Skip to content

A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

We get off the plane and we are excited about the warm and sunny 80 degree weather. We check into our hotel, that we booked through hotels.com, the Hotel Beau Rivage. Located at 24 Rue Saint Francois De Paule, it is minutes from the airport, and just steps away from the beach and shopping areas. Hotels.com gives this hotel 4 out of 5 stars. We found this not the be the case-it wasn’t like ANY four star hotel we have ever stayed in. The hotel was about $210 per night, with a 15% discount for an early bird booking (aka pay in advance). The hotel also charges you a 2.40 euro city tax.

I think that based on this picture, the bed looks less than inviting. This is the picture I took, above, and then compare it to the picture that the hotel posts on it’s website, below.

CLASSIC ROOMS

There were wet spots on the carpet near the bed, that never dried out over the two days that we spent here. It made you not want to walk on the carpet with your bare feet.

We stayed in room 216, with a view of the street, on a non smoking floor-apparently you are permitted to smoke on other floors.

The bathroom was “recently renovated” as specified on the website, but the hotels.com website says that the renovation happened in 2004. Upon first glance, the hotel looks new and modern. The bathroom in simple and has clean lines. The drawer that you see open never shut, apparently it wasn’t screwed into the wall level.

Again, the bath tub had that half glass wall-and the wall of the tub is quite high. Those two things combined with a 5’4″ girl ends up with me slipping when I try and get out of the shower and bruising my arm on the drawer that doesn’t shut. I laughed out loud when I saw that our bathroom here had a “personal shower stick”, because our friends back home moved into a new apartment and they were horrified when they saw they had one as well…..called “the Vulcan”….that can only be talked about in the movie announcer deep voice.

Upon closer inspection, there is MOLD on the wall of the shower….


AND on the tub…..

And this was on the counter-which standing in the room you wouldn’t be able to see, but if you were (ahem) using the facilities and turned your head in the direction of the sink, you would see RUST, MOLD, and HAIR. I try and hold back the vomit and we just stick it out, hoping that we just won’t be in the room that much. I think that what’s so disappointing is that we just came from a hotel, the Hotel Regina in Paris, that we booked through hotels.com that also did not meet our standards-and this hotel was worse than the last.

After being slightly traumatized by the room, we retreat to the clean and modern lobby. We try and book a tour to Monaco for the following night, but they only have space tonight, the 8th. We book through the front desk with a company called tourazure.com. The brochure claims that they take master card and visa but when we go to pay the driver at the end of the night, he insists that they only take cash. We book tour 10, Eze and Monte Carlo by night for 52 euros each, for a 5 hour tour. The company picks you up in an 8 seater van. The description says: “We drive along the seacoast road with its medieval villaegs, marinas and panoramic viewpoints. Visit the charming medieval village of Eze and its amazing views. Travel by the famous corniche road leading to Monaco. Then tour the Grand Prix circuit. Stop in Monte Carlo, with free time for dinner and enjoy the chic atmosphere of Casino Square and maybe try your luck at the tables or slot machines.” More on that later.

With the hotel being so close to everything, we walk to the flower market about a block away. The outside perimeter are all restaurants and a few shops, and in the middle there is space for daily vendors to come and sell their goods-during the day it’s a farmer’s market/flower market and at night it is a craft market. The set up and break down the stalls every day. We stop at Le Flore for a bite to eat, since we are famished. The dumb it down for us with an English menu (thank goodness). Le Flore is located at 9 Cours Saleya.

We sit outside on the sidewalk and do some people watching over a meat plate (12 euro).

And a cheese plate (11 euro). And a soda for 4 euro which I might add that came in a bottle but the glass had ice and a lemon wedge in it, complete with dead bug. Can’t I catch a break? The cheese plate was just ok-brie and blue cheese. The toast that came on this plate was hard as a rock-I think that if you threw it at a window, the glass would have shattered. And we aren’t talking a toasted baguette, we are talking bread that I was afraid to bite with my two front teeth for fear that they would break off.

After lunch, we decide to drown our sorrows in a walk along the beach. The water is a bit chilly this time of year. The beach is all rocks, except for one part where they have shipped in sand-and I’m sure you had to pay to sit on. Instead of seaweed, they get this bamboo type stiff grass. The beaches are top optional-now guys, before you get all excited with day dreams of playmates running along the beach, let me just tell you that it is NEVER the people you WANT to see without tops that decide to go topless, and I’m talking about ladies AND the men out on the beach. Sorry to squash your dreams. It’s hard to be in a bad mood about anything when you have views like this. The beaches are public, but there are a few hotels, like ours, that plastic fence off an area and call it private. Nice has a 6 mile coast line (we joked that we’ve been to bigger….Grand Cayman has a 7 mile beach haha).

There are TONS of people on the beach and on the boardwalk. You can rent bikes and go for a great bike along the coast. We walk around for a bit and look in at some of the shops and then head to our hotel to get ready for our night out in Monaco.

The driver picks us up at the hotel, and we get stuck both sitting in the front next to the driver. We get a bit chatty and find out that he was originally from Germany. He tells us a little bit about Nice, how big it is. We have the most beautiful views of the coast from up above while driving to Eze.

We drive up a long and winding road with lots of hair pin turns to this medieval city. At the top there is a parking lot and you have to walk the rest of the way. There is a hotel here-quite beautiful.

We have about 20 minutes to ourselves and roam around trying not to get lost in the maze of narrow walkways. We get back into the van and drive to Monaco-the second smallest country next to the Vatican city. Monaco has the most police officers per square foot, or something like that…and almost every square foot of the country is monitored by cameras. The driver tells us that we should all be wearing seat belts because they will pull you over in a second. He points out where Grace Kelly-also known as the princess of Monaco, a famous actress had her car accident. He shows us the the race track for the Grand Prix, note that it is just driving down regular streets. There is a restaurant that, during race time, ends up being in the middle of the tracks. He told us that lunch goes for 1000 euro a person during race time!! We sort of wished that he would have taken the speed up a notch to make it feel like we were really on a race track, but it was a no go.

The grand casino in Monte Carlo is an amazing sight. You must be 18 to enter, make sure to bring your passport, and there is an entrance fee of 10 euros. There is a smaller casino near by that has no entrance fee. There was some event going, from what I can google it’s looking like a Mont Blanc event showing off the new Princess Grace inspired line. Meanwhile all in front of the a casino there are people dressed up in formal wear, security guards and paparazzi. Apparently some real A-Listers were there, including the Prince of Monaco and his wife, if it was indeed that event.

We have dinner at the Cafe de Paris next door to the casino. If you are able to get a table out front, there is some great people watching. We walk in, no reservation, but there are plenty of open tables. We are led past all the “beautiful people” and brought around the back where it seems like they put all the tourists and casually dressed people (note that I was in a dress and my husband had on a jacket and we still managed to sit ALL the way in the back). The tables are close together outside, we are sat next to another young couple who immediately lights up a cigarette. Fun. Our waiter is average, but it feels like he would rather be somewhere else. The night is warm and a little muggy for sitting outside, but who comes here to eat inside?

We order the parma ham plate to start (23 euro!! not shown) and then we order our entrees. I of course get the spaghetti bolognese (16 euro). While it is a simple dish-I find so few that I like. Here, the pasta is cooked perfectly al dente. It has a faint salty flavor to it and holds the sauce. I could have just eaten the plain spaghetti all night. The bolognese was ok by itself, but when you add it to the fantastic pasta, it was a good dish.

We also had the cheese ravioli (2o euro) which really wasn’t anything to write home about. The ravioli was good, the filling was tasty, but I find that it lacked a little something something.

We also order the framboises melba (17 euro) which was raspberries, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream-and throw in a cookie for garnish. Not bad, but seemed not up to par with the restaurant it was being served in. Cafe de Paris has been here a long time, it’s quite famous, but with the prices they are charging, are they a fine dining establishment or are they a brasserie?? And pass on the sodas, ours were 6 euro a piece (YIKES!). Total bill, 88 euros. We finish dinner and window shop the designer stores in the area, since they are all closed. We make our way back to the meeting point to get our ride home, and arrive at our hotel around midnight. We are glad that we ended up having to do this tonight, because if we did it tomorrow, we never would have been able to get up at the crack of dawn to catch our train.

We decide that we aren’t even going to try the breakfast in the hotel. We return to the flour market and go to a boulangerie (a bread maker-a patisserie is more of a pastry maker). We grab a seat outside in the sun.

I just found this amusing. Here, when you hear anything ‘Elvis’ you think peanut butter, bananas and maybe some honey. Apparently here, they think something totally different.

I order a bread basket, which I’m thinking is going to be all sorts of wonderful breads…and they end up being a few pieces of sliced bread, but it ends up being ok, because the jams that they provide are delicious.

The husband gets a chocolate croissant-how can you really go wrong with that?

We think about going to the beach today, we did bring our bathing suits, but the hotel charges 24 euro a day to be able to sit at their “private” beach, which as I said before, is just separated from the public beach by a plastic fence. We find $65 USD a little expensive to sit on a beach-and they don’t offer half day prices, even though it says they do on the website (after 2:30). We decide to walk around the local market and the shops.

The market really has some wonderful finds.

They actually have tours that you pay for that take you here-save your money, come on your own and walk around.

I am so amazed that these vendors come every morning, set up their stalls, sells some goods, and then break down the stalls in the afternoon-and they do this day after day…good for us-lots of work for them.

Everything was VERY fresh.

Can you tell I got a little carried away with the photos of the market?

Lavender is really popular here, they also sell lots of herbes de provence.

Lots of people have/bring their dogs to the market, and sit with their dogs while they have lunch at some of the local eateries.

Also note that there is a great olive oil store in the marketplace, a permanent store front-had I not been doing all carry on luggage, I would have bought LOTS of things there.

We pick up the Le Grand Tour by the boardwalk-another double decker, open top bus. The tour gives you headsets and you choose what language you want to listen in. 20 euros per adult per day. There are only a few sites to see, and if you sit on the top, make sure to watch your head because the branches here are not cut back and you don’t want a branch hitting you in the face at 30 miles an hour. It sounds sort of silly, but it happened to people on our bus. That ate up the time between breakfast and lunch. We came back to the market area, where we began and headed to the flower market to stop for lunch.

We grab lunch at Blast bar and lounge-we came about this choice because they had the most comfortable looking patio chairs-poor way to choose I know, but after the almost broken tooth incident, I wasn’t thinking rationally. Also note that there is an Irish bar in the area where you can watch tv and grab a pint, which seems to be very popular with the tourists.

We get the grilled vegetable sandwich, which clearly we could have split. The waiter is nice-he speaks impeccable English, as well as a few other languages with no hint of an accent. He also happens to be the only waiter there-there’s a help wanted sign at the bar.

We also get the cobb salad, which is also enormous, it’s Cheesecake Factory sized portions here. They have all types of American food here, hamburgers, salads, club sandwiches etc.

If you go to the end of the flower market, near Blast cafe, there is an alley way on the left. Take that alley and find yourself at Fenocchio for a little after lunch ice cream. The husband picks out gianduja and I pick out nutella and pistachio. We managed to take a picture of the napkin because I totally forgot to take a picture of the ice cream, too busy eating it. Probably the second best ice cream we have had on this trip, next to Berthillon.

We waste some time between lunch and dinner-doesn’t it seem like all we are doing on this trip is eating? We go to La Favola, at 13 Cours Saleya, in the flower market. When we arrived it wasn’t that busy (at about 8pm), but as the night went on, there were tons of people trying to get a seat (restaurants in Europe tend to open at 8pm because Europeans tend to eat on the later side). Check out tripadvisor reviews here. I think that there is a confusion ins French restaurants-the tourists can’t figure out if you should just seat yourself or if you should wait to be seated.

Our friends went on their honeymoon last year to Nice, and said that La Favola had burrata so good it should be illegal. That’s just daring us to go and try it-we did, and it WAS that good. The cheese is buttery, smooth and creamy-served with sun-dried tomatoes, this dish could be a meal of its own (14.50 euro).

We order the gnocchi, which tastes like it was store bought, not the best I’ve ever had. The four cheese sauce camouflaged the quality of the pasta-it was dense, rich, creamy, and a little on the heavy side (14 euro).

We also get the maccheroni cote calabre (14.50 euro) that has a light and tangy tomato sauce as well as spice meatballs/sausage. The best part about this dish is that it is finished off in the over, making the cheese melt all over the pasta-SO good. The service here is good-I think we are getting used to the fact that service here is different that the service we receive at home. In the States, waiters can sometimes make it feel like they are rushing you through your meal so they can turn over your table, while in Europe, they almost expect you to linger after dinner. All in all, a nice stay in Nice, but we are ready to get to Rome and get down to some serious pasta eating!! Stay tuned for the last stop on our trip, Rome!

%d bloggers like this: