Le Côte d’Azur: Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

We arrived in Nice, France around 12:00. The weather is a beautiful, sunny 18C/60F.

I want to take a moment and quickly explain how our school’s program works so I don’t worry anyone who’s maybe thinking I’m skipping school. There are 4 “break” weeks during the program, sort-of. There’s Core Course week, where everyone travels with their core class (I went to Odense and Aarhus for this one). Then there’s travel weeks 1 and 2, separated by two weeks of actual school. Each core course has a long study tour that will occur during one of these weeks, which means each student will also have one of these weeks free. I went to Edinburgh for travel week 1 with my core course, so I have this one free! I signed up for this trip to Nice through DIS, so I’m with other students and the five days are planned out with activities, but free time is scheduled in some days as well. Since there’s no school this week, and I didn’t leave until Wednesday, I spent the last couple days with Jeff and returned home to Copenhagen around 23:30 last night. After unpacking and re-packing of my suitcase, I went to bed around 00:30 this morning and woke up at 5:30.

This trip is filled with vineyard visits, wine tastings, gourmet food, and even a cooking class. The purpose is to experience the culture of Southern France in the best way possible: through food and wine. We just had a visit to the Château de Crémat and learned a little about the history of the buildling, how wine is made, and were introduced to a few different types of grapes.

This place was special because it doesn’t export its wine. It’s only available at the vineyard, at restaurants in Southern France, and in some specialty shops in Nice. The Rosé really spoke to me, so I decided to buy it as 1 of the 3 that I can bring back with me from this trip. One girl said she really liked the red, but wasn’t sure what it was called.When I told her it was called a Rouge, she responded with wide-eyed enthusiasm. She was a little less impressed after I told her that “Rouge” is just French for “red”. But we had a good laugh about it and shared our wine preferences.

One really cool thing about this trip, besides all the awesome things I’ve mentioned, is that I get to really use my high school French. I knew I still remembered quite a bit. I actually tested out of having to take Spanish at UMR because I was proficient enough in French. That said, my grammar has become pretty rusty and my vocab could still use work. But Russ, our sommelier and tour guide for the trip, said that any French will be extremely helpful for the trip. He also mentioned something about “Market Challenges”, and that he’d probably put one “French speaker” in each group (meaning that each group gets one student that said they at least know some French). I don’t know exactly what a market challenge is, but I’m imagining something like the Amazing Race.

Anyways, I’m going to take a nap before dinner tonight. It’s going to be a bit of a hike from the hotel, but it’s going to be worth it. A 3 course dinner, served with wine (obviously), at Le France in Fayence.

This trip is going to be flippin’ fantastic.

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