Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bucket List Destination: The French Riviera: Part One

Hi All!!

Just back from my bucket-list trip to the French Riviera.  I have dreamed of seeing this place in person for years now!  I have been pinning images on Pinterest from each of these three astounding Riviera villages forever.  I have read about them.  Imagined them.  And finally, I got to walk through them in person.

I found the French Riviera in general to be as stunning, dreamy and gorgeous as I imagined it would be.  The landscape was incredible.  As I rode along the promenade in Nice, glacial blue waves crashed against the rocks along the shore as couples strolled hand in hand, fitness buffs got in their daily run, teenagers congregated.  All of the buildings are awash in colorful pastels, though the majority were in warm shades of burnt sienna, cream, pale yellows and pinks.  Most of the homes shutters were painted in shades of pale blue or sea foam green.  I loved this.  Sprays of vibrant purple flowers wound their way along stone walls and up building sides. 

As I rode a local bus uphill along a winding, narrow, hair-pin turning street up into the hills of the Riviera, the azure water (hence, the Riviera namesake being the "Cote d Azur") glittered below, reflecting the sun off its surface.  Terra cotta roofs stood out atop the homes that were sprinkled along the hillside, loads of chateaus and cozy looking little riviera homes.  There was lush greenery everywhere, as far as the eye could see.  In combination with the water, the dense green and forest made up the vast other majority of the landscape.  Dark silhouettes of rolling mountains and hills surrounded and made up the backdrop, aside from the greenery covered hilltops reaching into the sky, beautiful homes nestled into all of their nooks and crannies.

The air was balmy and I found that it often either smelled strongly of a floral perfume or even sometimes with enticing incredibly light sweet scents, something along the lines of vanilla or shortbread.

Beautiful square in Nice, France.  Close to the Old Town area.

Nice, France.  Could not get enough of these colorful buildings!!  Gorgeous.

Nice, France.

Nice, France.

Nice, France.

Nice, France.

So, this is where the photographs begin from the first city I visited.  Or actually, village is the more accurate word.  Saint Paul de Vence.  As mentioned above, I rode a local bus up into the hills of the Riviera to get there.  All rolling, all high, and covered in a sheath of dark greenery. 

As we approached the village, which was tiny, seemed to be made almost entirely out of sandstone, bright in beautiful creamy tones visible even from far away, totally surrounded by a huge stone wall, situated on the tip top of one of the many mountains that went on as far as the eye could see, my heart began to race a bit. 

The bus dropped a group of us off on the outskirts of the city.  I spent the next several hours wandering.  Taking loads of photographs.  Caving and purchasing a box of gourmet cookies after the sneaky salesman pushed a sample on me, which was too delicious to resist.  I strolled narrow, cobbled, winding roads.  I listened to the laughter and the clink of silverware against dishes as I moved past open windows and imagined what might be taking place within.  A light drizzle coated the cobbles in a slick, glimmering sheen.  Colorful flowers curved their way up nearly all of the doorways, walls and buildings.  I felt like I was walking through a romantic, medieval, old painting of a quiet, long since abandoned village from Game of Thrones or Ever After.

See below for lots of photos and even a video clip I took during my explorations!   

That is Saint Paul de Vence from afar.  The city on the left, walled in.  I backtracked upon disembarking from the bus, walking back along the highway to get this far-away shot of the village from this angle.

This was the coolest restaurant!!  Almost like sitting up inside of a little tree house!  And with ASTOUNDING views!!!  I sat here for a couple hours, eating, reading, having a tea and reveling in the awesome view.

My view during lunch from the restaurant....

More of my view during lunch...

This is the street I walked along.  And that is the restaurant where I sat for lunch, on the left hand side.

Back in Nice.  Loved this square.  Gorgeous.

Cookie time!!  I caved and bought a tin of these, both for the gorgeous box they came in and because the salesman enticed me with a sample of one, which was soft, crumbly and filled with chocolate.  YUM!  Yes, I disembarked from my usual no-sugar policy during this trip.  And it was delectable.

Stay tuned for Part Two which will be chalk full of photos from destination #2 that I ventured to on the Riviera: Eze Village.

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