Earlier this year, I wanted to explore the South of France when I was in Paris in April. The weather was picture perfect, which has never happened (in 18 trips) so I stay put to enjoy the sunshine. But getting out of Paris was still something that was on my mind. I was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Cannes Lion on VERY last minute notice.
My only goal this year was to "sleep better" I even wrote a post about it recently on my sleep progress.
The company that brought me to Cannes Lion ironically is the mattress company Leesa, which their mission is to "help people sleep better."
I found out I was traveling to the South of France on Sunday and I was still in Ohio for Father's Day. I didn't arrive back in Chicago until Monday night and I left Tuesday morning. Packing was hectic and it was a mad dash to the airport. (You can see my whole packing post here) This was my third trip to France this year, but I still almost forgot my adapters.
I flew Chicago to NYC to Nice and then a taxi to Antibes. Since the trip was so last minute, finding a place to stay in Cannes was difficult and expensive. I had wanted to visit Antibes for a few years now so it was the perfect opportunity. Antibes was just a quick taxi ride away from Cannes. My hotel wasn't my favorite stay, so I am not going to share those details. I had a recommendation to visit Belle Rives so I headed straight there for lunch after landing and getting settled. My room wasn't ready so I had to freshen up down in the lobby bathroom. Brushing teeth, washing my face, and changing clothes was top priority.
At first they told me that they were closed for a private party but I somehow found a table for one on the water. I ordered the turbot fish with lemon risotto and I am still dreaming of it. The service was fantastic and I had the best view under an umbrella.
I took a taxi to Cannes to get ready for Thursday's work project. I ended up stopping by the Yves Delorme store before taking the train back to Antibes. The surge pricing for Uber was crazy and I just couldn't imagine spending $80 on a taxi for 15 minutes. The train proved to be the best and easiest way to get around. It was around $5.00 for first class which was air conditioned and well worth it. In 15 minutes I was back in Antibes in the center of the city.
I arrived back to Antibes in time for an evening stroll around the town. I am not sure how I pushed through jet lag but I did. I kept walking and exploring because my time was so short. I watched the sunset and had dinner on the water. My feet were literally in the sand as I dined. Solo dining can be tough but I brought a book and I felt like I wasn't alone because I was so wrapped up in the story. I learned this trick while living in Paris. The first night I went to dinner, I rushed through and the waitress wouldn't bring me dessert, she brought me magazines to read and encouraged me to slow down and read a bit.
I was brought to Cannes for a one day event at Cannes Lion. I woke up early for a walk around Antibes and caught the train to Cannes. I didn't want to be late so I arrived very early!
The light was incredible and I wished I could have stayed longer. But I literally had a job to do!
The train ride to Cannes was short and only second class was available. You can see how much it cost in comparison to my coffee once I arrived in Cannes.
I had coffee at this adorable place called Le Cirque. I found it randomly by walking through the town to the Cannes Festival. We went back for lunch by a recommendation and it was packed.
I wrote an article for Leesa about my time in Cannes and I am waiting to hear where and if it will be published. If it does, I will be sure to share.
I headed back via train after I finished at Cannes for a dip in the water. It was on my short list of things I wanted to do during this trip. Once I arrived back in Antibes, it was hot and the sun was gone and it was overcast. I spent the evening photographing the city and getting lost in the tiny streets of the Old Town of Antibes.
I felt it was exactly what I needed and was missing. I know Paris pretty well and it doesn't surprise me as much as it used to. This isn't a bad thing, but something new and fresh to the eyes was really refreshing.
I brought my new camera which was nice and small to carry with me and shoot around Antibes. This will come in handy when I am back in Paris later this year.
I was exhausted by the end walking around 12 miles the second day and it was almost 100 degrees but I explored until I was ready for dinner and the sun was setting. This may have been my favorite little street that was completely covered in flowers. I regret not asking a stranger for a photo here.
I ended up taking an Uber back and the man was SO happy that I knew a little French. It was actually this way the whole time. I was proud to practice my French that I have been learning with Caroline and everyone was so happy to speak with me. Sure, I made mistakes but they didn't mind and the minute I told them I had a French teacher they were thrilled I was learning French. It was encouraging to know that my fear of making mistakes wasn't as bad as I thought. I can't wait to continue my lessons with Caroline and use what I have been learning in Paris.
My time in France was short but sweet. I already had plans to visit my Grandmother in Cleveland for the weekend. We haven't seen her in 20 years and my mom and sister (plus the kids) were all going. I didn't want to miss this chance for her to meet her great grand children and she is 92! France will be there but I don't know how much longer my Grandmother will be around. It was important to be with my family.
Flying home Nice to JFK to Chicago to Cleveland was SO rough. I almost missed my flight from Nice and every flight was delayed. I literally left the hotel at 8 am in Antibes and arrived in the hotel in Cleveland at 2am the next day. We had one full day in Cleveland where we saw my Grandmother, ate at some local favorite places, and we saw my Mom's house from growing up. I feel like I am putting a few missing pieces together.
Was it worth it? Absolutely!! I am so grateful that I have been given the chance to travel to France for a company. I hope I will have more opportunities like this in the future. If not, than I am very happy I had this chance and took it!
Transitioning back home was rough. My body felt like it was put through the ringer and all the crazy travel Ohio to South of France and back to Ohio was a bit crazy. I am doing my best to take things slow and rest. I plan on adding these photographs and a few more to the print shop but it won't be by the time I publish this post. I have to surrender and realize I can't do it all.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure! I hope to return again soon and spend more time exploring the South of France.
This post does include affiliate links which helps contribute to my coffee and croissant research. Merci!