I just got back from a trip to Europe and I spent three days in the sunny French Riviera. I went with my friend Rachel who is currently living in Amsterdam. We were there Saturday through Monday of Easter weekend. Our home base was Nice, but we wanted to see a couple other places while we were in the French Riviera, so we planned a day trip to the village of Èze and city-state of Monaco. The public transportation in this area is great and very cheap! I would advise against renting a car, because there isn’t much parking at all.
Morning in Nice
We started out Easter Sunday with a short walk to the market at Cours Saleya, which was very close to our Airbnb. They have everything from flowers to souvenirs and food. We got some strawberries and then stopped at a bakery to get a small quiche to eat for breakfast. We brought our food to the Promenade de Anglais to eat by the ocean.
After breakfast, Rachel requested an Uber to take us to the bus station, a ten minute drive north. From there, we took bus #82 directly to Èze. There are normally a couple buses that run this route, but since it was Sunday, 82 was the only one, and it was on a limited schedule (about once an hour). We got on the bus at 9:45am and rode for 30 minutes to the tiny village of Èze. Also know that there are two different bus stops- one at the base of the village and one that is down at the coast. If you get off at the stop by the coast, you will have to hike up to the top of the village which takes about an hour. We were limited on time, so we got off at the base of the village.
Èze is a pedestrian-only village, so all cars must be left at the base of the village. There is limited parking, so if you’re driving, get there early! When you arrive, you will feel like you have been transported back hundreds of years. The village is perched on the top of a mountain, with amazing views of the ocean below. We walked around the winding streets for a while, getting lost and not caring where we ended up. The village is so small and I was surprised to learn that almost 3,000 people live here!
Next, we stumbled upon the Exotic Gardens. Inside the gardens is a pretty church with a big bell tower, lots of cacti and other exotic plants, and ruins of an old castle that stood at the very top of the mountain. The gardens only cost 4 Euros and are well worth the money to get the stellar views.
After the gardens, we stopped at a little outdoor restaurant near the entrance of the pedestrian-only part to drink sangria while looking out at the view of the ocean. There aren’t a ton of restaurants here. There are two very nice hotels with restaurants, but they are on the pricier side. We weren’t starving so we just got drinks.
Later, we walked around, I flew my drone, did a little souvenir shopping, and then ate lunch at a restaurant back near the bus stop called Le Pinocchio. I had the goat cheese salad which was amazing and one of my favorite meals on the trip!
Next stop, Monaco! Monaco is only 6 km from Èze, but it takes awhile to get there via public transportation. There is not a bus that goes directly between the two, so we took bus #83 down to the bus stop by the coast, and then the train to Monaco. The train is a short 10 minute ride and you will get off in Monaco’s impressive train station. The city-state is small: only 2 square km. It is known for its low taxes, drawing in many wealthy people to live there. About 30% of the population is made up of millionaires!
I entered Monaco not really knowing what to expect. I hadn’t done much research and was excited to just stumble upon things to do. We followed the exit signs of the train station and took several elevators and escalators straight up. When we got outside, it all made sense why we kept going up. The city is built up the side of the mountain. Most people have built their houses on top of a few stories of concrete and stone, so they can see out above their neighbors’ houses. I also learned later that since the Grand Prix is through the city streets, the stone structures prevent their houses from being destroyed when cars crash into them.
We walked over to the royal palace through the residential streets, which took about 20 minutes. The palace is up on a hill that has amazing views all the way around. You have the option to go inside the palace, but we moved on. Rachel and I made our way back down the hill and over towards the Monte Carlo casino. Our feet were hurting so we stopped to get coffee along the way and sit down for a bit.
The Monte Carlo Casino is very fancy, so we admired the nice cars and elegant people walking in from the park in front of the casino. Then we walked down behind the casino to the greenway that runs along the ocean. It seems that everywhere in this city has a great view!
Back to Nice
We were exhausted at this point and wanted to get back to Nice to drop off our things at the Airbnb and get food. There are both trains and buses that run back and forth to Nice. The bus stop was much closer to us than the train station, so we hopped on. Big mistake! The train would’ve been much faster and more comfortable. The people on the bus were packed in like sardines and it was a very uncomfortable ride. With traffic, it took us over an hour to get back to Nice. Then we had to take another bus from the Nice Port to our Airbnb.
If you have time for a day trip to Èze and Monaco, do it! This was probably my favorite day of the whole trip. Enjoy!
See my video below on my trip to Eze, Monaco, Nice and Amsterdam!