One of the benefits of living in Nice is that you can get the best of two cultures: French and Italian. The most obvious example of this is the food where pizza and pasta dishes sit side by side with pates and coq au vin. However, there is also the added element of being able to travel between the two countries easily. My girlfriend loves to regale her friends with stories of how – after a night consuming copious quantities of wine – she and her friend got on a train to have coffee and breakfast in Italy. We have also hopped on the train countless times to enjoy the market in San Remo and the beautiful surroundings of Dolceaqua.
Last month, my girlfriend also looked to take advantage of the proximity to Italy by applying for an internship in Milan. As she would like to work in fashion, she thought that it would be the perfect place to immerse herself for a couple of months. And, it is not too difficult to get there. It is approximately four hours from Nice to Milan by car, so we decided that we could combine going for her interview with visiting the city. We were both very keen to see the renowned Duomo cathedral.
As our first stop was for the interview, the first thing we would see in Milan was not the ancient cathedral, but the famed fashion district. If I am honest, even though I am a big history buff, I was probably looking forward to that as much as the cathedral or any other attractions in the city. This was not for any particular tangible attraction that the fashion district would offer, but simply to enjoy the atmosphere and to soak-up the super chic aura.
Sadly, I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Perhaps I am not sure exactly what I was expecting. Maybe I was expecting to see top models sauntering past me – although it was probably a good job that I didn't see any of these as my girlfriend may have been angry at my craning neck – or icons like Donatella Vertsace or Karl Lagerfeld sipping Cappuccino in a nearby cafe. As you might imagine, we saw none of theis. The majority of people we encountered were very well-dressed – no-one looked too impressed at my sports anorak and sneakers – and there were some fabulously expensive boutiques, but little that was truly spectacular.
With no models to ogle and the desire to keep my girlfriend out of the expensive boutiques – which couyld have had disastrous consequences – I was a little underwhelmed at tha Fashion District. However, it may be a better idea to visit during Fashion Week or to go if you are prepared to part with a large wad of Euros.