Less Than 24 Hours in The French Rivera

(17 Reviews)
94% Recommended

Vonessa Robinson

Rosedale, MD
Customized Experiential Travel Advisor

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Every now and then the idea of visiting destinations frequently vacationed by celebrities often intrigues me. Looking through magazines seeing picturesque sweep of mountains with cunning buildings erected from them fueled my eagerness to see these places with my own eyes. One of those destinations I started to notice more and more over the years was the French Riviera located in the south of France. Well known as the trendy hotspot for Hollywood’s A-list especially during Cannes Film Festival on the southwest and the notorious tax haven of Monaco alluring high-rollers and hedonists on the southeast France-Italy border.  

The opportunity to experience the captivating view and the feel of the French Riviera presented itself during my Solo European trip. I ended up traveling to over 15 cities in 5 different countries.

I knew Monaco was a small city that I could explore on my own given a few hours before flying to Rome, Italy.  However, I needed to find the closest airport to Monaco which happen to be located in Nice, France. Perfect! The capital of the French Riviera why not stay the night in the most recognized and liveliest cities of the French Riviera.

The day I landed in Nice after flying from Paris is not a day I could forget. The morning of the flight I had a few hiccups in Paris while using the public transportation to get to the correct airport. After I skillfully resolved that problem like a true travel savvy boss I thought all my problems for the day was done. Boy was I wrong, once I took my phone off airplane mode I started receiving alerts and notifications via text and email stating airline workers (for a particular budget airline I was using) in France went on strike, yikes! The result of this strike now affected my departure for the following day.

Totally frustrated with the new developments in my travel arrangements my mind in continuous pirouette I ended up taking a taxi to my hotel completely forgetting about the free shuttle service offer. My mood was even more perplex, never before have I ever experienced frustration and exultant swirling together like an unusual cocktail combination. The first few moments in the French Rivera climate made my problems feel as if  it were heavily medicated by the halcyon atmosphere.

At this point there were no need to be dejected over a last minute out pocket cost, so I decided to eat at the restaurant onsite and toured the resort. My plans to see Nice that night got scrapped as my energy quickly dissipated. The chaotic ordeal was mentally taxing that the only place I wanted to be was at the resort. 

I realize the locals also complimented the environment although one can definitely debate this perception based on bias since I was given free shots of limoncello at the bar. My favorite ending to an exhausting day and washed away any residual thwart from last-minute changes. 

That night I walked the along the beach as a form of meditation luxuriating in the salty smell of the Mediterranean Sea fused with the French Rivera night. There was no loud music as opposed to my time spent at many other resorts, only soft music easily drown out by the night waves. The perfect environment for an outgoing introvert to get lost in their thoughts and mentally reset. 

The next day I took off on feet to the nearest train stop purchase a ticket for less than ten euros to Monaco.  The wait was short, and the train ride was approximately 22 minutes. There were no pre-made plans for Monaco as a matter of fact I was still trying to figure out if it was another country or still apart of France (it is actually a sovereign state with its own flag and national anthem). 

When the train finally arrived in Monaco it felt like I was under a bon vivant spell, I wandered out of the train station on to the city in awe of the architectural masterpieces erected at various attitudes. Beneath these towering buildings the captivating scenery of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea with its coast lined with variegated boats and yachts. As I walked through streets of Monaco I constantly reverie owning one the fancy condos as a vacation spot. 

I walked the city leisurely at my own pace and consistently analyzing what it will take bring a fantasy to reality. I walked to the Musée Océanographique de Monaco (since I arrived in Monaco early the Museums hadn’t open yet), the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco and shopped in La Boutique de l’Automobilie Club de Monaco, the Casino de Monte Carlo, Palais Princier de Monaco. The beauty of the walking the city meant I practically walked the famous annual Formula One Grand Prix course.

By mid-afternoon I had walked to every popular place in Monaco. Accepting the additional cost of a new airfare to keep my original departure time frame allowed me to indulgent memories made in half a day.

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