Tips & Recipes

Five lessons from two months in France

Krista reflects on her time in Nice

April 19, 2022

Will you write a blog about your adventures in France? Places you went, things you did?

My initial answer was, “No, sorry, no can do. I don’t go anywhere or do anything other than get groceries, ride my bike and go to the airport.”

But then, after two months living in Nice, I decided to take on the task. So, please enjoy my adventure, otherwise known as: eat - sleep - train - travel - repeat.

Lessons from a Californian in Nice.

1. When in doubt, point it out

I can now recall 3 French words: c’est bon, merci and…oh wait, I forgot the third. But, like a toddler, I can point to what I want. I can smile and frown. And I can quite clearly communicate with other humans of all languages with facial expressions, hand gestures and the occasional assist from Google Translate.

2. Monkey see, monkey do

They do some things different here. And there are a few things that look a little different than they do in America. I watched and learned. Case in point: These giant towers that appeared to house some sort of water. They looked to be possible drinking fountains. But I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to be drinking dirty water or something like that, so I’d ride right past them carrying my spare water. Then, one day, I watched someone fill up their water bottle from one. Just like in the airport. To my delight, I figured out these are in fact drinking fountains, just not the sort we have in Venice Beach—more like the ones in LAX.

3. Map by bike

When I first arrived, I went to the task of mapping routes…everything and anything. And, what I found was I suck at following maps and the routes were just, meh. The day I ended up hiking with my bike was the final straw. Then, one day, I descended the Col d’Eze and found my way back to my apartment in 4 minutes. Now I had a 4 minute route to the base of a 30-plus minute climb. Noted — with great pleasure. I found tons of amazing roads, climbs and routes just by following my eye and desire and heading where looked good.

4. Pack less, buy more

There is a giant store, E.Leclerc, that is much like Walmart. It has EVERYTHING. And for SO cheap. And there is one 3 minutes from my apartment here. Knowing I’d get all my new team apparel and equipment at team camp, I packed really light for this trip. Which, looking back on it and packing up to go home, turned out quite handy. I won’t be able to bring home my full French bowl collection, but the little €6 mini French press and hot pink PJs will make the trip.

5. People are good

Every time things went astray and I was the lost and frazzled and tired American/Californian, some kind human who spoke just a bit of English would help out. There was a night that I flew back at 10:30pm and the key to my apartment had deactivated. AWESOME. I was exhausted and so totally cracked that I was sure I’d lose it. Then, one young man let me into the building. Another called the manager. Another tried to fix the lock! And yet another gentleman invited me to come chill in his apartment. (I graciously declined the offer, opting to lay in the hallway until the manager came. Some people are hard to help, lol).

People keep asking and suggesting: “You must be sad to leave your little apartment in Nice.” Honestly, no. This is not home. #Niceisnice. I’ve enjoyed it here. And I’ve put in really solid training and shown up to races ready to work. But my life and racing are on the road and all over the world. And where I next settle in or land for a few days will be full of more unforgettable experiences and learning opportunities. So, thank you France, and see ya later!


A special thanks to Krista Doebel-Hickok for writing this story and sharing her experience living in a new country.

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