Having been only to Paris before, when my friend Sara asked if I’d want to do a trip to Nice, an area dubbed the “French Riviera” (or Côte d’Azur), I agreed to go. Sara had spent a year learning French, and I still remembered enough to get by from my high school days, so we went ahead and booked our trip – half a week in Nice, and half a week in Paris.
While Nice was our base for the four days we were there, we did day tours to several other places as well – one afternoon in Provence, and another touring the towns on the Riviera.
In Provence we visited Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Tourettes-sur-Loup, Gourdon, and Grasse. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a village in the mountains that has been inspiration for Chagall, Matisse, and other artists alike. Grasse is considered the “World’s Capital of Perfume” and has been a perfume producer since the eighteenth century.
As our day tour from Provence was ending, we ended up dropping off a couple who had toured with us in a village called Villefranche-sur-Mer. The views were spectacular, so we asked to be dropped off there as well and enjoyed a nice dinner and some drinks with British friends we made.
The next day, we visited more Côte d’Azur towns – Cannes, Antibes, Eze, and Monaco (a principality). I found Cannes a bit underwhelming – although we did get to see where the well known Cannes Film Festival takes place, but Antibes and Eze were nicer. In Eze, we went the Fragonard perfumery and got a tour on how various essential oils are used to make perfume.
Monaco was visually stunning; after our day tour visit we liked it so much we came back on our own the next day to further explore. Monaco is a principality nestled between the sea and cliffs, so almost everywhere has an amazing view – and I could easily see why the rich and famous flock here. We saw plenty of Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, and Maserati’s and Sara thought that one of the yachts in the harbor belonged to the King of Saudi Arabia. We toured the Prince’s palace, went to the Monte Carlo casino, and wandered through Monaco’s old town.
To be honest though, I wish I could say this part of the trip went completely smoothly, but I seemed to have a streak of bad luck throughout it:
- Our tour guide got our van into a car accident as we were on a day tour, so we had to write a statement of our witness account
- I got stuck in a casino bathroom stall when the lock jammed and ended up spending fifteen minutes screaming for help before being let out
- Our flight from Paris to Nice got delayed so the bomb squad could search the plane because a suspicious bag had be left on board from a previous flight
We also had a few unfortunate customer service incidents that just were beyond unprofessional to me. I’m usually not phased by one or two things happening on trips – they always do – but the back to back things early in the trip when I had come there to relax sort of frazzled me.
When the time came to leave, I was sad to leave the beautiful coastal towns behind, but I was also ready to be in Paris, a city I know a bit better.
Till next time all!