Thursday, 3 September 2015

Nice Nice

I spent three weeks in Nice this summer, however it felt like I was there for months. Me and my brother were doing a three week course at a language school in the city.

The city was the perfect size for the time we were there, not so small that we ran out of things to do or see, but not so large that by the end of the time there we felt like we might not have seen everything there was to see. 

Although I like these photographs, I don't feel they have captured the city or my time in it very well; Nice for me is a blur of running for school in the morning, swimming a lot in
the beautiful sea, going to galleries, bars and cafes, and mainly meeting so many interesting people, whereas the images are quite subdued and calm.

The French course was certainly an experience, very strange at first but overall a lot of fun. I have always hated how, compared to other countries, such little emphasis is put on teaching foreign languages in UK schools. So I have always wanted to be able to speak more than one language - I started the course knowing absolutely nothing, so after the initial, and very awkward, speaking test, I was naturally put in the lowest 
class. However as it was only a small school with few classes, the lowest class also consisted of people who had been learning French for several years, but weren't quite fluent, so some of what we were taught I couldn't fully understand because I lacked some basic knowledge. The school was really fun, and our teacher was so sweet, she would always check I understood whatever was going on after she gave instructions, because I wasn't as good as the others in the class. Each day we would walk to a little patisserie during the break and get some breakfast and a coffee (because 8:45 starts aren't easy when your in 
holiday-mode). After school most days we would walk back to our apartments, where I would watch a film or read whilst my brother slept in his apartment, then go out later on in the afternoon, when it wasn't quite so hot. 

We went to the beach most days, the sea was beautiful, always warm and clear - the beaches got so busy, they didn't really empty until very late in the evening, but it was peaceful in the sea if you swam further out. There are quite a few photographs taken of the city from a viewing platform in a park, you could walk up the stair or get a lift, and the view of the city, especially of 
the old town, from the top was amazing. The city also has some cool galleries and museums, over our time there we went to the Musée Marc Chagall, Musée Matisse and MAMAC. The Matisse collection was a little disappointing, but the museum led us to this amazing church and gardens on a hilltop, which was further inland so we had a great view of the city from a different angle than the viewing platform.  The Chagall and MAMAC were really great, I loved the colour and scale of Chagall's work and we saw a cool Keith Sonnier exhibition in MAMAC as well as Yves Klein and Niki De Saint Phalle in the museums permanent collection. 
Because we didn't have school at the weekends, we did a few day trips to nearby places, The first weekend, we got the train to Monaco. The train journey itself was lovely because it follows the coast around and the view is pretty spectacular. When we arrived in Monaco we walked around the port a little then up to the old town on the hillside, where the castle is situated. We also went to Ventimiglia the weekend after which was also nice. 

I think one of the things I enjoyed most was the complete independence I had. We found our way around the city, got trains to new places, bought and cooked our own food, and
just generally had complete freedom. We also met so many cool people over our three weeks there, and although everyone on our course was really nice, no one really socialised outside of school. We met most people from doing a couple of bar crawls, however as most of these people were travelling, their time in Nice was short, so we had to say goodbye to many people, as they left to travel on to somewhere else. 

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