Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Highlights of Southern France

After nearly 2 months vacation in France and Italy, our adventure here is almost over. We have 2 nights left here in Florence, and we plan to spend our last full day tomorrow stuffing ourselves with delicious food and drinking some Italian chianti wine :)
But first, I thought I would share some of our favourite parts from our trip, starting with France.

We started our trip in a small seaside town called Cap d'agde, which is in southern France. We spent five weeks there in a beautiful villa, just relaxing on the beach and enjoying home cooked meals. We like to think that we cook better at home than a lot restaurants out there, which is mostly true, but really it is just a bit of a pain eating out with a small child 😜
Charlotte loved taking walks at the beach every day, and of course people would stop to coo and smile at her :) Often the only way we could get her to nap at the beach was by carrying her in our arms up and down the beach. We would take her into the water with us as well, and by the end of our stay she was quite enjoying splashing her chubby little legs in the water.

the beach at Cap d'Agde

After five weeks at this beautiful beach, we decided that we should actually get out and explore some new places 😜
We decided to take the train to Marseille, which is the second largest city in France. It was still quite hot when we stayed there, and our hotel was in a slightly dodgy part of town near the train station, so overall, we were glad we only stayed two nights there.  It was definitely neither of our favourite cities.
However, the panoramic view from the Jardin du Pharo was spectacular, and looked like something out of a film.
view from Jardin du Pharo

Our biggest disappointment in Marseille was that we did not make it all the way up to Notre Dame de la Garde, the very imposing basilica that is like the crown on the head of Marseille port. Apparently there are buses that take you part of the way up to the church,  but as we had walked past the stops,  we decided to walk the rest of the way. And let me tell you it is a heck of a walk, with a heavy stroller and a too hot baby who won't stop crying unless she is carried! Once you reach the top of the hill, there are supposedly elevators that can take you to different floors of the basilica. Needless to say we didn't make it that far, and we cursed the city of Marseille for not making their number one attraction more accessible to families!! Not to mention people with disabilities...
here is as far as we made it...
our attempt to see Notre Dame basilica 

Our next stop after Marseille was Nice, which is possibly one of my favourite French cities. First of all, it is very clean and well maintained. The town centre has a very pretty park with water fountain installations and water misters, which I thought was a very unique addition to help cool people down.

We spent three nights in Nice, and on our first full day there we visited Parc du Chateau, also known as Castle Park or Castle Hill. It is a public park that contains the ruins of the castle of Nice, and offers brilliant panoramic  views of the city. It also has a small waterfall, which can be spotted on the hill from below. What we loved from our visit there was that we could take a FREE elevator up to the hill! Perfect for families with small children and strollers!! 
 View from the hill

My two cuties :)

Of course, as we were so close to Monaco, we had to take a day trip there to visit Monte Carlo and it's famous casinos. While we were there, we also visited the Aquarium, which was very small, but had some great exhibits. It also interestingly had a big collection of aboriginal art displayed on the second floor. Although Charlotte is a little young to fully appreciate the displays there,  she did quite enjoy looking at the jelly fish :)
 View from the palace in Monaco 

 Monaco aquarium 

Thanks for reading :) I will be back soon to write about our favourite parts of our travels in Italy.

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