Nice is in the region of Provence and it is so beautiful! I wish I had more time to explore more of the region. Very different than the North, kinda reminded me of southern California (minus the commercialization) and pictures I've seen of the countryside of Italy. Provence was very mountainous, much dryer land with cactus, red rocks and lots of dryer crops (like spices, herbs, olives, lavender). And Nice is a port-city, located right on the Mediterranean Sea.
The first day was absolutely gorgeous; full sun, slight breeze, parfait
! My hostel was a block from the beach and upon arrival, I changed directly into my swimsuit. (So, I might of had high expectations, but none the less I was going to wear my suit!) There is a huge beach side boulevard called Le Quai aux Etats-Unis or Le Promenade Anglais. I am not sure why it is named after the States, but it had flags all along the boulevard from many different countries. The beach itself, was all flat, smooth stones-no sand. I got up close to touch the water, to only get hit my a huge tide (and that is one way to touch the Mediterranean Sea! haha The next day, I actually took off my shoes and rolled up my pants before dipping my feet in.) Afterwords, I walked up to Le Parc du Chateau; a park on top of a huge cliff area. The parc is an old fortress, with walk ways and scenic views. It was absolutely beautiful and I was sweating by the time I made it to the top. On top, there were many old ruins, including the ruins of a church from the 11th and 12th centuries.
The next morning, I found a coffee shop, just like the one in the States, with couches and coffeehouse music! I sat and read for my lit class, enjoying a nice cappuccino and muffin ("ultraviolet" not "blueberry," bizarre name). Afterwords, I walked through old-town, which has a huge flower market (or Marche des fleurs). It's in a huge plaza, amongst all the old buildings, where there are little stands
. You can buy fresh fruit, bread, veggies, spices, herbs, flowers, lavender, soaps, olives, olive oil, sweets/candies, etc. Everything was regional Provence products and the smells are worth the visit! I also found another market, which sold old books and retro French posters from 1880s-1970s. Then grabbing a sandwich to go, I walked to the marina, which had dozens of huge (expensive boats) docked. I forgot how much I love the smell of fresh, marina water! (I also tried to keep an eye out for a celebrity. haha Celebrities are known to vacation here and go yachting.) I ate my lunch on a bench overlooking the sea and then before taking one more dip into the water, I headed back to the station.
Too much, fun! Why did I not study in Provence, so beautiful!
And on the train ride back, I met an older, French gentleman who honestly, I believe, thought I was French! Then again, I chatted very quietly with him (I feel like they can't notice my horrible accent, if I speak softer. haha Which technically is kinda true!)
Bisous from warm(er) weather and sea breezes,
Paris is in northern France and according to my French professors at St. Thomas, there is a huge difference between northern and southern France. Therefore, this weekend being the last weekend I can travel outside Paris until my move-out day (May 1st, c'est dommage), I decided to travel to Nice.