The amount of ‘Nice is pretty nice’ puns I’ve made in the past few days should be criminal. In all actuality though, Nice is the most beautiful place on Earth I’ve visited to date. The crystal blue water meets the sky with no resistance, causing a tranquil feeling in those scattered across the beach.
Riding the train into Nice was the beginning of the experience. The tracks followed the coast line from above, cutting into the hills that wrap the sea. Watching the water as it silently skimmed the shore encouraged the butterflies in my stomach, knowing the sights that awaited upon arrival. Even from the moment I stepped out of the station, Nice blew me away. The whimsical atmosphere invited your imagination to wander about the brightly colored buildings.
Our accommodations for this trip was a cozy apartment with high ceilings. Our host was a lovely french woman with a black cat who purred when you scratched his white tipped ears. She lives above the apartment she rents out, but offered us tea and company whenever we wanted. There is a joy to renting apartments while traveling, it gives you a sense of freedom within an unknown place. You frequently mingle among the locals and are secluded from the typical tourist traps. You also have much more space than a hostel or hotel could ever offer, and the ability to save money by cooking some meals for yourself. I’ve done this many times through various sites such as Airbnb and VRBO, and recommend it to anyone looking for a more authentic experience of a city.
But now back to my time in Nice. Our days were spent in quite a lazy fashion, I must admit. My travel companion and dear friend was drained from sleepless nights spent working on assignments as our semester is frantically fizzling. We explored the city for our first day; seeing the main square, eating crepes and macaroons, buying our collectables. The next two days though were spent on the beach eating pre-packed meals and reapplying sunscreen practically hourly. Sleeping and reading our days away under the French Riviera sun was exactly what we both needed to prepare for our final exams that are rapidly approaching.
One spur of the moment choice we made was to visit the Casino. The night was filled with slot machines and over priced drinks (which is why it didn’t last long). The card tables hosted angsty Frenchmen sipping whiskey and eyeing each other. The roulette wheel called upon a vast array of visitors, pretty much anyone who could pick a number and color. The music pumped and the chairs squeaked. It wasn’t nearly its neighbor Monte Carlo, but it did amuse us for an evening.
While it might have been priced for tourists and a little too early in the season, Nice still found a way to impress me. You really need no reason to visit there other than to be enveloped into the culture that awaits you. Frequently this city is skipped by visitors who prefer its glamorous neighbors, Cannes and Monaco. I haven’t visited those places, but I don’t know how they could compare to my time in Nice. It was raining when we left, almost to reflect my emotional state.
Nice, thank you for sharing your playful character with me, we will meet again when the sea brings me back to you.