After three months in the South of France, I feel already settled down and ready to share with you some thoughts and conclusions.
My story of the Big Move is simple: I got a new job in Monaco (I’m a lawyer) and left Paris for the new chapter on the French Riviera. It wasn’t a planned life change, rather improvisation , but it turns to be one of the most exciting experiences of my life! I don’t want to use the word “destiny” but it’s probably the most convenient one in this case…
1. Since the day of our move in the middle of May I hardly had a day without swimming or just going to the seashore for picnic, jogging or sunset watching. Seaview and sound of waves are the most powerful stress relievers. Being by the sea, even just walking on the beach, immediately makes me feel peaceful and relaxed, helps me to disconnect after a hard day of work, inspires and calms me down. I always knew I had a thing about moving water, probably because I’ve grown up near the big river, but I couldn’t imagine how strong the effect can be.
2. We moved from Paris to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. It’s a village with 12k inhabitants – this number obviously doubles in summer, with the arrival of the tourists. One could think I would be bored in the countryside, after eight years in the megapolis, but the truth is I actually don’t feel like living in the rural area. Roquebrune-Cap-Martin has a unique location: 15 minutes from Monaco, 20 minutes from Italian border, 30 minutes from Nice. It’s a shorter distance than between some districts in Paris! You can go for a drink to Monaco, do grocery shopping in Ventimiglia, meet friends in Nice… Three countries, three different worlds. Monaco and Nice are big enough to make me feel the city vibes and offer plenty reasons to dress up (very important, since I don’t like my evening dresses to get bored in the dressing). To sum up, I’m very satisfied with this new balance between living in a village, working in Monaco and visiting plenty of different places all around.
3. This year was all about going out of the comfort zone. Changing a job during pandemic, moving to the new region, renting a small studio after living in a large flat in Paris, replacing the gym by outside training… These are the big changes, but two small things have particular importance for me: switching to the film photography and learning to ride a scooter. Both were on my New Year’s resolution lists for years, both represented for me a further step to slow living, both needed time for learning and practice. It’s not until my moving to the South that I could start practicing one and another, quite naturally and with the ease which surprised everyone, including myself. Film photography really boosted my creativity and helped me to get back my inspiration which started to fade lately. Scooter riding offered me new experience and opened to me new horizons: I’m already dreaming to get a motorcycle in a couple of years. Also, I haven’t taken any kind of public transport since the beginning of lockdown in France in the middle of March and I absolutely don’t miss it!
4. I’m happy to speak Italian again! In Paris this language was not of much use, and the only way to maintain a decent level was reading books in Italian (I finished all Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels during the lockdown) and watching Italian movies. Here on the French Riviera Italian is almost as frequently used as French. Many of my colleagues and the firm’s clients are Italians, and of course as soon as you cross the border you can switch to Italian completely. I’m excited to see my Italian language skills increasing day to day. Also, Russian is an important language in Monaco as well – the Russian community here is enormous and speaking Russian can really help you in your career and networking. It’s very pleasant to practice all of my four speaking languages and taking advantage of being multilingual.
5. In the South my body has changed. When I lived in Paris, I went to the gym almost every day – it was my morning ritual, my lifestyle, my basic rule. Here on the French Riviera I still haven’t bought a membership in any local gym and my sport routine is limited by swimming, running and sometimes hiking. Despite this I’m currently in the best shape I’ve ever been! I quickly lost a few kilos gained during lockdown, fitted into my summer clothes and felt pleased to see my reflection in the mirror each time when I put on my swimsuit. I got tan (the best ten in my life!) and it hided all the small imperfections – or rather saltwater and sunshine licked them off from my face and body. I allow myself much more aperitifs and desserts than I did in Paris, but it seams my metabolism became faster, so these treats leave no traces on my waist. It looks like my organism finally found itself where it belongs, in its natural habitat, in harmony with the environment.
I don’t know if my fascination by the South will last forever but at the moment I’m sure I’m in the right place. This summer was undoubtedly the best one I ever had – not a moment was wasted, and I enjoyed life to the fullest. Looking forward to live other seasons on the French Riviera! I already feel autumn in the air…
And now let me share some photos from my film camera which will bring you to the Riviera