The whole coast between Monaco and Saint-Tropez is interesting. Monaco I think you can forget. We stayed last time in Menton, which I think is more charmy than Nice.
Don´t forget to take a trip inland too. Aix-en-Provence is only about 100 kilometres from Nice and a very charmy city to see.
From Nice you can go to Gorges de la Vesubie or Gorges du Cians.
Inland is also Vence and Saint-Paul de Vence.
There is so much to see around Nice, Cannes and Menton.
not with the gears in my brain. when i see a motorbike, the gear goes into FREAKOUT!
i do love to sit in the back though. B52 used to drive me around in India... I'm sure I would love driving myself even more. Full control and all that ****.
Yeah, I get the FREAKOUT thing.
We overnighted in Nice on the way to Montpelier in mid-May. We just like walking around and looking at the markets in centro, after two weeks in Italy it was our first pause in France. Had dinner a little place called Le Chat Gourmand food was OK but the maitre d' was a hoot and we shared cat pictures on our cameras. Nice weather. Bad timing. Monaco grande prix was on and the Cannes film festival was about to start.
We go kudos for not going to the grande prix. Apparently fat tourists in beer-soaked Ferrari shirts aren't on their list of favourite people.
Or... twenty miles.. (don't trust me)
I'm wrong -
^ The name has nothing to do with venti miglia ("twenty miles" in Italian) as widely thought. Most likely, it derives from the ancient Ligurian Albium, meaning "capital city", and genitive Intemelion, meaning "of the Intemelii"; see History section of the Town's official website.
A moped is a motorized bicycle - a heavily made pedal cycle with an engine usually 50cc. The essential point is that it has a (mo)tor and also (ped)als which can (in theory anyhow) be used to propel it.
The name has nothing to do with venti miglia ("twenty miles" in Italian)
That's as maybe, but road signs in the district say "XXmiglia" all the same.
mental note- don't come in fat and leave ferrari at home. got it.
Charming post. The vehicle you would like to rent is a Vespa or 'scooter' to the French. Here are some insider tips if I may:
You have already been given advice to skip Monte Carlo. I agree, unless you care to dress in formal attire and go to the Casino one evening, The walk around the Palace grounds is pleasant, as is the view of the harbour, but aside from these, there is not a lot to visit, it's principally residential and the only beach is a Private Club. I remember only one cafe there, the Cafe de Paris.
If you can manage to visit Aix-en-Provence, or Avignon do so. Both are incredibly charming towns just to wander around and sit in the shade under three hundred year old oak trees sipping a citron presse next to a relaxing fountain covered in moss.
Here is a typical French day in Nice, should you care to hang out with the locals as you said:
Breakfast at your local cafe. It is important to go to the same cafe every morning. The staff will recognise you after the second or third day and building complicity among people is a French pastime. If you dart from cafe to cafe you miss out on the human contact that is so important in French life.
After breakfast, most French people will be doing their visit to the market to prepare lunch. The market in Nice has fantastic produce, fish and of course cheese. Look for Banon cheese, Saint Nectaire, Saint Marcellin and one of my personal favourites Reblochon. There are not really a lot of cows in Southern France, so most of these come from the rgions closer to the Alps. In the Summer everyone will be drinking a chilled rose wine, either a Bandol or a Cote-de-Provence. They are light, fresh and taste like Summer! A red wine like Langedoc works better with cheese because the alcohol content helps dispearse the fatty oils of the cheese through the palate. Roses are best with seafood and salads, although nothing wrong with a chicken roasted in herb de provence with a glass of rose. The region of Provence is also well known for the use of tomato in many recipes. Stay away from shell fish, it is not the season and most of it is from the North Coast and shipped in. The desert of choice is a custard cake called the Saint Tropezian invented at Tarte Tropezienne shop on Place des Lices in St. Tropez, although there are also very good gelato shops in Nice. Again ice cream is more for the North of France where there are more diary farms.
After the market, rest a bit in a cafe.
Most French will go home now and have a big lunch that lasts from 12-3 o'clock. If you are staying in a hotel, you may notice that the French people have disappeared ... they are at lunch.
After lunch a French person will either spent the afternoon on the beach, or do a bit of shopping. Nice has very good shopping. Stay away from the main streets if you would like to find more local products, the main streets have much mostly big brands that can afford the higher rents in such well travelled roads.
After an afternoon at the beach, or shopping, it is time for the aperatif. One has aperatif starting at 6 o'clock. Pastis is a local favorite, one can also have more chilled rose with local olives. Then perhaps a stroll along the boardwalk or through the Port de Plaisance (the port for sail boats).
Nightlife starts rather late in the Summer, and most people will be having dinner from 8-11 or 12 o'clock at night when the temperature cools down a little. It's important to have meals when the locals do. Outside of Paris it is virtually impossible to have a meal outside of traditional times, this is equally true for Lunch. Don't expect to find a restaurant serving a late lunch at 3 in the afternoon or a late dinner. The cafes will only be able to serve a croque monsieur, or if you are lucky a salad nicoise once the kitchen staff as been sent home.
Nice has a flea market on the weekend right on the boardwalk. This is always very interesting, particularly if you'd like a souvenir with a bit more character then you might find in the tourist shops. Personally I like to buy lavendar when I am in the South. I always have to buy huge heaps in little sachets because all my friends want some to put with linens or to perfume a drawer. Cordials are also very popular, almost any flavour of these syrupy after dinner drinks you can imagine.
As you may have realised up to this point, the good thing about life in the South of France is that one is either at a table eating excellent food and drinking delicious light wines in the company of friends, or preparing the meal in order to do so! There is a reassuring simplicity about the whole affair.
Avignon was where the Pope resided in the Middle Ages. I saw a documentary on the Black Death and Pope Clement was saved by having his chamber lighted with bowls lit with fire to kill the micro-organisms. At that time there was no concept of bacteria or viruses. The Pope abandoned Avignon and came back. Only the physician remained who also contracted a mild version as he treated patients and noted down the symptoms and tried various cures. He recovered as did the Pope after the plague subsided.
Lucky you!! No matter where you go, you'll love it! It's been a number of years
since I was there last, but Nice and Cannes are great places to stroll along the
promenade, sit in the cafès and hang out at the beaches. The restaurants can
be quite expensive - more than you're hotel room. You'll meet interesting people and the guys can be quite persistent.... nothing you can't handle though.
I found a favorite photo of a scooter I think would be just right for me. I've no idea of the make or model. Of course, I wouldn't think of driving it on one of our Albuquerque local main thoroughfares, much less in Rome where this photo was snapped. I can imagine renting one for an hour though, and trying it out in a non crowded area.
I have one like that a French designed Japanese Yamaha model. That is how I was describing the starting. Start the engine on stand on neutral gear and while the engine running with both feet planted on either side gradually accelerate in a straight open path.
oh, awesome! we will do this all day every day, sounds ideal!
also rent that moped for a day or two and go see some of that countryside. Forget Monaco....all great stuff.
As for the pesky persistant French males, I come equipped with a tall model-like colleague that will be the center of attention. I am getting used to it, it's an exercise in humility...but ultimately i shall be more than fine on this front...
There are several places in front of the casino that is popular with locals and tourists alike. Those outside cafes will satisfy your "looking at the world go by."
Taking public transportation is much easier than most people think, and the experience will make you that much more of an explorer and add experiences that will be unforgettable.
There are plenty of nice cafes everywhere. It is much more fun and more interesting to go to the cafes where the French go, than to sit in Monaco and rub shoulders with other turists.