From Paris, we took a 6 am flight to one of my favourite cities, Nice (pronounced as “Neece”). Unfortunately, our flight was delayed due to an air traffic personnel strike (which I was told was neither a big deal nor very rare in this part of the world). Arriving in Nice at 10, we checked-in our luggage in the hostel and headed out towards the beach.
The Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel, Nice. It was a pretty good place, considering its location which was just 5 minutes from the beach. Although most places in Nice are not more than 5-10 mins from the beach. In terms of its interiors and amenities, it had a full fledged bar inside and a cool place to hangout and chill, or gather up before going for a bar crawl. A lot of us just hung out here with our fellow travelers from across the world, with loads of stories to share. That is one of my favourite aspects about living in a hostel, the people generally tend to have travelled a lot, or aspire to. The vibe is pretty good and the interaction is genuine, something which doesn’t always happen if you check into a hotel. The hostel also had a fancy kitchen with all kinds of equipments to make life easy.
I personally prefer a hostel over a hotel for multiple reasons:
- It is cheaper, because you pay per-bed and not per-room. Although, you don’t get any value added services either.
- The people are usually cut out of a similar cloth, backpackers or travellers with an agenda to just explore the street and cities, explore local cuisines or just wander. People who believe in low-cost travel.
- Its just overall more informal and comfortable; and in a way, more interactive!
- These people also tend to be reliable sources of information to help you plan your local itinerary.
One point to note is that hostels, just like hotels usually have a late check-in around 2-3pm and check out is always early at 10am, so one must plan accordingly! Although most of these places do allow you to store your luggage without any questions or hassles, and its pretty safe in general.
While walking across to the beach, we came across this wonderful waterpark. It is just a joy to watch little kids play in the fountains, more so adults, who behave like little kids and just live in the moment. Those few beautiful minutes of just joy and peace! From there, we headed towards the street markets. It was like a small organised farmers market with lots of stuff ranging from handmade soaps and candles to fresh fruits and jellies.
The beach in Nice is beautiful and the water is different shades of blue. There is a small hill in Nice, which is right opposite the port and is a couple hundred steps to the top. It is called The Castle Hill. Up there is a big garden and a nice picnic place. One can see the whole beach as well the entire city from up there. It is too good to miss and doesn’t consume a lot of time either. One can walk towards the port from there and look around and enjoy!
One thing to keep in mind is that Nice has a fantastic nightlife! Big casinos and clubs. The whole strip across the beach is full of casinos.
Keeping that in mind, we napped in the afternoon and hit the casinos in the evening, to try our luck. Turned out to be like my lucky day, since I was able to earn enough to sustain my expenses for the next 2 days 😇
FYI : Hostels provide nothing other a bed to sleep and a kitchen to cook. So it is important to carry your own bath products and personal toiletries, towels and food (if you plan to cook).
I woke up the next morning and headed for a run on the promenade along the beach. It was a joyous experience, with the blue sea on the right and a fresh cold breeze hitting my face. A good run and then on to the beach I went, into the cool turquoise blue water for a swim. You’d want to carry a pair of slippers or swim shoes since it is a pebble beach, so that’s going to hurt if you plan to walk bare feet.
Coming back to the hostel after the swim, we freshened up and left for Eze Village. Nice is a small city and can be explored on feet within a day or one could rent a bicycle and ride around. It’s beautiful!
The thing to remember in Nice, is that the bus frequency is very low so when you want to go outside the city, keep a track of the bus timings! The trams can get you to other places inside the city. Ubers aren’t so easy to get or the best option is to rent a car and go around!
We took the bus and headed to Eze village. It is located on the top of a mountain and one has to explore it on foot. It would take barely a couple of hours to see the whole village, which is very quaint and cute. It is similar to the narrow streets with small gelato shops in Rome or Greece, a visual treat for anyone who’s into art.
It has narrow roads and is an uphill task. Some good cafes to eat at and a few ice cream stores with authentic gelatos that literally melt in your mouth. There’s also a garden at the very top which is quite unique.
Taking yet another bus from Eze Village, we touched down into Monaco. The biggest attraction here is the Monaco Casino (the one you see in the Bond movie Casino Royale), the World renowned F1 race track (as seen in the beginning of Iron Man 2) and AS Monaco FC (the football club).
The Monaco casino is huge with fancy exotic cars parked outside. A city so rich, one can spot between 15-17 Rolls Royce’s and twice the number of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the likes within a span of 30-40 minutes. It is safe to say, a trip to Monaco and you won’t feel so special about exotic supercars anymore.
The race tunnel and a part of the track.
After the casino we strolled around the racetrack that goes around the port. Lots of luxury yachts and small boats here. A sight very rare to the naked eye.
Coming back to Nice from Monaco via train, we finished supper and headed to the clubs. Of the 4 clubs I came across and after asking around, we headed to the one, which is now a personal favourite, Wayne’s. That’s the best bar and club in the city for me. With an awesome space to dance and drink. Live music followed by a dance floor made of tables and chairs. Nobody dances on the ground.
Next Stop : Marseille, Poland Vs. Portugal.
Until Next Time,