Nice, a idealistic coastal town in the French Riviera. Arguably the most beautiful aspect of the town, the long pebble beaches lined by a boardwalk. Dotted with palm trees, the boardwalk is busy with joggers and cyclists and makes the perfect morning walk. The pebble beaches however, were more difficult to maneuver and in the winter the water is icy cold. I think Southern France is often overlooked by tourists who have their sights set on Paris, however the area offers natural beauty and a more relaxed vibe.
At a balmy 14 degrees this was the warmest city we visited in our whole trip. On our first night we wandered the coastline, past casinos and markets until we reached the restaurant for dinner. After a delicious meal we moved onto local hotspot Wayne’s Bar. It was one of the best nights during my month long adventure, full of cheap drinks, karaoke and table dancing. After many hours the night ended all too early as we walked back in slightly colder weather. Only stopping to watch the boys drunkenly run down the pebble beaches into the water, followed by some late night snacks (thank god for the number of late night fast food joints). We stayed at the Busby Hotel which offered simple rooms in a good location, but to make it even better each morning we could play with busby, the owners dog, in the lobby.
The following day we followed our tour guides recommendation and tackled the stairs up to the top of Castle Hill. The climb offered spectacular views, on one side the beautiful beaches and picturesque town, on the other you could see the marina. After this we spent far too long trying to figure out how to rent a bike and decided to give up and hunt for gelato instead. After a struggle to find a particular store (which was closed at both locations) we found the closest place and added to our scoop count. We then got all dressed up and made our way through the French Riviera to Monaco. On the way we stopped at a perfumery, which with my blocked nose, was a rather interesting experience. However, the scents were beautiful and the insight behind the scenes was interesting, as France is known for its beautiful perfumes. Upon arriving in Monaco it was clear it was a country for the rich. We drove the formula one track and dined by the royal palace, the city was lit up at night. From here we made our way to the Monte Carlo Casino, one of the most famous in the world, we entered and very few actually gambled. The minimum bet was high but some won big, the rest of us sipping a pricy drink from the bar before heading back home.
Overall I was captured by the simple beauty of Nice. It offered nice weather even in the middle of winter and I am determined to return to the French Riviera in the summer time! Monaco is the perfect day trip if you’re in the area, however due to the expensive nature of the tiny country I wouldn’t recommend staying the night. Go, swim in the beaches and try your best to rent a bike to cycle along the boardwalk.
A video snapshot of my Winter Wanderer tour: here!