Over Easter break, my friend Kelsey invited me to go see her in the town of Antibes, in the French Riviera. She managed to show me an incredible amount in just 3 days.
The night I arrived, we had a calm night in, cooking breakfast at Kelsey’s apartment while she introduced me to her flatmates. The apartment, an off-campus apartment owned by the SKEMA program she’s participating in, is stunning. Plus the view of the living room is of the ocean (complete with balcony).
Kelsey took me to the bakery that she and her flatmates all frequent, and let me order the baguette and desserts. Getting to use my French made me much happier than I expected and I gleefully acted like a little kid after the event :D
The next day we got up around 7 and took a train to…Italy! That was a VERY cool surprise. I’d never been to Italy before, and to just be able to take a train there the same way I would take a train to London was beyond cool.
The town of Ventimiglia/Ventimille (Italian/French) was truly gorgeous. We spent the morning walking around the local market, and I’d made it to every “market” photo I’d seen in my life. There was booth after booth of brightly coloured, fresh fruits and vegetables. For lunch we grabbed a sandwich and supplemented with fruits from the market.
The other section of the market was entirely filled with material goods, like purses, scarves, etc. I bought several scarves for €2 each – really, you can’t beat that! We also got to see a bunch of guys running from the cops with their goods. Kelsey says they either got caught without their permit to sell, or the cops caught them with fake goods. Before heading back, we grabbed some gelato (a necessity in Italy, right?).
We decided to stop off at Monaco (a principality of France – that’s how they have the prince/princess etc.) before going back to Antibes. That was really an incredible experience. I think my cousin Anne describes it best by saying “it oozes wealth.” Really, EVERYONE is walking around all fancy-schmancy in Italian leather shoes and designer suits and dresses. The only shops you see are the most high-end ones – Rolex, Chanel, Burberry, etc. It’s like a different world, for sure.
The architecture of the city was *beautiful* and we also walked around a park for quite a while getting some really lovely views of the sea. I still can’t get over just how blue it was. I could have looked at it all day. After the park, we walked to the Monaco casino and the Monaco Grand Prix. It was a fantastic day!
That night, we went to dinner at a local Antibes restaurant for a traditional French dinner. Going out to eat in France is more of a big deal, and they expect you to take at least a couple hours. So it was really fun to get to do that! Kelsey ordered a mille feuille which looked like quite the incredible dessert. Afterwards we went to a little bar called the Hop. It had a great, warm atmosphere and wasn’t overly loud so we were able to talk. I got a (nonalcoholic) margarita which was absolutely incredible.
The next day we explored French markets! We began in Antibes, where we grabbed a small variety of foods for breakfast and ate it looking over the ocean. Then we headed to Nice, where we explored the food market, flea market, and the town in general. I grabbed a couple blood oranges, saving one to take to my mom. We also got a kilo of strawberries for only 3 euro! We hung out on the beach for a while, eating strawberries and relaxing. Kelsey tanned and I childishly played in the water collecting rocks. We headed back early that night so we could get up early the next day, and made supper in Kelsey’s apartment.
The next day, the members of the SKEMA program and I took a boat to l’Ile Sainte-Marguerite, an island just off the coast of Cannes. There, we visited a museum, the prison where the “Man in the Iron Mask” was held, and hiked around. The island itself was absolutely beautiful, but we decided to leave once it started raining. Afterwards, we walked around Cannes – neither Kelsey nor I had ever been. It was quite a picturesque city and I enjoyed wandering up and down the city streets. Before we left, I popped in the chocolate shop “Lac” and picked out some macarons to take to my mom the next day. When we got back, we decided to have sushi delivered of supper (I’d never had it before). It turned into a 3 hour affair that ended in us walking to the shop to retrieve the sushi. But, the the food was delicious!
The next day, we both got up and left early – Kelsey for an exam, and myself for the airport. Overall, it was a wonderful trip!
Kelsey managed to show me what seems like the entire Riviera in 3 days – it was an immense amount of fun, and cool to visit such a beautiful place.