A Week in French Riviera Travel Experience – Exploring Nice with Friends!
A beautiful place by the Mediterranean sea and an absolutely fantastic place to unwind and forget about reality even for a little bit. This is my French Riviera travel experience.
Located in the southern part of France by the eastern coast and is the fifth most populated city in the country is by far one of my favorite romantic travel destination in Europe to date (although I visited with friends). I traveled with my girlfriends and they took care of everything from doing the research to doing the itineraries – I have awesome friends! Actually, I refused to be involved as I want to be the neutral ground (there were three of us). Thankfully, we all agree to almost everything!
Anyways, the reasons we chose Nice was because we scored an amazing deal through SAS.fi – and by the way, if you’re under 26 years of age you can avail the youth fare which is a discounted price and somehow cheaper than regular tickets around Europe. It was so good of a deal that we didn’t even think twice about booking it. Boy, was it the best impulse buy ever!
A Week in French Riviera Travel Experience
My first impression of South of France
I’ve been to France before, in Paris, to be exact and in there I traveled with a friend, as well. However, the experience was a little different as we used CouchSurfing to immerse ourselves in the local culture. Plus, Paris is generally a busy capital and there’s no way I can compare it to my experience in Nice as the latter is totally different in so many ways.
Since I wanted the trip to be a surprise, I decided that I will not do a lot of research about the place and let Nice blow me away and boy, it sure did! I did not set my expectations high either as part of the thrill so just imagine how much in admiration I was when we landed and witnessed the breathtaking waters of the Mediterranean Sea! I couldn’t believe my eyes and all I just wanted to do is to strip off my clothes and jump in that very inviting clear blue sea.
The vibes in the French Riviera is sublime, it gives you this absolutely laid back feeling and that made me want to just bum around and inhale the salty fresh air from the nearby waters.
Where did we stay in Nice?
I was never a beach bum but in Nice, I was longing for its water every single day! When we arrived at this beautiful city we had a mission in mind to find our AirBnB apartment which was not a challenge to find since the old town part of Nice was rather tiny and we found the apartment rather easy and the best part, it was just 5 minutes away from the sea!
Our AirBnB host was an American named Jack who has basically lived all his life as a nomad and has literally traveled the world so hanging out with him was yet another experience for us while in this amazing city because of his beautiful tales about his adventurous life.
Our daily routine – seriously, we did these every day!
We pretty much chilled out by the beach nearly every single day. We woke up really early in the morning and paved our way to the beach carrying breakfast along with us and spent the whole morning taking in the morning sun and a long dip in the sea. We normally bring with us our own choice of coffee from our neighboring cafe and as well Baguette Traditionnelle and some local French cheeses, season fruits and tapas style snacks and, of course, a bottle of morning wine (for me)… I am not a drunk but I was in France! I need to have wine for breakfast! Just a few of the many things you must do if you’re in France, in general, really. Drink wine all day, every day!
I usually spend a good hour just swimming and testing myself how far I can swim like a little child because you see I have this great fear for deep water but in this place, I had no fear somehow and I just swam my way through this beautiful Mediterranean water!
After our morning dip and breakfast, we usually head on to the nearest market to buy some fresh and local produce for us to cook to feed our hunger by lunch time and this is possibly one of the highlights for me since as a chef I always enjoy shopping for food rather than shoes. Especially France is so abundant with fresh produce and often times, I end up going crazy and buy a lot of ingredients. After shopping, we normally agree on who is making the food and then we feast on it with wine (of course) and carried on to have a little siesta to relax for a very eventful afternoon.
Some of the things to do in Nice after siesta
During afternoons when the sun is not so strong and the heat is bearable we head on to explore the city by foot and just simply get lost and discover the place’s gems one by one. My friends are very artistic themselves, therefore, we enjoyed gallery hopping which was a joy since in the old town alone you’ll find several galleries run by independent local artists who are so talented and inspiring because most of their works are strongly influenced by the Mediterranean scene. We just normally wandered around and eventually, when our feets are sore, we then ought to have a coffee break with French pastries and a wonderful talk about all the beautiful things we saw and exchange stories.
We just normally wander around and eventually, when our feets are sore, we then sought after a nice cup of coffee with delicious French pastries in any cute local café we stumble upon. We would sit down for a nice break and talk about all the beautiful things we saw and exchange stories and life experiences.
On the evening, we normally would just walk around mindlessly until we start to feel hungry and our feets are tired. We often look for restaurants that are reasonably priced and not too touristy and thankfully, we never had a single bad experience eating out in Nice.
It was a little bit of a challenge to find cheaper places to eat though since Nice is known to be quite expensive in the first place but otherwise we weren’t disappointed and was able to find few restaurants that fit our budgets.
However, at one point, we didn’t want to miss the sunset thus we decided to have our dinner at the beach and bought several kinds of cheeses, snacks, baguette, and wines! That was the cheapest and best dinner we had because on that day we were granted an amazing weather and a beautiful clear horizon that dazzled our inner curiosity.
Other places to visit for the day in Nice
To make most of our travel experience during our trip in Nice we also decided to pay a visit to other neighboring villages:
- Grasse – a village specializing in perfumes
- Menton – a beautiful small town bordering to Italy
- Monaco – when you travel to Nice, why not visit another country, too?
We didn’t like Monaco that much because, in contrast to Nice, Monaco was too much for us. It was too luxurious and there was nothing we could afford, but otherwise, it was a nice experience to lose my 5 Euros over gambling. It was a waste of money yet a good learning curve that you should not gamble! Otherwise, there are many day trips from Nice you can do besides Monaco!
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The château party
Our time in Nice went so slow and laid-back which we enjoyed and miss so much. Except for this one night when our host, Jack, told us that there will be a château party nearby and we should go there because there would be live bands and food stalls. We did go to that said party since it was for free and we thought why not? We packed our trusty water bottles filled with wine and headed for a little hike over the mountain to reach the said château and found ourselves in complete darkness until the loud noise and party people started popping out.
We had so much fun dancing and just simply sitting down on the grass listening to French music we could not understand and as well took a keen observation of the young people as they lose their minds over alcohol and the music. It was something I’ve seen before but this one was quite interesting because it is a different scene than I am used to.
The next morning when we woke up after the party my friend just found out from our host that the party was organized by one of the largest communist parties in France for some kind of awareness.
Thank you nevertheless because if you told us that missing information then maybe we wouldn’t have one of the best nights of our stay. We just laugh it off now because he is a smart man and he knows that if he told who organized this event, we will most likely not go there.
To wrap this all up…
This travel experience was probably one of the most memorable for me since it was exactly what I just needed. I had so much fun and traveling with your girlfriends is certainly a must! Plus Nice was an amazing city and I am longing to be back there again anytime soon. I am really a girl on a mission to find people to come with me and visit that wonderful place yet again.
Heck, to be honest, I have this great fondness towards the Mediterranean cities now! From now on my mission will be to visit all Mediterranean villages, towns, and cities down south of Europe! I have to. It is a paradise on earth and the water is just beyond beautiful. I can’t wait to swim in the Mediterranean Sea once again.
Overall our experience was sheer bliss and certainly something to remember. I enjoyed the laid-back, no-fuss and a chilled life they got in there. It almost seems like there are no problems going on and everyone was happy and seemingly so detached to reality in a really good and positive way.
Our week stay in French Riviera summary
- Arrival in the afternoon swam on the beach and getting to know our neighborhood.
- Strolling and exploring Nice by foot, gallery hopping, and busy being beach bums (almost all day!).
- A day visit to Grasse and a nice dinner by the beach.
- A day visit to Monaco and Menton.
- Yet another lazy day exploring Nice, discovering new streets to get lost, and achieving our maximum calorie intake by eating tons of French pastries and burning them by going for a quick evening dip at the sea.
- Last full day of chilling by the beach, drinking every last drop of French wine we can get our hands on, and the Château party.
- Last breakfast and headed home to go back to reality!
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- Have you ever been to Nice, France or any places in the French Riviera?
- If not, are you keen on visiting one day?
- If yes, what is your most memorable experience?
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