Life in France

A short trip to Eze-sur-mer

A co-worker from my school and I had been talking all year about taking a trip to Eze, a small town not too far from Nice.  As time goes, it flew by, and before we knew it I only had a couple more weeks of school!  We planned to do it that week, but then rescheduled for the Thursday of my last week of school.  Nothing like leaving it to the last minute!  We didn’t have a ton of time, since I was having a good-bye dinner for all my friends at my apartment that evening (and it was scheduled to rain in mid-afternoon), but we left early afternoon and spent a good few hours seeing a few things in the town.

Eze is a really small medieval village on top of a mountain- it’s called a perched village since it’s up so high.  If you take the train you have to walk up the mountain to get there, but if you take the bus or drive you can go right up to the city.  Luckily, we drove, so no mountain climbing for me!

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Categories: Life in France, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Skiing in the Cote d’Azur: Valberg and Isola 2000!

I went skiing twice this year, once in mid-March and once at the beginning of April.  That’s right, skiing in April in the south of France!  And thus is the magic of mountains.  The first time, I went to a ski resort called Valberg, and the second, to one called Isola 2000.  Here’s a handy-dandy map I created to show you people where I was:


The one near Peone is Valberg, and the one that’s 34 miles away is Isola.

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Categories: Assistant Helpful Information, Life in France, Physical activity | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Parc Phoenix, Nice

Remember this challenge post?  Well a few weeks ago, I got started knocking a few more items off my “must-see-before-I-leave” list.  One of the items on my cool new super-touristy bag was something called Parc Phoenix, which I had never heard of and had no idea what it was.  I did some Googling and learned that it’s a park/nature preserve/zoo on the west side of Nice, and that it only costs 2€ to get in!  Sold.  A couple weeks ago we actually had warm sunny weather (it’s been unusually cold and rainy this spring… well when I say cold I mean like 55 degrees.  I’m spoiled, I know) so I decided to take advantage and go there on Tuesday when I didn’t have school.  Even though I went alone (it’s really hard to do stuff during the day since we all have different teaching schedules), I’m so glad I did!  The weather was beautiful and it was great to be surrounded by nature, since I’ve been in cities basically since I arrived here in September.

There was a lot of green grass and trees, pretty flowers, cacti, animals in pens, and free-range animals.  There was also a big greenhouse, a reptile/spider/fish building, a big pond, and fountains that played in time with music once an hour.  So without further ado… some photos!

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Categories: Life in France | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Carnaval in Nice 2013

Every winter, Nice has this festival called Carnaval for three weeks.  There was a lot of hype leading up to it, but none of my assistant friends, nor myself, really knew what it was.  All we knew was that there is a big warehouse down the street from my apartment that had a ton of Carnaval decorations and stuff in it, and that huge bleachers were being put up in la Place Massena and along the Promenade des Anglais (along the ocean).

My boyfriend got here on the 14th of February and as we were walking to my apartment after the bus from the airport dropped us off, we turned onto my street and this is what we saw:

Welcome to Nice!!

Welcome to Nice!!

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Categories: Life in France | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Changes and a Challenge

Hey all, I’m back!  Hope you weren’t too bored stiff by that series of posts.  No worries, next will be travel ones about a couple places my boyfriend and I went 🙂 Until then… an update!

As stated in the title, there have been a couple of changes in the life of Kelsey (la vie de Kelsey…bahaha).  One of the biggest is that I changed the date of my return ticket to the US.  Like I mentioned here, I bought a round-trip ticket, and I chose the arbitrary return date of May 23.  I knew my contract ended on April 30, and I wanted to have a few weeks to travel before I came back to the US.  However, what I didn’t know was that I would be done teaching April 12 (HOLY COW THAT’S A MONTH FROM TODAY); French schools happen to have a two-week break at the end of April!  Technically I should have to teach April 29 and 30 but I don’t have any classes on Tuesdays, and I doubt they’ll make me come in on Monday; they always need me less the week after breaks, but even if they do ask me to come in, it’s only for a few hours.

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Categories: Life in France, Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Finding an apartment and roommate in France

I should start by saying that I didn’t get an apartment the traditional way: no real estate agent here!  Instead, I got really lucky by finding an apartment for rent by one of the teachers I work with.  You can read all about that still-long-and-kinda-frustrating journey here and here.  A few things I’ve learned since being here:

  • Apartments in Nice are expensive.  I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone paying under 400€ a month, and the most I’ve heard someone paying is 550€/month.  This includes having multiple roommates or having a studio.
  • It’s pretty easy to find furnished apartments.  I was under the impression from something I read that furnished apartments are nearly nonexistent, but there seems to be an abundance of them, at least in Nice, and they come with not only furniture but kitchen stuff too.
  • Leases seem to be pretty easy here.  Like, you have to sign one, but it can be for however many months you want, and breaking your contract is no big deal.  I know of a couple people here that have done it with no issues.
  • A security deposit is usually one month’s rent.  I’ve heard of a couple people paying two month’s rent, but that’s rare.  One month is much more common.
  • Some apartments here don’t have living rooms.  The heck?

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Categories: Assistant Helpful Information, Life in France | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy V-Day, everyone!  Or as they say here, bonne fete de St. Valentin!  I was surprised that they celebrate Valentine’s Day here, because I always thought of it as a more American holiday, but they definitely do.  There have been plenty of dinner specials posted, giveaways and events advertised, and valentine cards and gifts in the stores.

My newly updated love wall!

My newly updated love wall!

Fittingly enough, I welcome another visitor to Nice today: my boyfriend!  Yes, he’s getting in on Valentine’s Day.  Yes, it’s oh-so-romantic.  No, we did not plan it that way!  It just happened… a happy accident, haha.  I’m a bit more on top of my game today than the day before my parents came; I actually have some blog posts written and queued up to post over the next few weeks!  I decided to take this opportunity to share a series of posts intended to help those who are going to be assistants in France next year.

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Categories: Life in France, Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

What I miss about the US

You asked for it, you got it!  On the poll on the right side (can still vote, btw!), this topic got the most votes.  Well, in actuality, it tied with “Things the US needs to start doing” but this topic was ahead most of the time and I figured the “Things the US needs to start doing” topic would be better paired with its counterpart, “Things France needs to stop doing.”  So that will come later.

Obviously what I miss most about the US is the people–my friends, family, and boyfriend–but I’m not going to write in-depth about that because then I’ll get sad and AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

I’ve been in France for four and a half months now and while I’ve mostly adjusted to the differences here, there are still a few things from the US that I miss very much.  One big one is the food; even though I mostly cook for myself, so I do get a lot of American foods, some things are more difficult to make without the ingredients I’m used to!  A short list that I thought of while sitting here: butterscotch chips, peanut butter, chocolate chips that aren’t 2.50€ for a cup, Stovetop stuffing, Kraft Mac n Cheese, cream of chicken soup, jalapenos, black beans…

American stuff

who covets*

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Categories: Differences between France and the US, Life in France | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Life Lately

Ah yes, it’s time again for my every-so-often photo dump, mostly of things I’ve snapped pictures of on my phone.  Enjoy!!

I realize this photo is terrible, but I wanted to get a picture of the beautiful lights on the palm trees here.  I took this on the bus on the way back from dropping off my parents at the airport- yes, it was still dark on my way home!


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Categories: Life in France | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Funny Signs Around Nice

Guess what, we’re taking (another) short break from posts about my parents’ trip!  Only… 3 more of them left, I believe.  When my mom emails me her notes from our time in Germany (no pressure Mom!  Thanks for taking notes!) I’ll resume with posts about the trip, but until then… funny signs from around Nice!

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of funny or punny names of stores and restaurants around here.  Some of them are clever, some are mixtures of French and English, and some are just straight hilarious.  So I started snapping pictures to share them with you all!  Enjoy 🙂

Welcome to King Burger, where you can have it your way, but don't get crazy.

I first showed this picture in this post, but I figured it needed including in this one as well.  King Burger is the name of fictional restaurant from a Mad TV skit (playing off Burger King); it’s hilarious that it actually exists!

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Categories: Life in France | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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