Bonjour! Happy Tuesday and almost Thanksgiving! One thing I am so thankful for is the amazing 14 day trip I took in October. I was able to submerge myself in so much culture and forget about a lot of cares. Since I got to go so many places, I had to break up the trip into a few blog posts. Today is all about the French Riviera!
After an all day bus ride from Spain into France, we stayed for one night at the Crowne Plaza Montpellier. We got in at about 4 pm. It gave me just enough time to relax and do some work. Our first meal really set the tone for the amazing food we were going to eat while in France. We ate at a small upscale restaurant called L’Oracle. The food was so good and really inspired me to try and recreate some of the items.
In France, almost everything is served with a small salad, which I loved! I love being able to add greens into any meal. My meal started with a green salad with a cheese tomato puff. My entree was spiced risotto, a stuffed tomato and a corn souffle. Dessert was a raspberry lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream.
While en route to Montpellier we stopped in Carcassonne for a few hours for some sightseeing, shopping and lunch.
Carcassonne is a fortified French Town known for the medieval fortress at the center of the town, Cite de Carcassonne.
Below is a panoramic view of the town square where my mom and I enjoyed lunch.
Carcassone is where my mom had her favorite meal of the trip, a mushroom and cheese crepe from a small bistro in the town square. I had a plain cheese crepe and we both enjoyed fresh salad and cappuccino.
Our first excursion after a night in Montpellier was a day in Nimes. We went to the Arena de Nimes, which was built in 70 AD. The arena is used only twice a year for bullfighting but also holds concerts. Even though I detest bullfighting and think it’s an outdated and gruesome form of entertainment that should not still be going on. However, the arena is really amazing to look at and it’s amazing seeing such an old structure that has been part of the town for centuries.
If I had to describe Nimes, I would say it’s a massive little town. After we toured the Arena, our tour guide walked us through some of the streets in town. My mom and I kept keeping mental tabs on all the stores we wanted to go back to during our free time. Once we got back to the town square it was impossible to find our way back anywhere. The streets go all over the place! If you go to Nimes, set aside the day. Touring the Arena, shopping and eating will take all day!
The coat of arms of Nimes consists of a crocodile in a palm tree. You will see the logo stamped on everything and you will see a giant palm tree in the center of the square. On a nice day you can sit outside almost anywhere and do lots and lots of shopping!
My mom and I had spent a lot of or free time sitting and eating at places, so while we were in Nimes we wanted to try and get some shopping done. The weather was getting damp and cold and my mom wanted to get a new coat. We rushed into the city market to get something quick to eat before we hit the streets.
If you are out and about in Nimes, or any place in France, be prepared to pay for public bathrooms. Public bathrooms are kept very clean, but you have to pay to get in. I don’t think it was more than 1 euro. The market was mouth watering! I was a little bummed about not getting to go into the city market in Barcelona, it was way to crowded we couldn’t even walk around there. This was a lot less crowded and much bigger. My mom and I grabbed some baguettes to go. Which is something you see very often. Most people walk around holding a baguette or eating a sandwich on the go. We fit right in.
One or way to Monaco we stopped in Vers Pont du Gard. It’s an ancient aqueduct, you can go on top of it and inside of it.
One thing I was really bummed about was our trip to Nice, France. I really was excited to see the town and walk around. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain the entire time we were there. Hustling around in and cold rain was not very appealing. My mom and I stopped in a small pub for lunch and then went to the Maison Auer, my favorite shop in France!
The Maison Auer is one of the oldest shops in Nice and sells fine candies, gourmet desserts and chocolates. The layout is so beautiful, you would think you were in a jewelry shop. I could have spent more time and money in there. I limited myself to 65 euros, which is a lot for a candy store but it was so worth it! I got lots of candies for myself and for co-workers.
Next stop Monaco! One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. You don’t want to miss out!