Travel French Riviera: NICE, FRANCE (Côte d’Azur)

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Nice, France. Also known as heaven for those who adore French culture. While walking down Avenue Thiers, making a hard right to a perpendicular street from the central station (Gare de Nice Ville), prepare for the ultimate ocean view of the Mediterranean Sea. You will see fashion strip malls lining down streets, declaring Niceville on the large entrances of downtown building.  While you can opt to rent a car in Nice, I recommend the sleek gliding street-top trains gracefully and quietly tote locals around the town and have easy ticket stations to purchase rides at each stop. Bakeries galore adorn the streets in and amongst shoe and shirt boutiques, men’s specialty clothing stores, and mini food markets. Evidence of Carnival is still very visible as clown statues, colorful posters, and remnants of confetti glitter lazily on the sidewalks, strangely enhancing the beauty of such a small beach city.

When to travel to capture locals in a more natural state: March/April (off-season)

To Budget: Buy all train tickets for England and France before leaving with Rail Europe. Italy was the most affordable for transportation of all three countries. (Meaning, we saved hundreds of dollars with this choice).

Hotels we recommend:

  • Hotel Suisse, we only stayed here because it was absolutely heavenly. Perfect beach sunset and dawn view, large beds, huge garden bath, delicious breakfast brunch, need I say more? Location is everything and this hotel is built under La Tour Bellanda, where you can step out of the hotel, drift up the garden stairs to the very top and see all of Nice! There is a private beach, discounted rates, and not to mention the staff was very trustworthy with our backpacks and belongings since we could not check in until noon. They stored our items while we wandered the shopping alleys and had pastries on the beach, where Josh actually proceeded to fall asleep!

Places to see:

  • Chateau de Nice, La Tour Bellanda
  • Lou Castéu
  • Vieux Nice (Old Nice), Panaromas-Cascade
  • Nice Port
  • Morgan De Toi
  • The beach!
  • Buy gelato from any of the many offerings in the marketplaces.
  • Buy a bottle of Bordeaux, cheese, and a fresh baguette and picnic on the beach like many of the locals do.
  • Wear your bikini and swim in the mellow turquoise surf. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes to the beach as there is no sand, it is more so a pebble beach.
  • Walk down the Promenade des Anglais (click the link for a webcam clip), which is the main street running down the entire beach.

Nightlife to Enjoy:

  • Les 3 Diables, a fun dance club where the locals sang Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 classic “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” with such vigor and gust that the men ripped their shirts off and sang even more loud! Definitely a stop one needs to see for an “American dejavu” experience of Frenchmen and women singing American classics wilst sipping cosmos and mai tai’s gingerly.
  • Wayne’s Bar, a surfer California tiki bar. Covered in American license plates and Hawaiian décor, this bar is a blast filled by a majority young clientele. Walk in to find it packed to the brim, get your beer on tap or a spritzer, and make your way to the back to find a superb dance floor ready for you to get your moves on!

Next time, we will make more time to swing to Monaco before jumping on a train to Italy! I hope you enjoyed reading my recommendations for Nice, France. Three days, two nights was not nearly enough time to enjoy this French Riviera paradise!

 

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Nice, France. The views everywhere are fantastic!

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Delicious pastries I found at the marketplace in Old Nice.

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My fiance and I at Wayne’s Bar.

 

Are you motivated to back pack to Nice, France? Have you been to the French Riviera? Are there nearby places to Nice you recommend? Please leave comments below.

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Culture Focus: Gay Marriage Benefits Us All

Psychologists say the first impression left is always the strongest impression to hold. When traveling through Paris, the first thought passing through my mind was life, culture, and action! This is truer than ever as France passed a tremendously influential law legalizing gay marriage on May 17th, 2013. This law represents ‘changing environments’ in its fullest entirety. This revolutionizing shift will shine reflectively through culture, ethics, business, and for all countries. Just as President Barack Obama wants one to “keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. Be the best husband to your wife or your boyfriend or your partner. Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important.”  So you see, being LGBT friendly is nothing less than accepting the natural, respecting psychological basis of ‘being human’.  These moments in France and in twelve of our home states has made the Huffington Post 17 LGBT Political Moments That Made Us Proud This Year. As we ponder these changes and absorb the culture of generations to develop, it is important to embrace the benefits of our gay counterparts.

Here is a list of ‘food for thought’ from the Huffington Post of 7 Ways the U.S.A. Benefits From the Legalization of Gay Marriage:

1.        Promotes Equality and Non-Discrimination in Society

2.        Fosters Psychological, Physical, and Social Wellbeing Amongst LGBT People

3.        Promotes Family Stability and Validates LGBT Family Units

4.        Provides Economic and Business Opportunities

5.        Fosters True Freedom of Religion

6.        Assists With the De-politicization of LGBT Rights

7.        Strengthens National Identity and International Reputation

It’s absolutely no wonder France took this initiative and brave step to embrace the LGBT Community. The beneficial possibilities for the unity are endless. This is more than accepting gay livelihood, this is breaking down walls and accepting culture.

“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

~King Jr. Martin Luther

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What do you think of these global cultural changes? Do you feel this demotes discrimination for all? Leave a comment below.