Sunday, 5 August 2018

A Short Stay In The South Of France

This time last week, my Aunt, Uncle, Sister and I were on our way back home from a magical few days in Nice. As with most things in my life, I wanted to share the memories we made with all of you who read my blog and for myself to look back on in the future, so here goes...

We were booked in at the Hotel Du Petit Palais, which is a pretty little place to stay with a vintage ambience to it. Both of our rooms had the terrace views, so you could look down onto the outdoor lounge and dining area, as well as out to sea in the far distance. The bed was possibly the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in (my Sister would vouch for that!) and the room was spacious, yet cosy and kept immaculately clean every day. I was more than impressed with it!
Every morning, a buffet-style breakfast was served until 10:30. Even if you're quite a fussy eater or you like to stick to basics, I guarantee you would have found something you liked. There was a selection of cereals, pancakes, pain au chocolats, croissants, mini muffins, cheeses, hams, breads - anything and everything, to be quite honest! I'd always choose to have a little jug of hot chocolate with it and that's exactly how I would have wanted to start off my ideal day.
Around 1 or 2pm, we would go back to this same dining area for a spot of lunch. Myself and either my Sister or my Aunt would share a croque monsieur, which is essentially a ham and cheese toastie, but done in a traditionally French way! It had a very distinct taste to it and I'd usually have it just with a lemonade and some buttered bread. A light snack is all you really want when it's hot, but if you did want something more filling, you could have a salad, a quiche, a soup or something else.
Now onto my favourite part of the hotel - the sunbathing area and the pool! Although I'm not a keen swimmer in the slightest and the idea of swimming pools does cringe me out slightly, I loved this whole area of the hotel. It's slightly tucked away and for a while, we actually had it all to ourselves, which was absolutely bliss. There's a seated area in the shade just opposite the pool itself, which is where my Aunt and Uncle sat to read and there's a table with French reading materials, as well as space to put any food or drink. How cute! There was always towels on the sun loungers and a table next to them, so you could put any of your possessions there and then put the towel in a wooden wash basket once you're done! Myself and my Sister were perfectly happy to just lay there in the sunshine and believe me when I say it was beautifully hot for our whole trip. They do say you tan incredibly in the South of France and they sure aren't wrong! Every so often, the staff members would come round, seeing if you wanted anything off the menu and they would always be more than happy to cater for you. I thought that was a lovely, personal and very much appreciated touch. 

It wouldn't be right to publish a post about my time in Nice if I didn't include a photo of myself and my beloved Uncle (or as he's more typically called, Unc!). This was just after we had arrived when we went to a cute restaurant for some lunch on our first afternoon, because our rooms weren't yet ready to enter and we were quite hungry by this point anyway. I had a piece of veal for the first time and it was absolutely delicious! I didn't know if I'd like it, due to the fact I can be quite picky when it comes to eating meat in restaurants, but I was convinced and then pleasantly surprised. It goes without saying that my Uncle is the most important man in my life, alongside my Grandad, because he always goes above and beyond to make sure I'm happy and comfortable and he really does spend a lot of time (and money!) on me. He is genuinely like a father figure and I couldn't be more grateful for all that he has done over the past few years in particular. 
On the evening of our first full day, we got a taxi into Villefranche-sur-mer, which is a fishing village on the French Riviera. How dreamy does that sound? The whole area was genuinely one of the most breathtaking places that I've ever visited in my life - and that's saying something! It felt typically vintagey as well and I can see why so many people lust over it. There's so many little restaurants and shops along the streets and they continue along the other side, just beside sea, as you will notice in the photograph above. I was in awe at all of the rustic coloured houses with their tiny balconies, and the view of never-ending hills in the distance. It's certainly a sight that I will never forget.
There's something about the sea that is so calming to me. Watching the boats bob up and down on the water, seeing the stillness of it all. For at least a moment, you forget about all of your worries and just focus on the present and what's standing right before you. I took so many varieties of this photo, because I couldn't pick the perfect one, as I love them all equally! Even though the sea and deep water can make me feel quite anxious, how can you feel anything but peace when you look at this scene?
The place of choice for our evening meal in Villefranche was La Caravelle, which is a lovely, quiet venue just off the main stretch of road and up a hill. From where we were sitting outside, we got a really cool view of the sea, as well as more interesting shops and higher up apartments either side of us. To eat, I had the chicken in a cream sauce with chips (or should I say frites?!) and for dessert, I had the lightest yet nicest chocolate mousse with vanilla sprinkles. It by far topped the Spaghetti Bolognese that I had the night before!
Above is possibly my favourite photo of my Sister and I from when we were having said meal. I love how we are both smiling and looking genuinely happy, because we were! The atmosphere was so warm and cheerful and I just felt really at ease, especially knowing that I was away from all of the typical hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sharing a twin room with my Sister for those few days was lovely. We don't see each other that often anymore, but she'd do my makeup every evening, we'd listen to music, joke around with each other, moan over who got in the bathroom first and disagree on whether we should have the Air Con on or the terrace doors open, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. She will always be my very best friend and my inspiration in many aspects of life.
Here is myself, my Aunt and my Sister before we went out for our excursion to Villefranche. I don't actually think we have any photos of just the 3 of us, so this is definitely one to add to the album! Spending time with those closest to us is really important, especially in today's world, because we often take things and people for granted until they are gone and we can no longer turn to them. Going on holiday and only having each other for company can do a family the world of good because we all appreciate what is happening in that instance and we create magical memories together that will stay for a lifetime. 

On our penultimate day, we took a walk through the town to the Promenade De Anglais. It was incredibly hot and sticky, so we planned to go to Hotel Le Meridien for some cocktails to cool ourselves off and enjoy the view. Sitting on the terrace and getting them views was quite extraordinary and as a 17 year old girl, I can safely say I've never had an experience like that before! Sometimes, you just want to watch the world go by and not have to do anything, as that's what holidays are all about, right?  It will always be a memorable setting, as I had my first cocktail there!

That pretty much sums up my short stay in the South of France. I had an amazing few days with my family and it's definitely what I needed after the school year I've had. All of the staff members in the hotel that we stayed at were wonderful and so friendly. They really did go above and beyond with the service that they delivered and I'd highly recommend booking a reservation if you're ever in the area!

Have you ever been to France? What do you think of these photos that I've shared?

Lots of love always,


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