Our next stops during our week-long tour of Europe were the cities of Nice and Monte Carlo. As I mentioned in my previous post, my fiancé planned this trip as a celebration of our engagement and kept each destination a surprise that he revealed to me on the way to the airport every morning. I'm sure that he chose Nice because I've dreamed of visiting since hearing about the city years ago when Angelina Jolie came here to deliver her twins. Monte Carlo is only a thirty minute drive from Nice so it makes sense to visit both cities while you're in the area if you have time.
When we arrived, the sky was still gloomy and overcast from a recent storm that caused a lot of property damage and killed about thirty people. This ruined my fiance's plans to sail because it was too cold, but where the sun was lacking the warm and welcoming people definitely compensated.
I have no idea why, but our hotel lobby was decorated with paintings of legendary black musicians so I got a jump start on the touristy pictures. And to think I almost felt out of place with my biggie sweatshirt ;)
Nice is an extremely clean and well-manicured city with classic French architecture. Even though we were squarely in Europe, the presence of palms trees, the expansive coastline and crystal blue waters made me feel as though this little European city had be transposed onto a tropical destination. But then the cold breeze off of the sea jolted me back into reality, lol.
I've read some rave reviews about the beaches in Nice and was really looking forward to getting into the water. Although the weather didn't permit us to fully enjoy it, the water was just as beautiful as I had envisioned and my only disappointment was learning that the beach isn't natural and has been excavated and covered in stone. Even still, the quaint buildings that tower along the coastline cliffs make for a beautiful view and we spent hours nibbling on lunch and talking over the calming noise of the sea. Call me biased, but I expected the beauty of the beach at Nice to surpass my favorite beach in Sierra Leone and it didn't. I guess there is something truly special about home.
I don't think I've quite captured in words or photographs the sheer coolness of Nice. While its very much an old world city, with plaques commemorating the time that Thomas Jefferson spent here as the American ambassador to France, Nice is still very vibrant and energetic. What could be more hip than running into an old Marithe Francois & Girbaud design shop? If that wasn't enough, I swear that I saw Donatella Versace on our quick stroll through the mall, plus an older lady on a scooter wearing Birkenstocks, cropped pants and a headwrap that would give Baddiewinkle a run for her money. The city is also very diverse and many cultures are represented in its population.
Starting with the D&G ad in Italy, a theme for me on this trip was capturing advertisements. I think advertisements give a window into a society's ideals by represent what a typical consumer is aspiring to or finds desirable. The owners of this women's store clearly think that African culture is stylish, based on the head and neck pieces and the tribal-inspired sprints. The topic of cultural appropriation has been a hot one in the media lately, but I personally believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It only makes me wonder why people of different cultures can't embrace each other as easily as we can borrow from another culture's style.
Anywho, after spending the day in Nice, we took a taxi over to Monaco to check out the casinos, eat dinner and enjoy the nightlife. During dinner we sat next to another black family who happened to be from our backyard; Bowie, Maryland. Dinner was delicious, and the club was alright but the highlight our night was running into a hilarious couple from London. Something about the British and their sense of humor!
Have you ever been to the South of France or Monaco? If so, do you agree with my assessment? Thanks for visiting.