Nice, France | Part Deux

It occurred to me recently that I have not written here in such a long time! I have a new website venture (www.thesleepypineapple.com) where I am focusing more on food and fitness. Travel is my first love though and this blog was such a big part of my life for so long! There are many more places and sites I have yet to tell you about too! It was sad for me for awhile there, my life in Toronto became a bit stale when I first returned from my whirlwind trip. Talking about my adventures made me sad and I became a bit depressed again. The good news is I persevered! I am now teaching Pilates and working at the studio full time! I began school for Holistic Nutrition and I am doing very well over all. I still give myself too much to do and I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs and new endeavours, but I am happy. I continue to dream big and I am working towards those dreams everyday!

Last fall I got to return to the place where it all began, Nice, France. I was lucky enough to bring my boyfriend this time and show him around. He thought it was picturesque and stunning. If they didn’t speak French, I could probably get him to move there with me! I showed him the Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena, the Chateau de Nice and the old town Vieille Ville.IMG_1752IMG_0190IMG_1635We stayed in a six floor walk up, we found on Air Bnb, that had the sweetest little balcony that looked out on the city. I would 100% stay there again, even with all the stairs! I was blocks from the beach and the lively tourist section of the city, which wasn’t as busy due to us arriving in early September.

We did lose our luggage on the way there, as we flew via Frankfurt from Dublin and there was a bomb scare that very morning. Thanks to a mix up we also lost two days waiting for the luggage to arrive and had to go to the airport to pick it up in the end, 3 days after we arrived. While I do hate we couldn’t even go swimming because we were waiting for luggage and I missed out on seeing some of my old haunts from when I was there in 2013, I still loved every second of being there! I’m also incredibly thankful for my travellers insurance!

Luggage aside, we did get to the beach multiple days and I swam my little heart out! We also took a day trip to Monaco and Eze! If you look at past posts, Eze is magical and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. Lovely little shops and cafes, stunning views and adorable surroundings. We sat on a patio over looking the sea and had some drinks. We wandered through the small pathways and up to the church, where I lit a candle for my father (as I do in all churches). We even hiked down to Eze sur la Mer, which was MUCH longer than I remembered and definitely much hotter as well!

In Monaco, I changed my mind at the last minute and we went to the old town first and then to Monte Carlo. That was a mistake! Because, we by the time we made it to Monte Carlo, it was passed 1pm and my boyfriend couldn’t get in with his flip flops. I think I was more disappointed for him, then he was about not getting to go in. We did sit in front at a cafe and had some Monaco brand beer, which was quite good though. Afterward we made our way into the smaller casino next door and lost some money, all in good fun of course! There was a lot of construction though and I will admit, it did ruin the ambiance of the area quite a bit. It didn’t have that same luxurious quality and the designer sports cars were lacking in numbers. It was still a fun excursion and a great day!

We did buy some groceries and had a full kitchen but surprisingly we ate out quite a bit more than we expected. There is no shortage of foods to try and while we tried to eat cheaply at breakfast and lunch, dinner out and drinks seemed to be standard practice. It is just such a lively and fun vibe at night, the city comes to life! It’s hard to explain but we loved wandering the streets and stopping to have a drink at an outdoor table, people watching and talking. It was my favourite part of the trip.

I hope to return again soon, it seems to be every three years right now, just by coincidence! I do hope to make it back sooner the time. Of course, I want to see many new places as well, but Nice will always have my heart!

September 2016

 

 

Love is in the air…

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It’s Valentine’s Day and what is more romantic then Paris? There are many places within the city that scream romance, like the Eiffel Tower. Then there are some places that are a little less obvious, because yes, I find a cluttered old bookstore named after Shakespeare romantic! Plus it’s just across the Seine from Notre Dame and churches have become one of my favourite travelling pastimes.
My second photo shows the padlocks of a love lock bridge. The lock is initialed by the couple and the key tossed into the water, to symbolized unbreakable love. On a side note: As romantic as it sounds and as neat as they all look, the weight of the locks is damaging to the bridge structure. So I wouldn’t actually recommend doing it yourself.
Not pictured but equally as romantic is the The Paris Opera. This girl absolutely adores the ballet and wishes all the time that she could have been a ballerina. I guess I’ll just settle for pretending I am, as I dance around my living room. Seeing the costumes, stage and just the beauty of the building was a dream come true!

What are your favourite romantic spots to visit in Paris? Or anywhere for that matter? Comment below, I’d love to read them 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

June 14-17, 2013

Monet’s Garden

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So it’s official, I’m a student again. Last week I started both my photography and French classes and, so far, I am really enjoying them both. My classes are my inspiration for this week’s post of Monet’s garden. Monet’s house is located in Giverny, France and the expansive garden was his inspiration for many of his famous paintings. Do you see why I chose this subject this week? Above are close up pictures of some beautiful flowers from the garden (Note: The first two photos are edited but third is untouched). They were absolutely spectacular in person and it was nearly impossible to select which to include in this post. Easily, I could make dozens of posts about this garden and the beauty that exists in it. It really is no wonder Monet called this his home.
For a more detailed account please see my previous post on Giverny, France.

June 15, 2013

En Francais S’il Vous Plait!

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Currently I am studying to become a Pilates teacher and I’ve been in class for the past two weeks. Therefore, I have decided to reminisce about my time at school in France. In my head I couldn’t justify a trip like mine without learning something in the process; for me, that meant studying French. I already had some background but wanted to learn how to converse more confidently. After much research, I decided on EF Language School which has campuses worldwide. Their Nice campus was a no brainer for me because of my love for the city and the beach. The last time I was in school was in 2009, so understandably I was nervous going back to a school in a foreign country. Luckily I made friends at the residency on the first day and we pulled together for the first little bit. During the summer months, EF uses the University of Nice’s dorms for it’s students. I never lived in dorms before and enjoyed having my own room for that time. My new friends were both at different levels of French understanding and so we were split up in class. The great thing is most people didn’t know anyone else either and we all warmed up to each other fairly easily. The actual classes were quite long days overall and we could only speak French. Some days it was too intense on my brain and other days it was manageable. I surprised myself with what I could remember from my schooling back in the day. Quickly, I started to think in French and I got fairly comfortable with speaking. Making friends with local shop owners helped too. The Nicoise people are so welcoming and upon learning I was in school, they would encourage me to speak to them. Nice feels like home to me now and I miss it a great deal. EF Language School was a wonderful learning experience and I met a lot of amazing people. I’ll be continuing my studies of French this fall at night school. Above I’ve included a neat shot of the Promenade des Anglais from the lookout at dusk. After the heat of the day has subsided, all the street performers come out to play and the energy becomes electric. The promenade is a buzz into the wee hours of the morning, as is most of the area around the old town. EF’s unofficial bar is called Sansas and it’s just off Place Massena, which is the stunningly beautiful main square. They host a variety of events for the students there, including quiz night and salsa dancing. Being immersed in a language from all directions made all the difference for me. My time in Nice and at EF was invaluable and a memory I will cherish always.

July 1, 2013- August 10, 2013

Bastille Day!

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FĂŞte Nationale as it is known in France is today July 14 and commemorates the Storming of the Bastille in 1789 and celebrates French unity among the people. Last year I was in Nice, France during the festivities and snapped this picture of Le Negresco hotel! Bon fĂŞte!

St. Tropez, France

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This first picture is the epitome of beach life. I love the contrast of the sea and sky against the soft white sand and the way the colourful umbrellas add that pop of colour. St. Tropez is more than just beaches though; it has the most adorable little town filled to the brim with every designer store your heart could desire. Made famous by Brigitte Bardot, St. Tropez is located on the French Riviera between Toulon and Nice. Without a car, getting to St. Tropez can be difficult. I opted for a day trip with my school, which included a boat tour, free time in the old town and a trip to the famous Nikki beach. Since I find cemeteries quite peaceful and beautiful, I made a beeline there first. Most of the other students headed to the top of the park, which has stunning views of the town. After that, I went in search of the elusive Tarte Tropezienne. Found at a restaurant/bakery by the same name; it is a custard filled sugar bread concoction, that is to die for! While waiting to board the bus to the beach, I took a walk around the port to digest and to take in the fancy yachts that line the docks. The beach is like a secret hideaway, located at the end of a long road. Sea front bars and lounge chairs line most of the beach but free space is available. Anchored boats line the horizon, floating in the shallow waters. Nice, France, where I was staying, has large rocks that make up its shores; the soft sand was a reprieve and I took every opportunity to wiggle my toes in it. We were only there about an hour and I enjoyed every second. You don’t need a lot of money to enjoy places like this, just know when to splurge and when to cut back. I will say though, I wouldn’t object to laying out on one of those yachts!

August 3, 2013

The Palace of Versailles, France (Part 2)

I’ve decided to post another video this week (well, 2 actually) in honour of next week being the one year anniversary of me leaving on my travel journey. I know I’ve posted about Versailles before so please look at my previous post for more details. This time however, I’ve chosen to discuss the gardens, which are vast and stunning. The pale dirt paths are in stark contrast to the greenery and the fountains and statues are incredible. Definitely pay the extra cost to visit the entirety of the palace. There are maps available to navigate the grounds, which are divided into sections. Walking around it’s difficult to imagine people actually living there once upon a time and I think that lends to its appeal. The videos I chose are of the musical fountains, which until this visit; I had no idea even existed in this world. I was so in awe that I watched the whole show 2 full times. I got some fresh orange juice from a nearby cart and sat on one of the stone benches and just watched. It was a welcomed rest from the extensive walking but also really neat to see live. It was the first moment on my trip where I just took it all in and felt content and grateful to be where I was. I had many moments after this but sitting on that bench is a vivid memory for me that I cherish deeply.

June 16, 2013

Souvenirs

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As a way to commemorate my trip (other than my spoon collection) I opted to collect bracelets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get them from every single place because that would have been a lot to wear and I was packing light. The collection actually started in New York City in 2012 with my first Alex and Ani bangle. Right before I left home I added to my arm with NTIO bracelets I purchased online and a Brave collection (all of which ended up falling off). A special gift to ward off evil from a dear friend completed the look before I even got on a plane! I wore these bracelets everywhere, even swimming (except for a select few that would tarnish) and to bed. Growing the collection as I went; I added piece by piece, losing some and gaining others. By the end I was kind of over the weight on my wrist, but every time I look down at them it brings a smile to my face. This trip was so life changing and special; I love having little souvenirs to remind me of that time. Along with the bracelets and spoons, I did get some magnets and a few knick-knacks. Most of these extra souvenirs were sent home from abroad, the lack of luggage space was a challenge to say the least. I will say, every time I had to climb stairs or lift luggage overhead though, I was utterly grateful for my carry on. Now, each time I hang my keys on my Barcelona key rack or open my fridge or look at the Oia glass decoration in my bathroom; I remember this great time in my life. And every time I wear these bracelets it brings me back to places I saw and the amazing experience I was lucky enough to have. There is something to be said for souvenirs.

June 13- October 1, 2013

Left to Right: Florence, Nice, Antibes, NTIO company, Paris, Dublin (Alex and Ani), NYC (Alex and Ani), Gift from friend, London, NYC (Alex and Ani).
Others that are not pictured were from: Athens, Popeye’s Village, Brave Collection, Switzerland, Barcelona.

Giverny, France

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I happen to really like this photo. It was taken at Monet’s house in Giverny, France. This is one of the places I had always wanted to go, so while in Paris I made a side trip. Turns out it is not the easiest place to get to from Paris, with regards to train timetables and connections. I had only half a day so I went very early in order to make the first bus connection to the house, ended up meeting a girl from Korea and sat for close to 3 hours in a little cafe. There is a market on Saturday morning I wanted to go to but ended up not for fear I’d get lost (something I am good at). All hopped up on cappuccinos, we caught the bus and took it all of 10 minutes to Monet’s house. It’s a bit of a walk from the bus drop off and people boogie to be first. The line up was long but luckily I had pre-purchased my ticket and went right in. I only had about an hour and a half at this point before for my train back to Paris so I did rush a bit but I got to see it all. His house is quaint and pretty inside (no pictures allowed) with gorgeous views of the garden. That garden was so special; I’ll probably do another post just on flowers in it. La piece de rĂ©sistance, for me, would be the pond with its water lilies, weeping willows and bridges (yes I took a picture on one). His home inspired so many of his materpieces, it’s surreal to witness the beauty in real life. I was blessed with a perfect, sunny day to see the historic home of such a gifted artist and I feel special to have been there. Now, the story of my adventure to get back to Paris… I left with the intention of taking a taxi back to the train station; however I did not know to call before I left Monet’s. So after getting to the bus area and seeing no taxis, I opted to try and walk. That brilliant plan lasted 5 minutes as debris filled my shoes while I struggled down the side of a dirt road. I tried to get a hotel to call me a taxi but no one was around. About 10 minutes later, I stumble upon a restaurant with a bus outside; but again no one is around and it’s closed. Now I am panicking, convinced I will miss the train. Then a car pulls up. Inside is a woman, who happens to be the owners’ wife and her two daughters, I ask if she can call me a taxi and she offers to drive me. This is the only time in my life I ever hitchhiked (if you’d call it that). She owns a B&B in a neighbouring town and was so friendly and sweet. They saved the day because I made my train and got back to Paris in time. I am so grateful to her. On a side note, the nearest station is Vernon; that happens to be the inspiration of some of Monet’s paintings. One such painting my dad had hanging in our dining room since I can remember, and even though it looks nothing like that now, it was neat to be there in person.

June 15, 2013

Monte Carlo Casino

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This was a great day! I had been out the night before at High Club in Nice and watched the sunrise on the beach, getting home just past 7:30am. I had planned on going to Monaco the following day and somehow the next morning I headed out, slightly hung-over and all. One of the bus stops will let you off just in front of the world famous Monte Carlo Casino and that’s where I started. I had seen the outside before during that trip in 2010, but had yet to be inside. It’s an intensely extravagant place and walking up you see car after car of Rolls- Royce, Bentley and other fancy sports cars. The Hotel de Paris next door is frequented by the very rich and hosts many parties and events. I saw a party there once on the terrace and the dresses these woman wore made me beyond envious! I tend to be nervous when I feel out of place or uncertain if I am allowed in somewhere, I had seen tourists going in and knew it was probably okay and I desperately wanted to see inside Monte Carlo; so I gathered my courage and walked right up those steps and went inside. I didn’t go to gamble, I just wanted to see it. Unfortunately pictures are not allowed inside, but I can tell you it’s gorgeous. The details in the carpet, ceiling (a stunning shade of blue, I can’t even describe) and decorations are exquisite. The bathroom even has a self cleaning toilet that rotates the seat and dries it after each use. Sections were closed off for a function of some sort and so I really only saw a small bit but I was happy nonetheless. I decided to get a drink at the bar and opted for a Aperol Spritz (my favourite) made with champagne at a staggering 19 Euros. It was probably the best one I’ve ever had! I made friends with the bartender and learned he was Italian (probably why his Spritz was so good) and that he travelled in each day from Ventimiglia, Italy. Coming to Nice from Cinque-Terre, Italy, I had passed through Ventimiglia so I knew of it and was surprised he travelled in each day (about an hour and a half). In total I was inside only an hour or less, but I felt really special and enjoyed myself a great deal. I just watched the people mingle about and gamble at the tables; drinking my Spritz. I’ll tell you about the rest of Monaco in another post but to this day, I will say, I have yet to see a place as glamourous as the area around Monte Carlo and the neighbouring Hotel de Paris.

July 27, 2013