Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ze South of France

              Spring has been very late in coming to Paris (although, thank goodness, it's here now) and after looking at a jam-packed planner and a forecast of rain ahead, I decided to pull the trigger and take my work with me to the South of France. Usually more of a flyer, this time I opted to take the train to have more time to work without interruption. The view out of the window from the train was incredible to the point of almost being distracting. I rarely insist on things, but if you are in Paris, or anywhere within reasonable train range, and decide to go to a city on the French Riviera, YOU MUST TAKE THE TRAIN. The views are incredible. Worth the trip alone, I'm not exaggerating. I used the trip as continuous positive pressure to keep me focused (not working=guilt), so I was still able to get a good deal of work done on the train. The fact that my train car was not equipped with wifi helped, as well.

I took a bunch of Vines of the train ride and Nice in general, so if you'd like to see the vids, check out my Vine account.

The main reason I went to Nice was to get some sun, and honey, Nice did not disappoint. Paris is great and all but the weather can at times leave much to be desired. I spent most of the time reading/studying, but I did also go to Musée Masséna, and I took a short day trip to Monaco.

Musée Masséna was really cool. I totally stumbled upon it coming back from the beach my second morning in Nice. It was situated right between my hotel and the iconic Hôtel Le Negresco. The museum is set back in from the street a bit, separated from the promenade by a lush garden. The museum had some really impressive mosaic work on the floors, and the exhibits had a lot of cool old-school promotional posters featuring the history of Nice as a resort town and the upper crust visitors that made the French Rivera (later dubbed the  "Côte d'Azur " by the cool kids) the hot-spot that it became. As a forewarning, the exhibit placards are in French, but still worth checking out just for the visual splendor of it all.

Napoleon is so #ubiquitous in France, man.

Monaco was amaaazing. I was only there for like 3 hours, but it was 3 hours well-spent. I don't think I would have needed to stay much longer to get the gist, at least not during the day (though I heard Monaco is the crack spot at night), as there's not a whole lot to see and do, but it's gorgeous. The rocher ("rock") where the palace sits was PACKED with tourists, and I went before the season had really started up. I can't imagine what it would be like during July, for example.  The glut of tourists is totally understandable, however, because the views of the two harbors are amazing. Construction workers were setting up blue bleachers for the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix, which was cool to see. The train ride from Nice was only 17 minutes, and on the way back, I took a direct train, and it was only 10. So close. I do recommend taking the (slightly) slower train, which makes local stops, as you can really get amazing views of the towns in-between like Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer.  Also Monaco is another country, so it's fun to say you took a 3-hour jaunt to another country, and still made it back to your place in time for dinner.

Place Masséna (that family ran Nice, apparently) on the way to the train station.
Peeping over the gate of the Chagall Museum in was closed :/
Coming out of the Monaco train station!

I can tell I've been horribly spoiled by Paris food, as everything I ate in Nice was sort of "eh", but there were tons of fresh oranges around, which was awesome. Anything with a citrus element would probably be good in this region.

Citrus on citrus on citrus.

This trip was great as well because I had never done any travel in in France outside of the Île-de-France region around Paris, so it was nice to sort of get a sense of what France is like holistically as a country. Me attempting to speak on France having just lived in Paris is probably tantamount to thinking you know the U.S. having only lived in NYC.
The view out of my hotel room in Nice :)
I just submitted my last final on the 20th, so fingers crossed, I've passed all my classes. It felt good to do something I thought would be good for me (it was), while still holding it together and getting work done. I'm done, y'all! :)

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