Last weekend, I traveled to Nice and Monaco with my study abroad program. Because both cities are on the coast of the Mediterranean, the landscapes are magnificent. Nice, pronounced “niece,” also had the Alps in the background. The Alps stole my heart when I first went to Austria five years ago, so I gladly reconnected with it for a few hours there.
And now for a fun fact from one of my classes! (I do go to school, too.) Nice was where man first discovered fire. At least, I think that’s true. It might have just been the first place in Europe. And it probably wasn’t called Nice at the time. But still, isn’t that cool?
I think I preferred Nice’s natural and historic beauty to Monaco’s ridiculously wealthy beauty. Every street in Monaco, it seemed, was clean: no litter, no weeds, and certainly no beggars. Even the buildings looked like they all had a fresh coat of paint.
To be quite honest, such perfection made me a little uncomfortable. It made me feel like I was in a theme park, not a residential area — like it was, in other words, a façade. Nothing can be so perfect without a dirty underbelly.
My French media teacher told us yesterday that cameras and policemen are hidden everywhere in Monaco, and that the Prince of Monaco is tight with the Mob. I can believe him. You wouldn’t want to pick a fight with a stranger in Monaco.