Nice is oh-so Nice!!
Updated: Jan 17
If we were stuck with an unwanted rental car, at least it meant we could make an unanticipated stop on our way to Nice: Onward to Monte Carlo! Granted, the whole Hertz fiasco was sort of a dark cloud over our sunny stop in this small country, but we vowed to have fun.
The Monaco Yacht Show was taking place a few days after our arrival, and the entire waterfront was filled with white tents and crews getting the place ready for the influx of visitors. We walked to the casino and peeked into some store windows before sitting down for lunch...a very pricey lunch, but we figured, hey, it's Monaco! Of course you should have a server filet a whole fish tableside and work his magic on some special sauce for the impeccably-displayed vegetables! The place was pretty over the top; every time someone ordered beef a special "beef guy" would walk out to the table with a platter of raw meat and a scale hoisted above his head on a large platter, whereupon he would dramatically have the patron select the thickness of the cut and then wield a huge knife to cut it to exacting specifications. I guess in Monaco you'd expect nothing less.
After our meal we set off for Nice, France with little expectation. Basically we'd never been there and it was more convenient to fly out of Nice instead of driving all the way back to Milan from Sanremo. Well, are we ever glad we did! We loved Nice!
But first, the rental car. We walked into the Hertz office ready to do battle...and walked out less than five minutes later without car keys. The person at the desk tried to understand why we didn't just drop the car in Sanremo as expected and finally gave up and told us to have a nice day. We will never know if the car ever made its way back into the rental pool or if it's still sitting in the parking garage spot because no one knows how to handle a car that was supposed to be dropped off at a location that didn't exist in another country, but at least it was off our hands! Now we could enjoy Nice!
Not only is the city gorgeous, just historical buildings and no high rises or modernity to be found, but you can't beat the view or the blue of the water. There's a reason they call it the Côte d'Azur! We stopped into the sidewalk cafes (it was happy hour) and watched the people start to fill the pedestrian-only streets. As we ventured further (only a few more blocks, everything was so nice and close to our hotel) we discovered Old Town. So cool!
Although the next day we'd find stalls with vegetables and flowers in the same spot, at night it was filled with diners enjoying dinner alfresco. And, coolest thing ever, as we passed by the Promenade du Paillon on our way back to our hotel we heard classical music coming from the park. We walked toward the sound of an orchestra and peered through a gate...where we saw an entire ballet taking place on a stage but not a single person in the seats watching at this outdoor theater. It must have been the dress rehearsal for the ENTREZ DANS LA DANSE (Join the dance), which was opening the following night for the Ballet Nice Mediterranee. It was gorgeous and surreal and totally unexpected - and it sealed the deal for Nice, which is now officially one of our most favorite cities in Europe.
The next day we woke up and rented bikes to get some exercise and ride along the Promenade des Anglais - even if you aren't a big biker, this is something totally worth doing. We rode all the way to the airport with the Mediterranean sea to our left, then turned around and rode all the way to the port with the sea to our right. The path is flat until you reach the bend that ascends to the Castle of Nice. But it's also a great spot to stop, lock your bike to the fence, and walk up the stone steps to the best view ever. There's also a spot to take a little picture in front of the Nice sign to prove you've been there.
On the last night of our trip we called an audible and had burgers. Burgers in Nice? Hell yea! We hadn't had a "typically" American meal in over two weeks and King Marcel burgers just looked too good to pass up. So we didn't. Their slogan is: My burger is French. And that was fine with us because, talk about awesome burgers! If you're in France and come across one of their locations do not pass this up!
The next day, after almost three weeks in Europe, we reluctantly made our way to the airport and said goodbye to Nice. But we will be back very soon because we will be making Nice our home for a while on our Quattro 90 Plan. So no, au revoir for us, more like, see you again soon, Nice!
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