It’s still summer in Nice. Today’s high was 27 Celsius/80 Fahrenheit. It’s not just the temperature though. The sun is intense, lighting up the Mediterranean that peculiar and mesmerizing beautiful shade of turquoise
I become seriously envious of the swimmers and sunbathers on the beach. We haven’t had time to loll sea-side, with all the settling in and information gathering we’ve had to do. Today, for example, we spent three hours at the Préfecture, unnecessarily as it turned out, to change our address from Rennes to Nice. We still have to open a French bank account, obtain bus and train passes, apply for a Carte Vitale (French health care), in that order, and more.
It has been a jolt to arrive here after two months in Brittany. Besides the heat, the streets are much more crowded. Russian, Spanish, English, Italian and Chinese are overheard everywhere. The locals are to the point and gruff. Many older women have invested in “anti-aging” procedures. Dress is more flamboyantly chic, or trashy. The bins are overflowing with garbage, and the city is generally dirtier.
But that’s part of Riviera culture. There’s also the sea and sun, Italianate food, the dominance of olive oil over butter, umbrella pines and orange trees. Lots of English-speakers have settled here, from which to make friends. Unlike Brittany’s medieval settings, many streets, including ours, are lined with stunning Beaux Arts buildings typical to the French Riviera.
Serious business does go on, but people are really into enjoying themselves here. There isn’t a single café that is not packed by 5pm every day.
Soon, we will have the time to join them. And even if the temperature falls, the sun is almost always out.