Two Weeks In The South Of France
Throughout all of last year, I told Leigh Anna that I wanted our next trip to be something easy and relaxing - "like Europe." She delivered Europe on a silver platter as an extremely surprising birthday gift, but it's clear that we have different ideas of what it means to take a relaxing vacation.
This trip was as jam-packed as the rest of them; We averaged 19,000 steps a day, traveled to three different countries, visited museums, explored succulent gardens, went to the zoo, did a whole lot of sightseeing, took a train ride, had picnics, and drank champagne by the Mediterranean Sea at sunset.
On New Year's Day, we hopped the train three hours over to Genova, Italy. For the sake of transparency, we were underwhelmed with Genova, but in her defense, she isn't a city geared towards tourism. We spent most of our time here just wandering the narrow streets, eating pizza and pasta.
Back in Nice, we slowed things down to a slightly more leisurely pace pretending to be critics at the Museum of Modern Art and walking out to the "suburbs" to see the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. We both agreed that the Russian religious art was some of the most unique we've seen and may be in first place for our favorite cathedrals.
Throughout the following days, we stumbled upon an antique market where we bought a textbook style print of a mushroom as our souvenir. We also gawked at the citrus trees that are planted throughout the city and I forced Leigh Anna to ride the Ferris wheel with me.
We spent our last day in Europe traveling throughout Eze and Monaco.
In Eze, The Exotic Garden is the main attraction and the views did not disappoint! I'd consider it a can't miss - especially if you're looking for an Instagram worthy photo experience.
Monaco was everything I expected it to be based on what I had heard about it. It was swimming with luxury vehicles, private yachts, and perfectly maintained landscape. Here we visited the Monte Carlo Casino, just to say that we did, and then walked to the Oceanographic Museum. Because Atlanta has the best aquarium in the world, I kept my expectations low, but honestly, I spent most of my time here in awe of how perfectly curated every piece of this experience was. It truly is a museum that happens to house small amounts of marine life rather than an aquarium. It was easily one of my favorite pieces of the trip!
As usual, I'm home from this vacation feeling more tired and worn out than before I left, but I'm so grateful that we get to have these experiences. Eager to see where Leigh Anna wants to drag me to next.
For our home away from home in Nice, we stayed in an Airbnb right on the promenade. The location could not have been better and we were within walking distance to the beach, castle hill, the local markets, shopping, restaurants, and the tram line.
In Genova, we spent two nights at Hotel B&B. This was a great place for a brief stay; It was inexpensive but nice, it's conveniently located across from the train station, and they provide a lovely breakfast bar for just 7 Euros.
Getting from Nice to Eze to Monaco (and back!):
If you're doing Eze and Monaco in the same day, which we did, you'll take BUS 82 or 112 to Eze Village. After visiting the Gardens, hop onto 112 the rest of the way to Monaco.
Take BUS 100 back to Nice.
*Be sure to check the bus schedule and plan accordingly.
**Your Nice bus/tram tickets will not work for Monaco as it operates as it's own country. Have Euros for public transportation.
BrewDog: This place is a chain, but they had a meatless Monday special where all vegan options were buy one get one free. We definitely ate here twice.
4 Avenue des Phocéens, 06300 Nice, France
Le Falafel: This place is almost fully vegan and SO delicious. You can build your own falafel pita or share the hummus platter.
13 Rue du Collet, 06300 Nice, France
KOKO Green: We didn't get to eat here because they were closed for the holiday, but it came highly rated for raw and vegan foods. (It's directly across the street from Le Falafel.)
1 Rue de la Loge, 06300 Nice, France
It's worth noting that A LOT of the French restaurants close mid afternoon until around dinner, so eat when you can and check the operating hours.
*If you are a student, your ID will get you a discount at the gardens in Eze, the Oceanographic Museum, and free admission into the MAMAC.