white linen, big flower arrangements, and brazier heaters!

We’d just decided to ‘sus’ them all out when a spruiker from the restaurant where we were standing leapt out and began a long soliloquy to Sue in very rapid French as to why we must come to that restaurant and look no further – one of the reasons being that she was so honest because her mother had died of an allergy!??? We were watching Sue’s face and Dominique’s laughs punctuating the interaction… And at the end of it all, when Sue at last could speak, she asked the spruiker (whose name also ended up being Dominique) could we then explain all that to her friends in English. Whereupon the Dominique (the spruiker), without drawing breath, turned to us and said in excellent English, “Certainly Madam, blah blah blah….” and continuing rapidly and fluently in English offering us a free glass of champagne while we were all laughing in shocked amazement until what could we do but wave our hands in the air and go into the restaurant to escape! The prawns were fantastic, the bouillabaisse good with all the extra ‘sauces’ and the creme caramel second to none… And es we did get a small glass of bubbles each on the house. We had a lovely evening with Dominique and Sue, some good laughs together, and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Tuesday night we went to a Homage à Mozart concert in the Église Anglicaine tucked away in the backblocks of central Nice. We’d seen a poster on a restaurant window and think we were the only ‘tourists’ – all the rest seemed like locals. But you’d have thought the Beatles had come to town the way the crowd surged and wedged into the entrance to get tickets. And there we were – right in amongst it – surging right along with the best of them. The program, for those who are interested, included the Te Deum K141, (remember this form the Avondale Singers?) Regina Coeli K108, Tantum Ergo K142, and Solemn Vespers of the Confessor K339. The acoustics were wonderful and the orchestra and soloists excellent – especially soprano Liesel Jürgens’ exquisite voice. She also conducted some of the pieces (I think she might be resident choirmaster.) Tina was quite taken with the flurry of muppet-like gestures and expressions – she obviously was putting everything she had into the event! The choir wasn’t quite Christchurch St Laurence or the Avondale Singers, but it was still a wonderful experience. Incidentally, the grave of Rev Henry Francis Lyte, the author of the hymn Abide with Me is in this churchyard.

Tina and Heather

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2 Responses to Markets Merciers and Mozart

  1. Lyn Norton says:

    Loving being in France with you Heather and Tina and didn’t have to drag a suitcase up all those stairs! Keep up the excellent work, we look forward to each new update.
    Take care of each other. Love Lyn&Trish xx

  2. Sue Mercier says:

    Such fun following your trials and tribulations in this beautiful country ……… I’m still having nightmares about “the Other Dominique”!!

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