When deciding on what other places I wanted to travel during my study abroad experience France was on the top of my list! I have been to Paris and Northern France with my family about 4 years ago, and I’ve always been eager to explore the south of France.
My boyfriend who is currently studying in Florence as well, at Florence University of the Arts, (FUA) tagged along on the trip. We debated which town we wanted to stay in, mainly between Nice and Cannes, which were our two top destinations. We settled on staying in Cannes because the hotels were more reasonable, and they have sand beaches as opposed to the typical rock and pebble beaches.
Staying in Cannes was absolutely the best choice. Our hotel was a 10-minute walk from the beach and close to all of the stores and restaurants. Plus, the train station was close so we could bounce between towns easily.
|Aaron and I in Cannes|
We traveled from Florence to Cannes by train – 4 to be exact. Our journey started at midnight and we arrived to our hotel around 11am and spent the rest of the day on the beach. My first experience with the Mediterranean was definitely one to be remembered. Growing up in the Midwest, I’m not used to salt water, and I’ve only been to the ocean a few times. I usually associate the ocean with crashing waves, boogie boards and surfers, but the water in Cannes was gentle and calm, more of my style and easy to relax in.
Our second day we took a train to Nice to spend the day. Nice is a larger city on the coast with loads of shopping, restaurants, and a promenade along the water. There were all types of markets around the older part of town with books, posters, flowers, produce, everything fresh and French you can think of. We found a beautiful view point on top of a cliff, which was well worth the hike up. I’ve never seen such clear blue water, and the sun provided perfect swimming weather, convincing us to go back to Cannes and head to the beach in the afternoon.
|The Mediterranean from the top of the viewpoint in Nice|
|Flowers scouring the markets in Nice|
As much as I love all of the Italian food in Florence, it was time for a break, but for some reason there were an overwhelming amount of Italian restaurants in France! Finally we found a restaurant from my trusty TripAdvisor, and we both indulged in a hamburger and fries. This was quite possibly the best hamburger I’ve ever had, the flavors were incredible and it was cooked to perfection.
|The most delicious hamburger in France|
Traveling around the French Riviera is very easy to do by train. We decided on our final day we would stop in Monaco to see Monte Carlo before our train ride back to Italy. Unfortunately we were not able to visit the casino because of our back packs (should have checked beforehand!) Instead we found a nice spot in a café around the casino, sipped a drink, and drooled over expensive cars as they drove around the boulevard.
Then it was off to the train station for our ride home. The French Riviera certainly met all of my expectations and I had a fantastic time. I definitely see myself returning in the future, once I can afford my own yacht ;).