SUSAN’S GUIDE TO THE FRENCH RIVIERA 

fabulous food, sunshine and over the top wealth.  

You are spoiled for choice in this millionaire’s playground.  A super efficient train service allows you to make your way from one wonderful place to another, or you can grab your sunscreen and just chill in Nice.

 

Hello: bow-jour /  How are you? : sa-vah?/  fine, and you? : bee-en, eh vou? / Please: see vous play /

Thank you: mare-see / Goodbye : oar-re-voir / Have a good day: bon jour-neh  /  Have a good evening : bon swar-eh

 

GETTING AROUND NICE

Nice public transp    single ticket (74 minutes with one change) or you can buy 10 tickets at discounted price from machines at tram stops. Honour system- validate on board 4:30am-1:30am

Petit train skirts around old town with 10 min stop at castle hill.  Takes 40 mins   / Place Massena

Harbour Cruise  One hour harbour cruise to see homes of rich and famous /11am-noon or 3-4pm

www.trans-cote-azur.co.uk    (33) 04 9200 4230 / make reservation asap: croisieres@trans-cote-azur.com

Open top bus tours  (Le Grand Tour)  goes into hills and Cimiez    10am-6pm

Roller Station: rents bikes, roller blades/leave passport. 10am-7pm(9:30am-00:00 July/Aug) 10 rue Cassini

 

NICE’S NICEST SITES

Ave Jean Medicine & Rue Massena Place Massena is stunning at night when the fountains are lit and the locals come out. Shopping, eating, drinking and people watching. Bus station on the big blvd, and the tram runs up Jean Medicine to the main train station, Nice Gare.  

All museums in Nice are around 10 euros entry. If you plan on visiting more than two, pick up a 24 hour Riviera Pass. This also includes open top bus and petite train/ and sites in other Riviera cities.  

Castle Hill – Colline du Chateau: Climb the hill to find waterfall, playground, cafes, cemetery, but no chateau or castle since 1706.  Great views over Med.  Free/ closes at 8pm in summer & earlier off season

Nice Old TownCafes, gelato bars, flowers, olives, cheese, handmade crafts, clothes, shoes, and colourful French souvenirs. Restaurants close for siesta 1:30 to 4ish.

Cours Saleya Big square off water front with outdoor restaurants, shops, bars and nightlife.

From 7am to mid afternoon: Antiques & flea market Monday, or flower & crafts market on Tuesday

Music : Akathors at #32: live folk outside 5:50-9:30pm/ quirky rock bands & locals upstairs  10:30-2:30am

Gelato: Fennochios.  96 flavours include violet, rose, lavender, olive or red pepper corn…in Place Rosetti (look for canopy on far side of square) or smaller shop off Cour Saleya (thru arch across from Trios Diables/live music pub)

Past groups liked:

*Italian food Ristorant la Falva rue Louis Gassin at far end of Cours Saleya, huge portions/ great food

*Seafood banquets Chez Freddie 20-22 Cours Saleya/  good with large groups/ set menu great value

 

–At top end of Cours Saleya, look for a bright yellow building.  This was Matisses’ home and end of Rue Droite.

Head to #15 Rue Droite to Palais Lascaris Geonese style palace & reconstruction of pharmacy from 1738, 10am-6pm, closed Tues

Keep walking to #5 and you will find Chez Palmyre for local home cooking.  Open noon to 2pm and 7-10pm.

Be there at opening to get a table, or book 0493 857232. Daily menus, set price and full of locals/ very authentic

 

Modern Art Museum the MAMAC. Three levels of interesting art with a great open rooftop terrace for taking pics

of the city/ enter from second level in courtyard over the road/   10am-6pm   / on big boulevard /  Closed Monday

Hotel Negresco, 37 Prom des Anglais. Dress up and have a cocktail or a meal in one of the worlds’ finest hotels. Has a collection of artwork, antiques, interesting rooms, and posh toilets to look at.

 

Sites in the hills  (closed Tuesdays)

-Local bus 22 from Place Massena to Cimiez and galleries in the hills.  both open 10am-6pm

Matisse museum His entire personal collection & 100 personal effects/ free admission.    Bus stop: Musee Matisse

Chagall museum 17 massive canvases of violin playing goats & biblical stories       Bus stop: Musee Chagall

(these are all in the same area)

-A more extensive tour Hop on/off bus makes 14 stops, including Cimiez and museums / 9:30am-6:45pm/ every 30 mins/ from Place Massena on Promenade

 

BEAULIEU-SUR-MER

Villa Grecque Kerylos Lavish Greek villa in town centre. Once you finish your visit, 800 metres away is…

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild Belle époque villa, gardens & tea room (lunch noon-3pm/ or coffee until closing)

To get to Beaulieu-sur-mer station, train or take bus 81 or 100 from Nice

Both open 10am-6pm / Jul & Aug to 7pm

After, head to the promenade of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.  Swim, sunbathe, bars & cafes and fantastic properties.

           

CANNES

20 mins on direct train from Nice main station.

Has large public, white sand beach.   Visit the home of the Cannes Film festival, & 2 public white sand beaches. Designer shopping, as well as regular shopping streets & morning food market (until noon) with olives, cheese, meats & fresh bread.

It is small and easy to find your way around.  Once off the train, wander down hill and to the waterfront.  You will see a harbour filled with yachts, and to the left side of that is a big building called Festival du Halles, where they hold the main award ceremony for the Cannes film festival.  In front of it is a walk of fame, with hand and foot prints of past movie stars.  The Carlton Hotel is further along the seafront. The side streets have lots of funky shops and places to eat.  Go for the glamour, not the sites.

 

MONACO 

Train from Nice: 17 mins on direct train from main station /€3 one way/ last one back to Nice 23:55pm

Bus #1 & 2 run through Monaco/ or pick up the tourist train from Oceanographic Museum

When visiting Monaco, I highly recommend you wear your best clothes, but leave the stilettos behind unless you have feet of steel.  Lots of stairs and walking.  

Oceanographic Museum: a vintage museum with a collection of 6,000 fishies, artefacts and aquariums collected by Prince Albert 1st and maintained by Jacques Cousteau and his son.  Focus on the Mediterranean.  Varied opening hours

Palace:  Changing of the guards at 11:55am.  Tour state rooms from 9:30am-6:00pm   (this is quite good to see)

& Mus of Napoleon Souvenirs: also contains Monagese memorabilia   (Not much to see unless you are a history buff)

Prince Albert’s Car collection:  100 vintage and veteran cars/ Fontevielle:     10am-6pm  (You will be amazed at the size of the collection).  

Grand Casino:  Bang in the middle of Monte Carlo, is the most magnificent casino in the world, known as the cathedral of gambling.  Passport to gamble, and no shorts for men past 9pm. Basque in Belle Epoque elegance while watching euro-millionaires throw their money away on the Roulette tables while drinking Champagne.  This is where Bond ordered his first martini, shaken not stirred.  Go on, I dare you!  pay to enter public rooms / must be aged 18

The public toilets inside the casino have an attendant and they expect you to leave €1.  I suggest when you first enter the building, go to the right and look for a set of doors that lead downstairs to free toilets.  Then enter the gaming rooms.

The Fairmont Casino

If you come out of the main square in Monte Carlo, walk down the pedestrian path with the Grand Casino on your right, and keep going downhill.  When you come to the stairs, go down them and cross the road to continue along the stairs.  At the bottom is the hairpin bend (from the Monaco Grand Prix race course), and you will see the Fairmont on your right.

Go in through the main entrance, and at the back of the lobby you will find a plush lounge bar with beautiful views.  Drinks are pricey, but notice they add a tip on already, so don’t double tip.

There are public toilets around the corner from the piano bar, beside the real estate office.  These are free and very nice.