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Trip Report Carnival ~ Carnaval! Nice & French Riviera in Feb (Menton, Eze, Antibes)

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I sit down to write this trip report under the heavy influence of jet lag, yet fortified for the moment with my tea and a container of crystallized ginger (faites attention - c'est piquant, heh?!) from Antibes!

I have a lifelong tradition - I go to France in every year that ends in 6 - have done so my entire life, at first randomly in years coincidentally ending in 6, but now by design. One of those random years, I lived in Paris with my family. I didn't realize I had this particular tradition until 3 decades into my life when it dawned on me that this was definitely an important pattern that should not be ignored! I'm sure you can all agree! Initially, I had thought my mother ruined my tradition by not getting me to France that first year of my life (which just happened to end in 6), but in fact, she gets kudos for planning ahead and visiting while pregnant with for me. (Of course this tradition does not preclude extra trips in between the '6' years.) Fast forward to 2016. Thus starts my trip report.

The search for when and where to go. We started by talking about going in October but when you have a loooong tradition, you don't really want to leave it to the end of the year just in case something interferes then puts you smack into the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mais non! Change of timing to early 2016.

But where to go? France was the given, but where? The obvious choice - as far south as you can get. I have a job with summer French exchange students that really ramps up around March/April so Feb/March seemed to be in the running. Some quick research and I found that Nice celebrated Carnaval the last half of February. It's not hot then but there was a good chance of decent weather so there you go - Nice it was. Nice is nice!

The particulars:
2 weeks in Nice at the Hotel Massena (I know about apartments but we had a personal reason to stay at a hotel for this time)
No car (I know you can't visit some towns without one, but we took the train and busses whenever we wanted to be on the move)
We attended 3 different Carnival parades in Nice. We visited Menton for the Fetes de Citrons (Lemon Festival) and the Corso des Fruits. We went to Eze, Menton, Antibes and Avignon.
We met up with one exchange student we had hosted 22 years ago (and his family) and another (with family) who stayed with us for 4 summers starting in 1999.
We drank wine ~ we ate ~ we sat in cafes and drank wine or Pastis ~ we shopped ~ we drank wine ~ we relaxed ~ we ran around. Did I mention the wine?

It was a great vacation! If you don't like details you have gotten the overview of the trip by now and you might want to stop reading!

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