Musée Océanographique de Monaco | Monaco

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Musée Océanographique de Monaco is one of the most visited marine science museums in Europe as well as one of the oldest. It was founded by Prince Albert I in 1910, who wanted to have a palace dedicated exclusively to art and science. Markus found out that Jacques Cousteau was the director at the museum for 31 years. Markus has loved and admired Cousteau since he was a kid and watched his program on PBS.  So it was a given that we would visit. The actual building itself is quite stunning and picturesque and is situated high on a cliff that overlooks the Mediterranean.

Our favorite part of the museum was Oceanomania, "the biggest collection of marine world curiosities." The beautiful "Cabinet of Curiosities" is straight out of a Wes Anderson movie and unlike anything I've seen in real life. It's the sort of thing Markus and I thrive on. We love the old, weird and interesting. We spent a majority of our time at the museum scouring through the collection of skeletons and fossils, models, diving equipment and antique books.  After we finished exploring the museum, we headed up to the roof.  There we found breathtaking views of Monaco as well as the Mediterranean. There was also a surprisingly good restaurant on the roof where we ate appropriately ate a delicious seafood lunch of moules et frites and a seafood pasta. I'm so glad that Markus insisted that we visit Monaco and Musée Océanographique, because it ended up being one of the best memories from our trip!

Monaco City, Monaco

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Stopping in Monaco was a last minute decision when we were in Nice. Markus wanted to visit the Musée Océanographique. So I obviously agreed to a day trip to Monaco, which is only a 32 minute train ride away. The ease of travel makes it the perfect day trip and almost criminal if you spend more than four days in Nice. Many people don't know that Monaco is actually a separate country and only slightly bigger than Vatican City. 

Unfortunately or rather fortunately, it was an overcast and rainy day when we visited. So I didn't feel too bad missing out on a beach day. Since I grew up in Florida, I'm not easily impressed by coastal or beach cities, but let's be real, Monaco is not Florida. Obviously the country is a stunner. I loved the pink and coral hues of the buildings as well the beautiful architecture. We only had enough time to hike up to Monaco City before we headed to the museum. The trek from the train station was a bit arduous in sandals, but it was worth it for the views of the city and the water! I wish that we had just a tad bit more time in Monaco, but I'm grateful we still made the trip. 

Plage Du Festival | Cannes, France

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The day that we spent at Plage du Festival was one of the highlights of our France road trip. As many of you know, I hate the beach and tropical places. It's hard for me to willingly put on a swimsuit and want to go to the beach. It's just not my thing. So I purposefully went into this trip to overcome that. I have to admit, that this is the kind of beach setup I like. Call me boujie, but sitting under an umbrella and being served rosé all day, is not a bad way to do the beach. Markus and I spent the whole day at Plage du Festival and it was one of the most relaxing and lovely days in France. I had so much fun that I forgot to take photos, which explains why there aren't that many! 

Astoux et Brun and Other Spots | Cannes, France

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Cannes, is well-known for its yearly film festival, so it's definitely a touristy spot. I was a little bit worried about this.  Since it was closer to the end of the summer, I thought it would be a great time to visit. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but this worked to our advantage. We ended up walking everywhere and parked the rental for the entire duration of our stay. For this part of our trip, Markus and I had two objectives, eat and tan. As soon as we arrived at our hotel, we quickly changed into our suits and headed to the rooftop pool to relax. It was so lovely and we spent a couple hours up there and met a nice couple from Canada. After baking in the sun, we worked up an appetite and headed out for some delicious food.

Since we were near the ocean, we knew we wanted to eat seafood. I found the highly-rated and popular restaurant Astoux et Brun. The food was really good and very fresh. All of France is pretty pricey when it comes to food, but I didn't think the prices were too high, especially for the atmosphere, quality and service. For our meal, we ordered half a dozen oysters, moules frites and whitefish in a white wine sauce. To wash it all down, we ordered a nice bottle of white wine and enjoyed our meal outside. Before dinner, we passed by a gelato shop that shaped the cones into flowers. I saw similar desserts all over social media, so I knew I wanted that for dessert. I got pistachio and vanilla and it was the perfect combination for a hot and humid night.  Overall, it was the perfect relaxing day I wanted and had been waiting for. 

The Cité de Carcassonne, France

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The stunning medieval city of Carcassone is perched up on hill above the River Aude. The town is very old and dates back to the 3rd century A.D. That's over 2,500 years of history! The town has lived through the Romans, Crusaders and more. The town itself is still inhabited and from the looks of it, is solely sustained on tourism. There were restaurants, specialty shops and souvenir shops galore. That was one of the things that I disliked about Carcassone and felt very similar to Mont Saint-Michel. There was too much emphasis on the touristy things and not on the history. If I didn't do research before it's possible we could've fallen prey to a tourist trap! It's just one of those places that you have to find the hidden gems. Despite all of this, it's a beautiful medieval city and I'm glad that we were able to visit.