The French Riviera…..

I’m not sure what caused me to think of the first time I went to Nice, but it was another of those incredible moments. It was while I was at the University in Angers and one of the group had a distant relative who lived near Nice. She invited three of us to visit over the spring break. We took the train which was about six, maybe eight hours, with one or two transfers. I had of course seen movies showing scenes of the French Riviera, but you don;t expect the colors to match. And yet, they do. There is the glorious blue of the sky with scattered white clouds and the Mediterranean with so many shades of blue you can barely count them. The mountains to the east and coastline to the west are simply breath-taking. We did spend most of the time at the “farmhouse”and the relatives spoke no English, but by that time, we’d been in classes for seven months so between the three of us, we managed. That was also the first time I watched mayonnaise being made by hand.

We did go into Nice one day for a few hours and were startled to see the “beach” was all pebbles/rocks. It never occurred to me at least that you could have a beach with no sand. Anyway, fast forward 20+ years when we were stationed in Italy. I may have posted before about the fact the Pisa airport was only regional and the two closest international ones were Rome and Milan, both about a four hour drive. At some point I discovered Nice was only 20 minutes further and much easier to get in and out of, plus the drive was magnificent.The other two were scenic, although not as spectacular as winding your way along the Italian and French Rivieras and through Monaco. In bringing people in, flights from the States arrived around 8:00 a.m., and going back departed in the afternoons. It was perfect to leisurely drive over the night before and have a late lunch or just dinner depending on what time we set out. For out-bound flights, it was drop someone off and then spend the night.

Next post, I’ll talk about other aspects of Nice.


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