Still not convinced that France is for you? Are you worried that the Parisians just aren’t ready to accept that your grasp of French is about as strong as your understanding of Kantian ethics? Maybe navigating a large European city isn’t how you’d like to spend your time away. You’d rather relax, lay back, and take it all in without feeling as if you’re your missing out on something? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Côte d’Azur!
Also known far and wide as the French Riviera, the “Azure Coast” is located in the southeast portion of the country where land meets the Mediterranean Sea. I can honestly say that I have never been any place more beautiful in my entire life. Everything amazing about European travel can be boiled down to a stay in this area of the continent. Do you enjoy warm ocean breezes? Check. Shopping? Check. Amazing food? Check. Friendly people? Check. The ability to visit other countries in a matter of minutes? Check. History? Mystery? Stone villages perched precariously on a cliff overlooking the sea? Check. Check. Check. In short, get your behind on the next plane to Nice (pronounce like niece), and start your adventure!
Seriously people, look at this pile of spices. Any country that is in love with spices enough to let you shovel them out of a bucket into bags of all sizes is alright with me! This shot was taken in an area of the city called Old Nice. It is, by all visual observations, wicked old. If I could afford to buy a house here I would do so immediately. No question, no thought, no debate. The streets of Old Nice are teeming with life, and the retail options are endless. On any given walk you can pick up dinner, have a belt custom made, stop by the artisan liqueur shop, and have a quick cup of coffee not necessarily in that order. While the people here are not as well-versed in English as the Parisians are, they are much more ready and willing to forgive your linguistic fumbling if you can forgive theirs.
Minutes away from the outskirts of Nice you enter the principality of Monaco. Big boats, big cars, and big wallets populate this tiny principality on the Mediterranean coast, as does the Oceanographic Museum, once run by famous oceanic explorer Jacques Cousteau. I only spent a could of hours in Monaco, and that was plenty. If you’re not a gambler or a shopper there isn’t a whole lot to do here, but it is a good place to get caught up in staring at exactly how much happiness money can buy (a whole lot).
Pictured above from top to bottom: 1) Monaco Oceanographic Museum 2) Quiet residential area of Monte Carlo 3) Yeah, that’s a mall.
I don’t know who this kid is, but he was really having fun throwing rocks into the Mediterranean. Who WOULDN’T?! Hello! It’s the MEDITERRANEAN! I can personally vouch for the fact that doing anything while on the beach of The Côte d’Azur is better than doing it at home. I would do your taxes for you if it meant I could do them with that particular body of water in eyeshot. I settled for tossing a few rocks in, too. Don’t worry, there’s enough to go around.
Are you convinced yet?
Even the view on the way home is amazing. Those are the Italian Alps, positioned perfectly to remind you exactly what you are leaving behind as you fly away. But you’ll be back. And, as always, let me know when you’re going. Maybe I’ll meet you there (but pick me up some balsamic vinegar just in case).
** Don’t forget – you can leave me a comment below, and check out my entire set of France photos on Flickr