Nice. Monaco. Cannes. C’est la Côte d’Azur.
Last weekend, I traveled to the French Riviera for my friend Emilie’s 21st birthday! Emilie’s mom rented us an Airbnb in Nice, and a group of us traveled from all around Europe to meet Emilie and celebrate her birthday. I’m not really sure how any birthday celebration can top a trip to the South of France with your friends.
We spent our days in France sitting on the beach, walking through the market in Nice, and taking day trips to Monaco and Cannes. On Saturday morning we walked through the Marché aux Fleurs–drooling over baskets of fresh strawberries and debating which bouquets of fresh flowers were our favorites. We bought fruit and fresh olive bread and brought it to the beach for breakfast. After relaxing on the beach for a few hours, we decided to take a day trip to Monaco, less than 30 minutes away by train.
Even though Monaco is technically a country, it’s basically just a city located along the French Riviera with cultural influences from both France and Italy. Emilie’s friend Thibaut (originally from Nîmes but going to school in Nice) spent the day showing us around Monaco. We walked up to the old town to see the Prince’s Palace of Monaco and to see spectacular views of the city. We even got to watch part of a Formula-E race from above as the drivers sped through Monte Carlo. We made sure to make our way down to the Monte Carlo casino, passing dozens of really fancy cars along the way. Not wanting to break the bank in Monaco, we headed back to Nice for dinner.
On Sunday morning we took a trip to the French city of Cannes, about 40 minutes away by train. Cannes was by far our favorite city of the trip. We began our day with a well stocked picnic on the beach.
After enjoying the warm sunshine and dipping our toes into the water, we walked around Cannes, scoping out the location of the annual Cannes Film Festival (to be held only a week after we left).
We got on a boat going out to Sainte Marguerite Island, only a few minutes away from the coast of Cannes. Once we got to the island, we walked around the marked trails, taking us around the wooded island and eventually up to Fort Royal, an old fortress.
We headed back to Cannes for gelato and a final dinner (before we’re back in Charlottesville together), enjoying the city’s warm beachy feel.
While I would have loved to spend another weekend in Copenhagen, my trip to France was fun, relaxing, and warm (Admittedly, I had trouble not comparing winter in Denmark with spring in Nice). I rushed back to Copenhagen on Monday to enjoy my final week in Denmark, filled with final exams and outings with my friends and host family.
I cannot believe that this semester is over.