This Venerable, Beautiful City: Nice/Monaco

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When I finally knew that I was going to Italy, I had in my heart to try to visit as many countries as I could while I was here because, well, plane ticket. Cha-Ching!  When I got here, I didn’t know if that was even going to be able to become a reality. Well, this spring break proved me wrong. I will not be able to go to many of the countries that I wanted to see, but I was blessed with the opportunity to hit a few nearby countries with a couple of amazing ladies.

The monday afternoon after Palm Sunday, we flew from Rome to Nice, France. Hint: Everybody says that flying within Europe is cheap. They’re very, very correct. It is. Vueling Airlines was even cheaper than Ryan Air.

Nice is in the French Riviera. Never in my life did I ever think that I would see this destination. I lived near the part of California that people call the Mediterranean of the US, but the real thing is unbeatable. A few more words and then I’ll get on with the pictures.

  • Nice was super easy to navigate. The bus system to and from the airport is pretty straightforward. Your hostel or hotel is also very helpful in figuring that stuff out.
  • Nice is beautiful, characterized by multicolored buildings with delicate designs, great shopping, and a cute inner city. The food was delightful.
  • Nice is typically a home base for travelers. From the Nice train station, you can go to Marseille, Paris, Montpellier, Provence, and…wait for it…Monaco.
  • Monaco is gorgeous and amazing. The End.
  • One full day in Nice is nowhere near enough. Nice offers so many restaurants to try, and for this foodie, it was just heartbreaking to only be able to have dinner at two of them. And you can take so many day trips from Nice, which would allow you to really experience the Côte de Azure in the south of France. Nice really has a piece of my heart, and I would truly love to be able to return one day.
  • French is a beautiful language. I was never a die hard fan before, but after being immersed in the language for one day, I realized that I could sit at a cafe and just listen to people talk. I love it. But the French are not as ingratiating as the Italian when it comes to speaking English. Note to self: learn some French before going back to Nice.

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Before you judge me and say that I’m crazy for going to Starbucks in France, let me tell you how much I need caffeine here and how the little shots of espresso don’t fill the void in the way that a large cup of black coffee can. I do not regularly frequent Starbucks in the states, and, in fact, I have recently just become a true coffee drinker. But I hadn’t “real”coffee in months, folks. Give me a break. We were desperately and eagerly anticipating this.  Oh, and the Starbucks muffins are WAY better in France. No surprise there.

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And then there’s this feast for the eyes. The water really is that beautiful blue.

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And now on to Monaco and the famous Monte Carlo. We tried to pull out our inner Grace Kelly’s, which, by the way, WHAT A STORY. Real life fairy tale right there. Monaco is just the best. So beautiful, so clean, so elegant. I never once felt unsafe, which might be odd considering it’s a prime place for pickpocketing, but there’s just something about Monaco that is so inviting. Again, I had never even dreamed of going to Monaco or Monte Carlo because merely the names evoke thoughts of mega millionaires drinking $1,000 bottles of wine on a yacht that costs more than I’ll ever make in my life, and there’s also the obvious scene of their gambling away thousands like it’s a drop in the ocean. I didn’t think it was doable for a lowly college grad like myself. Let me tell you, as a day trip from Nice, Monaco is more than doable…as long as you don’t plan to go shopping. And it’s very worth it. Honestly, it’s one of the most dazzling places that I have ever seen in my life. I am so glad these girls were on board with the Monaco plan. In fact, they invented it!

Hop On Hop Off Bus—thank you, Jesus—the best decision of lives because we knew nothing of Monaco, least of all how to get around it.

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Look at this view and all the yachts. Hashtag life goals.

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Here it is in all its splendor: Casino Monte Carlo. Or Casino Royale, in my mind. I wish you could see all the ritzy cars that were parked in front of it. When we first arrived in Monaco, I saw three Ferraris in a 20 minute span.

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And back to Nice.  (I now realize that I was enjoying Monaco rather than capturing it on photos. Highly unlike me.)

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It’s hard to pick favorite places because every city I go to is different than the previous one, especially when you start comparing different countries, but Nice will go down in the books as one of my favorite places in the world…so far.

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