During my recent trip to Europe, I spent one week in the beautiful Cote D’Azur. Lucky for me, I have friends who live in Nice, conveniently located within a 2 minute walk from the beach. So I based myself at their residence while I explored the south of France.
While I was there, I made a decision to close myself off from social media. I logged out of all the apps and only left one messaging app open for my family to contact me and vice versa in case of an emergency. I also decided to not take my Olympus OMD camera out and gave myself the week off from collecting content for my blog and Instagram. Tripping Over Travel is just a hobby but I invest almost as much time in it as I do with paid work, so I felt it was necessary to give myself a break and refresh my mind. This also meant I was able to simply be a traveller and not overthink about the photos I was taking from my phone (I clearly have content but at the time I was not thinking about how each photo was going to be used. I just took the photos from my phone).
Nice seemed to be the perfect place for my digital detox. In France, I have only ever been to Paris. Nice was a nice change of pace (no pun intended!). I particularly enjoyed wandering around Vieux Nice (the Old Town), browsing through the market stalls and eating way too much pastries and ice-cream. Not far from the old town is Promenade du Paillon, an area I often found myself sitting in and observing the way of life in Nice. Of course, you can’t visit Nice without a walk along the beach on Promenade des Anglais, especially at sunset, when the view is absolutely stunning. For panoramic views, go up to Castle Hill/Parc de la Colline Du Chateau. You can walk up or use a lift and there is a gorgeous waterfall and lovely park areas to relax.
If you want to venture out of Nice’s city centre but don’t have a car, like me, the buses are quite frequent and travel far. I used a ticket that allowed me 10 trips and I was able to visit the Musée et Site Archéologiques de Nice-Cimiez, which is a 20min bus trip from the city centre, as well as the charming town of Eze. Le Jardin Exotique d’Eze (the Cactus Garden) is a must-do when in Eze; the views from the top are mind-blowing! One of the main reasons I went to Eze was to visit Fragonard – the perfume factory. I was way too excited for the free tour! It was so interesting to learn how perfume is actually made. The novelty soaps are decorated by hand too – very impressive!
Monaco is only a 40min bus ride away from Nice but you will need to pay extra to the bus driver to get there. It’s well worth it because Monaco is beautiful. I disembarked at Casino de Monte Carlo and spent the whole day walking along the beach, inside Le Metropole Shopping Centre, around the port and finally up to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. You will also find Saint Nicholas Cathedral and Oceanographic Museum of Monaco within walking distance of the palace. Monaco is a fancy place and I chose to wear a nice dress that day to blend in but honestly you don’t have to spend a lot of money, you can still enjoy a budget-friendly day in Monaco. The scenic views alone will make your day, and views are free!
Now, have you seen the movie Mr Bean’s Holiday? I am a big fan of Mr Bean and I love that movie, it is hilarious! In the movie, Mr Bean has one goal – to go to Cannes. This movie was pretty much the reason why I planned a day trip to Cannes. You have to buy a separate train ticket though, which I struggled to do on the ticket machine but got there in the end thanks to a lovely British man who assisted me. Cannes is quite small but has an array of shops and cafes and the beach was lovely, it had sand! I highlight this because the beach in Nice is full of rocks instead of sand (but I still love the beach in Nice!).
Here’s a clip of the movie below. You may need to view the link on YouTube.
I am quite an active traveller so to do the complete opposite and relax is unlike me but I am glad I did it. It felt good to unwind, disconnect from the internet and just take each day as it comes. I must give a massive thanks to my friends in Nice, the home-cooked meals were the best and I sometimes miss watching French cartoons with their 2-year old son.