In the fall of 2014, I took a few months off from my regular life in California and moved to Nice, France. I arrived at the airport with a fair knowledge of French and a perfect accent, but without knowing a single person or anything about the city. Over three months, I fell in love, made lifetime friends, barely spoke English, traveled the Côte d’Azur, and made memories that would stay with me for years.
I went back to Nice in January of 2017 with some of my friends, just to visit for a week. I loved retracing my regular jogging route, eating at my old favorite Vietnamese restaurant, and hanging at Wayne’s bar. I realized that Nice would be one of those places that I always go back to.
I arrived in Cannes last night. My family and I took a train from Genoa, Italy, to Nice, and then took a connecting train to Cannes. Even being at the train station in Nice brought back feelings of pure joy and excitement. At the end of this week, my family and I will be back to spend a few days there.
I told my family that at some point in Nice, I’m going to need half a day to be alone and walk the city. I’ll put my headphones on and play the songs I listened to then: Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd. The kind of music an 18-year-old girl listens to. I want to walk to my old apartment on Rue Barberis and sit at the old cafe by my house. I might even pop into Carrefour and think back on the hours I spent in those aisles when I was trying to teach myself how to cook.
My family and I are in Cannes for a few days, and then we go to Aix-en-Provence. My oldest sister was there for six months when she studied abroad and I’ve always wanted to visit that town so I could get a little peek into her world. We’re even going to go out to the lavender fields while we’re there.
After Aix, we go to Marseille. I plan on finding the Marseille branch of my favorite Parisian coffee shop, Cafe Loustic. We’re also going to spend a day at the Calanques; the crystal-clear fjords, not far from Marseille. It’s going to be surreal.
Because we have so much amazing things planned before Nice, I’m not really counting down the days. As the end of our trip approaches, I make mental notes to enjoy every moment, to avoid fighting with my sister, and to take photos of my family because this is trip is one that I will remember forever.