Just returned from a excellent short break in Nice from 8th to 12th September 2013. Booked with Easyjet holidays mainly due to flights from regional airport & the price, much cheaper than booking with the hotel direct. Stayed in the Palais de la Mediterranean a five star hotel in a excellent location on the sea front in Nice. I have written a separate review of the hotel (4/5) which can be accessed via the following link:-
With the exception of heavy rain when landing (improved later in the day) weather was mostly sunny. Temperature ranged from 23C to 26C. Hope you find the report useful when planning your trip.
Sunday 08/09/13 - Bristol (UK) to Nice.
Woke up at 1.30am, left the house at 3am to catch the 7am Easyjet flight from Bristol to Nice. Leaving a busy Bristol airport behind flight departed on time, flying time just under 2hrs. Very impressed with Easyjet, smooth flight with a excellent landing in Nice during bad weather. After quickly collecting our baggage caught a taxi to the hotel from the taxi rank outside arrivals. Followed the advice and made sure the meter was on, journey was under 20 minutes and the taxi fare was 30 euros as expected. As we arrived just after 11.30am which was prior to the check in time relaxed in the lounge with a coffee. Managed to check in one hour early at 2pm, the rain stopped and the sun started to shine, perfect timing.
Enjoyed a late afternoon / evening stroll. Walked on one of the main pedestriansed streets Rue de France which had lots of shops and restaurants. This led to Massena Square a spacious picturesque plaza with brightly coloured red buildings. The area was a little spoilt due to the construction of a temporary stage for a forthcoming concert. Walked along the large promenade to the port area. (Quai des Etats-Unis). Enjoyed the views of the beach and the sea. Walked to the port which is the main link for the ferry to Corsica. As time was ticking on, headed back to the old town and had a light meal in Le Marche, Cours Saleya. Fresh simple food with no complaints. Enjoyed my brief introduction to Nice, looking forward to seeing more in the coming days.
Monday 09/09/13 - Monte Carlo & Villefranche Sur Mer
After a excellent breakfast walked to the train station (approximately 15 minutes from the hotel) to catch the train to Monte Carlo. Considered the bus service but decided on the train as the journey was slightly faster and there was a greater chance of finding a seat. On arrival at the train station there was a long queue to purchase tickets but it moved pretty fast. Standard adult ticket 7.40 euros return. Don’t forget to validate your ticket in the yellow boxes outside the platform. The trains are very frequent, every 20 minutes for the majority of the day and the journey takes approximately 25 minutes. Very smooth journey with no problems, managed to have seats both ways.
On arrival walked around the harbour & continued to walk up the hill to Casino Square. Saw the famous casino which is located next to the Hotel de Paris, apparently this is one of the best hotels in the world. Personally, I thought the area was overrated, very busy with lots of people, pollution and traffic congestion. Walked around, looked at the expensive shops and gardens but I was not impressed. On the positive, the harbour is pretty with good views. I am glad I visited but have no plans to return.
From Monte Carlo, caught the train back to Nice but stopped off in Villefranche which is located 14km from Monte Carlo & 4km from Nice. I fell in love with this charming village. Walked to the main centre along the quiet side streets with great views of the stunning coastline & the sea on the other side. Visited the citadel saw a excellent exhibition “Franchement Art”, over sixty artists exhibited their paintings for the three day event from the 6th to 9th September. This was a unexpected highlight. Loved Villefranche, would definitely like to return one day.
Tuesday 10/09/13 - Nice
There was a public transport strike today, majority of trains and buses were not running. Luckily we planned to stay in Nice so this was not a problem. Walked along the promenade to the eastern end of the Quai des Etats-Unis to Castle hill. When we reached the sign “Castel” on the road which is close to the beach you will notice the road turns sharply. Cross the road and from the circular structure closes by there is a sign “Ascenteur du Chateau”. This is the entrance to the lift, difficult to find if you don’t know it is there. There is no charge for the lift (there was a charge previously) and it takes approximately 1 minute to the top. Alternatively you can walk up the steps. The panaromic views are stunning, you can see all of Nice and the beach on the one side and the port on the other. Best to visit in the morning for photographs due to the location of the sun. After looking at the excellent views, walked around the park and saw the waterfall. Decided to walk down, very pleasant shaded walk with lots of steps. Not suitable for the less mobile.
Slowly walked around the old town and enjoyed a refreshing drink in Rossetti Plazza. This was the nicest and cheapest coffee of the entire trip. (When facing the cathedral, the restaurant is on the right hand side of the square). Visited the beautiful Baroque style Sainte Reparate cathedral and walked around the quieter side streets. Final stop, another large square Place Garibaldi, lots of beautiful building and more cafés and restaurants. Headed back to the hotel for some relaxation around the pool after passing the end of the flower market in the old town. Relaxing evening and a very good Italian meal in La Pizza Cresci (Rue Massena). Enjoyed Nice, looking forward to another day tomorrow.
Wednesday 11/09/13 - Menton
Menton lies close to the French-Italian border in between Monaco & Italy, approximately 40 minutes by train from Nice. Travelled on the same train as Monday to Monte Carlo, takes an additional 15 minutes. Standard adult ticket 10 euros return.
From the train station walked along Avenue de Verdun passing the Biovès gardens and the casino. Saw the pretty church of St John’s on the corner of the avenue next to the Casino. This led to one of the main streets Avenue Félix Faure towards the waterfront. Walked along the promenade enjoying the sunshine and watching the waves. Saw the modern Jean Cocteau Museum from the outside but continue walking along the coast. This led to the original museum which is located inside a medieval bastion on the waterfront. Walked up the steps to the top walls with great views of the sea and the port in the other direction. From the port, visited the old town with lots of shops and restaurants in quiet backstreets. Saw the Basilica of St Michel a baroque masterpiece which is worth a visit. Enjoyed a delicious Crepe Tartin with apple and nuts in one of the restaurants close to the sea. Walked back to the train station via Republique street, saw the pretty Réformée de France a catholic church, exterior of the Prehistoric museum and the Salle Saint Exupery church. Enjoyed my visit to pretty Menton.
Thursday 12/09/13 - Nice to Bristol
After a early morning breakfast it was time to leave Nice behind and catch the 10.35am Easyjet flight to Bristol. There was a taxi rank directly outside the hotel, only a short 15 minute journey to the airport. I was warned about taxis overcharging and not turning on the meter. The driver was initially friendly but when I asked him to turn on the meter his attitude changed. The driver became confrontational and quite nasty. Once he realised that we stayed in the Palais de la Mediterranee (the porter gave him the bags) I think he decided to overcharge by not turning on the meter. Everything worked out fine in the end but it was not a pleasant experience.
After a smooth check in went through security with no delays. Nice is a very modern airport with lots of space and excellent views of the runway. Flight left on time, arrived in Bristol over ten minutes early. Another excellent flight with Easyjet.
Thanks to all of the contributors on this forum, your valuable information definitely helped with the planning and the overall enjoyment. Special thanks to FinlandTimo, SelkieNice, LondonBob, Troggs, Perilzia, Doby47, & PhilbyLondon_Nice.
If you have any questions, let me know