Fall in Love with Eze, France

Eze France Travel Ideas

Perched on a rocky hill in the South of France, situated between Nice and Monaco, is the picturesque village of Eze. Populated around 2000 BC, Eze experienced a turbulent history.  It was occupied by many strongholds including the Romans, Moors & Turks until becoming part of France in 1860.

Village of Eze Map

View of Eze Village from street level [Read more…]

Photo Diary: An Afternoon in Cimiez {Nice, France}

A trip to Cimiez is a great way to spend an afternoon if you have some extra time during your next trip to Nice, France. The charming neighborhood of Cimiez is home to the Roman settlement of Cemenelum built during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.  You also get a lovely areal view of Nice city.

There are numerous attractions in Cimiez to occupy several hours.  Take a stroll through the olive-filled park, visit the Cimiez Monastery and church which is home to the Franciscan monks, tour the gardens surrounding the Monastery,  view the art collection at the Matisse Museum, and enjoy the history of the Roman amphitheater and archaeology museum.

Lovely gardens even in the winter

Lovely gardens even in the winter

No roses but the orange trees are full of fruit

No roses but the orange trees are full of fruit


Cimiez gardens 2 [Read more…]

What to See on Parc du Mont Boron {Afternoon Hike to Fort du Mont Alban}

What to See Fort du Mont Alban

Want to know how out of shape you are? Hike up to Fort du Mont Alban.  Your muscles will be screaming at you for days.  Literally, mine were sore four days.

We ventured up to Mont Boron to experience the spectacular views & learn a little about French history. It was a pleasant 55 degrees F, and the hot French Riviera sun was somewhat tamed by the gentle sea breeze coming off the Mediterranean.

clifs Nice France

First up, one my favorite spots in Nice. Across from the Jardin Public Vigier (park) are steps leading down the cliffs where land meets sea. I could sit for hours watching the waves crash against the sun-baked rocks.   Here, sun worshipers and swimmers (brrr!) soaked up the afternoon rays in bikinis and Speedo’s. Not used to seeing sunbathers in January, I was taken aback by the number of people who had shed their clothes in what I considered temperatures to cool for getting a tan.

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How Much Does It Cost to Live in France? January 2015 Expenses

January 2015 Expenses in France

Moving overseas is terrifying.   Most people don’t think they could ever pick up and live abroad, especially with kids. We are sharing our expenses living in France for a year to help you see that your dream can be a reality. While our expenses may be different from what your family would spend, this is what my family of 4 spends per month in Nice, France. How Much Does It Cost to Live in France? January’s data is a little skewed. We were supposed to arrive in France on 1/6, but we had to push back our trip to 1/22 due to family obligations. We still paid 3 weeks rent, and the exchange rate at time of payment was approximately 1.23€ to the dollar.

View near our apartment

View near our apartment

We are staying in a 2 bedroom apartment along the Port of Nice. We wanted a central location for experiencing the city on foot.  We could have rented cheaper accommodations but the locations weren’t as central.

There are 10 days of food which include many start up necessities such a cleaning products, laundry detergent, olive oil, spices, etc. We also ended up eating out 3 times. Our budget allows for 1 meal out per week, so we blew that one this month.

We also spent 45€ for a taxi ride to the apartment from the airport and experienced a bit of a mishap with the tram that cost us an extra 6€.

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Carrefour = The French Walmart

Carrefour the French Walmart
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If you plan to visit France (or anywhere in Europe) you often hear people talk about not having Target or Walmart stores to shop.  You’ll find a bakery, butcher and sweet shop on every corner!  Europeans don’t shop at Walmart!

Well, let me tell you.  I found the French equivalent to Walmart this weekend.  And it was NUTS!

I needed to purchase a pillow since the apartment only had one per person, and I just couldn’t sleep without two.  We walked past several bakeries, butcheries, sweet shops and corner stores to the Centre Commercial Nice Etoile.  The mall here in Nice. Inside you will find clothing shops, jewelry stores, eateries, and a massive store – Carrefour.

I couldn’t stop staring, open mouthed at this gigantic store that I almost walked right into the back of my husband (who was doing some staring of his own).

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The Big Move: France Here We Come

moving to france
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There is an unimaginable amount of planning, work and expense that goes into an international move.  I mean, moving in general is not an easy feat, but traveling to a new continent takes the move to an entirely different level.

My stomach hurts just thinking about it!

So how did it all get started?

During the summer of 2014, we took a trip to France.  We visited Paris, Bordeaux and Nice to get a taste of the different regions of the Country.   We enjoyed Paris immensely, preferred the quiet area of Saint-Émilion over Bordeaux and absolutely feel in love with Nice.

While in Nice, we just knew we wanted to live there. But how could we make this happen? Could we really move to Europe from the United States? Could we leave our family and friends?

I had always REFUSED to live anywhere but Virginia.  Derrick grew up in California and always wanted go back. “Sorry, you married the wrong women for that” I told him. While I didn’t feel a special connection to the Hampton Roads area of VA itself, it was home. My family lived in Virginia. How could I ever live somewhere without my Mom close by?

The more we talked about it, the more we wanted to make the move. The kids were on board, so it was time to start planning.

First up was to research if we could actually afford to live in Nice.

As it turns out, the prices are quite reasonable. Now, I said reasonable – not cheap.  It is a major tourist destination after all.

We are spending about $700 less per month on a 2 bedroom apartment near the center of town than we spent on a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs. The rent does include all utilities, cable and Wifi so that adds up to a big savings.   Food is also reasonable, if you don’t eat out daily & like to cook with fresh ingredients.

We also sold our home, one of our cars and a majority of our possessions to fund the move. Scary right?

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