My colleague who will be going to Nice for a holiday soon, asked me about the place. I was there a couple of years ago, just after Krakow and Prague. That time we travelled with our almost 1 year old daughter, and with friends with an almost 2 year old daughter. We rented an apartment, which we found very practical: we were able to cook and wash clothes “at home” and we had a lovely balcony to relax and enjoy on when kids were asleep. It was walking distance from the centre but it was also next to the one and only tram line.
There were a few disappointments: the famous riviera was full of stones, not sand (how can I not have heard this?!), it was not quite as tidy as a picturesque French city is in my mind, the service in English worked ok for France but it just always puts me a bit off if it is not friendly, to witness nobody giving a seat for an old woman barely able to stand nor a women with a sleeping toddler in her lap in a packed tram was just sad, and my credit card was copied in a pharmacy.
On the bright side: food was delicious (and cheap). Wine was delicious (hearsay. I was pregnant. But it was cheap too). Cafés were lovely (very affordable). Toddlers were welcome everywhere (can’t remember them have any special facilities such as high chairs, potties or changing tables anywhere though. I didn’t mind). Our toddlers loved to play with the stones on the riviera. The french women renting the apartment was lovely. The old town of Nice was exciting and had a lot to offer. The harbour was pretty. The restaurants close to the university (outside the touristy area) had great prices, tasty food and a super lovely staff that drew us the menus just to make sure we’d know what we were ordering (like we cared, it was delicious anyway. But they were L.o.v.e.l.y.). We stumbled upon a few great playgrounds, one on top of the hill by the shore (you’ll know what I mean once you are there). A day trip to Monaco and Italy was simple to do, just pay a few euros and jump on the train. The scenery route along the shore was great. My daughter took her first steps in a restaurant in Monaco. Monaco was, well, not that special in my opinion but a place I always wanted to see. They were just building up for the Formel 1 race when we were there – huge effort, had an impact on most logistics in the city. The looong lifts inside the mountains in Monaco were to me more impressive than the famous casino. Italy was friendly, cosy and had great gelato. That little trip made me really want to explore Italy more, and all the posts by Thrifty Travel Mama exploring Tuscany with her family has only encreased my desire!
Summery: it was a good holiday. Funny enough we all enjoyed most the day trip to the Italian side to a little town called Ventimiglia. It doesn’t have any famous tourist attraction but it was cute, loads of small gates and alleys, but mainly the people made that so great: we were chatting with the locals without any common language and we had fun. There was also an old castle on the hill which offered some history and sights. Did I already mention great gelato and food? Overall, it was good to go to Nice but I have no need to go back. But everyone should go there at least once (and I have friends who just loooooove the city)! I’d be happy to go back and explore the surrounding though (e.g. Cannes is not far away), and if I find myself there one day, I want to make a trip over to Korsika as well.
A few more pics to share the feel: the first 5 from Ventimiglia and the next 5 Monaco. You’ll see the difference.
You’ll find a country based index here on my tips on free activities and inexpensive travels