Here’s a fact about me: In middle school and high school French classes, you do a lot of conversation exercises. And a lot of the time, in these conversations you have to inject detials like the name of a French city as well as a French name for yourself. For example: Hello. My name is Isabelle (my French name of choice was always Isabelle). I’m from (insert city name here) and I like to (insert several French verbs/phrases like play tennis, swim, read etc.). Well, my city of choice was always, without fail, Nice. Pronounced like niece, it was easier than perfecting the air sounding R and drawn out eeeeee in Paris and to top it off, it seemed, well, nice. Also in French classes growing up, you watch a lot of French movies, many of which are set in the countryside and/or the South of France. All this to say, me visiting Nice, at the very southeast corner of the country, has been a long time coming. And ever since I moved to Paris, I have been itching, practically aching to see the South – both the glittery Riviera coast and the charms of Provencal life. At last, I made my first visit over Easter.
A five and a half hour train ride from Paris, Nice is a bit of a different world – Southern charm, bright sun, bold colors, and water all shades of emerald, turquoise and cerulean. As I headed to the train station last Friday morning, the city’s ceiling was reclaiming its beloved grey clouds and cool mist – I knew I had made the right decision. And as green countrysides and woolly sheep changed to my first sighting of the Mediterranean Sea, I knew I had really made the right decision. Staying just a few minutes walk from the beach, I discovered that while Paris has its green chairs, Nice has its own in blue which I was more than happy to grab a seat in as I watched people pass up and down the Promenade des Anglais, named for the many English people who in the 18 and 1900s loved to summer and be seen doing so along the Nice coast. Here are just a few photos (mostly of water because I couldn’t take my eyes off it!) to set the scene. Hope you’re ready for the South, cause there’s much more to come!