Nice, France & Monte Carlo, Monaco

Nice was very nice. Heehee. C’mon, I had to.

I was sad to leave Paris but excited to see the ocean again. Paris is so far inland in France and Nice is right on the southern coast and part of the immaculate French Riviera. It had been a whole three days or so since I had seen the sea which since I am a spoiled ocean central coast dwelling Californian… that is just simply unacceptable.

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We landed in Nice at about 3pm and took the airport bus toward our hostel along the Promenade des Anglais parallel to the water which was beautiful. It was even alright when we accidentally missed our bus stop. We missed our stop because we were talking to another American young man who struck up conversation with us after he recognized our American accents (you don’t really think about it when you’re in the U.S. but the different accents here in Europe stand out more, since there are people from so many different countries). Classic Monner.

The city of Nice was bigger in size than I was expecting. After coming from bustling big city metropolitan Paris, Nice really felt like a vacation town and a place to relax. We set off to explore the town, starting by climbing up to Castle Park and admiring the incredible view of the city on both sides.

It was HOT outside. I was so sweaty climbing the 367 stairs (Conner counted each stair) to the top of the hill where the castle was by the time we got to the top I was pretty out of breath, but the view was worth it.

After the park we went down to the “beach.” It was rockier than the beaches I’m used to but it was still nice to spend time by the ocean. Like, there was literally no sand at all it was actually just straight rocky rocks. But the color of the water was this unreal green-turquoise hue and it was really refreshing to swim after 360+ stairs in the 80 degree humid heat.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the city of Nice. I liked its laid back acceptance of different nations and ideas, how the city was inclusive to fly the many different flags of the world including the U.S. flag along the promenade. The gay pride flag was also one of the flags flying high along the water.

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After the beach, we went back to our hostel and got ready to go out to a nice dinner. For dinner I picked an Italian restaurant (Nice is only a 45 minute drive from the Italian border, so there’s a plethora of great Italian food to try in the area). It was located in the heart of old town Nice and on the way there we walked there through a gorgeous park called Promenade du Paillon and watched the children play in the fountains of Forum Torrin & Grassi which was lit up and colored like the French flag.

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The architecture in the old town was amazing, but there were many modern additions to admire as well such as these artistic buddha like lamp post statues which changed color. There are seven of these statues arranged in different poses which represent the seven continents and the communication between the different communities of today’s society.

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Wandering around Place Massena in the night time and seeing the culture of the city was a lot of fun. It felt like a great place to vacation with many families and couples looking happy. I wish we could’ve stayed longer in Nice to explore.

For dinner we went to La Favola and I ate a plate of gnocchi basically the size of my entire body and honestly it gave the Italian food I actually ate in Italy a serious run for its money. I could not finish my plate. I was defeated. But either way I was a winner because just look at that gnocchi.

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The next morning I ran off that gnocchi along the Promenade des Anglais and the gorgeous view to look at made the pain of exercising a bit less painful as the sun rose against the vividly blue sky.

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There were many other people out exercising as well, which I liked, because I felt like I fit into their health culture (besides the part where we all gorge ourselves on great Italian food for dinner). I walked through the city’s morning flower market on the way back and saw all of the amazing home made gifts. I fought off the temptation to buy every great looking food that was sold there.

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Later that day, Conner and I decided to take a trip to Monaco and visit Monte Carlo for the afternoon. For only 3 Euros round trip, we rode a bus along the coast of the French Rivera to Monaco from Nice. I had a brief panic attack about whether or not we needed our passports to get into Monaco since its not technically a part of France (turns out that you don’t need one to get in). 

We spent the afternoon admiring everyone’s fancy yachts in the harbor and walking along the Champion’s Promenade where we admired all of the greatest soccer players’ nice looking footprints in the concrete. 

Then, we hit the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Every building in Monte Carlo was incredible. They looked like something drawn out of a magazine advertisement for Forbes most elite. I think I might have even seen Jordan Belfort on his yacht. Just kidding…

We tried to find the Grand Prix race track without any success and were later told that we were walking on it the whole time, because the main road in the city IS the race track. They shut down the road and that’s where the cars race!

Monte Carlo was exciting. Then, after a horrible bus ride back to Nice from Monaco with the local twelve year olds screaming to each other in another language across the entire length of the bus and this car sick woman who couldn’t stop throwing up on the floor (yes it was horrible, traveling isn’t glamorous all the time, unfortunately) we grabbed our backpacks from Nice hostel number one and trekked all the way across the city to Nice hostel number two for our final night in the city.

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The Trek

We grabbed dinner at a nearby local grocery store as well as a bottle of French champagne and resided to the hostel to rest and watch some Netflix to celebrate a successful journey through France.

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Dinner and Breakfast

Next, onto Amsterdam! Featuring an AIRPORT change for our layover from Paris Orly to Charles De Gaulle which are literally on opposite sides of Paris. Read about that debacle and about the Netherlands culture for weed ice cream in my next post…

Au Revoir, France and hello Stroopwafel!!!

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