By now, y’all know I can’t resist making puns with the names of the places we’re going. This weekend we went to Nice, France which is definitely the easiest one of all to makes jokes with. It was also one of the hardest places to leave.
Nice, like Copenhagen, is pretty expensive. We did the French Riviera on a budget, most of our spending coming when we needed to use public transportation. There was small grocery store around the corner from our Airbnb (which actually ended up having wifi!!!!) that we made really good use of. The first night we were there we went out for pizza (that’s sort of become a thing on our travels–pizza on night one so we have an extra meal for later on in the trip) before buying some wine and sitting on the beach. We wanted to watch the sun set but ended up being rewarded with both a beautiful sunset and a rising full moon. I think that first night we sat on the beach for almost two hours watching the cruise ships go by.
The second day (Friday) was our first full day, and it was very full. We went to the beach in the morning for two hours before coming back in to shower and hop on the train to Monaco. The timing was lucky, because I’m not sure I could’ve laid on the rocky beach for much longer than two hours! The rocks also make it hard to get in the water because they’re just small enough to be painful to walk on. However, the water itself was crystal clear and really, really cold. I didn’t even put my face in that day because it was so cold! It was gorgeous–our beaches in North Carolina pale in comparison to the ones on the Mediterranean.
Public transit in Europe rocks. For $5.00 we bought train tickets and rode for 20 minutes to get to Monaco. Monaco makes Nice look cheap. We got lunch at McDonald’s because we figured it would be as cheap as anywhere, but even that was over $8.00 per person (which is crazy when you compare it to Prague, where a nice, sit-down dinner costs that much or even less). The view from the McDonald’s was definitely the best view I’ve ever had at one of those. It looked out on a small port with a bunch of boats, and up on a cliff beside it was the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. In the same shopping center is the museum that houses the car collection of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III. We went to that museum and let me just tell y’all, he had some really nice cars. Several Ferraris, a couple of Rolls-Royces, and even some old carriages. It was incredible to see. I would highly recommend it if you’re ever in Monaco.
Of course, you can’t go to Monaco and not pay a visit to Monte Carlo. The Casino enforces a dress code, so I was wearing a dress and sandals with backs on them because I wanted to go in. You can go in the foyer for free, but entering the actual gambling rooms costs about $20.00. We stood there for probably half an hour just watching the insanely nice cars drive by before I got up the courage to go in. It’s gorgeous in there. I felt funny taking pictures, so all I have of inside is a picture of the stained glass ceiling, but again I would definitely recommend dressing up and taking a quick stroll around the foyer. Even just standing outside and watching the cars go by is well worth it. After our time at Monte Carlo, we got back on the train and came to Nice to sit on the beach again.
Yesterday was beach day. We went to Beau Rivage Plage and rented chairs for the day. I got so sunburned. Definitely not the worst I’ve ever had, but it’s pretty red! The chairs were a little pricey, about $20.00 for the day, but between the cushions and the wifi (and the private bathrooms!), we felt like that was a decent way to spend our money. The water is less clear in up at the more touristy beaches, but it just looks more blue from the shore. We split a salad for lunch and left the beach at 3:30 so we could get cleaned up and walk around Old Nice a little bit. We found a little local place for dinner, got some macarons for dessert, and walked around a craft fair. Our flight out this morning meant leaving our Airbnb at 5:00am, so we were
packed and in bed by 11:00pm last night.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend a visit to Nice. It sounds really fancy and expensive, but like anywhere else, you can do it cheaply if you do some planning ahead of time! I really loved the location of our Airbnb there. It was close to the airport, but you couldn’t hear the planes at night and the beaches down there have more locals than tourists. As an added bonus, sitting on the beach down there gives you a really cool view of the planes taking off from the airport.
Nice was my last trip out of Prague until I leave to go home. It’s crazy to think that I’m 2 weeks away from being on a plane to JFK right now. The next couple of weeks will be chock-full of doing the touristy stuff in Prague. I’ve been putting it off because all of those places are so crowded, but I’m at the point where I’ll run out of time if I don’t get started on it!