The French Riviera is made up of a bunch of different cities along the Mediterranean. Nice is considered the capital of the French Rivera but the surrounding cities have so much to offer as well! So we decided to take a train to Monaco, where the famous Monte Carlo Casino calls home and the rich and famous vacate to.
So we boarded a train to see how the other side lives. We went straight to Monte Carlo in hopes of seeing where James Bond and Oceans Eleven were filmed, and we got as far as the lobby. The casino didn't open until 2pm, so we decided to come back around then. Upon looking at our GPS to see what was close by, we found a Japanese Garden. After a short walk, along the way passing Lamborghinis, Maserati's, G Wagons, Rolls Royce - you name it, we found the garden. It was a beautiful little sanctuary with Zen gardens, a small tea house, a large pond and plenty of oriental bridges and architecture.
Lunch time came so we looked around to see what we could grab for a quick bite. We passed restaurants that wanted 24 euro for French onion soup and gloved waiters, so Starbucks it was! Perched on a hill, we sat and drank our 8 euro coffee and 4 euro carrot cake. This should hold us over until we could find something back in Nice much more our pace - and dress code.
We walked towards their beach, which we agreed was beautiful, but not as beautiful as Nice. We sat on the "sand" which was actually small stones that I've seen used for making driveways and watched a photoshoot a little ways away of a woman modeling street clothes.
After our short beach visit, we walked back towards Monte Carlo with a bit more time to kill before it opened, so we went to the gardens close by and walked around. The plaza where Monte Carlo is, is lined with designer shops and has luxury cars circling the roundabout so we walked there too and then tried to enter Monte Carlo, which wanted 17 euro per person to enter. I didn't care that much to pay $40 to see the inside, so feeling pretty discouraged and out of place we made our way back to Nice.
There, we grabbed a quick dinner and rested until Carnaval, the Illuminated Parade, was going to start. We got to our front row seats (!!) and were entirely blown away by the spectacle before us. I danced and sang and took a million pictures of the larger than life floats. Confetti rained down and the energy was absolutely electric. Our last night in Nice certainly went out with a bang and will be a memory I hold onto forever.
Happy Travels my dears. Things may not always be what you expect or don't go according to plan, but trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone is where living happens.
Get out there!