All of the years I’ve been reading about the Cannes film fest and no one ever mentioned that there are little sparrows roaming around, setting up camp, and pestering the passengers before.

As I left very early Thursday morning, en route to Germany and then back to Los Angeles (more on that marathon flight in a moment) I caught the sunrise at the Nice Airport and declared it to be the prettiest airport I’d ever sat in. The thing about Europeans is that they do everything just a bit nicer than we do it here. There is much to love about being here in Los Angeles – my creature comforts are within a five mile radius – coffee, yoga, Whole Foods – but the quality of life overall seems, to me, nicer in parts of France and Italy. How can I explain it?

Like this sculpture just a-sitting there in the terminal. One can’t believe it.

Sunrise at the Nice airport was something to behold. The whole terminal seemed designed for beauty – the sea, the mountains, the sky. Oh, and I really learned the value of being the early bird because if you can get there earliest you can select a better seat. If you arrive late, you have to take what they have left.

Birds soared right and left, and would bravely land on my table, knowing they might get a crumb or two.

Some might be inclined to consider them unsightly or germ spreaders – but to me they were little bursts of life. And I needed it at 6am. I’d woken up at 4am and lugged my bags down my hobbit stairs at the B&B I was staying in. I could have taken the train and then a cab from the Nice station – but frankly, lugging my bag up and down the stairs was a horrific prospect at 4am, so I just dropped $100 on a cab.

This turned out to be the best choice as I was there easily and early and mostly sweat free.

You never want to be behind me in the security line, trust me, especially this time. I was wearing boots, which meant I had to pull them off each time. But it wasn’t just boots, it was:

Laptop out of bag
Camera bag
Laptop bag

So, all told, around four or five treys. Not a pretty picture. Each time I was certain I would forget something. But I didn’t lose a damned thing – not a ticket, not a boarding pass, not a key – I remembered it all.

When I finally lugged all of my shit to the terminal to hunker down until my 7:45am flight, I was relieved to see that bright, pastel sunrise – an impressionist’s inspiration if ever there was one.