I was a bit nervous the first time I went to France. I’d heard that old cliche, that the French dislike Americans, plus my French was (is) really awful.
My first time on French soil was in Nice. Within the first hour of my time there, someone asked me for directions in French. I looked like a local. I had already dropped my bags at the hotel and was making a beeline for the sea. I tried to answer her in French and she realized I wasn’t local (or even French). She asked if I spoke English and we started chatting. She was from Taiwan and studying in Nice. She became my travel buddy for a couple of days, before she headed off to other lands. We didn’t keep in touch, but we did have some interesting experiences together! I’m glad we met.
We decided to meet up the next day and go to the Matisse Museum together. Before meeting up with her, I rented a lounge chair and umbrella from one of the restaurants on Promenade des Anglais. I relaxed to the sound of the waves, wrote postcards, and read a book – all while enjoying drinks delivered to my seat. This would be the day I personally discovered how forward French men can be.
Sebastian was sweet and handsome. He was also my waiter. As it (the flirting) was happening to me, I wondered, how many women has he charmed or tried to charm? He noticed my tattoos and that was his lead. I shared my tattoo stories with him and told him I was a musician. Of course he had other customers to tend to, so this conversation was spread out over a few hours. When I was ready to leave, he asked to take me to dinner that night. I accepted on the condition that my new friend could come because I already had plans. He lured me in with the promise of live music after dinner. I was too intrigued to see what a live music experience in Nice would be like to pass it up.
Laetitia (her French name) and I met up and went to the Matisse Museum, then we waited for Sebastian at my hotel. This was back in the day when almost no one traveled with a cell phone. The front desk called my room when he arrived and the three of us went to dinner. He took us to a place where they knew him, so we were treated really well. He ordered all kinds of things for us to taste and I’m sure we went through a couple of bottles of wine.
We went on to a bar that had live music. It was indeed live music, but it was a cover band. I was pretty disappointed, but I still talked to the guitarist after the show. Come to find out, he was just as disappointed to be playing cover songs.
Sebastian had been a gentleman the entire night, albeit rather flirty. He wanted to spend the night with me. My girl Laetitia stayed the night instead. I had an extra single bed in my room and it was late. Yes, this could have been my big French romance, but I was in love with someone back home.
Part of Côte d’Azur, Nice is a metropolitan city on the French Riviera. I chose it because of its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and I’d heard they were more patient with tourists. In retrospect, I wish I’d stayed in a smaller coastal town.
Please suggest a small Côte d’Azur village I should seek out next time I’m in the region! Leave your tips for me in the comment section.
May your journey be your muse,