Europe 2012: Day 48, Arles to Nice


A private beach in Nice, France. For 18 Euros ($25), you can rent a lounge chair and an umbrella for the day. Towels and cocktails are extra.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wake at 7:30am.  It is sunny and warm.

Today we travel to Nice on the French Riviera.  I am looking forward to Nice!  Nice is located on the south-east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea and is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast.  I don’t think I have ever seen the Mediterranean Sea — unless it was on television, that is.

I take a shower and pack my bags.   While my DH uses the bathroom, I go out to see if I can find any sandwiches at the local patisserie for the 3+ hour train ride.   Alas, there are no more sandwiches.   So I go to the InterMarche to see if there are any there.   Nope – none.  However, I did find a box of our favorite high-fiber cereal, Golden Grahams!   Yes, we munch on Golden Grahams when we travel.   It is tasty, we can eat it with our hands, and it keep in a good mood (if you catch my drift).

We say good-bye to our nice hotel on the wrong side of the Rhone.   Aside from the disappointing free WiFi, they have been very good to us in that the room was comfortable and the manager called us a taxi every morning during our stay.  I don’t think they really understood my HD’s problem with heights but does that matter, really?  Our time here in Arles  is done and it was good.

The train station is fairly empty when we arrive.  We got our tickets (with reserved seats) right away on a non-stop train to Nice.   We even had time for me to get an expresso.   The train left on time and was empty so we got two of  those great seats by the window with the little table between.   Why can’t all our train rides go this nicely?

What are you writing about?

Nothing.

We eat our Golden Grahams as we watch the French country go by.    On the left side of the train is the blue Mediterranean Sea and it whizzes by as my camera boots up.

What did we learn from our stay in Arles and visit to Avignon:

  • If one person can’t help you, ask another.   Eventually, someone will help you.
  • Don’t judge a city based on its first impression. Get to know it first.  I am sure Avignon is very nice once all those film-going people go away.

The train ride was flawless!    We arrive in Nice on time.   It is sunny and warm and I can finally shed my sweater.

We found our hotel Hôtel Les Cigales and checked it.   I changed into my sandals and headed to the beach with my DH.

The beach is only a couple blocks away and it is magnificent!   It is wide, long, and busy with sunbathers and people just walking the promenade.  This beach does not have sand, it has small smooth stones instead.   I guess this is not an ideal beach but people seem to be enjoying it anyway.   Young and old of every nationality lay on the beach with heavy towels or straw mats.   The beach is divided into private (owned by a hotel or restaurant) or public.   On the public beach you bring your own stuff.  On the private beach, you pay for the use of a lounge chair and/or umbrella – the going rate appears to be about 18 Euros (about $25 US) a day.  My DH and I are not beach people but it is fun to look at beach people.  Here are some pictures:

A public beach in Nice, France — you bring your own stuff. The beaches in Nice do not have sand, they have stone so people wear flip-flops and sandals and use very thick towels or mats while on the beach.

Sunbathers in Nice, France.

Para-gliding in Nice is a very popular activity. My DH wouldn’t do it and I can’t swim so this wasn’t the activity for us.  The logo on the chute didn’t help either.

We walk the promenade for a while.   The sun feels good but the shade feels better.   After a while, only a breeze or air conditioning will do – I am not used to spending so much time in the sun.

The Promenade in Nice, France.

We spend the next hours scoping out all the restaurants in the Old City of Nice.  I also take some pictures of the colorful buildings –varying shades of pink and yellow are popular.

Peach-colored house in the Old City of Nice, France.

Yellow house in the Old City of Nice, France.

Around 6pm, we decide to dine at The Table Gourmande – a seafood place with a pleasant waiter from England.  He explains all the dishes to us and tells us which ones are the regional specialties.   I order the Cod with an aioli sauce (excellent) and my DH orders the menu of the day – salad, salmon, and ice cream (also excellent).   We linger here, sitting under an umbrella and enjoying the breeze off the sea.

Restaurants in the Old City of Nice, France.

Living the life in Nice, France!

We are both tired so we had back to the hotel  room around 9pm and turn on the air conditioner.   We check emails and I work on my blog – the internet is not perfect but close enough for me to squeeze out one late posting.  Unfortunately it can’t be helped — all my postings will be late from now on.   I’m really bummed about that.

Quote of the day:  “Does Donald Trump live like this?”  — DH as he contemplated our lovely dinner in a lovely restaurant in lovely Nice.

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