France: Nice

This is a Work in Progress

Transportation into the City: We took the airport bus (#98, 4 euros each way, pay the driver) in and out of the city to avoid the expensive taxis. The nearest stop was definitely a bit of a walk from our particular hotel (flat the whole way, though), but there were many hotels right around the stop, as well (we were staying at the far end of the waterfront strip). The bus drops you off on the side of Albert 1er Park on the way in, and you can catch it back to the airport in from of the Le Meridien in from of the Casino (huge sign for the hotel you can see from almost anywhere along the waterfront).

Nice’s old town and the main pedestrian walkway were worth a stroll and looked different depending upon what time of day you were passing through. On Monday mornings there is a flea market there, and other morning there is a regular market, in the afternoons there is outdoor café seating and the surrounding shops are open, and in the evenings the place comes alive with outdoor diners everywhere and a nice ambiance. It can get very crowded, though.

We liked walking the waterfront promenade at night. We also enjoyed walking down along the harborfront in the evening and staring at the HUGE yachts. We found a nice Irish Pub (Ma Nolan’s) along the water with a great happy hour. Also, I definitely recommend going up on Castle Hill—-you can take the elevator, but we just took the stairs. There were some great views up there, and there’s a little park area.

Nice’s beach was packed, but the beaches are all rock and very rough on your feet–bring water shoes. Also, it would definitely be worth the splurge to get a chair or at least bring an inflatable raft and lie on that, lying on a towel on that would be torture.

The buses in and around Nice are a great deal (1 Euro anywhere, good for 72 mins—including Monaco, Antibes, etc). We took the bus down to see Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo (about a 45 min ride) and then back (I believe it was Bus #100). Coming back, look at a map and try to find the 1st bus stop in Monte Carlo—above the park—so that you get a seat (or even on the bus) as it can fill and then they will just go right past your stop over and over. The local bus between Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo is also 1 Euro—and well worth it, that would be an insane walk. (I think the best plan is to get off on the way in at the Monaco-Ville stop, see that, then hopped the local bus to Monte Carlo, see that area, and then hopped the bus back to Nice from there.)

We took the train to Antibes, and I think if I could do it over I would have just taken the bus. The train was shorter, but getting to the train station was a pain, the area around it is a little bit sketchier, and you can’t buy tickets from the machines with an American credit card or bills (need all change) or you have to wait in a huge, slow line. The information counter there was definitely helpful, though, in terms of schedule and which train to take. We did really like Antibes, though. Would recommend going there (except on a Monday when everything there closes up). Walking through the markets and by the water and the side lanes there was slight less commercialized than Nice and we really enjoyed it. We also went to Villefranche-Sur-Mer on the way back from Monaco (definitely skippable, and harder to get back on a bus from there).

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