Monday, June 3, 2013

Nice, France: A Very Happy Accident

Our luck has finally turned. After I wrote my last post, everything started turning around. Nice was gorgeous! We arrived in the evening at 9:10, just as the city was coming to life. As we made our way to our hostel, we passed cute little French bakeries and boutiques.

In Italy, when I hear Ciao Bella, I am instantly annoyed. But when I got an Oh la la as I walked by, I couldn’t help but giggle like a school girl. The south of France was already magical and our night was only just beginning. We checked in at Hรดtel Paradis and found that it was fully booked. Everyone was in town for the Grand Prix, and we had somehow managed to get in a last-minute booking just that morning. I’m telling you, this was our good karma finally kicking in!

Our room was on the top floor and had a tiny window with a beautiful view. As I first looked out at the city, I was the square below filled with lights and people and there was a couple, smoking and enjoying the view out on the balcony across the way.
Nice at night! <3
After two very long days of traveling, it was about time we had a night out. And what better time than Friday night, in the south of France during the Grand Prix? We made our way down the main strip and saw a massive fountain at the far end. The night was lit with a near-full moon and a beautiful instillation with the seven chakras represented with sky-high statues of different meditations, all lighting up the night sky with the rotating colors of the seven chakras.

As we wondered around the main square, searching for the bar that the receptionist had recommended, we heard British accents and noticed we had a couple of fellow travelers following close behind. When they finally came up and talked to us, we all got a table upstairs at this crowded American bar (I know, I know…but it was hoppin!). The server was ridiculously flamboyant and kept harassing the Britts (even sitting in James’ lap) and making fun of us for being too loud. We started off with a round of drinks and ended with a giant fishbowl long island, brought out with decadent garnish and a sparkler!

Chakra installation in Nice (we couldn't get the whole thing in the picture, but there were 7 figures that all lit up in different colors).
We had agreed before going out to be back by 1 am so we could get up at 5 to watch the sunrise before catching the 7:30 train to Paris. Everything went as planned and was even better than we could have hoped for. After drinks, we all headed down to the beach, where a large crowd had gathered. We walked along the ocean and watched the city lights reflect off the sea as we listened to the quiet French conversations in the distance.

In the morning, we packed up and headed out to watch the sunrise over the beach and take in a last view of the Nice beachscape. As we first arrived at the beach, we saw the huge, yellow moon hanging low over the ocean. There was a half-eaten baguette and an empty bottle of wine on the beach left over from the night before. Pigeons and seagulls were scattered over the beach eating any available scraps of food. As the sun began to rise, the sky was filled with vibrant pink, purple and gold clouds just over the horizon. The moon slowly disappeared and the sky lightened as the street cleaners came out to wipe away the mess of the previous night.
Just before sunrise at the beach.
Everyone we encountered in Nice was pleasant. Even the street cleaners said “Avoir!” with a friendly smile and wave as they drove off.

As we sadly said our goodbyes to the ocean and headed back to the train station, we stopped at a little pastry shop, just opening, and ordered some corgette quiche for breakfast. Once again, our luck continued. We were early for our train, and are on our way to Paris!

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