European Chronicles | Salut, Nice et Monaco!

Well we arrived in Nice on the 22nd and it is beeeeeeeeautiful!  We decided to take the high speed train instead of fly so that we could see the country, and I must say that I found the train to be so enjoyable!  It was smooth, very fast, extremely comfortable, and just all around lovely.

Delilah, as always, was a perfect angel on the trip.  I think the other passengers in our car were a bit worried when we got on with a baby, but she didn’t make a peep the whole time, except for a few giggles and happy squeals every now and then.  We left from Gare de Lyon station in Paris and it was amazing to see…trains coming and going, travelers from all over the world, and even a fair amount of traveling pets!  That’s the other thing that we found so funny about France…the amount of dogs everywhere!  Paris is just filled with people walking their dogs on every corner.  We had a little bulldog in our car on the train and he was hilarious.

Here we are at Gare de Lyon station (don’t mind Delilah’s shaggy hair…it’s getting out of hand lately!)

Thrilled to be on the train at last (with her new toy)!

Chilling with Daddy.

And napping with mommy.

As soon as we arrived in Nice, we could immediately see how much of a different feel it has than Paris.  It’s MUCH more Mediterranean, much more casual, and has more of a sleaze factor than Paris did.  That’s not to say we don’t love it though!  We had to walk for aaaaaaaaages to get to our apartment, which was a royal pain in the butt with all of our bags.  We have since discovered that there is a tram that would have taken us less than five minutes to get here, but sadly we didn’t know that at the time!

Our apartment is in the absolute perfect location.  Right in the buzz of the busiest pedestrian street in Nice, but very quiet once you get upstairs.  Unfortunately for Brett, we were again on the third floor…needless to say his arms are going to be uber buff by the end of this trip!  Haha.  There is a lift, but it is literally the smallest lift I have ever seen in my life.  I don’t even think both Brett and I could fit in it.  And we certainly wouldn’t fit with our bags!  The apartment is gorgeous though, and the caretaker is a really lovely American woman, who I discovered is from Minneapolis and a fellow Lawrence graduate!  What a small world.

Here’s the apartment.  It also has a full kitchen, separate bedroom, and big bathroom.  It’s like five times the size of our Paris place!

And the teeny lift.  I love Delilah’s face in this one, by the way.  She’s like ‘dude, this thing does not look safe.’  Haha.

Our first day, we just decided to bum around Nice and explore a little bit.  We first had breakfast at a French restaurant (I had the most delicious omelette!) and Delilah even got her own seat.

Then we went straight out to the famous pedestrian street along the water, the Promenade des Anglais.  I couldn’t get over how long it was!  It went for miles along the coast.  It reminded me very much of the boardwalk in Atlantic City.  Lots of rollerbladers, joggers, Sunday strollers, and people just sitting quietly taking in the view.  We strolled along while Delilah had her morning nap.  It was lovely!

As soon as she woke up, we took her down to the pebble beach.  I use the term ‘pebble’ loosely, because these were the biggest freakin ‘pebbles’ I’ve ever seen!  Living in Sydney has made us a couple of beach snobs though…so while I thought the beach was really cool and worth seeing, I couldn’t imagine trying to lay out in the sun there (or go swimming!).  It was all but impossible just trying to walk around.  Yet it was literally PACKED with sun bakers and swimmers for the entire stretch of the promenade, even though it was only 21 degrees (70 degrees farenheit).  I put my feet in the water and it was like ice, so I think we will just admire it for the next few days, rather than jump straight in 😉

Delilah, however, was fascinated with the pebbles.  She loved it!

That evening, we ventured into Nice old town to go and get some Socca for dinner.  Socca is a famous Nice dish made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and pepper.  We heard about it, but had absolutely no clue what it was until after we came home and looked it up.  LOL.  They make it in these ginormous (like three feet wide) round copper pans and then hack it up into pieces and serve it on a plate.  It was FANFREAKINTASTIC!  So much so, that we looked up the recipe and are going to go on a hunt for chickpea flour when we get back to Sydney so that we can make it ourselves.

You can see it here on the right, along with the other yummies we ordered without having any idea what they were (sorry, this pic isn’t the greatest):

Heading out to old town (Brett’s first wrapping time with Delilah!  A  little crooked, but not too bad 😉 )

And old town prettiness:

The next day we decided to make the 20 minute trek over to Monaco to check out Monte Carlo and its famous casino.  Unfortunately, we went on a (unbeknownst to us) public holiday, so other than the casino area, it was a total ghost town!  You could tell it was Monaco even from the train station though.  While most European train stations are sort of rickety, old, and filled with bird poop, Monaco’s looked like it was made out of money.  Haha.  Check it out:

We accidentally took the wrong exit from the train station and we ended up at the very tippy top of the city.  Brett (and his fear of heights) was not at all a fan.  I found it completely fascinating!  It was almost like there were levels of the city that were built on top of one another.  You could look straight down and see streets and walkways almost directly below you.  There were even lifts that were just sitting out in the street that would take you to the next level down.  So bizarre.  The casino was about halfway down to the water, so we just walked down a ton of ramps and elevators until we finally found it.

Walking towards the casino in the front gardens:

Then there it was!  And my goodness, was it amazing.

Dad would have been in his element out front…there were cars out there that were worth more than my existence.  I particularly liked a red Ferrari that was parked right by the front door.  There were obviously some very high rollers in that place!

Unfortunately, even though Delilah was obviously in no state for gambling, they wouldn’t let us inside the casino with her.  I peeked in the door though and it was the most ornate, rich looking interior I have ever seen!  If only I had some spare cash and the ability to gamble without looking like an idiot.  LOL.

Instead we decided to cruise around the fabulous casino gardens behind the building.  The view was absolutely to die for.  Gorgeous plants and statues everywhere and a massive promenade that looked out over the turquoise sea.  No wonder people like to come here for some good gambling…at least if you lose the shirt off your back, you get to enjoy a good view!  🙂

Daddy and Delilah, taking it all in:

I think she likes Monaco  😉

And then, the most amazing thing happened…Delilah decided to make her grand ‘sitting all by herself’ debut!  Up until the day before, she was teetering all over the place…then all of a sudden she just decided to sit there for ten minutes by herself.  She was so proud!  Leave it to my child to choose such a swanky venue for her first time sitting…she’s got style, that girl!  Haha.

For our last day in Nice, we decided to just take it easy and absorb the ambience.  We had a relaxing morning just hanging around the apartment and then headed out just after lunch (we had baguettes and pesto in the apartment…YUM!).  We were so glad we went out for a walk today…the water was GORGEOUS!  It was exceptionally windy, but the blues in that water were literally breathtaking.  Despite the wind, the promenade was busy as always.

Delilah had her afternoon nap on our walk again (she is loving that these days).

And then we walked up to the lookout point at one of the ends of the promenade.  It was gorgeous, but WINDY!  Delilah likes the wind though.  She laughs every time it blows in her face.  Silly baby 😉

We ended the afternoon with a gelato and a stroll through old town (we hadn’t seen it all yet).  I found a fabulous dress for the Delilah baby, but it’s going to be a surprise for her eight month pictures in a few weeks.  Stay tuned!  🙂

We are off to Vernazza, Italy tomorrow morning and are ridiculously excited!  Although not so much excited about the trip, as it will be four trains to get there.  I don’t think our Vernazza apartment has internet, so I’ll have to wait until we arrive in Florence on the 29th to do a blog post.  See you all then!

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One Response to European Chronicles | Salut, Nice et Monaco!

  1. Brianna says:

    Wow Erin! Fantastic. You both make traveling with a 7 month old look like a breeze and the photos are amazing. What a fabulous trip!!! I’m living vicariously through your European adventure…Brianna

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