The French Riviera

So again, this post is quite a bit late (Have that whole school thing to deal with).

So November 2nd to November 11th my friend Greta from Georgetown and I, were fortunate enough to spend 10 days in France. Now, we did not miss school, in fact we had the week of November 4th off, because it was our “Reading Week”, which is a week where you don’t have classes. The point of this is that it gives students time to read books for classes, write papers and ultimately get work done for classes. However, since there is so much less busy work over here (I’m used to having 5 or 6 assignments per class, and with 5 classes that totals up to about 30 assignments per term, and over here I only have about 1 or 2 assignments per class per term, so I have way less busy work), every single American here for study abroad took this week off to travel. I had friends going to Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, England etc. (really just all over Europe).

Now, from the very beginning Greta and I planned on going to France, mainly because she speaks French and because ever since I started watching the Tour de France, I have a slight obsession with France. Now, since we had 10 days, we decided we would go to Paris for a good amount of the trip, plus we would go to Reims (the Champagne region of France) and Normandy as day-trips from Paris. Then Greta suggested we start in Nice, in the south of France, and that we travel to the coastal cities for a couple of days. Given I didn’t have too much of a preference besides seeing Normandy and Paris, I agreed. So on Saturday the second we flew out to Nice.

We got into Nice that afternoon, and after dropping our bags off at our hostel, we just walked around the rest of the day. Which is basically what we did the whole time we were in the South of France, so this post is going to have way more photos than it will text.

Below is a picture of the beaches in Nice, none of them are sand, they are all rock.

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After walking around for a while (and of course getting some crepes for lunch) we proceeded to climb up to this vantage point overlooking the city. Once we got there we not only got to see a pretty cool waterfall built into the hill (and by that I mean a water feature that looked like a waterfall), but we also got to look out over Nice as the sun set. Below are photos pre sunset, and during the sunset.

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We then headed back to our hostel to get ready to go explore Antibes the next day! Antibes is located to the West of Nice, but is still along the coast. The weather could not have been more perfect, we had blue skies and temperatures in the low sixties (and given that only a few days ago we were both wearing our winter coats in Dublin, we couldn’t have been happier). We got to Antibes, albeit a bit later than we had hoped for, cause we went way too far on the bus, so we had to walk about 40 minutes to get back to Antibes…oops, but I can’t really complain since I didn’t bother to look up the bus info, and instead relied totally on Greta, soooooo, I really can’t complain. Plus it was a really pretty walk. Once in Antibes we were able to walk through the town’s market, checking out not only fruits and produce but also clothes and other little artsy things. After getting Lunch we headed to the Picaso Museum in town, which is there because Picaso used to come to Antibes to Paint, so the town has since got a number of his works and even dedicated a museum to him (all of course with the aid of private art dealers). The last part of our day, before heading back, was spent on a beach. We just went and hung out there for a while, I even was able to find about twenty or so pieces of beach glass, something our old neighbors (and current friends) do. I definitely stole the idea from them.

Below is a photo of me in Antibes.

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Here is a photo of me at the beach, obviously I had to try out the water, which was in fact quite cold. There were two people swimming in it, but I’m pretty sure they had wetsuits on…

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We soon caught the bus back to Nice to not only have dinner, but also to get ready to go to St. Paul de Vence and Monaco the next day. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as good our second day, and by not as good I mean it was cold, rainy and gray outside. But that didn’t matter too much, because St. Paul de Vence is an amazing little town. It is located on a hilltop, overlooking the french countryside (it is inland, not a coastal town like Nice or Antibes), and did I mention it’s one of oldest medieval towns in the area? And it is entirely surrounded by medieval walls! It was pretty amazing, which even then doesn’t really do it justice. We didn’t really do much there, other than just walk around all the little roads in the town and peek into all the little shops in the area (most of the shops were art stores). One of the roads was even named “Breaking your neck street” – Don’t worry, it wasn’t really that steep.

Below is a photo of me with the view of the French countryside in the background. Taken from the edge of the city.

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Below is a photo of one of the streets in the city.

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After spending the morning in St. Paul de Vence, we caught the bus back to Nice. We got some warmer clothes from our hostel in Nice before catching the bus to Monaco, which is located to the East of Nice. By the time we got to Monaco it had stopped raining, but it was still overcast. From the bus stop we hiked up to the Palace overlooking the city, which was actually a pretty steep and long walk. We walked around a bit more after that, and eventually found our way to the Monte Carlo Casino. The Casino was beautiful inside, but unfortunately you couldn’t take photos inside. I also got to gamble a bit. I played one round of roulette betting on 13-18, unfortunately 8 came up so I didn’t win, but….. I was able to gamble in Monaco so that was pretty cool.

Below is a photo overlooking Monaco from the Palace, as you can tell it’s pretty crowded with buildings as well as yachts.

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Here is a photo outside the Monte Carlo Casino, you can tell by the cars outside that Monaco is definitely a place for the incredibly wealthy.

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We thought about getting Martinis while inside the casino, but one Martini was about $20, so we decided we didn’t need to act like James Bond that badly. We headed back to Nice that evening for one final dinner in the South of France, and to get ready for the next morning when we had to catch our train up to Paris. I’ll try and get to the rest of our French trip soon!

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