Happy Australia Day – Nice (France)

[26-jan-2004]

Happy Australia Day!
We are in Nice, France and have been for 5 days! It has been a great relaxing break, we have been staying in Hotel Aria, which is a very nice place to stay, very clean, quiet and the staff are very friendly and willing to help you out when ever they can.

We arrived by train from Milan, where just out of Monty Carlo the train stops, everyone gets out and boards buses that take you to the Monty Carlo train station. This was fine however friends of ours had to do this in the dark, they had no idea what was going on and it all seemed very strange, we were lucky, we had the benefit of day light and some friendly travellers that told us that this would be happening. The scenery from the train is incredible, the train follows the coast line from the Italian border to Nice and beyond.

Once we had managed to find our way from the bus to the train platform, we boarded a train that was going to Nice, actually all trains from Monte-Carlo are all going the same way (due to the tunnel problems that caused the train to stop and us to catch busses). Once out in Nice we found our Hotel only five minutes away, very handy. We checked in and the sigh of relief from Narelle could be heard for miles I am sure. “Its clean!” was one of the comments, compared to Milan this was very nice and cheaper than Milan, so all in all we are happy (also includes breakfast).

The first few days were spent walking through the streets of Nice, soaking up the French culture, trying to get our tongues around the French words, in the end we could get out the pleasantries and read a menu to make sure we didn’t get raw meat; steak tarte amongst others; reminds me of the Mr Bean episode.

Nice is a small town with not a lot of tourist attractions but enough for a day or two. There are lots of walks that can be done as there is so much history there, just not obvious or easy to find. There is a lot of attractions out side of Nice that is worth the effort, such as Eze, Saint Pauls and the areas in between. Monty Carlo is worth the trip once but other than a Casino or two, seeing people with obscene amounts of money, it is all a bit over rated.

Eze on the other hand is a fantastic little village, we only had half an hour here, but you could spend 2-4 hours, Chateau De Eze is worth a visit for a coffee or in summer Gin & Tonic. The cafe has a terrace that has a massive drop straight down, well worth the look. We never got to see it as it was closed for Renovations until the 4th April 2004! Have to get back there some time soon.

Another town worthy of note is St Paul, this town is a medieval town that is totally surrounded by a wall, built on a hill top looks very spectacular coming into. The town is renowned for its art and many artists go to this town for inspiration. There are some really good original works and some very average copies. Would be worth spending a few hours touring the art galleries if that’s your type of thing.

We would have to recommend the tour company that took us to all of these great places, med-tour.com is the company, they will pick you up from your accommodation and take you on a long but rewarding day. We did the tour that covered the following (tour #1) Nice, Eze, Monaco, Monte-Carlo, Saint Paul de Vence, Antibes, Cannes. The tour was well worth the money, however the trips to Monte-Carlo and Antibes were very touristy and could be missed to spend more time in the other destinations such as Eze.

We really enjoyed Nice, a lot more than we thought we would, the language thing was frustrating at first in that we tried to speak the language, when it was better to accept defeat and not try, just be polite and ask if they speak English, in most cases they say a little, but can actually speak or at least understand very well.

Next stop Geneva, Switzerland.

Dave & Narelle