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Published: November 29th 2009
I had the best stay in Europe EVER in Nice! Though much of that had to do with the fantastic people I met in the most amazing hostel, Villa Saint Expury. I highly recommend it! Fantastic value for money. Free breakfast, internet, sheets and towel. Huge kitchen and lounge area and a great bar (with the most amazing chocolate brownies). The staff are awesome too. Only 18 euro when I stayed! (Okay, I have to shut up now.) A large group of us would just hang around drinking cheap wine (and beer. Yes, I actually drank beer and didn't hate it! One for the record books. And no, there was no lemonade in it either!) and chatting until the early hours. One night we headed out to Wayne's bar which has a fantastic live band. It's a real tourist bar though, everyone speaks English, but there was dancing on tables!
Appart from the night life the city of Nice itself is lovely too. 😊 It's a great city to just wander around both in the day and at night. Everyone keeps recommending the old quarter, but to be honest it isn't anything that special. I didn't even realise I'd walked
I never went for a swim there but my mates at the hostel said it was great.
through it the first time! The old town is basically a series of cramped lanes with little shops. It's fun for a leisurely stroll and a bit of window shopping (or gift shopping). It has a lot more atmosphere at night though.
A highlight for me was actually Le Chateau, which is a large garden on quite a steep hill. There's a man made waterfall and assorted ruins and stuff scattered around too. The best bit though is the amazing views across the bay. I just sat and watched the light change for a couple of hours (listening to my audio book. You've gotta love multi tasking).
The Monastere de Cimiez is worth a quick visit too. Every inch of it seems to be painted (mind you it's not exactly huge). The gardens around it and the park nearby are nice too. There's the Matisse Museum next door but sadly it's closed on Mondays as many places are in France. When you think about it that makes more sense than them closing on a Sunday though.
Another of my favourite thins was the Contemporary Art Gallery; not that I especially liked much of the permanent stuff on
The Palace of Monaco
Love the gardens in front of this building.
display but the temporary exhibition by Robert Longo was inspired. Large charcoal pictures executed so beautifully they looked like black and white photographs. Some images made interesting statements too. One had three large guns pointed straight at you. Couldn't help but think 'so THAt's what it's like to look down the barrel of a gun'. Despite just being a picture it makes you step back because it isn't expected. Tip: For those interested in going to the Natural History Museum my roommate Andrea said it was tiny and not really worth it.
From Nice it's also very easy to get to Monaco which is a recommened day trip. I've never been in a cleaner place. I can't explain exactly what seemed to make it feel so clean but it almost shone. Everything looked new, even if it was old. No chewing gum on the streets, or litter, or dogs droppings or ANYTHING. the buildings themselves seemed to gleam. It was a bit odd being in an outdoor setting and getting a sense of the shiny and new that you can't quite put your finger on. Monaco is also very beautiful, but there isn't a great deal to do. The
The social room in our hostel. It's huge! Lurve the stained glass windows.
famous upper class casino doesn't open until 7pm and apparently you need to be dressed to the nines and pay to get in to boot. So naturally that wasn't an option for me. 😊 I did enjoy a walk along the harbour and the gardens in front of the place are stunning. There's a little Japanese garden hidden away nearby too (just follow the signs).
Sadly my stay in Nice had to come to an end. I would happily have moved into that hostel (and may see about getting a job there some time. Sadly they're not currently hiring off season.) So yes, it is true, Nice is very nice. 😊
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