As the gateway to the French Riviera (Cote d’Azur) I knew Nice was going to stretch the budget. Straightaway going against the title of this blog my first night’s accommodation consisted of the floor at the Cote d’Azur Airport. The next three nights were at Villa Saint Exupery Hostel, of which I had high expectations due to internet recommendations and the fact it was the most expensive hostel I stayed in. I was slightly disappointed; the hostel was so far away that a regular shuttle had to run to the closest tram stop, the Wifi was terrible and the breakfast was overrated. However it was the cheapest place I could find and it did the job.
The main beach at Nice is cute, albeit slightly overcrowded, pebbly and with a steep drop into the water. I clocked up a few hours here, however I also visited Cap d’Ail (between Monaco and Nice), which was quite a steep walk down to the most beautiful, tiny beach, with two of the most expensive restaurants I’ve ever laid eyes on. The water was glistening clear and warm, and the backdrop was breath-taking.
Despite my best intentions to visit Eze and Villefrance, logistics kept failing me, however I spent hours in the charming Old Town, the markets (Vieux Nice – one of the largest food and flower markets in France), and climbed Le Chateau for outstanding panoramic views of Nice. My salted caramel and Toblerone gelato from Azzurro was to die for, and the kind man serving me refused to give me my ice-cream until I’d put away my wallet, because pickpockets were known to frequent the area. A day trip to the world’s second smallest country, Monaco, saw me transported into a world of glamour, money and superficiality as I was surrounded by yachts, the Monte Carlo casino and not a glimpse of rubbish anywhere. The whole place screamed exclusivity, extravagance and excess. The price of food far exceeded my budget, so yet another supermarket trip was in order for a traditional French baguette, and €6 water!