French Riviera, Autumn

The sun rose across the ocean, hues of orange and pink stretching out in front of our eyes and bouncing off the gentle flow of the waves.

It was late Autumn and a man swam in the water; a final lap before the winter chill made its way across the south of France. We had woken early to catch the sunrise, after making a promise the day before to watch a sunrise in every place we intended to visit across Europe (a promise which was broken many times and replaced with sunsets). The day break was picturesque, a vast expanse ahead of us dotted with colour – the perfect welcome.

The bustling town of Nice was drenched in Autumn sun as people sipped coffee on the sidewalk or wandered down the Promenade des Anglais overlooking the clear, aqua water. Mornings were spent strolling through the flea markets or picking pink flowers from the flower market. Tucked away in a small park near the monastery is Henri Matisse Museum; a collection of his sketches, paintings and creativity housed within a 17th century villa. A rainy morning here faded into an afternoon getting lost in the Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain. When the sun came back we resumed our travels: people-watching on the pebbled beaches and later escaping to the warmth of a seaside bistro for mule-frites and risotto.

Our days in the South of France took us from our small Air BnB in Nice, to the richness of Monaco and to the humble Village of Eze, which sat atop a hill. Eze was another world. Tiny alleyways of quaint hand-painted artworks created a maze throughout the town; getting lost was half the experience. Vines looped themselves around each other above our heads, a blanket of green where only the sunlight could peak through. Vines seemed to be a recurring theme for the humble hill-top town. We stopped at a café on the edge of the cliff where vines entangled the building, as if holding it together. Americano coffees, a warm baguette for the road, and a view I’ll remember for a lifetime.