Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cote d'Azur: Nice, Cannes, Monaco: Monaco Vila, Monte Carlo

French Riviera (Cote d'Azur)
Along this well-known beautiful coast you feel a magical ambiance. The turquoise color of the see is unforgettable. The coast extends from Menton to the Italian border. Here I only mention about Nice, Cannes, Monaco (Monte Carlo & Monaco Villa) which are the most famous stops along this coast. Beside these St Tropez is also advisable.

Nice, the capital of the Côte d'Azur, is a real cosmopolitan tourist destination.
A cute city, between Monaco and Cannes. If you plan to visit these two cities, Nice can be a perfect choice to stay, it is relatively cheaper that the others and close to both of them. By one day trips you can reach to both of them easily. There are several free and private beaches in Nice. The legendary boulevard stretches around 6 km / 4 miles, featuring many bright blue chairs where you can sit, relax and enjoy the superb sea view. If you arrive there by plain take the bus to reach the city center. You can buy the tickets from the airport. Daily bus tickets might be useful too.

What to see:

The legendary long coastline, Nice's beaches, the city center, Nice's Russian Orthodox cathedral, traditional shopping areas are the first places come to my mind. Moreover, a trip up the hill into the Cimiez district results in an reward of a great city view. Beside these, there are several more touristic attractions:

*the Basilique Notre Dame,
*the Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe St. Nicolas,
* Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice,
*the city's main botanical gardens.
*Cathédrale de Sainte Réparate
* Palais Lascaris

A number of good museums and popular art galleries attract tourists attention too:

* the Musée de Palaeontologie Humaine Terra Amata (Museum of Human Palaeontology),
* the Musée d'Archéologie de Nice-Cimiez (Archaeological Museum),
* the Musée Départemental des Arts Asiatiques (Regional Museum of the Asian Arts),
* Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts),
* the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC)

Taking the touristic train (train with wheels not a real train) to travel around the city is a joyful and easy way of transportation for tourists.

You have the chance to try different delicious French food with the perfect wine. Don't forget to try Socca too.

Beside the coastline of Nice which offers full of tourist attractions, nearby there are  number of attractive Côte d'Azur towns and cities. 
Monaco and Cannes are 30 minutes away by train. Specially in May you can visit the famous film Festival in Cannes and Formula 1 Race in Monaco.

Monaco (Monaco Vila, Monte Carlo) 
It is one of the richest country in the world. At the same time the second smallest (1.95 sq km) one after Vatican. There are two languages in Monaco: French & Monégasque. Monaco is part of the EU, however there are no border formalities crossing to and from France.

It is easy to realize the wealth of the country, at first at the train platforms with the marble corridors and big LCD information screens. Then with shiny escalators, series of free public lifts running up in the city center, 3D road systems, CCTV security cameras make you realize it for the second time. It is also possible to see the most expensive and luxurious cars and yachts in the world all around the city. However, all of the expectations about the train station building, are replaced with a surprize when you arrive at the end of the tunnel to the exit door. Since you realize that there is no station building but the rocks are structured and tunneled.

The country has two small cities next to each other; Monaco Vila and Monte Carlo. It is possible to walk from one of them to the other one.
The Castle zone with the both cities view is the most amazing part in Monaco Vila and in Monte Carlo of course the Casino area is the other lovely part of the city. Formula One cars during glamorous Grand Prix, impressive yachts and country's glamorous luxurious life style are worth mentioning one more time. 

Extremely luxurious yachts, fashion boutiques, terrace cafes.... The county gives you the feeling of having millions in the pocket :) The heart attack emergency sets in the streets, street public elevators, a pool in the middle of the city, Formula 1 preparations (depending on the season) are interesting unusual things for the visitors. 

PS1: Anywhere in Monaco if you see hundreds of stairs look around for a public elevator, for almost every hill there are several elevators unless you fancy using the stairs.

Keep in mind that in order to buy train tickets from the machines credit cards with chips are required. This is important specially during the holidays, since it is almost impossible to find anyone.


The city makes you feel as if you walk through the streets of Hollywood. The Film Festival and an outrageously attractive and affluent set characterize Cannes. The city is well known for the Cannes Film Festival that takes place each May.

The hotels at the Croisette Bolivar with the gossips of artists, legends, beaches, not fixed chairs at the side of the bolivar by the coast, parks, museums, shopping streets, the castle, lovely parks, city center, the famous festival building, the old part of the city on top of a hill and islands are touristic spots. If you are interested in the details of the city there is a touristic train which obtains a full city tour including the old city.

Beside, there are two main islands pretty close to the city: Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-HonoratDuring the daytime there are frequent boat tours to the islands.

 The closest island is the island of Sainte- Marguerite that the “Man in the Iron Mask”, made famous by Alexandre Dumas, he spent eleven years in the prison of  the Isle of Sainte-Marguerite. Today it is possible to visit the castle & the prison. The island is a natural park with the beautiful, shining coasts.

The other island, Ile Saint-Honorat, has a Mediterranean coastal forest of native pine, eucalyptus and cypress trees. It is also known as Zen Island, there is a monastery on it from the year of 410 and it is still the home of monks. Modest dress is required for visitors and smoking on the island is not permitted.

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