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Well, the idea was to take a bus to Grasse and then walk "mostly downhill" to Biot. I had read there was a nice (cool) trail between Valbonne and Biot that followed a stream. I would then take a bus from Biot to the train station and catch the train to Cannes in time for the final evening of an international fireworks competition. Ah... it sounded easy. It wound up being a longer walk than I expected, but very nice scenery and the fireworks were fantastic, probably the best (as in innovative) I have seen. So, let's get oriented.

Grasse - was asleep this Sunday afternoon... IMG_4600.JPG IMG_4601.JPG IMG_4602.JPG IMG_4606.JPG
IMG_4603.JPG This is the last freakin' bumper sticker I expected to encounter... but I met a couple Mormons in Arles, so I guess I should just be amazed at how far ideas travel...

The church is the Cathedral Notre-Dame-du-Puy... (patron saint of the Taro plant). Built in the 10c-11c it was remodeled in the 17c.

IMG_4607.JPG One of the door panels from the church.
Grasse is famous as the "home" of the French perfume industry. There are still active factories and the air is filled with the smell of their products. Usine Fragonard, Fragonard-La Fabrique, Usine Galimard, Galimard Studio des Fragrances and Molinard are a few of the manufacturers operating here. IMG_4610.JPG IMG_4605.JPG
IMG_4612.JPG I wonder what Jasmin eat?
IMG_4613.JPG So I am walking along, and every kilometer there is a marker... some old, some new... these signs struck me as being very familiar... do you know why? If you are between 30 and 40 you should know... you have seen them before...

*answer at the bottom of the page.

IMG_4614.JPG Climbing out of the Grasse plain approaching Valbonne.
IMG_4616.JPG A very nicely done garden along the way...
IMG_4617.JPG This is the town of...uh...starts with a P... hold on...Plascassier
Valbonne - was asleep as well with the exception of a antiques market. IMG_4619.JPG IMG_4620.JPG IMG_4621.JPG IMG_4622.JPG IMG_4623.JPG IMG_4625.JPG
IMG_4626.JPG I thought this was a cute idea.
IMG_4627.JPG So... here is the trail head with three pages of French basically explaining that the trail was closed... but I can't read French, so I went on anyway. I probably met 40 or so people on the trail.
IMG_4632.JPG The first section of the trail ran parallel to a water or sewer? line. It detracted slightly from the surroundings.
The trail was well marked, paved in some places, and the scenery was very "enchanted forest" in some spots. IMG_4633.JPG IMG_4634.JPG IMG_4636.JPG IMG_4637.JPG IMG_4641.JPG IMG_4643.JPG
IMG_4646.JPG Dig that crazy two tone moss...
IMG_4648.JPG IMG_4652.JPG IMG_4655.JPG
A neat feature of the lower part of the trail was how the stream would undercut a low layer of rock, in some places almost sticking out like the prow of a ship. IMG_4658.JPG IMG_4671.JPG
IMG_4673.JPG See "Rock City"
IMG_4675.JPG The end of the trail popped up out of the stream bed and up onto the hill upon which Biot is located.
IMG_4676.JPG ...and of course Biot is having a festival.
IMG_4678.JPG Part of the festival is this...uh..."road?" race. Nothing was level, so the runners went up and down, cris-crossing the summit of the town.
IMG_4679.JPG Yes, that sign does say this gateway was built in 1566.

One of Biots products is blown glass that has bubbles suspended in it. I was ticked that all I could find "open" in this style was made of plastic. I will have to come back.

IMG_4680.JPG IMG_4681.JPG IMG_4684.JPG IMG_4686.JPG
IMG_4688.JPG The is Pentaque, locally known as "Boules". Very similar to what I would call Bocci, but the French are very, very serious about this game. There are leagues, and clubs, and championships etc.

Click here for all you ever wanted to know http://www.petanque.org/

IMG_4689.JPG Ok, so I missed the last bus out of town. No taxis, and everyone is really into the whole festival thing, so... gotta hoof it down to the coast. Bye, bye, Biot. I will have to come back when your glass shops are open.
Cannes - Last night of the fireworks festival. This display was by a French company. IMG_4698.JPG IMG_4700.JPG
This was not just about volume, but also control. This for example was a very cool curtain of gold sparks. IMG_4714.JPG
IMG_4748.JPG IMG_4723.JPG IMG_4734.JPG IMG_4735.JPG IMG_4731.JPG IMG_4749.JPG IMG_4752.JPG IMG_4753.JPG
Pictures don't really do it justice, so here are some silent movies from parts of the finale. Quicktime required. Movie 1, Movie 2, Movie 3
IMG_4876.JPG Ok, so this is after my trip, but I needed to stick them in somewhere...

Managed to grab some lightning on a timed exposure one evening. Despite all the noise, no rain out of this...

IMG_4925.JPG Can you believe this??? Not a drop of rain out of any of this.
Wrap this up with a picture of a very nice fire, taken from my balcony. This fits as this fire is in the general area of my previous hiking. A couple sizable pieces of cinder came blowing through my window. You could tell it was from a tree. IMG_4926.JPG IMG_4932.JPG

*the answer is "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" When Snoopy gets shot down over "France" he passes by these markers on his way back to friendly territory... ok, so I can't choose what my mind remembers...