I know I've played this silly game a few times before, but it's a new year, and a new book for me, so I couldn't resist once again. I did not have a French or Italian (or American, for that matter) book tour. But my book, Lady Luck, did tour around the Cote d'Azur. Here's the results.
I don't hate or fear flying, I just generally think it's a pain in the ass. However, my flight from Frankfurt to Nice was pretty awesome, because we flew over the Alps, and it was, well, awesome.
So the first place I wanted to visit was Cannes, home of the famous film festival, rich folk, and sandy beaches. There are some pretty swank hotels in Cannes, but I picked mine based on some pretty simple criteria. An in-house casino.
It was the Palais Stephanie, which is built upon the site of the orginal Palais des Festivals and is directly on La Croisette (the beachfront). They're all about the film festival at this joint, as their lobby is decorated with an enormous palme d'or, and the rooms feature pics of movie stars.
Overall, it's a decent place with a GREAT location. It's got its own section of beach and a rooftop pool with a nice view of the area, and is just a couple minutes from the new Palais des Festivals. My book enjoyed the pool, naturally.
And then we also enjoyed the beach.
Okay, so here's what happened next. Outside the Palais des Festivals they have handprints of a bunch of movie stars. So I had this really funny idea worked out where I was going to find Quentin Tarantino's handprint, and I was going to put my book on it and take a picture and say,
"Oy! My book is in Quentin Tarantino's hands!" Ha ha ha, right? Except when I was there, they were gearing up for the Festival, so they had all around the complex blocked off. Fuckers! So instead I just got this lame picture of the theatre's red carpet area from a distance. And so I still remain far from ever having my book in Quentin's hands, even as a joke.
Dejected, my book and I meandered back along La Croisette until we happened upon this scene. Do you see it? Right in the middle, there's a guy playing the accordion, and he was throwing down with the traditional French songs.
Frankly, it was like a scene from a movie, and was a bit surreal, as I didn't really think I'd ever stumble upon such a quintessentially French scene, as I didn't think it ever actually happened, other than in movies. But since we were at France's place where they celebrate movies, I guess it made some
weird sense. Then, the guy actually busted out "La Vie en Rose" and I was like, "DAMN!" So there was nothing to do but brush away the bitterness of failed Quentin stalking-by-handprint-proxy and grab an ice cream and sit down and enjoy the Frenchness of the whole scene.
Now, honestly, though, I enjoyed my time in Cannes, but I was a little, um, surprised by it. Mostly because it was sort of like an upjumped Jersey Shore place, just change the Joisey accents to French ones and add more designer shops. But on the whole, it was still, well, kitsch. I mean, they even had carnival rides at the beach like this merry-go round.
And yes, I do realize the irony of me of all people telling you that someplace isn't as classy as expected. I mean, the only way I'd have been more out of place at Cannes would be if I had actually traveled with The Situation and Snookie. Nevertheless.
This was at the start of my trip, and I didn't want to get my book deported, so I didn't dare take pictures in any of the casinos, but, believe me, you're not missing anything. They were sad, small affairs, to the point where Atlantic City was looking mighty damn appealing in contrast. BUT! But, I didn't mind, because right around the corner was the next leg of my journey, and the place I'd waited my whole life to gamble.
If gambling was a religion, then this place would be like making a pilgrimage to mecca. Monte-Carlo, baby! Monte-freaking-Carlo!