Our transfer van made the short journey up the coast from Cannes to Nice. We had booked a 3 bedroom apartment just 2 blocks back from beach.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the real estate agent who informed us that the lift in the old building was broken and we would have to carry our luggage up 90 STAIRS to the 4th floor where our apartment was located. I expressed my disappointment to him, saying how completely unreasonable this was with 3 small children, one of whom is still in a pram.
James and Marlee managed a few trips up the stairs with our luggage and were absolutely exhausted after doing so. Then once we perused the apartment, we realised we had 1 bathroom for 5 people for the week, things were about to get cosy!
We had views over the mountains and restaurants below. Nice was considerably noisier than Cannes, and the kids were often woken by the loud bikes and scooters. James even said that the French Riviera reminded him of Queensland. If Cannes were Noosa, then Nice was the Gold Coast.
Our kitchen was large and well stocked. I was able to cook poached eggs with avocado and spinach every morning which pleased me so. We had 2 mini-markets located below which had amazing fresh produce and enough items for me to throw a few good dinners together.
We were blessed with the most amazing gelato shop around the corner that the children loved. While they made wonderful gelato, they were so stingy with their quantities with such steep prices. One evening, I had a caramel milkshake that literally filled my cup halfway. When I asked them to fill it to the top, they said it was their policy to not overfill cups!?! We encountered many places like this in Nice, more people trying to squeeze a buck from you.
The beach in Nice is breathtaking to look at, but the huge pebble beach proved quite difficult to swim in and the kids weren’t too impressed at all. When the waves roll in, the pebbles tumble around and whack you in the ankles! Luckily, the beach club that we frequented had a little kids plunge pool which was great. Marlee took the kids down most days for a cool off, although she did tell us she had to fight off a few local French children with mischievous intentions.
We managed to find a few cute little restaurants for dinner but it was difficult to choose with almost every institution serving the exact same menu and price. Tourists lined the cobble alleys, reading menus and choosing tables. One of the best meals we ate as a family was in an authentic Indian restaurant across the road from our building.
James and I hired a Mini-Cooper convertible for a day, leaving the kids with Marlee while we cruised up the coastline. A more detailed post about this to follow soon!
On our 2nd last day, we decided to head to a sandy beach only 10 minutes north of Nice named VilleFranche-sur-Mer. This is a busy seaside fishing town in the Côte d’Azur. A couple of features that make it so attractive to visitors are the long sandy beaches, terrace cafés and restaurants. Many cruise ships choose to dock in the calm bay while guests can experience a quieter version of the French Riviera.
This day turned out to be such an ordeal and a complete disaster. James lost his iPhone in the taxi on the way to the beach, we had to fight for a sliver of sand with all the locals and tourists who had disembarked from the 2 cruiseships docked in the bay then when we decided to head home, we had to wait for an hour in the hot sun on a tiny train platform because the trains were too full for us to jump on. When we arrived back to the apartment, James tracked his phone to a apartment block about 3.2km away. He decided to go for a run to see if he could spot the cab we had taken earlier, but alas, he came up short and had to jog the 3.2km run back to Nice. We did however manage to head out for a late dinner together and enjoyed some quiet time after a very long day.
Our time in Nice was up rather quickly. James picked up a replacement phone down the road at an Apple Store. We packed our bags and lugged our suitcases down the stairs. Collectively, we bid farewell to the French Riviera and France too. Our early evening flight to Venice was jam packed with Italians, we scored the Easy Jet lottery having being allocated the ONLY spare seat on the flight next to us so Harriet had a little extra room to move around. We landed in Venice not long before sunset. It was magical and I cried tears of joy. Ciao Italia!