Black Girls Travel Too | France and Italy | Part 1 1


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Let me start by asking, does anyone else get sick on planes? I thought I was just being a hypochondriac because I tend to be the person who feels sick around sick people. And I’m a teacher so I’m around sick little people often (but we use Lysol, hand sanitizer, and bleach wipes on a regular basis).

Well, during the last three trips I’ve taken this summer, I found myself sneezing and blowing my nose during the plane ride and for at least 12 to 24 hours afterwards. Talk about annoying! Initially I thought maybe it was the changing of atmospheres while traveling into different time zones…but now I think it has to do with the recycled air. Real talk, let me know if this is happened to you…

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Illnesses aside, I recently returned from a weeklong excursion to France and Italy. My cousin is on her way to grad school and wanted to take one big trip before starting her new journey. Summer break plus a travel fund make me the perfect candidate for last minute trips across the globe! As with my trip to Barbados, our flight to Paris was found on theflightdeal.com. We wound up getting around 40% off of our round-trip ticket. This did not come without hassle. Layovers and weather delays made for an extremely long trip. But at the end of the day I do feel it’s was worth it; so I digress.

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My cousin did most of the legwork in the beginning, deciding where she wanted to go and the route that should be taken. When I stepped in to assist we began looking for places to stay through tripadvisor (mainly for hotels) and airbnb for residential homes.

This in itself was not an easy task because there are many things to consider:

  • Is there Wi-Fi?
  • If it is on the seventh floor is there an elevator?
  • Is it near any of the attractions that are worth seeing in the city?
  • Is there air conditioning?

And trust me that last one became very important as we were in a heat wave the entire time. So hot in fact, I was reminded by my mom that as a child I’d broken out in hives more than once due possibly to heat and sun exposure (and it happened twice while in Italy). Needless to say the summer nights without air-conditioning were not the easiest.

We started our trip in Paris and hit the ground running. Well almost…due to poor planning on our part and arriving during rush hour traffic without knowing yet how to use the train system, it took us an hour by cab and 60Euros to get to our airbnb residence.

TIP #1 – Plan all your routes while you have the ability to use data at no cost or free Wi-Fi. Google maps will show you locations while off data and Wi-Fi but you have to load the maps before turning both options off. For example if I knew which part of Paris we’d travel to, I’d go as far as to map the directions from our place to there and screenshot the list as well as the map view. But I was still able to open that portion of the map while roaming the streets. The blue dot will move with you, your directions just won’t be given to you step-by-step. 

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So there may or may not have been a lot of sitting before we actually hit the ground running.

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This photo was taken by my trusty iPhone! It’s the Luxembourg Garden in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, was created beginning in 1612 by the widow of King Henry IV of France.

We stayed in Paris, France for two days. Lots of site seeing and eating. That was the theme of the week. Neither of us had an interest in going into museums or spending a lot of unnecessary money, rather seeing as much of the city as we could was the goal. We were able to travel their subway system everywhere we went and traveled between the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements. My Fitbit tracked us at over 20k steps a day!

TIP # 2 – Keep your phone as charged as possible and eat at restaurants that have Wi-Fi so you can plan accordingly. This way you can feel safe while out all day long. Yes, charged phones add to my ability to feel safe. 😉 And you can check in at restaurants to help increase your Yelp cred…what, it’s just me who cares?

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Besides the Eiffel Tower, which I obviously loved a lot, we also enjoyed the following sites:

  • Luxembourg Garden (as pictured above)
  • Petit Palais; art museum that dates back to the early 1900s 
  • The Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées; museum complex
  • The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, also known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica (a Roman Catholic Church)
  • The red light district and Moulin Rouge
  • Love Locks
  • Notre-Dame, a historic Catholic cathedral

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I even spotted men peeing and casually carrying on a conversation as if they were at the dinner table. Culture shock much!

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TIP # 3 – Invest in a great pair of noise reducing headphones. I’m not getting paid to say I like these, and I’m kinda sad they’re now on sale *rolls eyes* but the Bose around the ear bluetooth headphones which can also be used with a wire when the battery dies, were great for loud people on the trains.

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The headphones sadly won’t protect you from rowdy children who keep hitting you with their ball while on a seven hour ride from Paris to Nice.

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Now on to Nice, France…I LOVED Nice. I’m pretty easy to please and between the daily gelato and the beach, I was in heaven. Not to mention our airbnb abode had the absolute best view I’d seen in a while!

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I could’ve eaten crepes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can’t explain how they were different than what I’ve had in the states, BUT there was a difference. And I tried as many flavors of gelato while in France and Italy as I possibly could! The flavors were so rich!

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Along with crepes and gelato, I tried pastries everywhere I possibly could…even McDonald’s. They had some of the best macaroons I’ve ever savored!

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My pastry and I at the flea market…and below a selfie in Paul!

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Photo compliments of my photography-class-taking-cousin.

Let’s talk about two things regarding Nice…my hair and this beach. If I had any complaints, it’d be that people in Nice are stunned by large buns. I was put-off by the stares and points over hair. I know my African sistahs live in France, but perhaps the population is so small, it’s just overwhelmingly new for those in the area. And this beach is all rocks. Some reviews tried to be kind by calling them pebbles but these were rocks. Hard rocks. My cousin and I managed, and I got an amazing tan because going topless was an option, but the rocks are not my friends.

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The Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco is just a short train ride from Nice.Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 1.13.23 AM

Lest I forget our water issues. France had really good tap water but they were some stingy so-n-sos about giving it out! One place charged us 4.50 Euros for a half litter of water. Then we tried to make it clear we just wanted ice water…remember the heat wave I mentioned above…well they brought us this slightly chilled pitcher of water. My cousin’s mom used to tell her as a kid when complaining about not wanting warm water while outside, “It’s wet right.” Sigh. And wet it was. We made due.

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Next post…Milan and Venice

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