We still cannot make plans for the summer, but we can dream and revisit past travel destinations. In the last days I reflected on favorite summer trips where I would like to return, from a Promenade in the South of France, fado rhythms of the Atlantic Ocean, Italian towns, to German castles and my hometown at the shore of the Black Sea.
The importance of the journey
La vie et facile, ne t’enquit pas.
La vie et facile, ne t’enquit pas (Life is easy darling, don’t worry). I remember this was first message I read once I arrive in Nice airport, and then in front of the school dormitory where I was staying and then everywhere in the city … Oui, I added darling. There was no chéri. Sounds better, right? Became the motto in France. One year later, I learn this was the book title of a very popular french book at the time, not a secret message for me.
Belle de nuit. Nice
Little braquete about my situation – I was living and working in Brussels at the time, a franchone city, but decided to study and improve my French in Nice. While there, I could not help to explore sunny French Riviera. Had classes in the morning and after I was getting lost around in the little streets of Nice, my favorite way to discover a city, or decide to go on a small day trip. Life was indeed easy with choices like that.
On my first day in Nice I remember I met Rachel from New Zealand and we explored together the old town, Place Masséna and the harbor. The lunch was from the local market Cours Saleya, filled with lavender, fruits, vegetables, fish and spices.
We climbed Colline du Château to see the view, and had dinner in Place Garibaldi. While walking on Promenades des Anglais, decided to stop in front of Negresco Hotel at the stony beach with pebbles and swam for the first time in the salty Mediterranean, while staring into the distance at the Alps.
Other day I visited Musée Chagal in neighborhood Cimiez of Nice. Picasso, Matisse, Chagal and even Vincent van Gogh, all lived in the south of France – I understand the reason they all came for inspiration to paint in this part of the world.
Between visits I remember my mornings in the school Alpha.b on Rue d’Angleterre – On my first day we played a game and answered questions about Stromae, Marie Curie, Nadia Comaneci, Rolland Garros and Zizou. Other time we discussed about regrets and I could think of Edith Piaf. Non, je ne regrette rien. On the last days I was part of a new group and we read an article about the equality between women and men. Or like the teacher said, the inequality.
Love these memories
Most memorable day trips were Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat and Eze. In this order. Followed closely by Antibes, that I discovered with a new friend from Austria. And Cannes, where we went by train and attended in the evening the annual fireworks festival, for free, in front of famous Cannes Croisette.
Next, an afternoon all by myself following the footsteps of Princess Grace in Monaco. And one last morning in Cote d’Azur at Villefranche-sur-mer, only a few minutes bus trip from Nice, but miraculously with sandy beaches and a mysterious street – Rue Obscure!
Reine des coeurs Cap-Ferrat
In St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat I had on my list only Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, also called Villa Île-de-France. Luckily I was inspired to enter the Tourism Office that recommended to visit the beach Plage des Fosses and the walking hike called Promenade Maurice Rouvier until the next town, Beaulieu-sur-mer at Greek Villa Keryos.
On the promenade I saw tourists, locals running or walking. From the horizon you could see Cros deï Pin beach, Eze village, Cap d’Ail and even the coast of Italy and of island Corsica. I have goosebumps remembering even now, more than 4 years later. Two other walking trails are “Tour of Cap-Ferrat” and “Tour of the Pointe Saint-Hospice”.
Étoile – Eze
For the second memorable trip, I arrived in the afternoon to medieval village of Eze, tucked on a hill. Luckily is easy to reach it, thanks to several buses that run from Nice to Eze-sur-Mer. Knowing the story of perfumes from Grasse, I went directly to the Fragonard factory for a tour. Undecided between “Étoile (star)” and “Éclat (shine)”, at the end I took home the latter.
Next, wondered in the lovely little streets of Eze and walked the path of Nietzsche (chemin de Nietzsche). The famous philosopher lived in Eze and legends says he found inspiration for writing after his daily walk. Don’t miss the Botanic garden panorama for a stunning view over the Mediterranean Sea.
On the list
During my next visit I hope to see Aix-en-Provence, for lavender fields and fishing village of Saint Tropez, for a chic destination.