Exploring the French Riviera

There’s something about the French Riviera that has always attracted my attention. I mean, with its long beaches, blue waters and palm tree laden streets, I think the majority of people would feel the same way as I do. The fact is, there are only so many times you can watch the Made in Chelsea cast living it up in St Tropez or Monaco before you become unbearably envious, So since moving to France, I vowed to take at least one trip to the glorious coast and see what it was all about!

After struggling to choose which of the riviera destinations to visit, for my final voyage of my year abroad, myself and a friend eventually decided to explore the pretty city of Nice! So I wanted to write this post to show you all the things you can get up to there!

 

Day one

 

Despite all the trams being shut off, the airport shuttle bus being deviated for half an hour, and almost no uber cars available, we actually managed to make our 8:55am flight from Toulouse to Nice (who needs coffee in the morning when you can have a nice dose of stress / adrenaline to wake you up). After arriving in Nice safe and sound, we then headed straight to our hotel.

We stayed at the Hotel Wilson which was a cute little selection of rooms nestled on the third floor of a building in central Nice. The hotel had a really homely feel to it and was perfect for two people travelling together!

 

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All the rooms were individually decorated and ours had an oriental theme, along with a cute balcony adorned with flowers.

 

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We managed to get two nights stay here for just £50 which, with such a central location (in a fairly expensive city) was a great price! It may not have been luxury but it was in near to everywhere we wanted to visit and a great budget alternative!

 

Breakfast

After checking in to our hotel we headed off for the most important part of any trip…food. After searching for a boulangerie, we actually stumbled across a cafe called La Popotte D’indine which looked really good, so decided to stop for a late breakfast.

 

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As you can see from the pictures, this was a good food choice.

 

Vieux Nice

After breakfast, we decided to head towards the older part of town. We had heard it was a really pretty area and we definitely weren’t disappointed when we arrived!

 

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We then came across a market whilst wandering through the streets, which sold all sorts of antiques and vintage items. I even came across a vintage Burberry coat and some vintage Chanel heels! Unfortunately the price tags were still too heavy for me to purchase them…

 

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This market was so lovely to wander through in the sun, with bustling cafes and restaurants and live music going on, it had such a great holiday atmosphere!

 

Castle Hill

My friend had told me about this really cool view point in Nice that looks over the Promenade des Anglais so I knew we had to pay it a visit. But as is the nature of viewpoints, we had to get pretty high in order to reach it, which meant a lot of walking.

On the way up we came across a huge grave stone park which was filled with enormous tomb stones and statues belonging to wealthy Christian families. It sounds like a bizarre attraction but this really took my breath away, seeing the size and elegance of these kind of ‘mini monuments’. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to show you but I definitely think this is worth a visit!

After what felt like five million miles later, we finally reached the view point. I must admit, it was worth every step.

 

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Not only was the view amazing, but on top of Castle Hill is a man made waterfall that made the scene all the more beautiful!

 

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Promenade des Anglais

Going to Nice without walking along the Promenade des Anglais is like living in France and never eating a baguette. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid it.

We walked along the stony beach of the promenade and took in the sea views. The walk is glorious and in the sun and you can sunbathe, take a dip in the sea or watch the boats go by. Of course, we finished off our little tour by sitting down with a patisserie tart in front of the sea. I mean it would be rude not to.

 

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Dinner

As day turned into night, our minds turned to the most important part of the day once again. Dinner.

We managed to find a cute little restaurant back where the markets had been that did ENORMOUS portions of pasta (aka my idea of heaven). I treated myself to a truffle pasta because you have to go a little fancy when you’re in the Riviera right?

 

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DAY TWO

So for our second day, we decided to take a little trip to Monaco, since the journey was only 20 minutes on the train! And at the price of just €3 each way, who could say no?

For me, Monaco certainly had a ‘you can look but you can’t touch‘ feel to it. With expensive sports cars, super yachts, designer shops on every corner and the famous Monte-Carlo casino, it’s safe to say it wasn’t my usual environment. Nevertheless, it was such a cool experience!

We first headed off to the Hercules port to check out all of those yachts that we would never be able to afford…

 

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With boats bigger than the majority of houses, surrounded by whole crews of people frantically cleaning and stocking them up for the summer months, it was quite surreal to imagine the lifestyles of the people who actually owned them. We walked past boats stocking up with endless crates of champagne and even some housing separate speed boats and jet skis in their holds…it’s all about the essentials right?

 

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Next, we were off to the palais Princier, a castle high upon the streets of Monaco, to check out the panoramic views.

 

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Alongside amazing views of Monaco, the area was surrounded by cute little streets lined with coloured buildings and souvenir shops!

 

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Last but not least, we obviously had to take a trip to the famous Casino! Unfortunately we aren’t exactly gambling experts (as in we couldn’t even figure out how to play the slot machines) so it was a somewhat brief visit. Nevertheless, the building was still amazing to look at…

 

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By the time we made it here we were extremely aware of the fact that we didn’t exactly ‘fit in’ here amongst all the bigwigs in sunglasses and designer suits. So after checking out the casino, we decided to head back into Nice for the rest of the evening.

In a fortunate coincidence, a group of our friends were also in Nice that night so we met up with them at their air bnb for some dinner before going to a cute little jazz bar in town called Le Shapko.

 

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With live music and mood lighting, this bar had a great atmosphere and it was the perfect way to spend our last night in Nice!

 

So we have arrived at the end of this post. I realise that I effectively just spilled my camera roll onto the page for you, but there was just so much to show you from this little trip! Spending just over £100 on accommodation and return flights, I think we managed to get a really good deal for our mini break and we definitely packed a lot in those two days. I’d definitely recommend Nice to anyone wanting to explore the riviera, and a day trip to Monaco is great if you want to discover a taste of the good life!

Where’s your favourite holiday destination? I’d love to know in the comments down below!