I find myself back in France but along the southern coast. I’ll be covering Marseille, Nice, and Monaco in this update. There was a bit of rain in Marseille, but nothing that prevented exploration and by the time I hit Nice, it was sunny and warm once again. Monaco ended up hit or miss for the day I was there with the first part being sunny for my explorations and then just as I sat down for dinner, a huge downpour hit. I had an excellent view from my seat as tourists scrambled to get out from the sudden rain. Dinner and entertainment, what more could one ask for? My itinerary on this shorter part of my tour included:
- May 3rd: Arrived in Marseille to a fantastic view of the harbour. Checked into the hostel and managed to get to my Abbey (Abbaye de Saint-Victor de Marseille) before finding a nice seafood place for dinner. Encountered a large crowd of football supporters setting of firecrackers and fireworks before a big game.
- May 4th: Took the Ouibus to Nice. Pain was that the intercity buses mostly stop at the airport and no further which requires finding a local bus. Checked into hostel. Ate some local specialties (socca, nicoise salad, and daube). Climbed Colline de Chateau for a fantastic view of Nice as pictured above. When I got back to the hostel, got “upgraded” for a small price to a single private room.
- May 5th: Spent the day exploring Nice. Encountered a rugby demonstration area with different challenges. I ended up trying the scrum pushing challenge (kind of like the punch strength challenge in arcades) and hit 3rd overall with a score of 311 behind the top score of 999 which was just to show the top possible score and behind a pro rugby player who scored 472. All other scores were sub 250. Walked along La Promenade des Anglais and found a nice seat to enjoy the sun and read a book.
- May 6th: Hopped an early train to Monaco. They’re so frequent, it’s no use buying a ticket ahead of time. Got to the hotel Villa Boeri – there were no convenient hostels in Monaco so I found a relatively inexpensive hotel for the night. As it was too early to check in, left my luggage with the hotel and explored Monaco. Hit up the Top Car Collection and the Prince’s Palace as well as toured the Japanese Gardens before checking into the hotel and then heading out to dinner and a little bit of gambling at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. So many hills but I’ve noticed climbing has gotten easier over the last few weeks.
- May 7th: Said so long to Monaco as the next adventure is in Italy!
The Vertigo Vieux-Port hostel in Marseille was serviceable and comfortable enough with a decent kitchen and a lounge area as well as being in a great location. It didn’t seem to be much of a party hostel but is a nice quieter retreat.
In Nice, there definitely was much more of a hang out/meeting people vibe at the Antares Hostel. It also sported a really large lounge with games such as foosball and pool as well as an extensive kitchen. They also had a main floor dining area that would occasionally have a nice little “happy hour” where they dished out free bottles of rosé and some finger foods.
The final place I stayed at was a hotel. Like I mentioned, hostels were few and far between and AirBnBs were ridiculously expensive for what was available. I ended up staying at the hotel Villa Boeri and it was a decent basic hotel.
There’s no real extra tips about travelling in Southern France other than watch out for transport strikes (which can happen in a myriad of other countries too) and plan for alternatives. Thankfully, the bus system is extensive, cheap, and in some cases not much slower than rail.
Now let’s get to the random photos!