28 May 2012

Côte d'Azur : Day 1 & 2

On 14 May we took the TGV towards Nice. Everything went very smoothly, we could enjoy the passing landscapes under a lovely sunny sky and arrived on time in Nice. Our train to Menton had just left (of course) but the TER rides every half hour between Ventimigli and Cannes, so you  never have to wait long. Having said that, I must admit that we were knackered beyond belief when we arrived at our hotel Vacanciel and just had our dinner there. Bit of a mistake because the choice was very poor and the quality of the food not that amazing. After dinner we almost went straight to bed.
The hotel was a good choice, the rooms were quite big, it was very clean, the location is ideal (between station and city center), breakfast was as it should be. Downside was that the airco didn't work as it should, so when it was hot outside, it could be an oven inside and that the hotel is often frequented by groups. But hey, when you're out and about all day (and evening), that's no bother.

View from our window

the hotel

front garden of the hotel

The next day, we went exploring Menton. It's located near the Italian border and it's simply quite beautiful. You find a lot of art by Cocteau in the street (including the wonderful Salle des Marriages at the city hall), a beautiful graveyard overlooking the bay, a lovely market place, lots of restaurants and bistros, etc.

Hotel de ville

The graveyard of Menton - This is the grave of the Russian prince who killed Rasputin

grave of the inventor of baseball

Art by Cocteau

We had lunch at Le Gambas Rouge (Rue de la Marne), a Sicilian restaurant where they serve very good food (fish mostly) and one of the best pasta alle Vongole I've ever eaten. It's not a fancy restaurant, but the service is good and the owners are immediately very familiar with you. Good quality at a good price. During our trip, we went there 4 times.
In the evening we went to Le Nautica, again Italians (almost all catering is provided by Italians at the Côte d'Azur it seems) where we had Mussels. Again, good service at a good price. I can recommend the Minuty Rosé wine. very very yummy. :-)
Once the sun sets, it tends to get quite chilly, something we weren't prepared for on our first day there especially because it was very hot during the day! :-)