The decision was made! My husband and I, along with our Niece, were going to vacation in Europe. The only question was, “what cities are we going to visit?” The list of choices seemed to be endless but we managed to narrow it down to 5: Nice, France; Venice, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic and London, England.
I started searching for the best each city had to offer. I wanted to know things like, “Where did people stay? Where did people eat? What did people do? How did they get there? Would they recommend it to others?” I had a lot of questions but I was not finding a lot of answers. What I did find was a general lack of clear and precise information. Of course, I found some information on the popular travel sites but they fell short when it came to actually answering my questions. You would like to believe that in this day and age, good information about traveling the world would be easy to find but unfortunately, it is not!
This post is the first in a 6-part series where I want to share the knowledge, experience and insight I acquired while planning and executing this trip. I will cover the 5 cities we visited, answer the questions above and also share with you our “take-aways” from each city. In the 6th and final post, I will cover some packing and travel tips; things like, what to pack, how to pack it and what to pack it in. What you need and what you do not need to take with you as well as some recommended applications to install on your mobile device. I hope the information that follows is beneficial to you and helps you plan your next fabulous vacation!
Where We Stayed
La Malmaison is a boutique hotel. The rooms were very accommodating, clean and had the most comfortable beds we slept in on our entire vacation. The bathroom was large and the service was excellent. The only issue we had was we had no hot water the first morning of our stay. The problem was resolved later in the day but that was a bit of a bummer. We booked a room with triple (twin) beds.
Where We Ate
The better question to ask is, “where did we not eat?” We had numerous options for food and we tried to pick a variety of places in order to get a good taste of the city.
Our first stop was a local tea house: Volupté Anytime (26 BD Victor Hugo)
What We Ordered:
- Chèvre, Parme, roquette
- Parme, mozzarella, basilic
- Speck, provolone, basilic
- A pot of Darjeeling Tukdah (FTGFP)
The sandwiches were both crunchy and chewy with excellent flavor.
The tea was a bit weak and bitter. I was told by a local we should have ordered their iced tea. Maybe next time . . .
One of our favorites stops was a café on the square: LE Kalice (2 Place Rossetti)
What We Ordered:
- Nutella (crepe)
- Suzette (crepe)
For a more formal dinner, we ate on the patio of Brasserie Gaglio (2 Place ST Francois)
What We Ordered:
- Daube niçoise, ravioli niçois
- Poulet fermier rôti, purée (chicken)
- Entremet exotique
- Fortet noire
The Daube Niçoise was to die for! It was like a beef stew with ravioli!
Their portions were large so I was able to split the Daube Nicoise with my Niece. It was more than enough . . . which left plenty of room for . . . dessert!
Literally, the best White Chocolate Cheesecake ever; highly recommended!
We tried another small café: Le Clocher Restaurant (15 Rue du Pont Vieux)
What We Ordered:
- Coffee and savory crepes
Last, but certainly not least, Gelato at Fenocchio Glacieralle (2 Place Rossetti)
We had the best Gelato of our vacation at Fenoccio Glacieralle. Their flavor selection was very impressive and we had a difficult time deciding. We ended up ordering a dish with 8 flavors to split. It was not nearly enough for the 3 of us!
What We Did
La Meridien (1 Promenade Des Anglais)
We went to the roof-top bar at the La Meridien hotel. We went for the view . . .
. . . and some snacks!
We walked the Promenade des Anglais (“The Promenade”); a 4+ mile walkway that winds along the white-pebble beach located between the sea and the city. This is a great place to take in the captivating views of the water, to sit and enjoy your Gelato or to take a stroll on the beach.
Colline du Château (Castle Hill) is located along the Eastern edge of Old Town. Towering above Nice, it provides a great place for amazing views and photo opportunities of the city and the port.
At the top of Castle Hill, you will find a waterfall and the castle cemetery. There is a free elevator to the top or you can get in a years’ worth of a work-outs by taking the stairs.
Promenade du Paillon (Water Fountain Park) is a lovely place to take a picture. If you need to cool off and do not mind getting a little wet, you can take walk through the fountain.
Place Massena (Main Square) is the location of Fontaine du Soleil (Fountain of the Sun). It is the most photographed (and controversial) fountain on the French Riviera.
Located about half way between The Promenade and the War Memorial is another great place to take a picture!
Another neat stop is at the double-decker carousel. This carousel is located in a park close to the beach along Ave du Monastère.
And let us not forget the world-famous bar, Wayne’s, located in Old Towne.
Or the world-famous flower market!
How We Traveled
We flew from in to and out of the Nice airport for both our inbound and out-bound trips. Our route also took us through Cleveland, Boston and London (Gatwick).
Nice, France was not really on my list of places to go. We went because my Niece was there finishing up her study-abroad program. In hindsight, everyone’s bucket-list should include a visit to Nice, France. It is one of the most photogenic cities I have ever been to. I would highly recommend staying at La Malmaison because of its cleanliness, friendly atmosphere and comfortable beds. When in France, you have to have a crepe. If you find yourself in Nice, France, LE Kalice has the best crepes in the city! I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Le Galileo. Cheesecake! Need I say more? The Gelato at Fenocchio Glacieralle is a must-have. It was literally the best Gelato we had on our trip. While walking around the city, I was struck by the beauty of it all. Nice has many green parks and plenty of lovely spots to just sit and enjoy your surroundings. While it is quite the hike, making the climb up to Castle Hill is a must. The views are fabulous and well-worth the effort to get to the top. All in all, I would return to Nice. In an effort to make the most of our time, we chose to fly from Nice to our next destination.
Most of the places I have been to in the world was the result of traveling for work. For me, being able to venture out, explore and see something beyond the inside of an office building or a hotel room was a welcome change. Of course, the food was incredibly good and the scenery was magnificent. I would visit Nice, France again.
Well, before I tell you what my thoughts and experience of Nice were, I should give you some background. Nice was my home for 4 months while I did a semester of study-abroad for school. One of my favorite parts of Nice is the Mediterranean Sea because of the way the water changes shades of blue each day and the unique sound the water makes as it washes over the pebble beach (yes, pebbles; not sand!). Then, I would highly recommend a walk-through Old Town. It holds many charming shops, restaurants and is where most of the action happens. Here is where you find authentic food, olive oil (a must-try while in Nice), and a unique experience around every corner. Lastly, the hike/walk up to Castle Hill (waterfalls, a park and 360° views of the city) is a view you do not want to miss. My biggest suggestion for Nice is that it is a two or three day stop because you can see all it has to offer in that time. If you decide to stay longer, I suggest taking a train or bus to one of the nearby cities for a day trip! A couple of my favorites are Monte Carlo, Cannes and Eze.
Come along with us on our next stop: Venice, Italy!