Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Noël on the French Riviera

My mom was in France for just 8 full days, and we managed to see 8 cities. I'm pretty impressed with us. After Paris and Strasbourg, we flew to Nice on Thursday (only a 1 hour flight!). On Thursday afternoon we laid low and just walked around our town, Mandelieu. 

I showed her my favorite part of the town- the castle!

On Friday we also stayed pretty close to home, and went to Cannes.

After taking pictures on the red carpet along with lots of Asian tourists, we walked by the port. Surprisingly (we're not the most adventurous or athletic), we decided to climb the hill that overlooks the city.

There's a gorgeous view from the top!

Of course, we had to take pictures with the Cannes sign you can see from down below.

To climb up or down the hill, you walk through the old part of the city, Le Suquet.

Even though we'd shopped till we dropped at the Paris and Strasbourg Christmas markets, we still felt obligated to check out the little Cannes one. It wasn't impressive compared to what we'd seen in northern France, but still fun. They mostly had hand-made crafts and food.

Bonus picture! Cutest puppy I saw at the market.

By then it was almost sunset, so of course we needed to stop by the beach to see the views.

When it gets dark out, what is there to do besides shopping, really? My mom was excited to buy some macarons at Ladurée. Ladurée is one of the most famous and fanciest bakeries/pastry shops in Paris, and they have a branch in Cannes. She bought a box filled with macarons to bring home, and I got just 2 to sample- chocolate hazelnut and rose-flavored. Yes, rose is a flavor in France. And it's good. It tastes like the flower smells.

Ladurée shop window
After introducing my mom to one of my favorite French clothes stores (and getting a skirt out of the deal), it was time to meet David for dinner at his favorite French restaurant: Steak n' Shake. Lol, obviously not a French restaurant... but it is in France.

The next day, Saturday, we drove to Italy with David- but since I have lots of pictures and things to say from that day, I'll save it for its own post.

I'll skip to Sunday, when we went to Grasse after church. We did the free tour of the Fragonard perfumerie and learned about how they make perfume.

We were going to attempt to drive to the cathedral, but the GPS attempted to make us drive through a pedestrian-only zone and it was a little traumatic, so we just gave up.

On Monday we had our last sightseeing excursion. Me and my mom took the train to Nice. It was one of my favorite days of her trip, because guess what, Nice actually knows how to have the appropriate level of Christmas spirit!! It's the first city I been to in the south that lives up to the high standards I have (thanks to northern France).

It was fun to see the combination of Christmas lights and palm trees.

If you're ever curious about what the back of your head looks like, travel with my mom... it will definitely end up in her pictures ;)

There was pretty intense security here- felt like an airport with metal detectors and even a pat-down (wearing sequins tends to make metal detectors go off, #marissaprobs). My mom was surprised to see soldiers walking around with machine guns, and she said it felt like Jerusalem! It's true that it's weird to see France like this, because it wasn't like this a few years ago. It's a little sad, but better to be safe.

We had lunch in the old part of Nice- Place Rossetti.

Afterwards we headed up in the (free) elevator- so rare that things are free in France- up the hill for a great view. I almost said up the hill for a nice view on accident, but decided to not be cheesy.

It was my mom's first time visiting the French Riviera, and I think we can call it a success! It was fun to play tour guide and to have a travel buddy while David's working. Now we just need to get the whole family over here when it's BEACH season!

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