Nice and Monaco

Nice just isn’t all that nice. I do appreciate it because it has beaches, and it has cafes, and it has pedestrian avenues, I’m just not sure that anything it has is in any way better than what other sweet places have. First off, this is a city, it is not a beach town. Staying close to the beach can give off that impression, but a walk from the train station lets you know how much different this place is than say South Beach. I kind of like that it has multiple styles and areas, but at the time I was looking for something more Mediterranean focused. Let’s talk about the beach…holy shit does it suck. I have seen plenty of rocky beaches in my day, but not ones that ar so heavily used by people who quite obviously can’t stand it. I mean watching people walk up the steep angle from water to flat lounging is difficult to do. Everyone sinks in…everyone. So you look like an idiot trying to steady and straighten yourself, and everyone is in pain (except those who wore some sweet ass water shoes, and standard ones aren’t good enough). You can see their faces cringe as rocks ravage their feet. In fact, when you go into the water it doesn’t really stop hurting until you start floating…so go quickly. The beaches are lined with beach “clubs”, which are separated from the public portions of the rest of the beach. The clubs have bathrooms, chaise loungers, food, drinks, umbrellas, towels, internet, tvs…I mean, it was perfect. Some of the best beach amenities I have ever seen. And our “beach boy” (if you will) was gd fantastic. Could not of been better. I may of stayed at the beach longer than any beach I’ve ever been to…no kidding. Funny, cause as I said, the beach sucks. Oh, right…also, boobies.

Now, like Rio, there is no real beach front property. The buildings are separated by a road and then a concrete boardwalk (which does have a decent amount of mobile vendors on it). Walking down that avenue you get great views of the water and the women. The restaurants there are almost all bar and grill type places with TVs and beer. They mostly are overpriced and have terrible service…kind of like most beach town main drags. The pedestrian avenue (Rue Massena) offers some fantastic people and architecture watching. The stores are great and the patios are plentiful. Still touristy, just “better” touristy. If you keep walking north on Massena you will eventually come to a ridiculously nice and huge family park, then eventually to the flower market (spelled differently of course). This area is great. Tons of vendors. Tons of small boutique stores. Lots of style. Tons of bars and restaurants. The main area is much more bland than the side streets (which are plentiful)…but I liked it all nonetheless.

Getting to Monaco can be a bitch. You basically have 2 options, train or cab, and the cab costs 90 euros minimum…no lie (and I did ask several people). The problem with the train is that hardly anyone is on it, and even though you are in the French Riviera, it’s dark, it’s deserted, and it’s all in French. So we were very on guard for our train ride there. The train station in Nice is not in the greatest part of town and man it was empty. Like the beginning of every Law and Order episode empty. There were 2 drunk hot girls waiting for the train as well, but I just assumed they would get murdered first then we would have to be taken out mob style for witnessing the damn thing. Anyway, the ride isn’t so short either. Basically, while it would not have been right for this particular trip, in the future, if I want to go to Monaco I will spend the night…not that there would be any reason to go back! Ha.

The main reason to go to Monaco is the Monte Carlo Casino (IMHO). This building is just an easy 30 minute walk in oppressive heat going uphill almost the entire time from a ginormous Monaco train station that didn’t make any sense (signage was of little help) and with all of the elevators and shit, I’m honestly not sure if we arrived one hundred feet underground or suspended one hundred feet in the air. Crazy. The walk does include some pretty unbelievable views of the mega yachts in the Monaco harbor. I mean these are the illest of the ill boats. Cool to see.

Arriving at the Casino you will first notice cars. Tons of them, and none worth less than 100K. You will also notice that there are 3 types of people around, very obvious out of towners who are spending a little too much time taking pictures in front of said cars, very obvious prostitutes who pretty much any guy would give a nut to sleep with, and employees. Point is, the glamorous folk ain’t hanging around for all to see. This place is from a bygone era and you can tell. You get the impression that if you have any real money or any real style you must immediately hide from what is happening in and around this courtyard. There are outdoor patios and hotels in the courtyard, but the center piece is the Monte Carlo. Walking in you notice how grand it is, and how impressive it must have been 50 years ago. I mean this place probably knocked people’s fucking socks off. Now, you must pay 12 or so euros just to enter the casino. The casino room is basically the same as the lobby area except it has a single bar, slot machines, and very few table games. They do have an additional casino room off to the right, but it costs 10 or so more euros to get in there and it looked the exact same, except sans bar! I suppose you go there if you really want to gamble and not be bothered? I’m not sure. The whole thing seemed boring to me. Thus, we purchased the requisite martinis, we lounged around the roulette table, and we ending up playing a few coins in the slot machines…and my girl turned it into 100 euros! How about that shit. James Bond indeed.

We ate dinner at the Café Paris right next to the casino. If you include the outdoor areas, and you must, it has to be one of the biggest restaurants in the world. It also happens to be one of the most expensive. We had a great time though, and enjoyed the food immensely. The place is famous and they do outdoor music all the time. Suck it up and relax in one of the most highly regarded luxurious places on the planet.

Notes to self:

-Use the concierge if you have a question anywhere you go. This is real service here. Not that Kimpton shit 🙂


Hotels

Hyatt Regency Nice (June 2014)