France. In February. With temperatures dropping to the mid teens, it is a bit of a chilly time, but we toughed it out as it just happened to be the start of our first Carnival!
Edmonton, Alberta to Nice, France
Duration: 10 Days
Flight: Depart Edmonton (YEG) 17:00 – Connect in Iceland (KEG) – Connect in Paris (ORD). Arrive in Nice (NCE) 16:25 NEXT Day.
Hotels: Hotel les Cigales, Nice. Average price of $112 per night. Rating 4.5/5 Stars. Such a great little hotel in a perfect location. Walking distance to everywhere you will want to be. Hotel staff were very accommodating and friendly. The hotel offered a breakfast or just coffee option as well. The coffees were freshly made, and very rich and tasty. In all, a great deal. Note, this hotel has great little balconies that overlook the street – super nice for relaxing and people watching. There is also a grocery store and a pharmacy across the street – so grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy!
Hotel Ibis (return trip, one night). Price was an acceptable $87.30. Rating 1/5 Stars. After our tour through Italy, we wanted a hotel close to the airport as our flight to Paris was very early. So we booked this one. It was really not a good sign when we had a brutal time getting into the parkade as the whole street was under construction.
Alas, we checked into our first room – only to discover that the heat would not stop running – and the window wouldn’t open. The room was sparse – and I do mean sparse – consisting of a bunk bed and a table. But initially, we thought we could tough it out – after all, it was late and we really wanted to get a couple of hours of sleep.
Well the problems continued on – there were four of us – and we booked a room with four beds…but in fact there was a singular bunk bed set – housing two people – three if we doubled up on the bottom. That left the fourth on the floor. Without blanket or pillow. By the time we figured this out, the room was absolutely boiling hot. I’d had it. Sleeping in the Opel Mokka seemed like a better option at this point. Alas, after some complaining and begging, they did give us a different room – and the window did open in it, but it was still more suitable for a college dorm than for travellers.
Nice has to be one of my favourite places in all of Europe. The people were so friendly, the food is amazing with Italian influence, and the view is spectacular.
While in Nice be sure to take in the Promenade des Anglais – the seaside stroll that takes your breath away. The 7km long route extends from the airport through most of town. Take your time – there are tons of little cafes and rest spots along the way.
Another fantastic bonus of staying in Nice is the proximity to the train to Monaco. The train station was directly up the street from our hotel. The station can be a little confusing – do not use the automated machines here for tickets to Monaco! It will take your money and no matter how nice you talk to it, you will not get tickets. Instead, go through the doors to your left, take a number from the dispenser, and buy your tickets from the agents.
The journey to Monaco is relatively short, and incredibly scenic as you stay along the coast. Once you arrive in Monaco, it is a short walk up to street level, and you are free to explore! There are plenty of signs to direct you to the legendary Monte Carlo Casino – so be sure to check it out.