I’ve been away from the blog for a while because I’ve been super busy. Super busy lying on the beach in Nice (swimming in October, even!), busy eating bread and cheese at every meal, and busy walking for hours on end through winding streets and medieval towns, up hills and down mountains, through castles and into shops, and all over the beautiful south of France and up into Paris.
We spent the first half of the trip visiting with my family in Nice, and capped the trip off with a few days in Paris. It was Mike’s first time to France, so we crammed in as much as possible and had an amazing, though completely exhausting time.
While every day was wonderful, fun and pretty much perfect in every way, in this post I’m going to re-cap my Top Five in France. While I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about our trip over the coming days, these 5 are among my favourite memories.
1) Spending time with family. It was wonderful to visit with my dad and sister, Rebecca, who live in Nice. With my dad, Mike and I enjoyed visiting the huge, weekly antiques market, touring the beautiful town of Vence and eating many meals and sipping on numerous espressos. I wish I could see them more often, but it does give me a great excuse for the occasional visit to the glorious French Riviera. While I unfortunately didn’t get to see them during this visit, my aunt and uncle generously allowed Mike and me to stay in their beautiful apartment just steps from the Promenade des Anglais.
2) Warm days on the French Riviera. Already dreading the onslaught of another hideously cold winter in Toronto, it was wonderful to slip away to Nice, where I was able to put aside my jackets and scarves, and slip back into my summer dresses and sandals. I even went for a quick dip, which I never, ever do, unless it’s really, really hot. We spent countless hours people watching in the cobblestone streets of Vieux Nice, being dazzled by the sights, sounds and Lamborghinis of Monte Carlo, and living like a local by going for morning jogs and late, late night dinners. We enjoyed the local specialties and maybe a croissant or two or three, and, of course, more than a few glasses of wine. Between the palm trees and the food and the history and the culture, Nice is nice, as the tacky souvenir t-shirts say.
3) Creating my signature fragrance. France is, of course, famous for it’s perfumeries. So I signed Mike and myself up for a perfume-making workshop that was held at the Fragonard factory in the adorable hilltop town of Eze. The class started off with a really fun and interesting introduction to the science and smells of perfume making. Then we were able to mix up our own signature scents and I ended up with a pretty, light and citrusy eau de cologne, which will remind me of this trip every time I wear it.
4) Cooking in Paris! I surprised Mike with a cooking class on our first night in Paris. The class was led by the loveliest French chef, and was full of an eclectic group of other English-speaking travelers. One man was taking his 13th cooking class in 13 days, and another was a language teacher who spoke 28 languages (only 20 fluently, as he clarified). We cooked up a delicious 3 course meal and then sat down to enjoy it along with plenty of wine and good conversation.
5) By far, the biggest highlight of our trip was getting ENGAGED IN PARIS! After enjoying a cute little picnic along the Seine, Mike suspiciously insisted on leading me a block away, through a construction zone, with the promise of a really great view of the Eiffel Tower. I was wondering what the heck he was up to because he was glancing around furtively and clearly not hearing a word I was saying. And then it happened! Mike got down on one knee and proposed to me in the most nervous and rambling, yet beautifully romantic way on a quiet bridge near the Eiffel Tower. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect moment and Mike thoughtfully had a photographer hiding in the shadows, ready to capture the proposal. We’re so happy and excited!