August in the south of France. That is where some of the Parisians go when they need to desert the tourist ridden city. Cece and I weren’t any different. After spending some quality time in the city, we decided it was time to dip our toes and lay out on the beach. Or in my case, hide under an umbrella.
We got to the train station bright and early to begin our 5 hour journey to the south. We chose the idZen option for the train. You get to chose between idZen and idZap. Zen being the quiet calm train, for those who want to sleep and rest. Zap being the train for chatters, cell phone users and people who don’t mind a little noise. After consuming my croissant and pain au chocolat, I settled in ready for a nice nap on the train.
This is a lie. 4 teenaged girls decided that they were going to use the idZen to giggle, talk loudly and crinkle their food wrappings. I was not a happy camper. Cece put on her headphones and found some solace in the noise, but I didn’t wanna sleep in earbuds. After numerous dirty looks, which didn’t work, I gave up. I couldn’t even cuss them out if I wanted to because they wouldn’t have understood me. Ugh. I just went ahead and read my book and ate my mousse au chocolat.
We arrived in Nice, and then took a regional train for Beaulieu sur Mer. I was told that all the people living here are very wealthy, which makes it a nicer place to stay than the busy Nice. Cece’s parents own an apartment there, so we headed straight for that and got ready for the beach. Once we had our beach gear packed, we stopped at Super U, the market, and picked up a baguette and some charcuterie, cheeses and fruit.
The beach was something I’ve never experienced before. My beach adventures were limited to America, so that included lakes, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Here we are at the Mediterranean Sea with the most amazing clear water. The seaweed was a little weird though. It was seaweed flakes, versus actually weeds, so I was covered in it by the end of the day. Here, they aren’t sand beaches, but tiny pebbles. I thought it might be hard on my feet, but it was fine, however it was REALLY REALLY HOT! There we enjoyed people watching. There were plenty of topless women and speedo wearing men, the stereotypes are true. However don’t get too excited guys, its usually old boobs that you DON’T wanna see. One lady who was also wearing a thong, and had completely leathery skin decided she was going to exercise topless at the edge of the water for all to see. I’m not that much of a prude, but think of the children woman!
When we had enough, we walked back up the hills to the apartment. Cece has a cousin, Vanhvilay, who said she would take us out for some wine at her friend’s cafe. There we had amazing rose wine, and olive breadsticks, not to mention some other savory bites. Her friend’s name was Francesco, and his parents moved to the south of France when he was 8, from Tuscany, Italy. When I asked them why they decided to live in France over Italy, they told me because they fell in love with the town and didn’t want to leave. Here everyone knows each other, even though British and Italian tourists run rampant. It has a great community feel, and like all beach side towns, its laid back and easy going. For the most part (some of the other tourists weren’t a fan of my ink and made it very clear with their facial expressions).
Vanvilay’s friends invited us to continue the night in Monaco, which is where the young and hip people go to hang out in the later hours. I guess Beaulieu is too quiet and calm for them. Monaco is its own city state. Run by a prince and heavily guarded upon entry (though were weren’t stopped, probably because Vanhvilay works there and they already have her plates on file). It was beautiful that night and bustling. However, they chose an American themed bar called Stars and Bars… I don’t know if they were trying to make me comfortable or what, but I wasn’t a fan. The menu had “American” items, like chicken fingers and burgers. I opted for a glass of rose and some guacamole. Bad choice. But the company was fun and I had a good night. Thanks, V!
The next morning we headed to the beach again, this time to a smaller much closer spot. Less bared nipples as well. Don’t get me wrong, there were still some, just not as much.
When we got back we decided to have a glass of wine at one of the cafes, then we came back and had charcuteries on the balcony. I finished a couple books, journaled, and watched the fireworks show. What a good way to end the night.
The next morning we cleaned up and decided to spend our day in Nice.
We finally had moules-frites (mussels and french fries), and explored a little. More about the food in another post. Nice is very popular. Plenty of people on their beautiful beaches, but also plenty of crazies.
We walked from old Nice, to new, and boy was is different. From Cece’s Parisian perspective, Nice was dirty. And also the people were very…different. There were lots of women who I thought resembled the Octomom. Complete with stringy black hair, big sunglasses, huge lips and tiny puppy. What made it even more noticeable was they hung out together! Cece later told me they were “travs” which is the french slang for transvestite prostitutes. Surprise!
Before we got on the train we had some sushi and gyoza from a cute Japanese restaurant complete with zen garden inside. Then it was time for the train and head back to the city. The ride was pretty uneventful. We took idZap, but it was surprisingly quieter than the idZen train on the way there.
When we got back, we were so tired and delirious on the metro, that we were the crazies that people were avoiding in the metro station. My contacts were dry, so I was making weird blinking faces, which amused Cece to the point of obnoxious giggles. We looked SO crazy that, one of the guys on the train, bolted from the station and as soon as he was far enough. He started walking again, and looking back at us. Whoops. But I think it is better to be the crazy, then get chased by one.
I love you south of France. Until we meet again!