- Itinerary: Twenty-two days by train in France
- Back from France: Intro to Upcoming Series
- Days 1&2: Bordeaux, Sleep Deprivation, and the Case of the Missing Driver
- Day 3: Saint-Émilion, Wine, and Glimpses of Heaven
- The Arguing Old Couple. “Il est trés fou!”
- Day 4: A Travel Buddy in Amboise
- Day 5: Chateau Amboise and Solo Travel Revelations
- Day 6: Being Lazy in Amboise
- Day 7: Chateaux of the Loire Valley
- Amboise and Rude Americans
- Day 8: Dark Alleys and Fear in Sarlat-la-Canéda
- Solo Travel: Crushing Loneliness
- Day 9: Touring Les Plus Beaux Villages de Dordogne
- Day 10: An Evening of Tears in Carcassonne
- Day 11: Arles and Falling in Love
- Day 12: Gender Normative Behavior in Arles
- Day 12: Roman Ruins, Van Gogh, and Body Positivity in Arles
- Day 13: Catcalls and a Lost Reservation in Nice
- Day 13: There’s No Cerveza on this French Menu!
- Day 14: The Beauty of Nice
- Day 15: Eeeezeeee Does It At Éze Village
- Day 16: Wishing for Longer in Lyon
- Day 17: Getting To Chamonix-Mont-Blanc By Train Is Not For The Weak
- Day 18: L’Aiguille du Midi
- Day 19: Annecy
I sought out the beauty of Nice. Sunday morning was a lovely time for wandering. The streets weren’t yet packed and I was able to better absorb my surroundings than I could last night, when I was distracted by catcalls and my attempts to find new accommodations.
Part I: Coffee NOW, Please
I woke early in the morning in my beautiful, very safe feeling hotel and left shortly thereafter to go wander. There was no plan. I saw gardens on the map and headed that direction.
The path I took brought me into Nice’s Old Town. Mint green trim on every sherbet-colored building provided beautiful continuity as one looked down the long streets.
I found the famed flower market. Stall after stall of magnificent bouquets stretched on for blocks.
By 11 the lack of caffeine and food in my system had become unbearable.
A restaurant was found. A hostess sat me at a table. Thus did my watch begin. Nobody paid attention to me for what felt like hours.
Finally, a server came to take my order. I begged for coffee. I pleaded. I asked for the strongest double espresso the world has ever seen.
“Tough night?” he asked, with a saucy wink.
“No,” I replied bashfully. “I just really like caffeine.”
Some Cheese Tea, Please
A moment later, I overheard this gem…
English lady: Can you tell me what kinds of teas you have?
Server: (proceeds to list all the different cheeses that will come with the brunch)
English lady: oh yes, that sounds lovely, thank you.
All told, brunch was a joyous experience. The quantity of food that came with my scrambled eggs, however, was absolutely ridiculous.
I had zero objections.
Part II: YOLO
At the end of the day, it was time to relax, get dinner, and write up all that I had seen and done. This was my daily routine during the trip. I would relax a bit in the late afternoon, then draft a recap of the day during dinner and spend the rest of the night writing and editing. By the time I went to bed, I would have a post ready to publish and photos curated to go with it.
On this particular day, I was ready to do something at 6:30 and restaurants didn’t open until 7. I looked at Google Maps for a nearby bar where I might have a glass of wine before dinner.
I quickly learned pickings are slim on a Sunday evening in Nice, and there really was only one conveniently located option. Thus, I was at a wine bar named, I swear to God, “YOLO.”
The only customers were me and a male/female presenting couple at another table. Yet there was EDM blasting over the speakers and the server turned it up even louder a few moments after I arrived.
Lord help me, the things I’ll do for wine!
It was an adorable place, though.
As I sipped, it became apparent the couple at the other table was having an argument. You see, that other woman contacted him on that day, not the day his partner was thinking. Plus, he waited loads of time before responding.
Somehow that information wasn’t satisfying the woman he was sitting with, and he started getting frustrated.
“Well if you’d just TELL me what you THINK is going on…”
She was facing away from me and speaking more softly than him, so I couldn’t hear any of her replies.
(This was around the time it occurred to me their argument may have been the reason the server turned the music up, which increased my esteem for the server greatly.)
The woman stood up and acted like she was about to walk out on him two different times. Both times, she allowed him to stop her.
I wanted so badly to ask her to join me, to go leave and dine together and hear her story and let her vent.
He told her, after getting her to sit back down the second time, that he was trying to be pleasant and she wasn’t, and that was unacceptable.
She didn’t slap him across the face and storm out on him. I hoped she would, but she didn’t.
It was an enraging exchange to hear.
If there hadn’t been good food waiting elsewhere I might have stayed longer to see how it panned out. Years of experiencing similar situations taught me they would likely leave together at some point and I would never know the resolution regardless. It made sense to finish my one glass of wine and go have a nice dinner.
I’ll never forget that woman, though.
Recap of Day
While I ate dinner and thought about the woman in the bar, I wrote out all I had seen in Nice that day.
I had strolled the promenade and then climbed the stairs to Castle Hill. I went up for the views, and when I saw a path that went higher than the spot I’d aimed for I kept climbing.
A helpful plaque I stumbled upon taught me Castle Hill is an old fortified site originally occupied by Celtic Ligurians, in around 500-400 BC. The area suddenly became even more interesting to explore.
In doing so, I found a Jewish cemetery. It was incredibly peaceful there, so when it started raining I opened my umbrella, sat down on some steps, and listened to birdsong and rain for a while.
After it stopped raining, I wasn’t ready to descend into the city. I continued exploring. Eventually, I sat down on a bench and stayed put, and didn’t mind the rain when it started to come down again.
All told I think I was up there walking around, exploring, sitting and enjoying the views and the birdsong and the solitude, for a good 3-4 hours.
Eventually, I made my way back down to the promenade. I kept turning away from the water and gazing towards the hills surrounding Nice, though. This isn’t surprising, I suppose. Some folks are recharged by being near water. Some, like me, crave trees and lush greenery. The hills call to me. The sea does not.
It was a very relaxing day. I can’t say I fell in love with Nice. I doubt I’ll ever go back. But I’m glad to have experienced it.