Waddling slowly through the house to my desk, I sat down to find photos of my former colleagues from a favorite part of the world. My work frequently took me to the south of France, and this particular meeting was on the Cote d’Azur, in a town called Mandelieu-La-Napoule. There were photos of the small stony beach by the hotel, the palms readying themselves for wintery rains, the smeared sunlight that rainier seasons bring.
I remembered three meetings there, and the careless pleasure of sleeping in a hotel room with the balcony door ajar, courting February’s cold for the chance of a mediterranean lullaby. I remembered my first dinner, then my second, at a Michelin two-star. And of course, the delight of noisette after noisette, where even hotel millefeuille pastries put many high-end treatmakers stateside to shame, effortlessly.
Culinary indulgences aside, there is the wonderful smell of the sea, the alternating perfumes of mist and pinewood smoke (not to mention the relief of the first shower after 19+ hours of airline travel). Sure, the Gauloise and Export A’s are unpleasant and a bit of a shock, but it can be headed off with a quick walk to the terrazzo.
This time, though, the meeting came in October, when one wouldn’t need to be a polar bear in order to dive or at least splash into the soft waves. Old friends and new faces mixed around in the water (surf seems a little too vigorous a term, even if it was the sea).
Little vignettes delivered in photos, and in the occasional email from the scene, left me dreaming of the best of the work experience, which can best be described as the right people in the right place – with those in place, anytime can be the right time.