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South of France: The sunset, beach and market in Nice

Sounds completely ridiculous, I mean come on, the French Riviera?! Nice, Cannes and Monaco are all the places where all the high class people chill out on their yachts and attend fabulous parties! That is only one side of the Cote d’Azur’s story, though…

It is possible to do this trip on a budget. First of all, we rented a car, which was the most expensive but was definitely needed. For 12 days it was 200 euros. BUT we were ok with sleeping in the car every once in a while if it meant we could save money on accommodation. Also was open to wild camping, otherwise the campsites were around 18-25 euros per night (in high season it goes up to 25-35 euros), but only if went further north, away from the coast. In case we didn’t have a nearby market, we shopped where the locals did in Carrefours which is basically the local Tesco’s.

We flew to Nice with EasyJet. And that is where it all started 🙂 I can never get enough of the feeling when you get the first glimpse of the sea once getting off the plane. Truly magical.

Nice – as a town was ok, but as usual I am not really amazed by towns/cities, I’m on the nature’s side. We landed late in the afternoon, so first the crowded streets, finding a parking space (which cost loads, 8 euros for 3 hours I think), then realizing how expensive it is to have a few drinks. We did sit down though as Greg wanted a beer (BEER. In  FRANCE…) and I got a glass of wine. Was the cheapest we could get though, around 5 euros. Food was around 20 euros per person for 2 courses, which might not sound so over-the-top, but when you have a 12 day holiday ahead of you… let’s just say we went with baguettes and olives from the shop. Which I was a 100% happy with, did not miss cooked meals that much with all the quality ingredients and fresh goods!

niceNext thing, off to the beach walking up to the viewpoint to check out the sunset. That’s more like it! It was great, nothing spectacular, but quite nice.

nice1Nightlife on the other hand… Partying did not come as spontaneously as in Thailand, where I will never forget how we ended up at this huge local club with the trekking team and danced through the night while sipping on mai tais in buckets…

But Nice definitely had a unique atmosphere as we randomly found ourselves in the middle of a salsa party on the main square with SUCH great music. What a lovely experience, I still don’t know what was the occasion, or Nice is just really that cool of a city… I can’t find anything about it online, either.

nice2Next day, SUNDAY – meaning I am dragging Greg to the local market just staring at the goods, the fresh fruit, the olives, the sun dried tomatoes, the freshly bakes breads, baguettes and pastry… Not to mention the meats and fish section. I wanted a kitchen so badly! But had to move on as there was no opportunity for me to cook anywhere…

Bought some breakfast, and headed to the beach. Oh and in the meantime – as I must have something sweet before breakfast – I got an ice-cream. THE ice-cream! If you guys are in Nice, walk along the market towards the hill where the viewpoint is, turn right as you would walk towards the beach to find a small arcade where there is a not-so-friendly French man selling ice-cream. Heavenly!

As for the beach, it is a very crowded pebble beach so it was not much fun, especially that it is right next to the road, so nothing is natural about it.

nice3Back up to the Castle Hill viewpoint to take a proper look on the city. About the waterfall a bit further up around the castle ruins, it was ok, but it is artificial which kind of killed the magic.

nice4There you go, this is the post on Nice, both positive and negative aspects. We moved on from Nice quickly – I did not want to spend much time in the city, Greg has been there many times – so left in the afternoon, going to Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for the loveliest beaches and the most incredible food. But I will leave that for the next post 🙂

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