30 days in Nice leaves time for a lot of day trips. Situated right in the middle of the French Riviera, Nice is the perfect jumping off point for short trips to multiple coastal towns. Here are some of my favorite to Nice’s east.
Eze is actually two towns; Eze sur mer, which is on the coast, and Eze Village, which is 400 meters up the hills. The coastal town offers a beach, but the highlight here is really the village. With it’s narrow, winding streets and steps, visiting the village really does feel like stepping back in time. The Exotic Gardens provide the best view of the coast, but you have to pay a fee to gain admittance. Additionally, Eze Village is home to Fragonard. You can tour this perfume maker’s factory for free.
How to get there: Take bus 100 from Nice to Eze sur mer (stop: Gare SNCF Eze). From there you can take bus 83 to Eze Village, or hike up the Nietzsche Path. You can also take bus 82 from Nice Vauban directly to Eze Village.
The Principality of Monaco is Europe’s 2nd smallest independent country at just 2 square kilometers, according to the CIA Factbook, and it’s entirely within France. Mostly known for hosting the rich and famous, you can spend all day gawking at luxury yachts and exotic cars (seriously, with all the Ferrari’s and Maserati’s, it feels like people would be ashamed to drive a Mercedes around Monaco). But there are a few other things of interest there:
- The Monte Carlo. Perhaps the world’s most famous casino, you must at least try to get in when in Monaco. I say try, because there is a strict dress code, and we weren’t permitted to enter, instead being turned away at the front door. Therefore, I’ve heard about having to pay to get in, but I cannot confirm it myself.
- Formula 1. Every year, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix is held on the streets of Monaco, turing the city into a high-speed race track. And what about the other 51 weeks of the year? Well, the starting blocks are still painted on the main road by the port, and the red-and-white curbs that mark a Formula 1 track can be spotted all around town. For race fans, walking the track’s entire route, including the famous hairpin turn, can be a thrill.
- Prince’s Palace. On the west end of Monaco, the Prince’s Palace sits atop a hill that overlooks the rest of the country. Here you can watch the changing of the guard (overrated, in my opinion), or just look at all the wealth below.
How to get there: Take Bus 100 from Nice directly to Monaco. Alternatively, if you want to avoid the bus crowds and don’t mind paying more, you can take a train from Nice’s main station directly to Monaco.
Cap d’Ail is a small town between Eze and Monaco that is known primarily for its beach cove. Set in a small inlet, and surrounded by steep cliffs, going to the beach here can feel like you found a secret, even if it’s entirely crowded with other people. It is a stone beach, so don’t go expecting sand, and it isn’t the most convenient to get to (though some might say that’s part of Cap d’Ail’s charm).
How to get there: Take bus 100 from Nice directly to Cap d’Ail, getting off at the stop Edmond’s Cap d’Ail. From there follow the signs down to the beach, but be prepared for a lot of steps (~150 of them). Alternatively, you can take the train from Nice’s main station, but you still have to use the stairs.
Stay tuned for day trips to Nice’s west!
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