Summer 2104 – French Riviera: Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Vintimille

I took a train from Paris to Cannes and arrived at night. Put up at a B&B just because.

Somehow it is always comforting to see breakfast laid out like this.

All sorts of conserves.

Hygienic and effective way to dispense butter!

The hosts for this B&B stay were really warm and friendly. It was a really pleasant experience even though it was just for 1 night.

Spent the day exploring cannes but the hot weather (nobody told me!!) killed all mood, except the mood for ice cream. Ice cream shops were everywhere but my gut feeling told me to get it from this one.

The soft serve is actually made using the regular hard ice cream, put through their soft serve machine.

I had a coconut soft serve and it was AMAZING. The soft serve was extremely creamy and the coconut flavour was not too artificial tasting. (Of course I do know that ice cream flavours are ALWAYS artificial.. but it can be made to not taste so bad right?) I think I could return to Cannes just for this.

Near the ice cream booth was tram tour of the beach and surroundings. It cost about €9 and includes audio guide in several languages and a stop over at a hilltop castle.

View of Cannes from the castle top. From this ride, I got to know which are the streets with shops I want to visit so it is quite useful. Needed to get some summer essentials since this place was too hot.

 

Of course I had to get more. The hard ice cream wasn’t fantastic at all. GET THE SOFT SERVE.

The was about it for Cannes and the next place to visit was Nice. We were unlucky to be affected by the SNCF Strikes and most trains were cancelled. The B&B host warned us about it and told us to take the bus as an alternative but we already bought tickets. Luckily, there was 1 train left in the evening. As a result, I only arrived at Nice much later than planned and couldn’t do anything except for having dinner and settling down.

Tried Hippopotamus, which is like the Jack’s Place of France. There’s one franchise in Singapore too (and is quite expensive here). It was, well, edible? But I won’t have it again if I could choose.

The following day was simply spent exploring Nice. Again, the weather was too hot to have mood for anything. Took the tram ride thingy again and it was simply the Nice version of the one in Cannes.

There was a hilltop stop over too for a panoramic view.

Spot the tram in the picture? This was taken from Meridien Hotel’s rooftop bar/ restaurant. Everywhere kinda looks the same in my opinion.

Dinner was at a random place around Cours Saleya, which was like the Boat Quay of Nice. (With loads of tourist trap restaurants). I did not really prepare anything beforehand and I regret ending up in such places, but oh well.

The seafood spaghetti was average at best but the portion could feel many people.

Salade Niçoise

Sah-lard neeswah is how you pronounce it. Because I’m in Nice, I just have to try this. It’s a creation originating from Nice.

Moule Frites

I knew that Cours Sayela was a tourist trap because every restaurant has a menu of mixed European dishes. Mussels are a Belgian thing and this was no where as good as the ones I had in Belgium. Still edible though.

Floating Island

This was included in the set dinner and it was a waste of calories.

Paradice Restaurant Creperie
28 cours Saleya, 06300 Nice, France

By evening time the weather was more bearable, so it was time to hit the beach for some sea breeze!

The next day started off with hiccups. I wasn’t aware that the strikes were still ongoing and I only found out that there were no trains. I had to make my way to Menton for a lunch reservation at Mirazur, a restaurant I wanted to try badly! The alternative was taking a bus which went through Monaco. The queue for the bus was terrible and it was slow before the process of buying tickets from the driver was very inefficient. Long story short, I got there eventually but was terribly late and ended up spending so much more (had to take a taxi from Menton and make overseas calls) as a result of the strikes.

Menton was lovely and less populated than Nice. In fact, through the bus ride, I got to see the whole stretch of the Riviera and it was beautiful. I recommend driving in that area and booking a beach facing apartment somewhere in the middle. It’s way more beautiful than Nice.

After lunch we took a bus from Menton to Monaco and arrived late afternoon. Went to check out the aquarium.

Blue lobsters are very rare!

Everybody’s favourite fish.

Everybody’s favourite food.

Monaco

Many people say that Monaco is boring, but I preferred it here than Nice or Cannes. I like how it’s more developed. The train station looked less scary.

Had seafood for dinner because this is the French Riviera. It was not fantastic but alright. Paired with white wine because this is France.

5 Place Garibaldi, 06300 Nice, France
On the last full day we had no plans. The strikes were still ongoing but there were a few trains in service. Decided to cross the border to Italy! In fact, I already did so the day before. Mirazur was the last house on Menton and beyond that point it was already Italy territory. However, it was quite a distance (maybe 30mins car ride?) to the town so it wasn’t so possible to head there the day before.
Took a train to Vintimille (Ventimiglia in Italian) and when we arrived, we were in for a shock. The whole place looked really run down in comparison to France. It was like arriving in Batam. I’m not exaggerating. People were peddling counterfeit branded good around the streets.

The main attraction of Italy was the pasta so of course we had lunch here.

 

Octopus and Orange Salad

Vongole Linguine

Carbonara Bucatini

The portions were way too big. In Singapore, it would have been less than half of what was served. It was not bad though! I liked the ocotpus salad..

Usteria D’a Porta Marina
Via C. Colombo, 9, 18039 Ventimiglia, Italy

The other thing to do in Italty was to have gelato. I had coconut and something else and the coconut was excellent! This shop was located really near the station. Generally everything here is cheaper than in France, including gelato. It’s like going to Batam for cheaper essentials.

Didn’t stray from the station because it felt unsafe in Itaty. Managed to get onto the train back to France and the ride was exciting. The train was too full, especially after Monaco, because everybody was trying to get onto the only train! I was lucky to be seated on the upper deck because people got violet at the lower deck which was sardine packed. The subsequent train would be 2h later due to the strikes.

I was lucky to be able to return to Nice without much trouble and it was an adventure.

Last dinner in Nice was woodfire pizza. Margherita is the way to go! Not the best, but not bad.

2, rue Saint Francois, 06300, Nice

And that, concludes my summer trip this year! I really wished I was more prepared for the French Riviera, brought appropriate attire for the scorching weather and had a list of better food to eat. Random food is not nice.

 

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