Beautiful Èze

On a beautiful Sunday morning, I decided to go to Èze – my Lonely Planet guide said that U2’s Bono owns a villa here, so it had to have a nice view, right…?

I caught the #82 bus from Vauban to Èze village – NOTE: it’s important that you catch the bus to “village” instead of “sur mer” which means beach, otherwise it’s going to be a steep long hike upwards… The bus ride was quite pleasant and only took about 25mins or so. When we arrived, everyone beelined it to the village. I had read that there is a nice garden-like place that you can visit once you reach the highest point. In any case, there is a Tourist Information office which provide you with maps and suggest good places to see whilst in Èze village.

The village was quite small but charming nonetheless. There are alot of artist studios both work on canvas, and clay works – whether it be kitchen plates or pretty decorative tiles. The village has a medieval feel to it, with it’s winding lanes and alleyways. There are a number of nice vantage points that provide a nice view. I somehow managed to find my way to the entrance to the highest point to see this “garden”. I paid the 6EU entrance fee and began to make my way around. The garden is basically a cactus garden – every single possible type of cactus was there…. I made it up to the top and as I looked over at the coastline of Èze, I thought WOW this is truly spectacular, no wonder Bono has a villa around here somewhere…

After exploring the village, I started my walk back down. I had asked the tourist information office if it was possible to hike down all the way to the beach – they said that it was and it would take around 45mins at a steady pace. The hike down was really nice, although at times I thought I was a tad bit crazy as there was no one on the trail for the first 30mins and no cell phone signal! (though it was fine, I was paranoid for no reason!!) The weather was so so good, and I was so glad that I was hiking down and not up! I came across a few people after 30mins who were huffing and puffing – on two occasions I was asked as to how long there was to go (at least thats what I thought they said in French), and with my basic French and some sign language I would tell them that there was still some time to go, wish them “bon chance” and kept on going…

I made it down in exactly 45mins! I didn’t know where the access point to the beach was, but I followed a groups of guys who had just unloaded paddle boarding gear from the car and were in board shorts. I think they knew I was following them but I didn’t care. Turns out I was right, they led me to the seaside – as it was covered in rocks NOT sand. I found myself a nice place to sit and had my packed lunch. I couldn’t resist the amazing turqoise pristine water, so I rolled up my trousers and dipped my feet into the water – oh so nice! but I also cut my toe on the rocks (I HATE ROCKY BEACHES!!). Just chilling by the seaside was so nice, but I could feel my feet burning so I thought I should keep moving (yes I know I should put sunscreen on but I never burn – clearly only in France I burn…)

Next, I walked over to Beaulieu Sur Mer – which was the next beach/bay over. In actual fact, I was going to catch the bus back to Nice, but after waiting 20mins at the stop, I grew impatient and began to walk. And I’m so glad I did. The coastline was absolutely stunning and the sun was shining – loving life! There was a port called “Port de Beaulieu-sur-Mer” that had ALOT of nice yachts! (I have a thing for boat…). I didn’t stay here long, I walked along the harbour and continued walking to the next bay. Oh and the houses that I walked past were absolutely beautiful – I wouldn’t mind a summer villa here…

From Beaulieu sur Mer I walked to Villefranche sur Mer and this was a very busy beach! There were alot of locals here though, unlike the other beaches… The wall was covered in nice pink/purple flowers and the water just looked so inviting! I ended up buying an ice-cream and chillin’ by the water. By this stage, I had walked about 6km, so I thought I should catch the bus back – and given that I knew that bus #100 went along the coast I decided to get to the main road and get on the bus. BIG MISTAKE! the train station was only a short walk from the beach. I even asked the workers there how long it would take me to walk up to the main road, it took AGES! plus the road was all windy and it was a steep ascent! anyway, I managed to get to the main road (eventually) and luckily didn’t wait too long for the bus…

It’s a really nice walk from Èze to Villefranche, particularly because I had the path all to myself… I would definitely recommend it, only thing is to remember to bring water…!

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Nice is simply Nice

I always meet lovely people on the flight to Nice – this time a father and son were seated beside me. Such a nice story: the son (late 20s) had paid for everything for this weekend as a gift for his father’s 60th birthday. Now this was not an ordinary weekend in the south of France – the Monaco Grand Prix was on! The father was so excited – you could just see it in his eyes. I must’ve come across a tad bit deaf, the man was Welsh and had a very thick accent, so I had trouble understanding him… But the three of us were super psyched for the big race! Both father and son were a little disappointed when I told them that I wasn’t particularly fond of Hamilton – the son even said that I was possibly the worst person that they could be seated next to! HA! they were ofcourse joking…

I love arriving in Nice – the airport is just by the sea, and the view is AMAZING! Seeing as though I was here last year around the same time, I kind of knew where I was going… I caught the bus into town and settled into my apartment that I booked from Airbnb. I was staying right in Garibaldi Square above Cafe Turin (Nice’s most expensive seafood restaurant). The next morning, I realised that staying on the square was a HUGE mistake as it is so so noisy! The waiters of Cafe Turin begin to take out the tables and chairs at about 7am! I mean who eats fish for breakfast….?!?!

I explored the old town, I love the winding streets full of cafes, restaurants and shops. I was very impressed with my memory as I remembered where I was going and didn’t get lost at all! Last year my friend Refika and I found a very nice homely restaurant called Restaurant du Gesu – so for my first meal I wanted to go back there. I found it and I was seated, but I couldn’t remember for the life of me what the Nice onion pizza thing was called! And the waiter was very rude this time – he ruined the whole experience! BUT the Italian couple next to me were very friendly and we had a nice chat. In fact, the man was adamant that Australians spoke another language… he was hilarious!

I went to Nice Port and saw that the same row boats that were there last year. It was just nice seeing how some things don’t change… The familiarity of it all was lovely. I hiked up Parc de la Colline du Château (make sure you have good shoes on) on a sunny day and the view from here was spectacular! Make sure you go right up to the top – the signs aren’t too good (abit  misleading actually) but when you eventually make it up the top, it’s definitely worth it!

There are markets on the inner street parallel to Promenade des Anglais (the end that is furthest away from the airport) and they sell everything from flowers, to fresh produce, to olives and sundried tomatoes. Really good value! I bought cherries from here and they were amazing!

Place Massena was nice as usual, and at night there are various street performers. There are also fountains here – and there is even a fountain show in the evening. During the day, the fountains become misty…

Every morning I would go to Paul (the bakery) and ask for a baguette, croissant and a cafe latte. For dinner, besides my first night in Nice, I usually got something to eat for takeaway and sat by the seaside. Nice is thought to be very expensive, but you can easily get by on a budget – you simply have to be travel smart.

Gelato: don’t be fooled by the long line of people waiting to buy gelato from this place in the old town (near the justice building I think). I didn’t get a chance to have it last year, so I was curious this year. I bought 2 scoops and it wasn’t that nice…

As I waited for the airport bus, 30mins later I find out that there is a strike. The bus never came. Luckily a group of 3 people were also going to the airport, so I shared an über with them. In fact, 2 of them were on the same flight as me back to London! They were a great bunch of people and I was lucky enough to share a ride with them to the airport =)

Nice was simply Nice, I could easily turn this into a yearly pilgrimage….


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