Accommodation | Duplex Design Massena, Nice
Must Do | Eat french food, Day trip to Monaco and Cannes
Worthy to Note | Whilst Nice is a great place to base yourself from for day trips, don’t forget what’s on your doorstep – the markets, the promenade, the pebble beach are all worthy. We had spent 11 nights in Italy so far, so it was time to continue around the coastline to our next destination: Nice, France. A 5 hour train ride via Ventimiglia and a few blocks later, we were pleasantly surprised to see our accommodation was on a main street through Nice, Avenue Jean Médecin. It lead straight through the city to the beach, and was littered with shops, cafes, and the trusty golden arches literally on our doorstep. We met our hosts and their loveable dog Rufi, and admired their eclectically styled place.
The next day was our only full day in Nice itself so we made the most of it starting with a trip to Cours Saleya – a market full of flowers, fresh produce, and sidewalk cafés. With a handful of warm olive bread (oh, how I love holiday breakfasts!) we stopped in for a coffee at Apéro bar and watched a sun shower work its way across the ocean.
I had heard that Parc du Château was worthwhile visiting, so we took the Château Lift from the base (there are stairs for those who are keen) and arrived to see a pretty cool panoramic view of Nice and the port on the other side. Exploring further, there were landscaped gardens, kids play areas, and Cascade Donjon – an 18th-century artificial waterfall. Lovers and their picnic lunches were everywhere making me wish we had packed some goodies from Cours Saleya earlier.
Nevertheless, our bellies were fed when we met friends for an early dinner back in the spot of the markets, now packed up for the night life crowd. Just 19€ (~$28) got us a 3-course meal of bread and dips, beef and gnocchi stew, and semifreddo… yes, I do love French food!
You can’t go to Nice without going to Monaco and Cannes… so given our limited time (literally we had one day to check both off the list) we hopped on a bus to Monte Carlo, Monaco, to see how the rich and famous live. To give you a jaw dropping idea of how much things cost in Monte Carlo, I will tell you that we decided to have a drink and people watch nearby the Monte Carlo Casino. My small glass bottle of Diet Coke set us back 7€ (~$10.50) and cost more than my husband’s beer. Ouch!
Random fact – Monaco is the second smallest and most densely populated country in the world. I swear they must also have the highest ratio of luxury cars to people (fact yet to be determined). I couldn’t quite bring myself to walk into Valentino or Prada, albeit dressed in the best travel clothes I could muster. But, we did get into the casino and actually made money before a certain Mr got risky and played ‘just one more time’… when in
Rome, Monte Carlo.
After resigning ourselves to the fact that we just didn’t quite fit in, we trained to Cannes (less than an hour from Monte Carlo) and walked around the home of the Cannes Film Festival. Dinner consisted of Chinese take-away and champagne-flavoured macarons as we sat on the pier watching guys practice flips from the sidewalk to the sand. We snuck onto 1st class for the trip home which was so much better than our 2nd class tickets (and we were very well behaved).