When planning out our European travels, I knew that the South of France was somewhere I definitely had to have on the top of my list of places to visit. More specifically the cities of Cannes and St. Tropez, which are two of the places I have frequently seen some of my favorite celebs gush about on their IG feeds. After doing further research on where to go in the Cote D’Azur, we realized those glamorous beaches were a bit more costly and harder to get to, so we settled on Nice.
Most people probably hadn’t heard of Nice or had any idea of where it was, until the recent unfortunate, terrorist attacks that happened on July 14, 2016. This left the whole city with a different disposition, which we even heard from locals how businesses had taken a significant hit from a drop in tourism due to what happened. Regardless, we didn’t let this change our mind and we were determined to make this experience as memorable as possible, and so we did.
Getting there: We took the French high-speed rail service, TGV from Paris to Nice. It was a quick, comfortable 5.5 hour train ride. Although we arrived on it with the assumption there would be wi-fi on the train, and there wasn’t, we took this as an opportunity to catch up on our z’s.
Because we did so much sightseeing in Paris, we decided to just take it easy and relax during our stay in Nice. As much as we love discovering and seeing new places, we also love not having each day planned out to a T and just winging it.
Atop of a hill overlooking all of Nice
At Plage Beau Rivage, the beach on the coast of Nice
Favorite things about France:
- The diversity-this goes across all scales, from the people, the food, etc. I was so pleasantly surprised with the large variety of food that we found, in Paris especially. It was certainly a much needed break from the usual pasta and pizza we had in Italy.
- Hospitality-during our stay in Nice, we were very lucky to get a great host to share our apartment with via airbnb. He made us delicious breakfast croissants everyday and even dropped us off at the airport. Everyone we came across in restaurants and grocery stores were all very friendly and helpful as well.
- The beach-if you’ve ever been to Positano or fancy the California beach with hills overlooking the ocean and cliff-jumping, which was my favorite thing to do in Nice, then you will love the Nice beaches. Although the rocks that replaced the sand at the beach weren’t the most comfortable, the turquoise blue water certainly made up for that quick.
- Major cities are so close to one another that it’s common to take trains from place to place. We took advantage of our time in Nice and its proximity to everything that we took a day trip to Monaco, and I’m glad we did. Let’s just say we got lucky at the famous, Monte Carlo casino!
The famous Monte Carlo casino
Wandering around the beautiful city of Monaco
What to know when visiting France:
- When going out to eat to restaurants and such, know that tipping is not mandatory the way it is in the states. You can easily get away with eating a good meal for 40 euro, which is equivalent for $45 USD and you save 15% of that by not having to tip!
- Be aware of your surroundings. After the recent terrorist attacks that happened in Paris and Nice, I knew to stay aware and conscious of my surroundings. So I made sure to:
- Stay away from large crowds
- When going to a restaurant or public place, be near an exit in case of prompt evacuation
- Try to never leave the house by yourself. You never know when you may need someone else’s aide in a certain situation
- Keep up with what’s going on by checking the news in your area
- Despite the typical “French are a**holes” designation that some of us may have heard, never go in to a new country assuming the stereotype. I actually believe that the people we came across in France were nicer than some other European countries! When walking in an establishment or business, smile, greet them, and they will do the same in return-but of course this rule should apply anywhere you go, not just France.
As I am writing this post, I realize how incredibly blessed Jared and I are to experience these new places together. Not only do we get to have so many of our “firsts” at the same time, but we push each other to overcome fears and things we wouldn’t normally do.
On our second to last day there, we went to the beach for the last time. Jared knows that I have a phobia in large bodies of water, partly because of the fact that I don’t consider myself to be a very good swimmer. Well, I didn’t want this to be an excuse to not jump off the cliffs at the beach with him, so I followed him to an area where many local French kids were jumping off cliffs as tall as 20 feet! Although I was scared and hesitant to make the jump when I got up there, I thought, what’s the worst that could happen? And without even pondering on it anymore, I did it! Not only once, but twice! I wanted to make sure to include this story in my blog, but it is actually something I am really proud of to say I did and its all thanks to Jared.
I hope you don’t mind me getting a bit more personal there, but I just wanted to share the message that you shouldn’t let fear stop you from doing what you want to do. The satisfaction of overcoming that fear is totally worth it and you will have a story to say at the end.
I know this post was a bit more lengthy than the usual but I thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far-hope you will visit this place sometime and let me know how you like it.
All my love,