A Impromptu Weekend Trip to the French Riviera? Works For Me. Nice Part 1
After two taxing weeks in Lyon, spent exploring the cobblestone back streets of Vieux Lyon, drinking rosé by the river and soaking the joie de vivre of the city; the girls and I decided that we needed a weekend away.
A spontaneous one at that.
Toward the end of the second week of classes, our professors informed us about surprise three-day weekend. They needed to get organized for the incoming students and we needed to fill a fortuitous long weekend. Thus we convened at the nearby "McDo" in Place Bellecour for pristine air conditioning, and astonishingly fast Wi-FI (we've been in school for two weeks and are still unable to access the Wi-Fi at Lyon II), and spent hours searching hotels and travel prices by train, plane and automobile.
By 11 p.m. that night, it was a deadlock between the lavender fields of Provence and the pebble-beached Nice.
The beach won and our train was leaving at 7 a.m. the next morning.
Nice is a unique mix of old-world glamour, modern-day spunk and jaw-dropping coastal views. We miraculously booked a room spacious enough for four, bargain-priced
at the Best Western Hotel Roosevelt. What made it even more advantageous, was its five minute-walk proximity to Promenade des Anglais, the famous seaside walking stretch along the pebbled mediterranean beaches.
Given the whimsical nature of our trip, there was no times to research restaurants and attractions beforehand. Nice was going to be a weekend of playing it by ear. Luckily, my first meal at Les 2 Terrasses did not disappoint.
Despite the unpromisingly cloudy weekend forecast, luck was on our side throughout the sun-drenched weekend. Our first day in Nice was spent walking the glamorous Promenade des Anglais, an expansive 7 kilometer walkway along the coast. Originally initiated in the 19th century by English aristocracy the Promenade was the start of a trend in French beach towns, it's considered to be the original esplanade of many along the Riviera.
Nice is all color. The astounding teal-turquoise hues of the Mediterranean Sea, the toasty oranges, yellows and pinks of every edifice, the throngs of people from all over the world and the opalescent blue sky is poised over it all.
The remainder of that first day was spent checking out the goods at boutiques and open air markets in Viuex Nice, searching before the perfect sunhat and crêpe Nutella. The winding alleyways of old town are purported to have scarcely changed since the 1700's and are brimming with boutiques, restaurants and fun nightlife.
Hint: I found both the crêpe and the hat.
After the sun goes down, Nice comes to life. Vieux Nice is transformed from an eclectic maze of a markets to a bar scene that is festive and ridiculously fun. From grungy pubs, to oceanside discos to chic piano bars, there's an late-night haunt to suit everyone's nightlife needs.
We hit the town having no idea that our fun-loving night would last in to the early hours of the morning. We bounced from place to place, having a blast and making friends everywhere. We drank Kir Royales and ate cake with a toothless bartender, laughing until we cried.