Hard to believe it’s been a year since we arrived in Nice. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! Some thoughts on a year here:
One of the best things, every day we wander around thinking “we live here now”. It’s great and influences a lot of things. In Lyon, for example, we realized that we didn’t have to do everything in a couple of days–we can always go back, it’s a train ride.
Yes, there’s tons of paperwork/bureaucracy but that’s part of the deal. Since there’s no apparent logic to any of it, you go with the flow, or fugetaboutit. Frank gets something approved, and 10 days later I get a separate document with some of the same info and completely different hurdles to jump. We get letters sent to our address here from the government, asking for proof of address. Go figure.
Our circle of friends is big and robust, and while it’s mostly other expats, it’s not entirely Americans. There are people here from all over and they all share a love for Nice and all it has to offer. The French that we meet are also warm and friendly provided…
You say “bonjour”. It’s got to be the first thing to come out of your mouth. Always and with everyone. Better to err on the side of too many bonjours than risk the rath of a snubbed citizen. Bonjour Madame or Monsieur gets you more cred and don’t forget to say “merci, avoir, bonne journee (in that order) when you leave, even getting off a bus. It’s polite.
The marchés are always great. Getting to know some of the vendors helps and they will always help you find a perfectly ripe whatever, just tell them when you expect to eat it. Also, there are a lot of vegetables (looking at you squash and cabbages) that you can just buy a piece of, so less food waste (and an opportunity to try a veg that might be too much for 1 or 2 people if you had to buy a whole one).
People (especially butchers) take all the holidays they can, and you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Just because it says a shop is open, doesn’t mean it will be open when you get there. My success rate with a couple of our local ones is somewhere below 50%, but you learn to improvise or head to a local grocery store.
Not needing or having a car or cars to deal with is pretty great. Public transportation is easy and some of the bus routes are along the sea, with a chance to sightsee some of the Riveria’s towns for the price of a bus ticket (about $2). The downside? Not having a car and after a year, needing to take a written (in French) test and a road test to get a French license. Not gonna happen.
You’re probably wondering about the food, restaurants, cafés, cheeses, we’ve explored in the past year. Stay tuned, there’s more to come. Enjoy!