Christine Kearney / May 20, 2019
First stop Nice, the French Riviera
I arrived in the French Riviera for 7 nights at the end of March. Looking back, I can now say for sure that when I was in Nice and Cannes, I did not get the same ‘backpacker feel’ as I did in the weeks after. Saying that, I spent 6 magnificent days here and there are so many places to see in the area.
So taking it back to the beginning for me, I started my trip in Ireland and flew into Nice. As I am on a budget I did not want to get a taxi from the airport so I walked to the bus station which is not too far and I bought a ’10 voyages’ bus ticket. You can use this ticket on the bus and the tram. As I knew I wanted to visit many places around Nice it was a cheaper and more convenient option than buying a bus ticket each time.
In Nice I spent two nights at La Maïoun Guesthouse which I can highly recommend. I stayed in a 6 person ensuite female dorm. The hostel was really central, clean and my booking was inclusive of breakfast which consisted of a buffet of fruit, pastries, cereals, yogurt, juices and coffee/tea (I tried to book rooms with breakfast included everywhere I went as it always worked out cheaper than buying breakfast elsewhere).
As I am a solo female traveller I did not party in Nice. I always felt safe during the day as there were many people around, but at night I did not feel the same as there weren’t many other backpackers around (I was also a little nervous as it was my first solo trip) so I always returned to my hostel at around 9pm.
Day one – Nice
On my first day in Nice I was pretty tired, so I spent the day wandering around the city and mostly at the beach (beware the beaches here are stony beaches) and ‘al Promenade des Anglais’. There weren’t too many specific things I wanted to do/places I wanted to see in Nice itself so Nice was a perfect place to chill at the beach, people watch and soak in the ambience along the promenade. I definitely recommend watching the sunset from the promenade – it is pretty epic!
Day two – Nice
My second day in Nice was action packed (to make up for my lazy day on day one!) so I set off at about 8.30am to ensure I could get all the stops in without rushing. Over breakfast I got advice from the girl working in the hostel on the ‘must see’ places in the area (this is how I approached every part of my 5 week trip as the locals always know best).
(Recommended stops and in this order – Mont Boron, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Eze village and Monaco)
Stop 1: Mont Boron
My first stop of the day was Mont Boron (number 14 bus).
Here you can take a scenic hike which will lead to a castle overlooking Nice. I took some pretty cool photos here, the view was incredible and there didn’t seem to be too many other tourists around, which is always a plus for me.
After I spent some time here (approximately one hour) I hiked back down the mountain to catch the bus (number 81) to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
There are two options to get here from Mont Boran, you can either take two buses (number 30 followed by number 81) or you could walk to a bus stop that served the 81 bus. As I wanted to see more of the countryside I walked approximately 45 minutes to a further bus stop (you can use google maps to figure out the 81 bus route).
Even on the bus to the Villa you see a lot of nice views. I must admit this place was much better than I expected. The gardens were honestly the nicest I have ever seen and the ‘water show’ was pretty sweet.
As I had a student card the entrance was 12eur. I spent three hours here without even realising! After walking around the numerous themed gardens and the Villa itself, I sat out on the terrace to relax and drink some sun infusion tea (try it!!).
Stop 3: Eze Village
From the Villa I made my way to the mountain side village Eze (you can take bus number 83. I again walked a lot of the way, maybe for one hour – as I love walking and seeing as much as possible).
This place is really unique. It is a small village where everything is made from stone. It is really cool place to wander around and I was lucky when I was here there weren’t too many other tourists so it was easy to see the buildings and streets.
Here you can visit perfumeries, buy fresh lavender and get your cardio up – there are a lot of steps and hills! I spent an hour walking around here, the village has a really cool artistic feel.
Stop 4: Monaco
From Eze I took a bus and then a train to Monaco (bus 83 to Gare SNCF Eze). Remember to use your interrail pass for this train, as it was my first time to use my pass since I arrived, I forgot about my pass and bought a train ticket (!!).
I wanted to visit Monaco to see what all the hype was about. I arrived there at sunset (just about, I had to sprint up to the castle to get the sunset over the city). The views up to and from the castle are great and really nice for sunset.
Aside from this I wandered around for an hour (tagged onto the back of a walking tour I bumped into near the castle!), the old streets and buildings were pretty cool and aside from that there were lots of big yachts, fancy cars and rich people! After a long day and a lot of walking, I headed back to Nice at around 9pm on the train.
If you are interested in this itinerary and want to see some pictures/videos of each stop I have highlighted my whole 5 week trip on my Instagram page xtinery_ox, this part is in the ‘South of France’ highlight. You can also message me directly with any questions you have!
Check out my next post (coming soon) for what I did during three days in Cannes.