City Guide: Nice & Monaco

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I am a huge fan of a chic city break, especially European ones as you can hop on a plane, have a whirlwind visit and tick off another place on the map in a matter of hours. So when I found out my friends Hen Party was going to be in Nice, with a whistle stop tour of Monaco, how could I say no?

Nice was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined and Monaco was even better. The winding french streets, colourful shutters on the windows and beautiful sandy beaches left you in head over heels in love with Nice as soon as you stepped off the plane. Would I return? Absolutely!

Location, location, location

I have said it before and I will say it again, location is so so important when booking a city break. You don’t have much time so the last thing you want to be doing is wasting time travelling to and from key locations. Try and stay as central as you can possibly avoid and make sure your key hotspots are in walking distance if possible.

I stayed in my first airbnb on this trip and it was lovely. We rented an apartment in a block right in the middle of the Old Town in vieux nice cours saleya - a 2 minute walk from the beachfront and a 10 minute walk from the busiest part of town. Perfect location.

Sights

As you can imagine, there wasn’t a huge amount of sight seeing going on whilst on this trip, hence my desire to return. But some things I would 100% recommend are below.

  1. Fontaine du Soleil
  2. Vieux Nice, the city’s old town
  3. Monte Carlo casino
  4. Nice Opera House
  5. Port Hercules
Food and drink

Now we all know that wine is a pretty big deal in France and there are lots of try. We went for a mini wine tasting at Cave Bianchi 1860 and as the name suggests, it was just that, in a cave. At first we did feel like we were being taken into some weird sex dungeon but it soon emerged that actually it was a super cute jazz and wine bar, a bit like an old fashioned speakeasy. Our wine guide, who wasn’t into marriage we soon found out, educated us all on the origins and flavours of the red, white and rose we were all drinking and quickly quashed our views about rose not being a legitimate wine. Apparently it’s one of the most popular in Nice…

We also had afternoon tea at the Fairmont Monte Carlo whilst on our Hotel lovely little trip to Monaco. It was lovely and the glass walls make for a fantastic panoramic view of the sea and harbour. But FYI afternoon tea isn’t quite what you expect in the UK, it is champagne, tea and lots of mini desserts, so if you are a lightweight on the champers, then have a snack beforehand! We also went up to Nikki Beach on the rooftop for some cocktails, it was such a nice Ibiza vibe and the sun was shining (for a while…) FYI - they will try and make you by a table or a bed but you don’t have to, you can sit on the chairs near the bar free of charge and enjoy a spot of rich people watching.

My final bit of food advice would be to just grab an ice cream from one of the many stalls and just have a wander along the beachfront, it’s really stunning in the sun.

Nightlife

We were on a hen do - which I better tell you is pretty rare in Nice so they actually treat you like celebrities, we kept getting stopped in the street and the hen even had a lady stop her and ask if she would have her photo with her little girl, weird - so of course we wanted some sort of night life. There didn’t seem to be a huge amount of choice but a mix of recommendation and trip advisor meant we ended up in a bar called Le 3 Diables. It was a great night if you like an eclectic mix of music from a questionable DJ, but it was perfect for our hen do group and was clearly a popular group location as we met the only other hen and stag do groups we had seen. Drinks were fairly cheap, music was good enough and it stayed open til late. What more could you ask for.

Travel

The easiest and quickest way to get from the airport to your location is by pre booking a taxi. They have a fixed rate fare of €32 and you have to pay cash. You can get a bus from the airport into the town and it costs only 6€ - but it’s well worth looking up the routes and journey time before you travel.

Getting around in Nice was fairly easy and getting from Nice to Monaco was even easier. It cost around €4, took about 20 mins and was the loveliest, super scenic train ride I have been on - minus the Orient Express - I will do a blog on that at some point - so well worth a trip if you are staying in Nice.

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All in all, it’s a fab weekend destination and I would highly recommend it for a European city break. And let me know if you do go as I will take note of all the recommendations for a repeat trip!

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