The word of the holiday was ‘hot, hot, hot!’.
Nick had visited Nice earlier in the year, for one of the Euro 2016 football matches and he came back with only great things to say, meaning another holiday was in the making. A total change of pace from our usual city breaks! I must admit, I was completely unprepared for a lovely sun filled beach holiday and I also severely underestimated just how hot Nice can get.
Most of the holiday was spent walking around while Nick desperately tried not to say ‘when we came we did this..’ too much! Although it didn’t bother me as I knew the comments came from past experience and meant we could cleverly spend our time. The best of his recommendations however was the ice cream stall just down the street from the fountain at Place Massena. A mix of Kinder Buenos and Ferrero Rocher ice cream – yes please! Two trips to this stall were essential.
Roll on the first day, a quick taxi ride from the airport we arrived at our hotel, Aston la Scala. The hotel was one of the nicest we have stayed in and the staff were always so friendly and eager to help, the room itself was very nice, from the colours to the style. The window from the main room through to the shower cubicle in the bathroom took a little adjusting to but made for funny surprise. So, first impressions good (and a fair bit of air con later) we dropped off the bags and headed straight for the beach.
The beach in Nice is a far cry from soft white sand and instead more a stoney, pebble one, which can make walking a tad difficult. I found myself getting into the sea and feeling I could easily slip. Beach shoes are available from every tourist shops or bringing your own or wearing flip flops can save yourself from a bit of pain.
Tip – Beach shoes are a must if you have delicate feet like myself but easy to skip if you have feet of steel like Nick!
Nick spent the majority of his day being a fish in the water and going out a little further than I was comfortable with him being! When the sun got too much we took time off the beach to have a look around the large shopping centre – Centre Commercial Nicetoile just around the corner from our hotel. There was a wide range of shops as well as cafes for a quick bit of breakfast or drink. Our first night was spent walking around and then watching the fountains near Place Massena in the Promenade du Paillon.
Day 2 – Variable weather
Good morning Nice and hello rain. Our first and only rainy day while staying here which actually gave us some relief. My poor sunburnt legs got a chance to calm down a little as well as giving us a chance to explore when it had been too hot to venture too far.
So, we hopped on a bus to Parc Phoenix, at the other end of the Promenade des Anglais near the airport. Entry was only 3 euros each, which considering how much there was to see was well worth it for both a rainy or sunny day.
Tip – We followed the stops of the bus on Nicks phone to make sure we were 1) on the right bus and 2) how far away we were. He as always, had screenshot the stops before we left the hotel.
Inside the large dome in the centre of Parc Phoenix you could easily be in the Eden project in Cornwall, UK. The large dome houses different sections of climates, trees and plants with a similar layout but on a smaller scale.
Outside were various animals from wallabies and otters to porcupines. We especially enjoyed having a chat with the many parrots, although I wouldn’t quite call it a zoo as it describes itself. The overall look of the place needs a bit of a face lift as some parts felt a little tired, however, generally it had a lot to look at and on a sunny day it would be great to sit on the large green for lunch. The fact the day was dreary with rain showers meant we could still feel like we were making the most of our day.
Later that day when the warmth returned we spent the evening walking along the beach and enjoying a few cocktails up on the top floor of our hotel. From here you could see over to the fountains in Promenade du Paillon which were lit up with the French flag until late.
Day 3 – All on red…
Monte Carlo day! A spot of breakfast at Nick’s (and now mine) favourite place to eat and it would be time to get the bus.
The Bistro De L Opera had the greatest choice for 8.50 euros, choosing from pancakes to various breads. My choice of pancakes and fruit came out ‘Instagram ready’.
We already knew which bus we needed and where to get it from as Nick had been before. Walking in the sizzling heat to sit on a bus may not sound like a great idea but to be fair the bus windows were all open and the views along the coast were worth a little discomfort (as long as we had a drink!).
When we arrived back in Nice, we headed back to the hotel. After a quick relax and outfit change we walked down to the Hard Rock Cafe for our traditional meal (when there is a Hard Rock in the country we are visiting). Since we travelled a few months after the awful attack in Nice in July 2016, there was a strong armed presence from the airport onwards. This was made even more evident when walking near the promenade and seeing the moving tribute to the victims.
Day 4 – Our last day
On our last day, we suited up in bikinis and shorts again ready for a day of exploring and a plan to end up on the beach until we needed to get a taxi to the airport. The start of the day was perfectly relaxed, we headed up Parc de la Colline du Château at the far end of the promenade to the airport.
The laziness in me suggested heading up in the lift and the motivation in Nick suggested walking down using the stairs on the side so a compromise was met.
Tip – For anyone scared of heights (like me!) both options don’t bode too well as the lift lets you out right at the very top to and the stairs… well they are on the side of the mountain with a large drop to the other side.
To the top of the hill were ruins, a man made waterfall as well as plenty of amazing views over Nice. To the very top was a small gift shop with some pretty little photo cards of painted Nice sights.
After baking in the heat we felt it was time to walk down to the beach to cool down in the sea and just relax before we needed to head back to the hotel.
Our plan was flawless… or so we thought until back in the hotel when we needed to change out of swimwear and into normal clothes was made impossible by the sheer heat of the bathrooms! No windows and a small cubicle was not a smart move. Cue a very hot and flustered Bethany emerging from the bathroom with a curly fringe and sticky hair – great when you have a plane to catch and will be in close quarters with other members of the general public!
All changed and packed we headed back to the airport in a Taxi, ordered by the hotel for us. You COULD in theory walk to the airport but in the heat it just wasn’t worth it. The taxi cost 40 euros between the two of us which when we look back to the ease and air-con it was well worth it. The drivers know the best routes as we got caught in a bit of early evening traffic but soon enough we were there and our holiday was over.
Nick has a special place for Nice, every time he talks about it he can’t help but say ‘there’s something about it’ and for someone who cannot bear the thought of a sun holiday that’s a quite a statement. He’s right though there is something so lovely about Nice, the beach, the restaurants, shopping and amazing ice creams, whats not to love? Its not your typical sun holiday and that’s probably why we like it, it has the best of both worlds.
It must have had an impact as we’re heading back at the end of June!