Nice, in photos

We heard the news after we got back from the fireworks. We probably would have gone to bed and slept in ignorance until the morning, but Hugo gets news alerts on his phone.

On Friday, there was an outpouring of shock and grief over the attack in Nice on social media. But at least in Lyon, there doesn’t seem to be a public space of tribute and mourning, like there was after the Paris attacks, where people leave flowers and messages. The public reaction is different this time. Maybe it’s because the possibility of more attacks has been hovering in the background, especially during the Eurocup. But that doesn’t diminish the magnitude of this tragedy.

I dug up my old photos of Nice. I haven’t been there since 2012. I thought it was only two years ago, but then I did the math. I meant to go back this summer, but time is short. (By “short” I mean “hurtling along at rogue rocket speed.”)

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Hyères

Hyeres La Vie En C Rose

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One day in Cassis

Fun fact: Cassis the town is pronounced without the final s, ca-see, unlike the liqueur that goes in a kir, Crème de Cassis, which is pronounced ca-cease and comes from Dijon, not Cassis, oddly enough.

I didn’t love Cassis as much as I thought I would, but I didn’t not love it either. I’d wanted to go for awhile, but good heavens not in the summer (too crowded) or the winter (too cold! need beach!) Instead, I grabbed the chance to go in September. I spent one lovely day there… and that was enough for me.

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Best of Montpellier: Visit, shop, eat

Remember how much I loved Montpellier? Well, one thing that made our 24 hours so awesome was this great guide to Montpellier from Design Sponge. Natalie, the author, use to live and blog in Montpellier, and I wish I could find her on social media to thank her for writing such a fantastic comprehensive guide. We visited quite a few places on her list, and all of them were hits.

With only twenty-four hours, I didn’t feel bad about staying in the city center, although next time I’d love to venture out to other neighborhoods. We skipped the beach, since we had just come from Sète anyway, and spent hours wandering the charming winding cobblestoned streets of Montpellier, eating and drinking and taking photos. Here are some of my favorite places that were on Natalie’s list (and a couple that weren’t).

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Falling for Montpellier

The last time I was in Montpellier it was 2009. I was traveling with three girlfriends and we had about 24 hours to explore Montpellier. We got tan at the beach, went out dancing, and wandered without any purpose except to enjoy frolicking on a summer evening in August. I think it was August.

I had fond, vague memories of Montpellier, but no particular attachment to the city. Five years later, I made my way back and this time, it was true love. Before the first day was over, we vowed to find jobs in Montpellier and move in 2015.

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Why did we love Montpellier so much? 24 hours is hardly enough time to really get to know a city – we didn’t even leave the center of town. We spent hours wandering the winding streets, discovering boutiques and street art and cafés. It’s hard not to love a city with an endless maze of streets like this this.

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The city was buzzing on Friday afternoon and evening with Montpellier-ians (?) shopping the sales and enjoying a drink or a bite on the many outdoor terraces. On Saturday morning, the streets were quiet. I guess Montpellerians like to sleep in.

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The local arts culture is apparent with posters for dance and music performances and tattooed creative types strolling the streets. Maybe it was the TGIF effect, but the whole city gave off a cool, laid-back vibe. Paris it is not. (And therein lies its charm.)

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I think what I loved most was that I found myself longing to become a regular at each bar, restaurant, and café we visited. I wished we had the time (and the dough) to duck into each unique boutique we passed.

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Does the charm wear off when you stay longer than a day or two? We don’t know. But it’s a sure thing that getting a taste of life in Montpellier made us want to “poser nos bagages” and stay.

 

Click here to read about some of the cool shops, restaurants, and parks we found in Montpellier. 

 

Instagram postcard from Sète

I already told you about some highlights of Sète, a charming fishing town in the Languedoc Roussillon region of France. You may have remarked that I like to take pictures. A lot of pictures. (My chéri is not so enthused about my photography habit. Apparently, it takes forever to go somewhere because I stop every three feet to take a photo.) At the time of writing, I have 1873 photos with Instagram, so that gives you an idea.

I am not a “real” photographer and I don’t have a fancy camera. I have an iPhone 4s. All my photos are taken with my iPhone. Convenient for all the Instagramming I do, you know?

Here are some of my favorite Instagram shots from Sète.

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Here you get to see a little more of the town of Sète, including some fun street art at the local high school. More about Sète here.

South of France: Best of Sète

Remember how I said I was going to visit the Languedoc Roussillon region of France? The whole thrifty adventure thing? Well, I knew I wanted to go to Montpellier, but not only Montpellier, but also not too far from Montpellier, and I knew I wanted it to be somewhere right on the coast.

And that is how we ended up in Sète.

When we got off the train, we were immediately charmed by Sète’s beautiful canals and started dreaming of an imaginary summer home in the charming town before we even made it to our Airbnb apartment. But at the end of our visit, we decided it wasn’t quite the right place to buy our imaginary summer property. Sète is a lovely town, and we had a great time strolling along the canal and lying on the beach and watching France play Ecuador. But to be honest with you, two days there was enough for me.

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One day in Avignon

I’m not an expert on Avignon. This girl is. Me? I just went for the day. A glorious, sunny, beginning-of-summer day.

It was May, and the weather had been awful. I spent last May zipping around between Paris, Voiron, Grenoble, and Annecy, and it was gorgeous everywhere! (Even Paris.) So I said to mom and dad, come visit me in May! The weather is sure to be super.

And France turned me into a big fat liar. But Avignon turned all that around for me.

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