Surprised by the beauty of the Côte d’Azur

Last week I flew to Nice, because I was supposed to visit a friend that I met in Madrid a few months ago. Unfortunately she got accepted in a school in Montréal and so she moved to Canada. I wasn’t gonna waste my ticket, so I booked a hostel and decided to travel along the French coast towards Girona (which never happened in the end, funny story).

I had no idea what to expect. The last time I visited France was during a short visit to Paris 7 years ago and before that the countless family trips when I was a kid. Somehow I never felt the urge to go back, I’m guessing because  I thought I already saw it all. Boy was I wrong!

Villefranche sûr Mer photos
Villefranche sûr Mèr, 20 minutes by train from Nice, France

In love with the pastels of Nice and Villefranche sûr Mèr.

From the moment I set foot in Nice, I loved the place! Imagine this: Nothing but peachy ice cream colored buildings, bakeries and pastry shops at every corner, a beach with super clear blue water and flowers everywhere. Don’t laugh, but I was surprised by the fact that there are also palmtrees here, somehow I connected those to to Spain, the country that stole my heart. Over the past few years I’ve been so focused on Spain, (mostly because I speak Spanish, but also because I just feel so at home there), that I totally forgot about the beauty of good old France.

For hours every day I walked around Nice, and also took a day trip to Villefranche sûr Mèr with another girl from the hostel. At only 20 minutes by train from Nice, this is the cutest town you’ll ever find. It’s situated at the coast, and has a lot of narrow streets, many, many stairs and even prettier colors than Nice itself. It’s the first time I actually used up the battery of my camera, and that really says a lot. Around dinner time we bought a baguette, brie, a can of olives and some spicy dip, and sat down at a bench with ocean view to eat it all. A bunch of grannies joined us and from what they were telling us in French we understood that what we were doing was pretty close to living the perfect life. We couldn’t agree more.

How planning is not my thing

So the idea was to fly to Nice and then travel west towards Girona, where I have a flight back home at 2 October. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize how long the southern coast of France was and had a hard time coming up with an itinerary. I basically had to get my ass back to Girona in 8 days, and I found out that was way harder than I thought, using only busses and trains and still being able to see some cool stuff along the way. I’m just not the type to hop from hostel to hostel, packing and unpacking my backpack every day, and having only 24 hours in each place. All too stressful. So at some point, after trying to plan it for hours, I said ‘screw it, I’ll just fly there’. And so I booked a ticket to Barcelona.

Except when you put me in Barcelona, and Valencia (my all time favorite city in the world) is only 3 hours away by train, you understand I had no other choice than to go there. Not without being a little confused though. France really surprised me, with its relaxt vibe and pastel colors. And so I guess I need to come back one day, to do the complete Côte d’Azur trip I originally wanted to do, except then I need more time. Oh well, lesson learned. Nothing really beats being back in Valencia anyway. Will tell you all about it in my next post!

With love,

Leonie

Villefranche sûr Mèr, France

 

Russian church in the middle of Nice, France (I was surprised too…)

 

Place Massena in Nice; a central square with fountains everywhere…

 

Villefranche sûr Mèr, France, by day and by night.

 

Walking around the old town of Nice, France.

 

The view over Nice when climbing the Castle Hill, next to the old town.

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