Monday, August 23, 2010

Two nights in the French Riviera...

After our short summer stay in Chamonix, we hopped back on our Contiki bus for the drive from Chamonix to Nice. Thankfully, it was another fairly easy one (compared to Paris-Lucerne and Nice-Barcelona)...especially at the end when we were looking down at the Mediterannean and it was just absolutely beautiful. We stopped at the Fragonard Perfumery on the way was a bit interesting to hear exactly how much goes in to making one little bottle of perfume, but as I'm more of an "eau de toilette" person (perfume is just too concentrated for me), and as a tiny little bottle of their perfume was something like 22 euro, I was ready to leave right after the little tour/demonstration thing.

From there we checked right into our hotel, which was...interesting, to say the least. It was another Kyriad, and I will say this--the staff was certainly much more friendly than the staff at the Kyriad in Paris! The hotel itself was clean but our room was so small we could barely move around in it--I had to step over my suitcase every time I had to go to the bathroom, and the shower was so tiny (it was shaped like a triangle with a curved base) I could hardly even bend over to shave my legs. Of course...I'm on the tall side as girls go, and a short/small girl may not have as much trouble.

We had an included dinner that night...not as good as the one in Chamonix, but edible at least! After dinner our tour guide Kristy took us to the old town area, to this bar called Wayne's...we had to get there early for happy hour, so it was kind of boring at first...once the band started playing, they were pretty good, but it just wasn't my kind of place--way too small, way too many people, way too much smoke--to the point where I started getting nauseated and eventually left with my sister and some other tour mates. Unfortunately, on the way back to the hotel we lost one of our group members when he wandered off to go to the bathroom! It was a bit nerve-wracking to say the least--his girlfriend handled it much better than I would have--but needless to say we had to take our time getting back to the hotel...thankfully, he showed up there not long after we did! There were a lot of dark little alleyways and bums around, so I think we were all pretty worried about him for a bit there.

That night was probably the first time that I really started feeling homesick...of course, it didn't help that I didn't feel well. I felt a little better the next day after 6-7 hours sleep, but I have a feeling that it was the tap water that was making me slightly nauseated...

On the beach in Nice (note the comfy chairs in the background!)
We went to the beach all morning for our full day in Nice. We got there around 9 AM and the chair rental place wasn't open yet, but I'm still glad we got there early because when it did open we got prime choice ;o) We took some chairs in the second row that had these mats on them, and I swear that was the best 12 euro I spent all trip! With the mat things, those chairs were more comfortable than any bed we had the entire trip, and I spent the entire morning sleeping in the sun.

Around 1 we walked over to the shopping area for lunch. We chose this little cafe on a street corner and sat outside, but it was not one of the better lunches we had during the trip. After that, my sister and some of the other girls went shopping while a few of us went back to the hotel to laze around and shower.

Overlooking the French Riviera
It was definitely nice having this day to do absolutely nothing...and to spend all the time in the world getting ready for the Monaco dinner that night, which was definitely one of the best dinners we had all trip (the asparagus and goat cheese pastry...yum!) The Grand Casino was NOT worth the 10 euro, though, and drinks were expensive everywhere in Monaco, so I was ready to go back to Nice and go out.

Not that many people wanted to go out that night, which was disappointing, but a group of us went back to Wayne's. I didn't bother changing out of my "little black dress", but that turned out to be a good thing, because when we got there there was a line. There
We got to cut in line!
were a bunch of guys and even a few girls in front of us (and the girls were definitely cute!), yet for some reason the bouncer picked myself and another girl from our tour who was out with us, to cut the line and go inside.

Can't complain about that! Anyway, we had a few drinks and I was feeling pretty good, but we left at a decent hour anyway (around 2 AM--which, yes, is a decent hour for Contiki!) because we knew we had to get up really early for the drive to Barcelona, and because it was still just a little too hot and crowded in that particular bar.

And that was Nice...the people were a little nicer than they were in Paris, but the city itself was not impressive. I heard that a bunch of the people in our group almost got pick-pocketed, and it just bothered me that there were bums and trash EVERYWHERE (including glass and cigarette butts amongst the rocks on the probably not a place I will ever go back. Monaco, on the other hand, was beautiful...but WAY too expensive ;)


  1. We also went to Wayne's! I think they have banned smoking in bars/restaurants in France since you've gone, so I really enjoyed hanging out here. I had lots of drinks and danced on the tables until the wee hours of the morning! There is also a pub next door that we visited the next night that was a cool place to hang out.

    I agree about the 10 euro cost for the Monte Carlo Casino. That being said, it's kind of a "bucket list" thing to say you've gambled next to high rollers in Monaco, and most of the tour group goes to the casino, so maybe it's 10 euro you need to spend just once.

    Unfortunately the weather was pretty cloudy during our free day in Nice - kind of a bummer, but I guess I just have to come back again some day for some sunny weather!

    Oh, and I had the asparagus and goat cheese pastry too - yum!

  2. Really? On our tour there were maybe a half dozen of us who went into the casino...I don't even know where everyone else went, but it wasn't there.

    And good about the smoking ban! I can imagine Wayne's would have been more fun had the air been a bit cleaner...although it was a bit too crowded for my taste.