Eze — Village Perché Extrordinaire

It had been years since I had last visited Eze. A recent visitor to Villa Ndio passed through there and reminded me of the incredible views from its sky high jardin exotique. So early in September Kathy and I took some old friends there.  It was less than a hour’s drive in two cars for the eight of us.  We exited the autoroute ramp shared by Eze and Monaco and found the public parking lot at the base of Eze Village some 3 kilometres later. Continue reading “Eze — Village Perché Extrordinaire”

Huilerie Sainte Anne

A stone’s throw from Villa Ndio, the Huilerie Sainte Anne is a picture of technology in transition.  There you will find the relics of ancient methods of extracting oil from olives; the mix of old and new technology and methods currently in use; and a brand new building full of shiny new machines and control panels for modern techniques. Tucked in off the Route de Draguignan, the main road running west out of Grasse, this milling operation is housed partly in buildings hundreds of years old, and one brand new one.

Many visitors head straight for the boutique, with its wide variety of olive oil blends, soaps, tapenade, and products made from the wood of olive trees.  But on request, visitors can enjoy a tour of the facilities, and then end the visit with an informed stop at the boutique.

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Red Crowned Cranes of Wellington


I was delighted to meet up with a family of red crowned cranes in the backyard of my brother’s and his wife’s new house in Wellington, Florida.  The poppa crane appeared to have a broken wing but seemed to not let it bother him much.  The mother and young crane paraded along with him as if they owned the place.  I was glad to get a few great photos of the three of them foraging for food and preening themselves.

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The Art of Nguyễn Hinh at Villa Ndio

Nguyen Hinh is a Vietnamese artist that was supported through purchases by Clint and Trudy Doggett while the Doggett family resided in Saigon, Viet Nam, 1963-1965. These works now hang on the walls of Villa Ndio. Several others can be found in the homes of Peppy’s siblings. An internet search has found no trace of Mr. Nguyen.  The paintings at Villa Ndio are wonderful reminders of our time in Saigon, before the Doggett family was evacuated to Bangkok in 1965. Photos of the paintings shown below were taken by Peppy Doggett. Click on any image to enlarge it.  You can then enlarge it further to full screen and/or start a slide show featuring all nine paintings.

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Water Colors by Marietta Foster Smith


Old friends Marietta and Marc Smith came to visit us at Villa Ndio, with Marietta’s brother Will Foster and his wife JoAnna.  We are so grateful for the lovely water color paintings of the scenes around our house and garden, by Marietta’s hand, which she so modestly referred to as “quickies”!  We will find a place of honor to display these exquisite works of art, and proudly show photos of them on the Art pages of this site.

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Villa Ndio Renovations I


When we first initiated purchase of the structures that were to become Villa Ndio it was 1993. By initiated I mean we made an offer of a million French francs to the previous owner.  A nice round number.  At the time, the French franc was worth less than 17 US cents.  Well, you can do the math. To the buyers it was a bargain.  To the seller is was a steal.  So everyone was happy.

What we got was basically a bombed out shell.  But we saw its potential. The plumbing and electricity were decrepit. The kitchen plumbing consisted of a concrete sink with a pipe fixed to the wall above it.  The pipe passed through a nearby heater that auto-activated when a spigot was opened. The middle floor bathroom had a toilet that was poorly seated and leaked. There was also a sink in the bathroom, but no tub or shower. The upstairs toilet was in a separate room next to another that had a sit-down tub and a sink. The electrical wiring ran mostly through metal conduit, some hidden, some exposed.

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Operation Dragoon

Operation Dragoon
Photo by Peppy Doggett

Last year on 23 August from my bedroom at Villa Ndio I heard recordings of the Canadian, British, American and French national anthems blaring from across the way so I went down to the traffic circle nearby to find a ceremony taking place – so today when I heard bagpipes in the distance I knew immediately what was going on. I grabbed my camera and hollered up to Kathy to come on down. We were on time to watch this year’s version of the ceremony commemorating those that gave their lives in the second invasion of France by the allied forces, the one called Operation Dragoon that came from the south, east of Marseilles and west of Cannes. See the map among the photos below. The ceremony honors in particular the Americans, British and Canadians that gave their lives during the Great War to rid the world of Nazis. Two things made today’s experience particularly meaningful to me.

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