We left Paris to head to Lyon via the Contiki Chateau in the Beaujolais wine region. We were meant to stay here but they were overbooked with 2 other tours so we just stopped in for a wine tasting and then moved to stay in a hotel in Lyon for the night before heading to the French Riviera.
The beautiful Chateau was amidst a massive wine region which mainly produces a light red wine, everywhere you can see whilst driving through this area are vineyards, on the sides of roads, in paddocks, across mountain sides, basically anywhere. The wine itself was quite nice (yes I am now a wine connoisseur due to all of the wine tastings we have done throughout this trip), however I do enjoy more of a full bodied red.
After we left the Chateau, we moved to Lyon for a good nights sleep. We had the option of heading out to the city of Lyon after dinner for some drinks and to do a bit of sightseeing, but I had just become symptomatic with the almighty Contiki Cough, so thought a good nights sleep could do me well. The next day we continued through the country-side down to the town of Villeneuve-Loubet where we were to stay for the next 2 nights. On the first night Kat and I quickly went to the shops to get some bread, cheese, meats and beer. We then made our way to the beach to relax and watch the sunset, at 2030 haha some of the other lads went for a swim but I really wasn’t feeling up to it because of this damn cough.
The following day we jumped on an early train to head to Nice so we could make the most of our short time there, and it was totally worth getting up early for. We walked from the train station, up to the fruit and veg markets, then down the main strip past all the colourful buildings with there individual patterns and louvers to the esplanade, and what a view.
After heading to a bar for some food and drinks (the bar staff were dicks) we then began to wander the back streets for a little while down towards the lower markets, all of the vibrant colours from the varying types of flowers, fresh fruits and veg created its own atmosphere which was full of life.
After strolling through the markets, we made our way up some more back streets until we came across a church & clock tower, and enjoyed a couple of the hundred odd gelato flavours at the Fennichio Glacier cafe. After this we walked up to the Castle Hill or Colline du Chateau, this is via a multitude of winding paths and can also lead you to an unexpected waterfall coming from the Chateau, once up the top however is where you can get absolutely breathtaking views out over the contrasting red roofs of Nice, and the mixed hues of blue from the ocean and sky.
After spending an hour or so wandering around the Chateau, we headed down to the beach side to hire some sun chairs, eat some hot chippies (to satisfy Kats daily potato needs), drink some cocktails, relax and go for a swim in this absolutely beautiful part of the world.
After this we strolled back to the train station to head back to our hostel and prepare for a night out in Monaco visiting the Palace and the Monte Carlo Casino. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world but the most populated per area, after learning some history on our way in, we soon departed the bus to go for a stroll through the streets up to the Palace and to enjoy some dinner. Shout out to our tour manager Anne-Elyse and driver Balazs!
After this we went to the Casino, walked along the Monaco race track which when not in use for the Grand Prix. Once out the front of the casino, and after walking passed all the Maserati’s, sports Mercedes, Ferrari’s and other rich boy toy cars, we finally got to head inside this world famous rich mans casino. Inside was quite elegant with murals and sculptures, more artwork and of course, the machines and gambling tables. Kat and I got a cocktail each from the bar, Kathleen got a Mojito and I enjoyed a James Bond Casino Royal Martini, come on guys, I had to. After this we tried our luck at gambling but lost and didn’t have enough budgeted to risk anymore so we stopped, but one day we will be back with some pocket change to play at the high rollers rooms.
We then got back on the bus after about and hour and a bit at the Casino and headed back to our Hostel once more, because tomorrow, we say Ciao to Florence! So another sad Au Revoir to another favorite of our trip, we absolutely loved you Nice. Vive la France.