Nice has by far captured my heart the most. It was the beach that captivated my heart. Before I set my sights on the beach, I never knew how therapeutic the sea had on my bearings.
I was also extremely fortunate to have witnessed the tail end of the Mardi Gras festival and witnessed fireworks on the off-chance that I headed out to meet Bryce to collect a couple of items I left at his place.
But, it was the first time I encountered an unpleasant experience through CS. An experience I’ll never forget, but much milder in comparison to what I experienced when I couch surfed on my next destination in Cannes.
Mardi gras (Shrove Tuesday) never falls on a set date, although it is always a Tuesday, as its name indicates. The day depends on the date of Easter, and is set exactly 47 days before that date. Lent was a period of fasting, which meant “eating thin” until Easter. Mardi gras was therefore an occasion for people to empty their cupboards and have a feast in order to finish all the “fat” foods in the home, including meat and eggs. Carnival comes from the Latin carne levare, which means “to remove meat”, or in other words, prepare for Lent. It is a traditional time of entertainment and forgetting about life’s worries before the strict Lent period begins, and there are Mardi gras carnivals throughout the whole of France.
Nice Carnival is a major event on the Côte d’Azur (French Riveria in English) in winter. The carnival processions, comprising 18 floats work their way up to a crescendo of gigantic decorations on the Place Masséna. Floats are decorated with the most stunning floral compositions, extravagantly dressed characters throw out mimosas, gerberas, and lilies into the publics. For over 15 days from 13 Feb to 1 Mar, the city hums to the rhythm for this festival.
Check out the video I spontaneously captured because I couldn’t resist not capturing it for memory sake. It is something I may never encounter in my life again.
People are dressed in all sorts of costumes to prepare for the entertaining night. I sneaked a photo of one of the most bizarre-dressed locals below.
Famous Fenocchio ice-cream below. After the first day, I came back every single day the entire time I was here (which was only 3 days, in fact) to taste the myriad of flavours they offered. For €2, it is small enough for your cravings to be satisfied but not too much to be guilt-ridden. There are so many ice cream stalls here that you’re spoilt for choice, with prices starting from €2. This was my pick because of the recommendation of a local. Fennochio has over 20 different flavours, it’s such a headache to settle your tastebuds for one!
Meet my friends from Ecuador. I brought them to eat ice cream after our day tour to Monaco. Teehee.
I also met some lovely people- an Italian, American and French on a house visit on my first night. The French girl, Doriane, treated us to some lovely Brittany crepes! This was another step that challenged my comfort zone for me. Returned back close to 2am, after some interesting conversations with them.
2nd hand book stalls in the open space.
An icon in Nice. By day, it has pink roofs and white walls. By night, it lights up like a castle, shining bright in its majesty. It’s difficult to pass this by without noticing how it stands out. It is built by the same guy who built the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel.
A flower market. Buying flowers are commonplace here. They have such lovely, vibrant colours. It makes the atmosphere of buying & haggling fill with light-heartedness.
Streets of Nice, below.
Promenade des Anglais.
The beach everyone comes here for. The queer thing is that the beach is made of pebbles, which I fancied. No need for sand going into your shoes. Oh, when you listen to the sound of pebbles made by the flapping of waves, it’s music to my ears. I recorded it down for myself to remember.
Some interesting finds I found on a beach- an artist working up a drawing of Castle Hill, a girl reading, a guy having his picnic by the beach.
I would end this post with the way Nice ended for me, with the magnificent display of fireworks. It’s different from watching them in Singapore because the fireworks were shot from the sea. The street lights were all turned off for the these sparklers to exhibit their grandiosity. It made the whole sight so much more romantic. I so fervently wished that I could have someone around to share this sight with, there and then.
Ending with the magnificent sunset from the French Riveria. I conclude that sunsets take my breath away more than sunrises after my fair share of sunrises in London (@ Duck & Waffles) and on the train from Cannes to Paris.
Expenses: Lyon-Nice: 76€ by train Accom: courtesy of Justine D'Amico, Bryce Bolin Miscellaneous: 72€
27 February 2015, Fri – 1 March 2015, Sun
Looking for another perspective of the French Riveria? Check out Pretty Wild World’s French Rivieria Travel Experience!