Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Nice, France: Where to Eat, Things to Do and the Best Day Trips in the French Riviera

Plage Beau Rivage - Nice, France

Last September, Lantz and I traveled over to France for our annual overseas getaway. We save our pennies and always enjoy booking these trips as a way to completely unplug from the world (literally, we only talk to people when we have wifi) and just hit reset. We started off our trip in Paris, and decided to hop on a flight to the Côte d'Azur (Coast of Azure) and stay a few days. While the weather in Paris was a bit cloudy and cool, the French Riviera was warm and full of sunshine during our entire stay.

Nice. France

I have to say, I envisioned the south of France as a beautiful spot (much like that of the coast of Italy, which we adore). But when we got off the plane and looked out the windows of the airport, our jaws dropped. From the airport gate we were able to look out to the hills of colorful buildings and the brilliant blue Mediterranean water. We were coming from Paris with a little chip on our shoulders from some travel hiccups, and it couldn't have been a more perfect setting to just relax and forget about the previous nonsense.

Eze, France

The French Riviera is a super popular destination for celebrities, royals and jetsetters given the glamorous beaches, festivals and divine seafood. Based on the size of some of the yachts that cruised by us, I'd say we were probably in the company of some stars.

There were so many trendy places that we walked by en route to our Airbnb that we noted down for food, drinks and sunbathing. Our Airbnb was the most perfect home in the city - it was centrally located and completely private, the bakery across the streets makes the best croissants you'll ever eat, and it was equipped with everything you need for your stay (including a small kitchen and washer!). 

The view out the main window of our AirBNB

If traveling to Nice, I highly recommend book an Airbnb or one of the waterfront hotels (that typically include access to a private beach club. There are a bunch of hotel options all around the city, but you're going to want to pick a spot that is central to all the eats, markets and that amazing blue water. When searching on Airbnb there are SO many cute apartments available right along the coast, and some even include an adorable terrace!

Nice, France

Alright, let's get to the good stuff - the eats! If you aren't a fan of seafood, don't worry as there are plenty of other options. But if you are a fish-eating friend, you are going to go NUTS over some of the fresh dishes! We ate nothing but seafood during our entire stay (with the exception of a good truffle pizza upon arrival), and it was some of the best I've ever tasted.

Cours Saleya Market - Nice, France

Where to eat in Nice, France:

Di Più - we ordered fresh seafood pastas that included lobster tail, mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp = 10/10!
Boccaccio - Mediterranean restaurant with an amazing selection - do yourself a favor and order the seafood paella. We ranted and raved about it being the most amazing meal for almost 3 days! 
La Favola - italian selection, plus fun outdoor seating during the dinner hours
Le Grand Bleu - take a look at their fresh seafood selection on ice at the restaurant - pick what you want to be prepared
Movida - an outdoor/indoor bar and restaurant right along the beach, equipped with the cutest living walls and vibe
Peixes - We never got to eat here, but I commented on how good everything looked every time we walked by!
La Lorraine - MARK THIS DOWN. This bakery was directly across the street from our AirBNB and it sells the most delicious croissants you'll ever taste. They are perfectly flaky, buttery and soft! The chocolate croissants are also a yummy option - we typically bought two of each and shared.

And the number one spot to get food and snacks throughout your trip - THE COURS SALEYA MARKET!!! It's open almost every day of the week in the mornings until the early afternoon. There's fresh fruit, pastries (peep the delicious apple stuffed one we got below), veggies, pasta, spices and much more! In the evening hours, the market turns into an artisan market where there's handmade jewelry, dishes and other items out for purchase. I bought two adjustable silver rings from the market during our trip that I still wear almost every day, and it's the cutest reminder of our wonderful time there.

Apple compote pastries from Cours Saleya Market - Nice, France

Honestly, there are so many spots around the city that offer delicious food - especially as you get closer to the beaches. If you aren't sure where to go, just browse the menus on the outside of the restaurant and do some searchin'! We usually gauged things based on the dishes we saw coming out, how crowded the place was and the price point.

Now let's talk about things to do and places to see! The top thing on our list was the beach. Now you have to keep in mind that the beaches are pebble rock, not sandy beaches. That can make it difficult when you're wanting to lay out and you don't have a chair or towel while traveling. Rest assured, there are multiple private beach clubs that you can go to for the day (usually around 20-30 euro to rent your spot for the entire day) that also serve food and drinks straight to your chair.

Plage Beau Rivage - Nice, France

We went to Plage Beau Rivage beach club - talk about feeling like a celebrity. There were waiters who brought me continuous wine and moscow mules, along with a yummy burger and truffle fries. LIVING THE LIFE. Lantz and I rented two beach loungers and an umbrella for when we wanted a little shade. We perched in our seats for the entire afternoon while reading our favorite books 

Plage Beau Rivage - Nice, France

Nice is a city that's made for walking - there are a ton of cute parks, stops and markets where you can spend your days while relaxing. It was hands-down the perfect atmosphere to unwind and enjoy ourselves. Lantz still says he fell in love with Nice during our trip and it's one of his top three places we've visited now.

Overlooking the port - Nice, France

In between the city and the port, there is a huge cliffside park that overlooks all of Nice. The views from the top are gorgeous! We went up the stairs one day all the way to the top and soaked it in. We were heading to the bus stop at the port to hop over to Monaco for the day (more of that below) and couldn't believe what was beyond the cliff that we hadn't seen yet! Definitely make some time to explore that way if you guys are in the city.



Calling all tourists... HA. We couldn't help ourselves when we saw this sign along the beach. You wouldn't believe the line of people wanting to take a picture here. I still have a few images in my camera roll of people doing the weirdest things - one girl doing a split in front of the letters, another group trying to wedge themselves in every crevice and an older couple attempting to look trendy (honestly, they kinda nailed it).

Nice, France

Off the streets of the city square there is amazing shopping! I had to hold myself back from some of the beautiful boutiques and shops in the area (my suitcase was already feeling like it might explode from how much I stuffed in there). Some of the lingerie shops sold the most intricate lace pieces I've ever seen and the price tags matched, but nonetheless, I know where I'm going to be looking for upscale intimates in the future.

The best part about staying in Nice? It was so easy to take day trips to the other cities that make up the French Riviera! We spent a day in Monaco and one afternoon in Cannes. While we thought about going to Saint Tropez, it was a little further of a trip and we loved Nice too much to leave on our last day.

Cannes, France

So now let's talk... DAY TRIPS! There are so many beautiful spots along the coast that you can visit easily by train, bus or car. The first day trip we took was to Monaco - note: Monaco is it's own individual microstate.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Casino of Monte-Carlo

MONACO

We traveled to Monte-Carlo and Monaco via the bus. It was super inexpensive (less than 10 euros for each of us) and the ride there was actually the best part in my opinion. No exaggeration - it was the prettiest bus ride I have ever been on in my life. We traveled through some smaller French towns like Eze, and the sights were incredible. We were able to spot some homes with private pools that overlooked the water, too.  Now I have to be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by Monaco. While the views were pretty and the historic casino was a neat stop, we found ourselves just wandering in search of things to see. We went up to the palace (where the prince of Monaco resides) and that was pretty neat! At the end of the day we were excited to return back to Nice and grab a delicious dinner.


CANNES

For traveling to Cannes, we took the train. Tickets were around 10-20 euros each and trains came every 15-30 minutes. The ride wasn't bad at all! We were pretty tired on the way back, so we took it as an opportunity to take a nap. Once we arrived in Cannes, we realized there was a boat festival happening. It was a bit annoying as we weren't able to navigate around the waterfront areas well, but we were able to see the iconic home of the Cannes Film Festival and stroll through their shopping district. There were a ton of cafes and spots to eat, and we couldn't stop laughing when we saw Cannes' version of Steak 'n' Shake (see the pic below)! 



Like I mentioned earlier on, we didn't make it to Saint Tropez, but have heard it's also a beautiful spot to visit! Of all the places we went, Nice was our favorite by a long shot. We spent four days total staying there with our day trips (one day in Monaco and an afternoon/early evening in Cannes). We even ran into some friends while we were Nice! 

We can't wait to book a trip to go back! If you guys have any other questions, feel free to reach out!

x, B
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