Thursday, July 25, 2013

My vacation in Nice!

Salut, tout le monde! C'est Sabine! Je dois vous dire à propos de Nice!

I arrived at my grandparents' vacation home in Nice in the late afternoon. It was so nice to finally stand after sitting on the TGV for so long!

After I greeted my grandparents with la bise (four kisses on the cheeks), I immediately unpacked my stuff. Since Sandrine was at her ballet intensive, I got a room to myself. I was thrilled about that, since I have to share a room at home. Any time I get my own space, I'm happy...even if it's just for a week and a half!

Before eating, I sprawled out on my bed and took a quick nap.

By the time we finished dinner, it was nighttime, so my family thought it would be fun to walk around Nice at night. Excuse the lower quality images; I used an old hand-me-down digital camera, and the quality isn't the best. We first headed to the Place Masséna, the main square of the city. The architecture of the buildings is more Italian than French, which is understandable since there is a large Italian influence in Nice. Actually, you can find many signs written in French, Italian, and local languages! 

Here is a photo of the square that I took the following day when it was light outside:

Nice is probably most famous for its Promenade des Anglais, a walkway along the shore. La Prom, as we call it, got its name from the multitude of English vacationers that visited years ago. Nice is not only a popular vacation spot to us French. Also, the beaches along the Côte d'Azure tend to be rockier instead of sandier. 

Have you ever wondered why the Côte d'Azure is called the  Côte d'Azure? Just take a look at the breathtaking blue Mediterranean Sea!



Here are some beautiful homes that are similar to my grandparents' vacation home:

One night, my family and I ate outdoors at a restaurant in a square filled with shops, an outdoor market, and many delicious places to eat dessert and real food, of course. There were live street performers, which is quite common in many places in France. They sang some American oldies music to lighten the mood. My favorite song they sang was "Brown Eyed Girl". I liked to pretend they were singing about me, though they probably weren't!


Afterwards, we got ice cream at a specialty ice cream shop. I had Nutella-flavored ice cream while my brother devoured some rose-flavored ice cream. We also bought some fresh raspberries- or les framboises- from a vendor. 

My brother pointed out this parody painting of the Statue of Liberty. It was pretty funny, considering that it was a gift from the French, after all....

We also saw the cutest dog in a pet store window. I wanted him to come back to Lille with us, but my parents kind-of foiled those plans.

One day, we went to the principality of Monaco, which is basically a hop, skip, and a jump from Nice. It's so close that when my brother and I went for a walk, we almost ended up in Monaco. French, Italian, Monégasque, and English are spoken and understood there. Monte Carlo is one of the largest quarters. It is home of the famous Hôtel de Paris and a grand casino. If you have seen the movie Monte Carlo starring Selena Gomez, you got to see some of Monte Carlo. Although I'm not really a Selena fan, I had to watch the film to see my favorite vacation spot in the world. 

Below is a photo of Le Palais de Monaco, where the price resides. You could tour part of the interior, but you weren't allowed to take photos. Security was too alert for me to even sneak some pictures of the inside. Still, after seeing it, I realized I could handle being royalty. It wouldn't be too shabby of a life at all. 

We also visited Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée, where Princess Grace Kelly's mass was held before she was buried in the Grimaldi Family Vault. For those who aren't familiar with Grace Kelly, she was an American actress who married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Princess Grace suffered a stroke while driving, which caused her to drive down a steep cliff. She died instantly. Here is where she was buried:

I hope you enjoyed the photos! I'm currently attending a summer program in the US, and I hope to write about that soon. Sorry I procrastinated with writing my vacation post. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Nice, take it!

Did you go on vacation this summer? If so, where did you go?

~Sabine

(HUMAN NOTE: These are my actual photos from my trip to Nice in 2009.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to pack for vacation: a tutorial by Sabine

Salut, tout le monde! Comment allez-vous? C'est Sabine, et je suis maintenant à Nice!

My mom, dad, brother, and I left for Nice on le 8 juillet, the same day Sandrine left for her summer intensive. We took her to Nanterre via the TGV and Paris metro. Then, we headed straight to Nice. Sunday was what we French call la fête nationale (what Americans know as Bastille Day). We French don't celebrate it like Americans celebrate their 4th, though.

Obviously, I am partial to my hometown, so Nice is the second-best city in France. We go there every summer because my grandparents have a home there. That isn't uncommon in France; many people own a vacation home. Since we French are granted more vacation time than Americans, we aren't pressured to stay for just a week. Though, it's a little different for me this year. I'd stay longer, but I'm actually returning to Lille in two days. Then, I'm going to a summer program in the US; I'll be reunited with my favorite American, Lilly!

So, I'm obviously slow at posting things. My grandparents don't have the best WiFi.

My first post in my vacation series is a packing tutorial. I spent the entire day before my trip packing. I tend to over-pack since I never know what I'll need. Not a smart idea.

Before you actually try to organize your mess of clothes, you should always have good music playing in the background to make your task less daunting. I chose to put Miley's latest single, "We Can't Stop", on repeat. 

What happens when you've packed all of your stuff and can't get your suitcase to close? First, try closing it like this:

If that fails miserably, sit on it!

If that fails, you should probably jump on it:

If THAT fails, you are either out of luck or should ask if bringing an extra bag is OK. Remember, you'll probably be doing some shopping during your trip!

Fortunately, I was able to pack mostly everything in the suitcase. Nice, here I come!

I'll be posting more about my vacation in two upcoming posts. Stay tuned! You definitely want to see pictures of Nice!

~Sabine

Monday, July 8, 2013

Le premier stage d’été de l’École de Danse de l’Opéra national de Paris

Salut, tous ceux qui lisent ce blog ! C'est Sandrine. Où suis-je ? Je suis au premier stage d’été de l’École de Danse de l’Opéra national de Paris !!!! 

That's right, everybody. I am at the first summer intensive of the Paris Opera Ballet School! The intensive marks the three hundred year anniversary of the school, and it is located at the Paris Opera Ballet School, of course. Contrary to popular belief, the school itself isn't in Paris. It is outside of Paris in a town called Nanterre, and Nanterre is connected to Paris by métro. 

I feel like the luckiest girl to have gotten accepted! I was thrilled to stay in an actual dorm room, though if only I could stay in one of those rooms as an actual student. I brought some posters and a pretty rug to make the stark, white walls of the room brighter. Before I unpacked, I sat on my bed and daydreamed about my future career (because I WILL make this happen) as a dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet.

Then, I heard a knock on my door. It was my roommate. I hated having to share a room at home, so what made anybody think I wanted to share a room here? I was hoping that my roommate would be decent, but it turns out, she wasn't. It was Aurélie. I had almost forgotten that she got accepted to the summer intensive, too. 
"As-tu super envie de danser ?" She asked me in her usual, pathetically quiet voice.

From that point on, c'est la guerre. I am Sandrine Giselle Bouchard, the brightest star in the sky. Nobody will take my shine, especially Aurélie Faubert. I'm going to dance until my toes bleed and my leg muscles hurt.

We will be here until the 18th, and I will keep you updated on my wonderful, life-changing experience that NOBODY will ruin for me.

Bisous,
Sandrine