Though my cousin and I spent two and a half days soaking up the fabulous French Riviera, I have but one post’s worth of goodies to share. If I were to blog every day, it would look something like this:
July 19th: S. and I went to the beach.
July 20th: S. and I went to the beach.
July 21st: S. and I went to the beach.
That’s right, two and a half awesome days enjoying sun in the south of France. I’m sure it would be more impressive/studious if I were to say we explored some of the many museums that dot Côte d’Azur, but no. The sun was shining and the beach was a five-minute walk from our Avenue des Fleurs apartment. I swear the sun is stronger here – I felt it literally sizzling my legs, but seeing as how my poor Californian self hasn’t seen the sun (regularly, anyway) for a good 10 months, I soaked it up.
Our first day, we stuck to the beaches of Nice. We got in late the night before and went out for a late-night jaunt to explore the area. With a full day ahead of us, we headed down to the promenade and found a perfect little area on the beach. Sadly, the beaches around us were rocky; sand is definitely a luxury with which Californians are incredibly spoiled. We wanted to rent beach chairs, but the same chairs that we rented in Malta and in Greece for €5 were running €20 in Nice. We were trying to watch our expenditures so it seemed a bit excessive for our taste. Instead, we found a perfect place on the rocky beach, purchased rafts and intertubes and floated around in the sea until we were sufficiently sunned.
Though we should have opted for French cuisine come dinner time, we instead headed to a cute little Turkish place down the way from our apartment, Le Bosphore. While the service was a bit questionable, we had a nice dinner and spent a couple of hours chatting before heading home for the night.
For our second day, we knew we wanted to explore a nearby city to get a taste of towns outside of Nice. Our first choice was glamorous St. Tropez, but it was entirely too far for a one day outing. Second choice: Cannes. I was 50/50 between Cannes and nearby Antibes (having had been to neither), so we jumped on the #200 bus down the street from our apartment for a mere €1 and headed in the direction of Cannes by way of Antibes. It took us nearly at least 45 minutes to get to Antibes and considering the distance between Antibes and Cannes, we decided to avoid the latter and spend our time beachside.
We jumped off at the Antibes stop and strolled through the old town before settling into a perfect place on a sandy beach. We hung out for a few hours watching the yachts pass by, before taking the train back to Nice. With it being our last night in the south of France, we wanted to do something fun; to experience something new. Since I have been in the business of seeing as much as possible during my time living in Europe, we thought a jaunt to the Principality of Monaco should be in order for the evening.
After getting home and cooling off, we got dressed up and took the train down to Monte Carlo for the evening. We arrived at around 11:15P to grab dinner and check out the casinos and hotels and people watch. People-watching is infinitely more fun when the people roll up in Bentleys, Ferarris, Lamborghinis, etc.
We decided to check out the restaurants and hotel eateries to find a place for dinner. We wandered into a swanky eatery inside a glamorous hotel just to see the first hors d’oeuvres listed on the menu for €247. We took that as a cue to leave and headed across the way to a casino’s still fancy restaurant to eat (Le Cafe de Paris). We noshed on light dinners and grabbed celebratory drinks to commemorate our night out in Monte Carlo.
We definitely didn’t do our homework, though. After having a late night dinner and drinks, we were ready to head back at around 1:15AM. Sadly, the trains and buses stop running at around midnight, leaving visitors with three options: stay in Monte Carlo overnight; stay in Monte Carlo until 5:00AM at which point the trains begin running again; or take a taxi to your destination. We opted for the latter since staying in Monte Carlo overnight was never going to happen! Note to readers, though: taxis from Monaco to Nice are not cheap. As the taxi driver put it when we gasped in shock, “This is Monaco!” €70 later we arrived at the doorstep at Nice Fleurs, our apartment complex, where we got into our sweltering rooms and headed to bed.
Today was our last day in Nice and with our train to Carcassonne not leaving until 4:30PM, we decided to enjoy the beach one last time. We packed up, checked out, stored our luggage and headed down to the rocky beach we had visited on our first day. After a few hours of sizzling in the French sun, we grabbed lunch, said goodbye to the South of France and made our way to the train station.
We’re currently en route to Carcassonne after having left Nice a few hours ago. We’re passing through Montpellier soon, tired and a bit sad to have to leave the French Riviera behind. Cote d’Azur definitely goes on my list of places to visit again in the future – a lovely spot that makes relaxing easy!
xo from the French countryside,