Ahh J’adore France! I have visited France before; once to Nice in the South of France and once to Paris! So when one of my friends decided on studying abroad in Nice for a semester of course I had to re-visit Nice for the second time and WOW I really fell in love with this destination.
So I flew from Dublin direct to Nice which is only about a 2 hour flight. It is always cheaper to fly abroadfrom Dublin with Ryanair unfortunately so you are better off going from here as opposed to Shannon/Cork. On the other hand getting to Dublin can be annoying but it is worth the hassle in my eyes. I get the green bus from Ennis (https://www.dublincoach.ie/services/dublin-coach-journey-planner.php ) or get the bus from Galway’s new coach station direct to the airport (https://bookings.citylink.ie/default.aspx?pickuplocid=19&dropofflocid=16&tickettypeid=1&depdatetime=2019-6-1%200%3A0&isflexdep=true&passangerType1=1) instead of driving and leaving your car there not to mind paying for parking.
I went from Galway as I was in College at the time which worked out handy as I could just walk to the station.
Monsigny hotel is the hotel we chose to stay at in Nice, it was just myself and my sister that were travelling over so we were looking for cheap and cheerful accommodation and this was it, with an added benefit of being a 10 minute walk to the center of Nice, to Massena Square and 15 minutes to the beach.
Monsigny Hotel is very close to the train station and there is a market outside the hotel every morning with flowers, fruit and vegetables, very French!
Things to do;
There is SO much to do in this area. Ill break it down as we travelled to neighbouring towns.
First of all in Nice, there are so many shops, have a stroll around the shops, through the square and walk along the promenade. The promenade is very big with restaurants, segways, cycling, skating and various things to do to help with the exploring!
The beach is a pebble beach so don’t imagine yourself in a ‘Bae Watch’ scene because it is sore to walk on!!
We went in October and the temperature was great with an average of about 20 degrees Celsius every day which is still dresses and bikini weather but cardi at night is definitely needed as the temperature drops a lot in the evening!
Castle hill is a must see; it a hike up to it but the views from the top overlooking Nice is breath taking. There is waterfalls, a park, different viewing points, music and a café for a well-deserved beer or ice cream at the top.
Action Packed Day!
We headed on a bus to Eze a medival, historic mountain top village. This was less than 15 minutes from Nice. Eze a cute quaint town, with shops built into small crevasses, narrow streets, vibrant flowers everywhere and the people are very nice. There is also a perfumery called Fragornard, https://www.fragonard.com/en/ you can get a ticket here and do a tour of the perfumery and make your own perfume mixtures. My sister actually ordered me perfume from here for Christmas and I LOVE IT. You can get public transport down the mountain from Eze to the village at the base but we decided to walk down. Be prepared with proper shoes for this because it is quiet long, rocky and a sandy path (we had flip flops and sandals on which wasn’t ideal). It was so worth it when we reached the bottom the beach was AMAZING!!
From here we got on a bus and a few minutes later we arrived in the very clean, prestigious Monaco. This was way smaller than I expected but the marina full of luxury yachts boasts immediate wealth, you know then you are where the money is not to mention the outrageously priced coffee in a restaurant by this marina. So avoid this and get a coffee and crossiant in Eze.
You can see the markings on the street for the Formula racing that takes place there also. It is a pretty cool place to see.
A walk up the street and you’ll enter into Monte Carlo without even realising it. Monte Carlo summed up would be simply; casino’s and Ferrari’s. The area is spotlessly clean with built up balconies overlooking sea away from the hustle of the casinos. Wander into see a casino or just people watch to try and spot a celeb, thats what we did! It is a must see!
Bars and Restaurants;
Old town Nice has some really nice authentic French restaurants and the options are endless. This was mainly the problem because we could never pick what we wanted and also it is expensive to eat and drink here. More so the drinks, we couldn’t get over how expensive a drink was like €15 for a cocktail??
So overall, Nice is bursting with different things to do, we also did the parks, markets, tourist shops and rented bikes and spent a few hours on the beach so.
Tips and Tricks;
If you are on a tight budget, I would travel to Nice when the flights are extra cheap. Nice is often on Ryanair’s ‘seat sale’ where flights can easily be got for about €50 return. Try and get accommodation close to the center of Nice so you are accessible to many different areas, this would be worth spending most on as it would stand to you making things cheaper while you are there.
Head to happy hour to cut costs on drinks instead of paying a fortune at dinner time. Shop around restaurants and look at what the food looks like that other people have ordered. You can tell a lot by this, we went to a restaurant on our first night and ordered a pasta dish each and the portion was HUGE! One would have done 3 people so this could help with the budget or just head to the supermarket and cook a dinner in your apartment with a few pre-drinks before heading to a nightclub. You can make it as cheap or as expensive as you like.
Renting a bike for the day was only €5 so this would be worth looking into to get around, it’ll save your feet from all the walking too, win win!
The buses we got from Nice to Eze and to Monaco were so cheap working out at about €2 each for one way! Pack a picnic, ditch the expensive coffee in Monaco and try your hand in the casino beside the famous Monte Carlo casino if you want to experience it and save money in this area.
In my opinion it is definitely worth visiting Nice and I am already planning my next trip back there!