Here is yet another Easter Break post, this time to the South of France travelling across the French Riviera. Check out my earlier post on Easter break in Croatia here.
Although I lived in France for more than 2 years, I had never explored the Côte d’Azur till 2018, when I finally decided to visit it with some friends from university. We made the trip over 3 days, with a base in Nice, and day trips to Monaco and Cannes. As is for most Easter breaks, the purpose of this trip was to have a relaxed vacation, away from work, not packing the trip with too many sights to see, but a rather chilled itinerary. This trip included everything good – beach, sunshine, glamour, cafes, seafood, beauty, and more. We booked an Airbnb apartment in Massena square, right in the heart of the city, and our flights to Nice in advance to avoid Easter Break price surges. For transport within Nice, we used Uber, and took inter-city trains to visit Cannes and Monaco. There is no Uber in Monaco, and all tourists need to avail either rental cars, taxis or the public transport to travel.
Disclaimer: This post will feature a lot of food.
DAY 1 – NICE
We landed in Nice on Easter Friday afternoon. As expected, we weren’t the only ones trying to get away from a cloudy and rainy Cologne. The airport was packed, and so were the streets, but the sun and the feel of being back to France put me in a good mood instantly. After reaching our Airbnb, we dumped our luggage, and got out to explore the city. We walked around Massena to Vieux Nice (old town) checking out the local stores, restaurants and cafes. Our trip officially started with a fantastic stop at an ice cream store Fenocchio Glacier, with more than 70 different flavors of ice-cream, and sorbets. Absolutely recommended!!
After indulging in multiple scoops of ice-cream, we went for a late lunch at Casa Nissa. We did not have a reservation, and it was quite late for lunch. Most places in Nice close by 3 pm for lunch and only open late for dinner around 7pm. However, this restaurant was quite spacious from the inside, and the staff was friendly. The menu had a large variety, including some vegetarian options. I had the Exotique Salad with ananas, orange, cœur de palmier and crevettes roses – light and appetizing.
After a hearty lunch, we made our way to Promenade des Anglais that runs along the beach in Nice. The bright turquoise blue stretch of water under blue skies gives a magnificent feel – very instagrammable too. The whole promenade runs for 4 kilometres. By evening, it had already started to rain. We stopped for a quick coffee at The Scotch Tea House, before heading for an awaited seafood dinner at Le Cafe de Turin.
Le Cafe de Turin, Nice
This cafe is heaven for seafood lovers. It serves a variety of seafood cooked cold from prawns, shrimps, crabs, clams, snails and oysters to urchins, mussels and clams. The restaurant also has a good selection of wine. Recommended for its local speciality, fast service, and wide variety of choices and combinations.
We ended the day with a house party in our Airbnb, till the neighbour forced us to take the party outside in to the streets of Nice 🙂
DAY 2 – MONACO
Day 2 started late with a fancy lunch in Nice at a Mediterranean restaurant Boccaccio, known for its fish and seafood. A very delectable lunch before heading to Monaco.
Boccacio Ristorante, Nice
Monaco is a 30 min train ride away from Nice Ville Train station. After reaching Monaco, we took a bus to the top to get a view of the city before heading to the beach. The views were scenic, but the city speaks more of glitz and glamour. You can almost feel the affluence in the air, backed by fancy cars on the streets, and people in fancy dresses, suits, and heels everywhere. In the evening, we went to the Cafe de Paris, opposite Casino Monte Carlo for a coffee break. The cafe itself is quite popular, we had to wait in the queue for about 15 mins before getting a seat.
Cafe de Paris, Monaco
The cafe provides a good view of the casino, but is quite busy.
Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco
In the late evening, we headed to the Buddha bar , an elegant bar with a pleasant and relaxed ambience, good choice of cocktails and appetizers, and the best part – a breath-taking view of the city at night.
View of Monaco from the Buddha Bar
The final stop late at night was one of the most famous casinos in the world, the Casino de Monte Carlo. The casino has an ornate entrance, leading to the lavishly decorated gaming rooms with chandeliers and beautiful artwork. Taking pictures inside the gaming rooms is forbidden. They is no entry fee to enter the casino, but to enter the gaming rooms, you need a pay a one-time of about 10 euros (depends on the season of visit), and be dressed in proper attire, so no ripped jeans. There are several gaming halls inside the casino, with different themes; some are reserved exclusively for members and high-rollers.
View of Monte Carlo Casino from Cafe de Paris
We spent a couple of hours here trying our hand at Roulette, till the casino closed at about 3 am. After exiting the casino, we went to Le Tip Top, a hidden gem for late night food in Monaco while waiting for the first train back to Nice early morning as there were no taxis available.
DAY 3 – CANNES
Majorly known for the film festival, Cannes is most busy in August, when its quite sunny, and water is warm and fit to swim in. Nevertheless, even in April, relaxing on the beach under the sun and cool air with a delightful cocktail is quite attractive.
After an all-nighter in Monaco, and an extremely long nap till noon in Nice, we headed for Cannes, a 40 min train ride towards south of Nice. We spent the afternoon chilling on the beach – no better way to make the most of the experience. We returned at night to Nice, had a drink at the HRC in Nice, explored a few bars and clubs, and called it a night.
Air Mexico special (3 different Margaritas) at HRC, Nice
Before departing the next morning, we made sure we had one last brunch at a French cafe……..until next time!!