Theme: European Christmas Holiday Country: France Languages: French Unit of Currency: Euros Locations: Nice (only 2011) & Paris Years: 2010, 2011, & 2012 Bucket list: Visiting the French Rivera
The Second Hiccup in the Travel Plans:
For whichever reason the train that was headed to Salzburg, Austria decided that she was arriving later in the early eveningish on the next day instead of early in the morning. Unluckily, this would have caused me to miss my “Snowboarding Day” in Salzburg; perhaps, this was the secondary reason why I decided to travel through Europe during the Christmas Holiday.
Living in Miami, Fl I definitely miss the smell of fresh powder and the tingling of a crisp, cold breeze kissing your neck. A Snowboarding holiday will be planned for a future thrill and is absolutely on the “To Do” list for 2012! The primary reason was to finally meet the in-laws in Botosani, Romania; which conveniently allowed me to purchase the Eurail Pass and adventure around Europe via train! Regardless, acknowledged by British Airways as a “World Traveler,” the title was quite fitting and the senses kicked in to manipulate a new travel plan.
As the Italian train attendant stood there listening to me brainstorming ideas on where to voyage next, he kept nodding his head in agreement. I had to make a last minute decision on where to go. I knew that I had to be in Paris on the morning of Christmas Eve, therefore I had to schedule my travel time accordingly. Finally I concluded the half way point of this European Christmas holiday would be spent between France and Monaco!
DO: HEAR, SMELL, TOUCH, SEE, AND TASTE THE FRENCH CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
- Exploring the city at night
Rocky Road Deliciousness in Nice, France:
1) Even though Nice is the fifth largest city in France, this capital city of the French Rivera was absolutely stunning, especially with their enthusiasm geared towards the Christmas holiday. The streets were lined in a pattern of snowflakes and dozens of Christmas trees overlooked the local shops. The fake snow and real pine trees surrounded the Christmas markets. The churros with a dipping sauce of nutella on the side melted in your mouth. In addition, their definition of Rocky Road was a success! Something that I had never tried before was Rocky Road nougat; talk about a delightful treat!! The combination of chocolate, peanuts, marshmallow, and gooeyness made this one of the ultimate deserts in Nice!
2) My first time on the south east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The famed Promenade des Anglais that hugged the pebbly shores of Nice was an image that was printed on every postcard that was sold in Nice. I had the privilege to not only view the majestic beauty of the Mediterranean Sea, but also visit the old town that hid many picturesque treasures and a modern, bustling city center. The city itself had a large hill that was a bit tiresome, especially with all the extra souvenirs and multiple layers of cold weather gear! The port boasts the hills of Cimiez to the northeast of Vieux-Nice, and Mont-Boron to the east of the harbor — made up green and tranquil districts blessed with stunning panoramas. Arénas located in the west and Promenade du Paillon positioned northeast of the old town were the main business and conference centers, while the rest of the area was primarily residential.
3) An interesting fact that I absorbed by the city’s meteorologists – “The city has, on the average, 300 days of sunshine a year!” The artists and writers were attracted to this city due to the sunshine that awaited them. No wonder out of all the unique places to view, the port in Nice was one of the favorite places to be visited whether in the winter and/or the summer.
Next stop: Monte Carlo, Monaco!
DO: SEE THE EIFFEL TOWER AMONGST THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
- Walking in the city and getting lost in the Christmas Markets
The American Tradition in Paris, France:
1) With limited time in Paris, France due to the evening train ride to Vienna, Austria there was a lot to be done and all crammed into a few hours! The mission of the morning – “To View Paris from Above,” little did I know that hundreds of tourists had the same idea that I had! Since my time was precious in Paris, I had to be very selective in activities that I partook in and unfortunately, climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower would have to be accomplished another day.
2) Two words- Christmas Markets; The ski themed huts really made Paris and the Eiffel Tower look magical. With the consummation of fake snow, mulled wine, chocolate croissants, and the water fountain reaching up to the Eiffel Tower made the atmosphere absolutely amazing and welcoming. The amount of American tourists that regularly come to Paris, France created a Christmas hut of the traditional hot dog! I was surprised how many French locals were devouring hot dogs and French fries! The fact that the Christmas hut also housed the famous “Philadelphia Cheese steak” made me chuckle. If you are wondering, I did not settle for a cheese steak!
3) The cinnamon, chocolate, and rose aromatic odors in the air encouraged me to constantly smile knowing the next day was Christmas! I adore this time of year, normally I would not miss Christmas with my family and friends, but with the opportunity to visit my Romanian’s best mate and his parents it was hard to pass up this period to travel around Europe during the holidays.
Next stop: London, England for Christmas!