Nice is located on one end of the Cote d'Azur, making it a great spot to take a few day trips to other locations. The two places on my 'to see' list were Monaco and Cannes. From Nice, both were about a 45 minute journey, one by bus and the other by train. After spending a morning on the beach, it was a nice change of pace to travel down the coast for an afternoon of touristing.
My first day trip was to Monaco, the world's second smallest country. It is well known for the Grimaldi monarchy, Princess Grace Kelly, and the Grand Prix, a Formula 1 race. I took a 1.5 euro bus along the riviera coastline, admiring the neverending blue hues of the ocean and sandy beaches as we passed by. The country sits on a port with a plethora of shopping, hotels and casinos for tourists to enjoy. I arrive just a few days after the Grand Prix, but still see all of the staging and stadium seating left along the side of the roads. In total, the country is roughly one square mile in size, so walking around takes very little time. Upon a hill sits the monarchy's palace, public garden and oceanography museum. I purchase a ticket for a palace tour, but given that photos are prohibited, I have no documentation to show. The afternoon itself was lovely, but Monaco feels a bit like an extension of France; the official language is French, there is no visible denotation of the border, and the architecture is very similar. Still, I'm happy to have made the trip.
The next day I spend the afternoon in Cannes, the beach city of stars and millionaires. Like Monaco, I've just missed the big event; the Cannes Film Festival was held from May 11-22. Despite being late to the show, I still get to see a few stars as I end up in the background as a team films Made in Chelsea. I had no idea what the show was before this, but I'll be on the look out for the episode where they head to Cannes; there may be a girl in the background wearing a blue bikini as the actors pretend to play volleyball with each other. The town itself is packed with people and buildings. As you walk down the main street you find hotels and luxury stores to your left and private beach clubs stretching the entire length of the sand on your right. It seems to me that much of Cannes revolves around money, who has it and where they want to spend it.
I am happy to return to Nice after each jaunt, the city is welcoming and I already have a few favorite spots. Not to mention, the gelato guy and I are on a first name basis since I visit at least two times a day. Pro-tip, get the raspberry and lemon tart mix, its a winner. I head to Paris in the next few days and again I find myself torn, sad to leave a beautiful location, yet excited for the next adventure.