France - Paris, French Riviera
I arrived in Paris by myself, my first time to begin a trip alone. I was terrified. Of course, I didn’t let anyone know that. But as soon as I arrived in my apartment in Bastille, I knew it was where I was meant to be. I went to the market and settled in like a true Parisian.
The next couple of days I grabbed my map and went out to explore the sights. I saw the Pantheon, Jardin du Luxembourg, The Siene, Tuileries Gardens, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde. I bought an Eiffel Tower sketch from a man on a bridge, it’s beautiful and is hung in my bedroom to remember my first time in Paris. I walked through the Marais, how lovely it is with all the cafes and shops. I visited the Musee d’Orsay and then got a pedi cab to the Eiffel Tower. Peter was the name of my pedi cab cycler and he was a delight! He dropped me off in front of the Eiffel Tower and a tear dropped which was completely unexpected! I went to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, it wasn’t on my list but I am happy that I went, it was ominous and beautiful. Had a pastry at the Hotel de Ville while I people watched. Went to Montmarte and saw the Sacre Coeur. I went to a lovely restaurant and had veggie couscous and the waiter gave me an Eiffel Tower key chain with my check. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak French, but he was the sweetest man.
My friend joined me for my last days in Paris before we went to the French Riviera. We went to Notre Dame, The Catacombs, The Louvre, walked down Rue de Rivoli and took a train tour of Montmarte. We went back to Sacre Coeur, on the way down the steps I missed a step. I felt myself falling and envisioned breaking my face as I fell down the stone stairs. By the grace of something, a step appeared out of nowhere and I caught myself. Believe it or not, even my friend couldn’t believe I didn’t fall. Divine intervention I guess.
After drinking all the cappuccinos and eating all the pastries, croissants and macaroons in Paris we headed to Nice. We wondered through Vieux Nice and Port of Nice, saw the Fontaine du Soleil, walked the Promenade des Anglais and gazed upon the Mediterranean. We visited the Cours Saleya Market and bought delicious fresh food in preparation of my brother joining us. He arrived via bicycle along with fresh flowers. With him we explored Menton and laid on the beach, went back to Vieux Nice and had amazing tapas, gelato and crepes. Once he left my friend and I ventured on a boat to Saint Tropez, it was gorgeous. We walked around, had lunch and meandered through Place des Lices. Then we took a day trip to Grasse and did a tour of the Fragonard Perfume factory. It was lovelier than anticipated and I enjoyed every moment.
As our trip came to an end I was saddened and very thankful to have experienced it all. This trip made me realize that yearly travel was absolutely possible and nonnegotiable.