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Bonjour France

Abigail Diaz

When retuning from any major trip, most people have traveler’s remorse. Maybe they didn’t get to see all the things they had on their to-do list, they spent way more than what was planned or they just regret returning home. Whatever the case is, out of all the trips I have made, France may have been the one destination to evoke this emotion in me. This would mark my third time in Europe and my first to France. Flying out on Labor Day and enjoying eight days there (which I knew wouldn’t be enough time for me but I take what I can get), I was set and ready to explore the country I have been most curious about.  So was the trip worth every moment and cent I spent? Oh yes! Visiting Paris and traveling to the south of France was pure perfection.

Paris really is a magical place that has so much to offer. Visiting historical sites and museums with all the decadent deserts and shopping at your finger tips really does explain why so many people especially girls become obsessed with this city. I would highly recommend anyone who can travel outside of traditional touristy seasons to visit in September. Mornings were crips, afternoons were the perfect warmth suitable for walking miles and not breaking into a sweat and evenings were layer friendly. Out of all the things I did in Paris my favorite really was just walking around and exploring the city. There was not a time I didn’t feel safe and just admiring all the architecture really brings a perspective that we are not as fortunate to enjoy back home in Houston. And don’t hold back on the sweets and breads, I didn’t gain one pound and it was fabulous!

The city of Nice on the other hand was just as wonderful as Paris but on the polar opposite spectrum. Visiting the south of France is slower in pace, which is how I like to travel. We stayed in a Villa outside of Nice and it was pure perfection in the sense that I felt I was staying somewhere you would see in the movies. The owner of the villa Anne was a pure delight and was a fantastic guide with advice on to where to go and what to see. The day of our arrival we drove to Provence two hours away from Nice. We visited a truffle farm and this was something I have always wanted to do.  The following day we drove to Nice to explore the narrow and historical streets. And ended the trip visiting a beach overlooking the perfect shades of blue and green tones of the water.

As you can imagine the trip was a grand success and this will be the one destination that I will most likely visit every year. France made such an impression on me and I truly left in love with the country.

My top 15 to see, do and eat:

1.     Hotel Max This is the delightful boutique hotel we stayed at in Paris.              

2.     Lunch at Mandarian Oriental is worth every cent. Dont hold back on ordering everything! 

3.     Dinner at Cristal Room which also is an enormous showroom of Baccarat Crystal. 

4.     Deserts from Ladurée  I visited their chocolate store and highly recommend the rose flavor chocolates. And yes, the macaroons are amazing and ice cream too!

5.     Museum - Although I am a lover of all art, my taste is a little more modern. This museum had many collections and the location is not as central as others. So if you are looking at visiting a museum without the crowds, this is a great option. 

6.     Colette Because, if you know anything about Paris and fashion, you will know about Colette.

7.     Foie Gras at Comptoir de la Gastronomie - All food revivalists will love this place. I highly recommend the ravioli foie gras, it was MAGNIFIQUE. 

8.     Bakeries – The French take their breads and pastries as serious business. So they are all LEGIT!

9.     Stay at La Forge d'Hauterives - Just a 30 min drive from the Nice airport, this villa is worth it. If you have ever wanted to stay in a place that looks like it came from a movie, I promise this is the place.  

10. Go Truffle hunting at Les Pastras - OMG! Education, fun and delicious. You will go home a truffle snob, in the best way possible. 

11. Best view of Nice, France is at Castle Hill 

12. Visit the beach in Antibies, France ( They have sand and not pebbles, like traditional French beaches tend to have.)

13. Dinner – Malabar in St-Paul-de-Vence, the view is awesome when the sun is going down.

14. Cocktails at two of my favorite places –

15.  Walk everywhere and as much as you can! No joke, it is worth it. As you don’t want to miss anything!