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Trip Report Loved the Cote d'Azur!

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First of all, thank you so much to all those on the forum who helped plan this trip. We’d been to the Cote d’Azur before, but found numerous subtle tips here that made everything go smoothly. Our 20th wedding anniversary was spent enjoying cloudless sunny days with culture, cafes, glamour, beaches, museums, and wineries.

Friday August 27- After flying from Tampa to Newark, NJ, we flew the relatively new, all business class Open Skies Airline to Paris Orly. The experience was not quite as good as first/business class on the major carriers, but it was 1/2 to 1/3 less for full reclining “Biz-Bed” seats.

Saturday August 28- Well rested upon arrival in Orly, we took a one hour Air France flight landing in Nice just after noon. We had packed smartly so wheeling our luggage one half mile to the train at Gare St. Augustin was easy. The station was unattended and someone had jammed something into the coin slot in the ticket machine, so we enjoyed our free ride to Villefranche. (We always tried to pay for train travel, but ended up with two free rides out of 6 on the trip with no enforcement issues.)

Walking down the steps with luggage at the station in Villefranche was a bit of a hassle, but the picture postcard view more than made up for it. We had reserved a “comfort room” on the third floor with a balcony over the water at the Hotel Welcome. Check in was a snap and we explored the town a bit.

Our first bus ride of the trip was indicative of our whole experience— crowded, somewhat hot and stinky, but the best value at 1 Euro. I can’t imagine the crowds during the middle of the summer or Grand Prix week. Gare Routiere in Nice is well located for exploring the old town and Cours Saleya. After dinner the final promenade party of the summer began with bands, fireworks, and lots of locals. We capped the night by being politely escorted out of the lobby of the Hotel Negresco after admitting we weren’t there for dinner or drinks.

Sunday August 29- We had never made it to Eze before, so the day began on busses 81 and 83 through Cap Ferrat and Belleu to Eze. The views lived up to all expectations, and luckily we beat the most of the tour busses there. We had some trouble descending the garden steps because bus loads from a cruise ship were ascending.

The afternoon was spent under 78 degree sunny skies at the beach in Villefranche. The “sand” was a bit courser than I remembered, but significantly better than the rocks in Nice and elsewhere. Wonderful views of Cap Ferrat, Villefranche, cruise ships, (and female beachgoers). For dinner we were happy to return to Le Cosmo next to our hotel in Villefranche. The first appetizer on their menu is the snow crab salad. It is a delicious blend of fresh avocado, artichoke, and the crab meat of about 6 legs—wow!

We returned to our hotel for a night cap. The balcony takes what would be a small, but nicely appointed room, and turns it into a private resort experience. Nothing will ever take away my memory of sipping wine in a bathrobe looking out over the café-lined quay across the water to Cap Ferrat.

To be continued…

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