I’ve been in Nice for a week now, and I’m truly not sure why I haven't come to the French Riviera sooner! I love it here! This past week has been a whirlwind and this quick post is not even the tip of the iceberg, but it highlights the culture of France, specifically Nice, that I have sincerely enjoyed so far. The cultural norms greatly differ from America, but I think they’re positive!
First, the culture of leisure. In America, when I sit down at a restaurant, I expect immediate service. Here, I sit down, enjoy my surroundings and our server will wait on us whenever he or she is ready. Once we have our drinks, usually wine with our dinner, we enjoy the atmosphere. We order our food and snack on a few olives while people watching on the patio (more of a sidewalk, honestly) in front of the restaurant. When our food arrives, trust me, it’s absolutely delicious. The serving sizes are traditionally smaller in France than America. I was expecting the cuisine to be be delightful but my exceptions have been blown away! A favorite of mine is the caprese salad. At home, I loved the dish, but now I find it extraordinary because of the quality and freshness of the ingredients! While enjoying the ambiance, and nibbling at our food a salad and crisp baguette satisfies you. With the absence of the rushed culture, like I have often found in the States, you can feel more content with less food.
Something I was surprised about when I first saw our adorable little apartment was our shower. In fact, it resembled more of a bath tub. It appeared as something like a shower head without a shower curtain. I was afraid of getting water all over the ground, and sure enough, I did. Turns out, you’re supposed to kneel in the bath tub while washing your hair. Since, I have been sitting and/or kneeling since, there has been far less water on the floor and I’ve been so relaxed. This is something I’m seriously considering bringing back to America with me! The French have really incorporated leisure into every part of their day, including showers!
Before I arrived in France I was so curious as to how the French managed to stay so fit and thin while eating like royalty. I knew they walked a lot but I completely underestimated truly how much. Although my feet have new blister-turned-callouses, the walking has been phenomenal. Nice is a very walkable city and in just a week I almost know my way around. All the walking is an excuse for the amazing bread, croissants, and other carbohydrate loaded food I have been consuming each day. Walking along the Promenade des Anglais and through the culture filled streets is better than any workout at the gym!
Classes have started this week, and there is a lot to look forward to: whale watching, my roommate and I’s just-booked trip to Barcelona, and more fun nights in Nice’s old town this weekend, especially the live music at Wayne’s!