Tuesday 6th September – Cote D’Azur
After settling into the campsite on the Cote D’Azur and deciding to stay for 4 nights we headed to Cannes for the afternoon on the train.
Cannes is a pretty seaside town famous of course for the Cannes Film Festival. We had driven through the outskirts last year but it was great to actually head into the hub of things.
We took ‘Le Petit Train’ around the centre for an hour to see various places and get a sense of the place before heading back to the promenade areas and admiring some the of very expensive cars.
We did consider staying there for dinner that evening but it was looking to be pretty expensive so we decided on splashing out when we went to Monaco rather than have something in Cannes.
Wednesday 7th September – Antibes
In the morning we both had some work to do and then we headed to the beach to swim in the Azure coloured sea (I wonder which came first though – the colour Azure or Cote D’Azur?) for the afternoon before cycling into the centre of Antibes for dinner in the evening. It’s another nice seaside town which was quite busy and my lamb chops were fantastic but definitely didn’t have the class of Cannes.
Thursday 8th September – Monaco
Again we spent the morning catching up with work (Steven) or sunbathing (me) and headed to Monaco on the train at lunchtime.
Steven had quite a long list of places to see so we started off by walking up the big hill to the palace only to find a city sightseeing tour bus at the top, so we hopped on that to see where that took us.
This is the second time we’ve been to Monaco although we only drove through it last year in Ellie (our previous motorhome). This time we had time to explore and although it’s only a very small area it certainly packs it all in. The old town was particularly lovely with the palace and old streets while the new area is built up and has a lot of concrete. One thing they do well though is intersperse the concrete with green gardens and trees so it’s prettier than it might be.
Monaco I think is known for 2 main things, maybe 3. One being the Grand Prix, the second being Grace Kelly and the third being the gambling. Apparently you can only live tax free in Monaco if you never frequent the casinos!
We saw quite a few of the sloping curbs (for the grand prix) around the town and went along some of the route so will be watching out for more familiar places next time it’s on.
We also went in the cathedral where Princess Grace was both married and is buried and her influence is all over Monaco in the gardens, charitable work and animal rights changes that she made.
One of my personal highlights of the day was a lovely man, having spotted that I was admiring one of his very beautiful angel wing necklaces through the window, came over and showed me the magical ring that was part of the same set. He put on a black glove to show off the white gold and diamond ring that was like a rose and a good inch across (and no doubt very expensive). But then it magically separated into three parts, with the petals being 2 parts and a big fat diamond in the centre being the main part – my response was ‘wow’! Have to say it made my day that he would bother with little ‘old me!
In the evening we found a lovely restaurant overlooking the harbour for dinner and indulged in a bottle of wine as well as some lovely food. The total was over €130 for what I would call an OK meal but when in Monaco…
Friday 9th September – Searching, searching, searching…
Friday was a bit of an upsetting and sad day. Last night after getting the train back from Monaco we got to Gare Du Biot to pick up our bikes that we’d left there earlier in the day (easier to cycle to the station than walk) but unfortunately someone else had already picked them up and they were gone. Seems that Gare du Biot is a common station for bike thieves and when we reported it to the police they didn’t seem all that interested. Credit to the campsite staff at La Vieille Ferme though as they were very sympathetic and helpful and genuinely upset for us.
Mostly though Friday was spent in traffic, trying to find a police station that was open, looking to see if we could find replacement bikes (which we decided against) and doing some shopping etc. Not exactly an exciting day. I think we also needed time to get over the shock of the theft, we hadn’t had the bikes very long and they were a fantastic bargain for great quality bikes – which is probably why they vanished so quickly!
We did salvage something in the afternoon though by walking down to the beach and going for a lovely late afternoon swim.
Saturday 10th September – Nice Nice…
Saturday was washing day, this was the second wash I’ve done in the 3 weeks on the road and nothing took very long to dry!
While it was drying though I took another opportunity to improve my Mediterranean tan which is coming along very nicely indeed with the help of coconut oil instead of suntan cream (not recommended unless you know you tan easily and don’t burn!).
Mid afternoon we headed into Nice on the 200 Bus which was very easy, cheap (€1.50 per person single) and gave us great views of the Azure sea as we drove into the city centre.
We got off the bus just before the old town on the Promenade Anglais and walked along to find the memorials and tributes to those that died or were injured in the 14th July 2016 lorry attack. I found myself very moved and in tears especially due to the large number of teddy bears and cuddly toys that were there for the children that died. There was another area around the bandstand opposite which had more tributes and ‘Pray for Nice’ signs posted around it. I will never understand how someone can carry out such an act of violence!
As a complete contrast further into the town centre there is a water fountain area where dozens if not hundreds of children were having fun on a Saturday afternoon in the heat with water jets shooting up into the air. It was exactly what we needed after the sadness and to watch the childish innocence and fun was very cathartic and a true blessing.
Nice is a lovely town contrasted with old and new and we focused mainly in the old town area, wandering around the little streets and sampling some rather lovely ice cream (no added sugar!) and finished off the day at Chez Juliette which was superb food for €50 (much better than Monaco in both taste and value) and if you are ever in Nice I highly recommend you find it!