If it’s Friday, it must be France …
Ask me to list all the great memories of our 4-1/2 months in Antibes this past summer and I could go on and on. This is one of my favourites.
One thing most women need, no matter where in the world they are, is a good hairdresser. (I seriously envy those who don’t!) So what’s a girl to do but check out some good-looking haircuts and ask for a salon name.
Valerie Coiffure on Avenue Thiers was the place to go, I was told. The location was close to us … but then everything was. The fact they might not speak English had me a bit concerned because when it comes to haircuts and colour, a slight misunderstanding can result in … um, well … serious trauma! I wasn’t too confident about being able to make myself understood in French when it came to specific “coiffure vocabulaire” but, dictionary in hand, off I went.
The salon was busy when I arrived for my first appointment but soon there was just one other client, Christiane, and myself along with the owner, Valerie, and her young colleague, Charlotte.
Within a very short time the salon was filled with laughter as the four of us wrestled with conversation. Christiane is a long-time friend of Valerie’s mother as well as Valerie and Charlotte. She has an appointment every Saturday and stays for the day helping out. But really she fills the place with sunshine and laughter as she is one of the most delightful women I’ve ever met. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious. By the time I was finished, happy with the results I might add, I decided I would only make my appointments on Saturday too.
Next visit I was sitting with colour in my hair and Valerie, Charlotte, and Christiane disappeared to the back of the salon. I heard something that sounded suspiciously like a champagne cork popping and they appeared holding a flute of champagne each and one for me. We munched on delicious nibblies made by Charlotte’s belle-mere and carried on as if we had known each other forever. It was Christiane’s birthday and coincidentally mine was two days later.
These three lovely women shared their friendship and joie de vivre with me for the four months I lived there and I’ll never forget them. Simply through general conversation they taught me things about the culture and everyday life in France that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. Family, men, food, wine, traditions, language, life in general – we hit on every subject and always with a lot of laughter. Lucky me to meet such warm, authentic, genuine women whose friendship I will always treasure.
The day before I returned to Toronto, Valerie closed the shop at noon and treated the four of us to lunch in Place DeGaulle, the main town square. We toasted our friendship and said our farewells knowing the connection we made will last. Merci mille fois, mes chères amies!
Christiane and I connect on Facebook now so our news still gets shared. These are the kind of experiences that make travel so rewarding and special. Miles mean nothing these days through the magic of social media.
And, by the way, if you ever are in Antibes, France and want the best in hair-styling, colour, cut and conversation, Valerie Coiffure is definitely the salon to visit!
“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”
Friendship is a big part of my life. It’s what my novel, The Bridge Club, is all about. It’s something I value and nurture in my life and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the friends I do. Do you have friends in distant places? How do you stay in touch?
Here’s a link to a great travel blog I follow and an article on other meaningful travel connections.