So Much to See, So Little Time
So, you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the south of France. Perhaps you’ve taken a cruise along the French Rivera, or are just visiting for a day or two. One thing’s for sure: you do not have much time! Luckily, if you plan wisely and wear supportive shoes, you can see the beach town of Nice, the medieval town of Eze and ju
st about all of Monaco in the course of just one day!
Getting the bus
The great thing about Nice is that there is only one tram line that traverses the whole city from east to west. No matter where you start from, just catch the tram to the Vauban stop – this is where the gare routière (bus terminal) is. Another great thing about Nice? You can use your tram ticket to get to Eze! Each public transport ticket is good for 74 minutes after validation. From Vauban, you take line 112 to Monaco (Moyen Corniche) and get off at the stop named Eze Village.
A few important points about the bus:
- There are several other stops on other bus lines that also have Eze in the name, so pay attention! Eze Village will take you to the city of Eze; other stops will leave you with a significant hike up a mountain to get to the city itself.
- The bus will allow passengers on, but not off, the bus for the first several stops. Don’t panic! You’ll be able to get off at Eze Village without any problems. Just don’t try to use the 112 to get around the city; take the tram or a different line.
- Line 112 only runs Monday through Saturday, so if you’re traveling on a Sunday be sure to find an alternate route.
- Although there are bus lines that run more frequently and on Sundays, I like the 112 because it is nice and simple – you only have to remember one bus number and keep track of one timetable. When I travel, simplicity reigns supreme!
Then, from Eze Village, you can take the bus to Monte Carlo. The bus stop is actually right in front of the Monaco Office of Tourism, so you’ll be able to get your map and ask any questions you might have first thing!
A proposed timeline
The bus leaves Nice about every two hours. Here is my proposed schedule, but a complete timetable for bus line 112 can be found here.
9 am – leave Nice for Eze Village
9:30 am – arrive Eze
11:30 am – Leave Eze for Monaco
11:50 am – arrive Monaco
5:15 pm – leave Monaco for Nice
6:20 pm – arrive back to Nice to eat dinner and watch the sunset on the beach
But what should we do??
So I may have gotten a little ahead of myself. When I’m traveling, worrying about the minute details of the trip can take all the fun out of going anywhere. That’s why I started with the details – now let’s talk about the fun stuff! Nice is famous for its rocky beaches which are, admittedly, not the best to lay out on. But beach bum or not, Nice is a great city to visit. And no matter your physical fitness, a day trip to Eze and Monaco will let you soak up the sun and get a good workout in, too!
- If you’ll be in Nice in mid- to late-February, you absolutely must check out Carnival. It was hands down one of the most amazing parades I’ve ever seen, and if you come in costume, admission is free!
- If you’re in Nice any other time of year, head into the Vielle Ville (historic city center) to eat, drink and poke around some fun shops. There is often some sort of market which is always fun to explore!
- Fenocchio Ice Cream Parlour on Place Rossetti – an amazing spot with 94 flavors of ice cream and sorbet. They have all sorts of interesting flavors – avocado, rosemary, iced chestnut, and chocolate ginger, just to name a few!
- Point de vue de la Colline du Château – absolutely gorgeous views no matter how high up you climb, but I highly recommend climbing all the way to the top of the waterfall. Amazing!
Les jardins exotiques (the Exotic Gardens) – stunning gardens and an unforgettable view of the Mediterranean. The gardens are full of exotic plants and even have a ‘reflection area’ so you can spend as much or as little time as you want here. There is a charge for admission to the gardens, but I very much recommend visiting them, and students get a discount.
- Take a walk down ‘the Nietzsche way’ – it was here that Nietzsche wrote one of the chapters of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and is a nice, albeit short, footpath to explore.
- Church Notre-Dame-de l’Assomption – I am firmly of the opinion that one should go into as many churches as possible in Europe, and this beautiful yellow church is no exception.
- Look around you – honestly, the appeal of Eze is in the city itself. It is set onto the top of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean, and the medieval architecture and paths are equally as beautiful as the views of the sea. See if you can find the golden goat, which, according to legend, would make intruders loose their way when trying to steal the city’s treasures. Take in a breath of fresh air and relax in the sunlight.
- Monte Carlo – need I say more? The incredible building merits a visit no matter what, although I felt too underdressed to go properly into the casino.
- The Old Town – the brightly colored buildings are a great place to stop and have a bite to eat while giving great views of the rest of the city/country.
- Go shopping – although for me, that meant window shopping only! Monaco’s residents are exclusively millionaires, and the shops reflect the clientele. However, that shouldn’t stop you from feasting your eyes and dreaming about the life you could lead for just a few hours. But we can’t all marry princes….
- On that note, visit Saint Nicholas Cathedral, and visit the tombs of Princess Grace Kelly and the Monegasque (the adjective for ‘someone from Monaco’) royalty.
Then, after all this walking, take the bus back to Nice for dinner. Find a “menu” or “formule” that includes dessert – you earned it after so much walking!