South of France Travel Guide

One of the things that I embrace about being single is that my holidays are not tied to school holidays,  half terms and Easter breaks. As a matter of fact, I generally avoid going away during those period because a) everything is more expensive and b) everywhere is crowded.

So upon realising that my last time off work  was more than two months ago, I thought it’s about time that I book a weekend trip to another European city that I have not been – the South of France which is also commonly known as the French Riviera.

Flights 

The flight from London to Nice takes about two hours and the journey from the airport to central Nice, takes about 15 minutes. For this trip, I flew with BA, but I know EasyJet also flies to Nice.

Accommodation

Throughout this trip, I stayed at the Ellington Hotel which is located in the very central part of Nice and highly accessible to the main high street, shopping areas, attraction sites and the train station.

Places I Visited 

Castle Hill is a great place to get the best view of Nice. From Castle Hill I could get the bird’s eye view of Nice – the clear blue water of the sea, the orange rooftops and the long stretch of Promenade de Anglais. To get to the top of Castle Hill, one can either hike or take the free lift to the top. I on the other hand took the Le Petit Train de Nice, which is a neat way to see the city for EUR10.

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Promenade de Anglais stretches for miles! Most popular amongst runners and cyclists but also great for those who enjoy a stroll walk by the beach either first thing in the morning or in the evening to catch the sunset.

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Nice Market is great option for antiques collectors or in general for anyone who enjoys a good stroll while feasting the eyes like me. From vintage cameras, cutlery, paintings to vintage Louis Vuitton, Chanel bags, shoes and scarves, there is bound to be something for everybody.

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Cannes. Yes, the city that is known for its glitz and glamour especially during the Cannes Film Festival. I took the train from Nice to Cannes which took about 20 minutes and it costed me EUR13 return. I highly recommend that you allocate a day to fully enjoy what Cannes has to offer. There is plenty of options from luxury designer shopping along the Promenade de la Crosette, wandering in and out of local shops along Rue Meynadier or hiking up the Old Town for the best view of the blue sea and the harbour.

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Antibes, an old town situated between Nice and Cannes. The main highlights for me were definitely the Picasso Museum and the Marche Provencal (aka Food Market). Marche Provencal is definitely a heaven for food lovers with fresh fish, oysters, bread, pastries, olives and fruits! I pretty much wanted to buy and eat everything and if I had known, I would have skipped breakfast at the hotel before heading out to Antibes.

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The Village of Eze is situated between Nice and Monaco. Instead of travelling alone throughout the trip, I decided to be social for one day and booked myself to a small group tour to Monaco. Check out Tour Azur which I highly recommend given how well they looked after me for the day. The Village of Eze is a charming hilltop town. It’s quaint and tiny but the medieval narrow and sloppy streets open up to hidden squares, fountains and quiet courtyard. Plenty of galleries for art lovers too!

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Monaco. This has to be the highlight of my trip. Monte Carlo definitely lives up to its name – fame, money, champagne and designer goods, but it was the Principality of Monaco that stole my heart. The small city-state overlooking the blue water of the Mediterranean is where the Saint Nicholas Cathedral (where Grace Kelly got married and was buried) and the Prince’s Palace are located.

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The French Riviera has now become one of my favourite places to visit in Europe and I have a feeling that whilst this was the first visit, it will not be the last. x

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