After a 3 hours delay, with my luggage completely soaked and swearing I will never fly Blue Air again (worst company ever) I arrived in Nice.
The condo I have booked is up in the hills, quiet, with a large sunny terrace and has the best bed I have slept in since leaving Melbourne, which is so important when travelling for so long.
I have always thought that best things in life are quite basic and they set up your mood for anything else which hopefully you might want to accomplish.
So, the first glass of wine was dedicated to my host and his amazing bed!
What I liked in Nice is their public transport system: one tram only, comfortable, new, and cheap (1.5 euro per trip or 15 euro unlimited trips for 7 days).
Then, there is the French, kissing and hugging everywhere, making me wonder what more should I expect in Paris, the true city of love. I was just hoping it is contagious.
If you are a worldwide person, like I surely am, then in Place Massena, which is a Mecca in disguise as everything seems to be found in this place, you can admire the 7 statues representing the 7 continents. They are truly nice surrounded by very old buildings, restaurants, sculptures and the famous La Fayette galleries.
I am no fan of old castles, but what I like about them is, that most of the time, they seem to be strategically placed so you can have a 360 degree view over the city. In Nice, things get even better. The Castle Hill is not anymore a castle, but a park and a botanical garden where, in the shade of old olive trees, you can admire the whole Nice. If you are fit you can take the stairs or if you are still fit, but lazy, like I usually am, you can take the automatic elevator. With one look only with no need to touch the buttons, the elevator will stop and take you high up in this cool oasis where kids play, old people sleep, energetic fellows go boxing, or the lucky in love ones express their overwhelming emotions.
It is futile to say justice does not exist, we all experience that and we all hate lawyers for lying to us it does exist. But, I have to admit that all the Palaces of Justice I have visited in Europe are beautifully decorated buildings and although you do not want to be inside, it is definitely worth admiring them from outside. The one in Nice makes no exception.
Nice is noisy and there is no debate about that. So, for the first time I really enjoyed stepping into Catholic cathedrals. The one I liked the most is Church of Jesus (Eglise du Gesu) found in the old part of the city (vieux Nice).
By coincidence, I was in Nice during Le Tour de France. The main roads were closed, transport was hectic, but at night the whole city was celebrating the event with fireworks, parties on the beach and live music everywhere you went.
I got to Cannes by train in 50 minutes. You can also take the bus for 1.5 euro. However, it will take 1.5 hour and it will stop every 5 meters trying your patience. Mine is already limited, so I skipped the experience on the return trip.
The Palace de Festivals with the famous red carpet was closed until October and the building itself is old and very unimpressive.
The movie stars left their mark on the city and all the stores are terribly expensive and terribly empty.
The history of this tiny place begins 700 years ago with the Grimaldi family saga which still rules the country. Its red and white flag is actually the flag of the Grimaldi family since the Middle Ages.
From Nice, by train, for 3.5 euro in 20 minutes you are in Monaco. And you will know you are there when you will see luxurious yachts, Ferraris and Mercedes everywhere you look. Money, money, money, it’s a rich men’s world, Abba’s song must have originated here. The properties listed on real estate have no price and no address. The streets are immaculate with toilets at every corner, newspapers are in English, French and Russian same as I assume the nationalities of the owners of those men’s toys.
Monaco has only 7500 citizens, the rest of the people being just residents. There is no income, business or property tax and the rich just get richer.
If the love mood might be contagious in Nice, I was wondering whether the wealth in Monaco is also contagious. But, in the end, like all sound minded people say, we should pray for health, a good family and a long life. What else is left, I wondered 🙂
The Prince’s Palace can be visited and at 11:55 AM, people gather in the plaza in front of the palace to watch the change of the guard.
The Cathedral, where the members of the royal family are wed and buried, has a beautiful organ and it is a must see.
The Opera building overlooking the golf of Monte Carlo was designed by the famous architect Charles Garnier and it is a majestic place.
Behind it is the Casino. When I was there, all the tourists were keen to take a picture with the Ferrari parked in front of it, and less with the Casino itself. The atmosphere became even more heated when the proud owner of the car came out and it was just hilarious to see the disappointed faces of the ones who were too late to get a picture right next to the most wanted car in the neighborhood.
The gardens surrounding the Casino are exquisite and one sculpture portrays Adam and Eva as obese, naked and very much in love. Is there a nexus which I miss? Only an artist could tell.
The Japanese Gardens in Monaco are small and quite disappointing So, I will just stick with Jardins Saint Martin next to the Cathedral.
It is lovely just to walk around the narrow streets of Monaco, look at the houses, have lunch, and simply dream. You certainly can find many things to dream about in a city like this.
But, at the end of the day, Monaco is the rich people playground, and after a long day of walking a simple girl like me was happy to return to Nice to her simple pleasure: my wonderful bed and another good night sleep.