I was part of a group of about 15 randomly connected individuals (so much so, that no one person on this trip new every other person on this trip, before we all arrived) that went on a trip to Nice in May 2012, organised by an Aussie friend of mine. Its was definitely a big party, but Nice is a great destination itself. Nice airport is pretty close to the town, and its very straightforward to get a bus in. There is also a monorail that operates in the town.
We didn’t find there was a huge deal to do here, other than wander around the old town and soak up the atmosphere and see ‘the sites’ (mostly statutes and monuments). Disclaimer being that I didn’t plan of lead this adventure – so its highly possible there is more to this town that we didn’t discover. There are so many amazing bars, cafes, resturnats and geltaterias that are worth a look. I’d also recommend going to the Cours Saleya Markets – they have all sorts of flowers and fresh produce. Walk up and around the Monument aux Morts (War Memorial) and see the port on the other side. We also (quite creepily) visited the famous cemetery, Le Cimetiere du Monastere de Cimiez, where Raoul Dufy, Roger Martin du Gard and Henri Matisse are buried.
Some pretty cool street art:
The beach is a must, however this is not the most appealing of beaches – its rather rocky and unpleasant, but an ok place for some sun and sea if that’s what you desire. However, head out of Nice (see belwo) and the beaches are much better, although all that we came acrss were pebbles (not sand).
For a night out, there are lots of places to go. The best, by far, for the backpacker and young traveller crowds is Wayne’s Bar, in town. On the same street as Waynes are plenty of other choices though, if that doesn’t take your fancy. Trashy music and cheap drinks abound. If you end up at a bar on the ocean front, I’d also highly recommend post-bar swims before returning home. We stayed at Villa Saint Exupéry Gardens – great hostel, great for a big group and a good bar – but quite far out of town so be prepared to pay for taxi’s.
Baie de Saint Laurent.
This was possibly my favourite part of this trip – the day we spent on the beach in this bay. The bay is part way between Nice and Monaco, and best accessed by bus from nice. You walk through a small town, and then down A LOT of stairs to find yourself on a somewhat deserted pebble beach, other than the row of amazing resturants at the back of the beach area. The waters are crystal clear and amazing for swimming, and you can also hire pedal boats to play on. I’d recommend eating at one of the resturants here too – although I cant remember which one we ate at, I’d choose one with couches, as I remember relaxing on them for quite a while after. This was the best day of R&R in quite some time!
Sidenote – this is another town we stopped at, between Nice and the bay. Also worth a look-in, if you happen to pass through. No idea of the name though, but it’s on the bus route. Some cool markets also:
Monaco, the second smallest country in the world I believe (second only to Vatican City), is ridiculously expensive. An early-ish flight out of Nice meant that we didn’t get to spend a great deal of time here, only a short walk around. Monaco is well serviced by regular trains from Nice. Best thing to do on exiting the train station is to head down to the pier and have a look at all the ridiculous superyachts. From there, you can continue up towards the casino, which is perhaps the focal point of Monaco – you pass through a pretty impressive designer shopping area where my years salary wouldn’t even buy a single item in one of those shops. The casino is amazing to marvel at from the outside, check out the gardens and take some pictures. Unfortunately we were there before opening time, so we didn’t get to make it in – the square behind the casino will no doubt be filled with fancy cars and fancier people. I wouldn’t recommend stopping for coffee, prices are ludicrous. Top Tunes.
1. Welcome to St Tropez – DJ Antoine
2. Starships – Nicki Minaj