Offbeat Antibes…. if quiet is how you like it…..

It’s pissing down outside. Last night’s light-show – a brilliant storm, has subsided and in its place the sky has all the appearance of a tired old used-to-be-white towel. Things could be worse. My total of letters written in just a month is nearing 100, which has been a huge boost to the project overall. While I have been writing letters – I have not felt able to write Christmas cards: funny that. I can’t see me putting that right anytime soon. I think I will just persist with letters and forgo Christmas cards.

Last night we sat in the dark to watch the lightning. We’d gone out earlier – to walk, to familiarise ourselves  more with the place, to hardwire a mental map of the streetscape into us, just by walking. The town is quiet out of season. There are not so many visitors and we have a sense that what we are seeing and experiencing, is an organic, stripped back version of Antibes.

Mid-week, the Provencal market continues, though with fewer stalls. It is easier to take in because it is less busy. It is still abundant, with fruit, vegetables, olives, lavender, meat, oils, cheese, flowers.   I like the pace  and the characteristics. of the streets…. oranges on the trees along the pavements, ‘on the run’ dogs, the beautiful  doors  and entrances – heavy wood, carvings, brass and iron findings of the doors – in the French style. Wrought ironwork on the windows, shutters, the proportions of doors and windows. The architecture, which is particularly beautiful above street level, but many places in the old town have businesses sit cheek by jowl with houses – commercial areas are also residential and domestic. The soundscape is not corrupted with amplified music. People sit around and talk, but it is not raucous.

Antibes has been slow to jump on the Christmas bandwagon. I appreciate that very much. The lights in town were switched on just before the weekend and that has been time enough. The shops are modest in their window displays and there is no soundtrack of Christmas music……… it actually feels good. We can slowly orientate ourselves and not feel bludgeoned by racket, frenzy, spectacle and hype.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I am going to do a Perec-style observation on Antibes on the ‘offbeat’- out of season, and give it some close attention. More later, people!

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