I’m usually sceptical of big group holidays.  For a number of obvious reasons, but to pick one I’d say that I’m always constantly concerned, and somehow feel responsible, for everyone having a good time.  So when my Nordic Mafia suggested an Easter break to Nice in the south of France I was concerned.  And then I got over it.  Quickly. Because The Milan Plan is first and foremost, an opportunity to live my best life, take some smart risks and live the concept of “all you have is now”. And it was a superb holiday.

Eight of us made our ways to Nice on Saturday, most of us by train which takes just shy of 5 hours from Milan.  What a pleasure to cross boarders while reading a book and gazing out at the Mediterranean! We had booked an Air BnB apartment which hands down is the best holiday accommodation experience I’ve ever had.  None of us wanted to leave it.  We could have lived there, all 8 of us, quite happily for several months. Link here if you’re interested in taking a look at Ronny and Odette’s amazing four-bedroom apartment in Nice.

The idea behind this trip was to get some sun and rest. Milan is a rather built up city.  It’s the NYC or the Jozi of Italy.  Fast-paced (that is for Italians) and full of cars and cement.  Which is fine to work in but sometimes the call of the ocean and some tree-infested mountains permeates your being.  So people travel out of the city a lot.  Especially during Easter.

We spent a superb three nights in Nice.  We climbed to the waterfall and the lookout point at the end of the main beach (part of La Cote d’Azure which means The Blue Coast – and it couldn’t be more aptly named) and we explored the old town where all the buildings look like they’ve been carved out of cake and decorated with ice-cream.  We ate Crepe, shopped and watched the ocean.

On our second day my Hunny and I took a trip up into the hills to visit the Matisse Museum.  The artist Henri Matisse spent most of his life in Nice during the early 20th Century after arriving at the coast in an attempt to heal an illness exacerbated by city living.  He remained almost indefinitely in the French coastal town.  Today this museum houses one of the largest collections of his works as well as a number of personal artefacts that he owned.  This was especially inspiring for my Hunny who studied Art at university and esteems Matisse greatly, most especially for his bold and unconventional use of colour and his desire to “shake off the traditional French academic painting tradition of the Louvre.”

We then explored the archaeology museum, which contains ruins from Roman times, and a beautiful monastery looking out across the city.  This was one of the trip highlights for me because the monastery had the most beautiful rose garden.  It’s a cliché but roses are my favourite flowers and I find their scent so special that I can momentarily lose myself in their midst.  I took loads of rose photos, as you can see, and all of them are entirely unfiltered. Their natural colours are just so beautiful that even Instagram couldn’t improve on them.

The rest of our time we spent on the deck of the beautiful home we stayed in or taking turns to make delicious meals in our gorgeous kitchen.  We ate like royalty and spent very little in this way.  Travelling in a group of 8 has wonderful economic advantages!