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Published: October 10th 2010
Friday 8th October 2010
A nice slow drive along the Mediterranean coast into France this morning, then we joined the Autoroute A8 at Menton to bypass Monte Carlo, Monaco and Nice - all of which we intend to visit in the next few days using public transport from our site at Cagnes- sur- Mer. We arrive on site late morning, establish camp and have lunch before venturing forth by local bus to Nice.
Nice is an elegant city near to the sea, a little less so the further inland you go. We wander down from the bus terminus to the Promenade des Anglais and take the sea air whilst the boys rush to the water’s edge and throw in stones whilst dodging the incoming breakers. The hotel La Negresco is a striking landmark here with its pink/terracotta and green dome and we decided to give a stay in La Suite Royale a miss when we saw the nightly rate was 2500 Euros plus 30 Euros/pp for breakfast and a scandalous 1.20 Euro/pp Taxe de Sejour !
From here we take a route back through the pedestrian shopping streets picking up some English novels from a bookshop on the way
before heading home for supper.
Saturday 9th October 2010
A day out in Monaco and Monte Carlo by train today which proved very easy as the station exit is in one corner of Port Hercules. From here it is a short walk up to the famous casino where we loitered hoping to catch a glimpse of someone famous. No luck but plenty of evidence that the rich are in town with Ferrari, Rolls and Bentley being parked outside the Café de Paris. At the back of the casino there are the casino / opera gardens where a good view of the whole principality can be had. We then descended in the lift one level onto Boulevard Louis II where, during the Grand Prix, the cars exit the tunnel and approach the chicane.
From here we caught the small bateau bus across the harbour full of fabulous yachts - well at least we can say we cruised into a berth at Quai Rainier I. We then walked along the cliff path below Monaco Ville where the sea was crashing onto the rocks below and throwing up white spray mesmerising the boys who said it was the most impressive natural
thing they had seen !
Taking the lift we arrived in Monaco Ville and walked down the length of the principality stopping for lunch at a creperie before emerging from the narrow shaded streets into the Place du Palais.
From here you get a good view of the Port de Fontvieille crammed with yet more expensive seafaring hardware and the Stade Louis II, home to Monaco football club. After a visit to the centre commercial and the sports shop Decathalon to buy Jack some new trainers we headed back to the port and traced the route of the Grand Prix along Boulevard Albert I and back along the Route de la piscine stopping for café and ice cream ( ouch! ) before heading back to the station to catch our return train.
Sunday 10th October 2010
A special day today ( anyone know what these are called ? ) it’s the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the century ! I remember the 6.6.66 clearly I was nine then and Mrs Donaghue, my class teacher at Bowerham Junior School, Lancaster, made a big thing of it - spooky.
Anyway today its overcast but
warm ( 19C ) so we venture up to St Paul de Vence, a small hilltop town in the Provence foothills. As it happens we luck in as it’s the local vendage celebration with a blessing by the local priest followed by free food and wine tasting. There are also market stalls selling local produce - wine, olives, oil, cheese, bread etc. We bought wine, meat (pork for dinner) and a portion of Socca - a sort of giant pancake made with chickpea flour and very tasty too !
The village is very picturesque and has shops selling the work of numerous local artists and sculptors along with the usual expensive gift and perfume establishments. After a couple of hours we head back to camp for lunch and a lazy afternoon before the heavy rain that is forecast arrives this evening/overnight.
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