Is there anything better than combining a work trip with a little vacation time? I don’t think so, so when Eddie found out the date of his company’s summer party in Paris, we started planning a trip to the south of France. I looked forward to the trip all throughout the grey winter, spring, and early summer and the thought of sunny skies kept me going.
The party in Paris did not disappoint. French companies sure know how to have a good time and we spent the night eating, dancing and sipping champagne in the most amazing venue – an old carnival complete with rides!
This year, Eddie was smart enough to steer clear of the beef tartare which meant that even though our train left at 8AM the next morning, we felt fresh enough to make it on time. It was a loooonnnnnnggg train ride, three and half hours and it did not at all pass quickly.
When we finally arrived in Marseille we were greeted at the hotel with an appropriately “french rude” receptionist who scoffed at our request to check in one hour early. The horror!
So we parked ourselves by the pool to relax. “Relax” would be a really strong word for what we experienced. The pool was overflowing (almost literally) with 10-15 sub-seven-year-olds and varying levels of parental supervision. Splash. Scream. Cry. Repeat. Oh well.
Sadly, once we had finally been allowed to check in and headed to the beach, the scene wasn’t much better. Marseille is not known for its beaches but I wasn’t quite expecting the dirty and packed conditions we found. We gave up pretty quickly because though it was at least 100 degrees neither of us could work up the motivation to get in the dirty and crowded water and we were probably going to melt if we stayed in the direct sun much longer.
Marseille was meant to be a jumping off point for us, because the city isn’t exactly known for being beautiful or cultural. We spent the next day in the adorable village of Aix-En-Provence doing little more than enjoying the cute streets and nice weather. Another day was spent making a marathon train journey to Monaco. I think we can both admit that this was one of those “Check the country off the list” visits. We had come that far.
After our brief tour around Monte-Carlo we spent the afternoon at a beach in Nice. Our not so great experience in Marseille made us decide to treat ourselves to renting some chairs and an umbrella. This is pretty common on European beaches and unfortunately isn’t cheap but it means you get your own space, shade, and the ability to order drinks and food if you so desire. We felt pretty swanky since our usual MO is sneaking towels out from the hotel and roasting uncomfortably on the free beach. But not this time, #ballers.
Our day spent on the beach in Nice was by far my favorite day of the trip. We relaxed and soaked in that Cote D’Azur sunshine while sipping on some overpriced but oh so delicious Rose. It was bliss, and this made it especially hard to hear about the brutal attack that took place just three days later on the same streets we were happily strolling along earlier in the week. 😦 Thankfully, we were home in London by then but we couldn’t help wondering if anyone we were swimming next to in the beautiful Mediterranean sea had been affected. I hope not.