The train ride from Carcassonne was hard. We were already hot from visiting the old city and when the train arrived at the station it was already packed, so lugging our bags through two train cars until we found our seats was a trial. The train car was air conditioned but with the cumulative affect of body heat and 95 degree weather I was sweating profusely and once I get hot, my body is like a furnace, it takes forever for the inner core to cool down. I had kept the tourist map of Carcassonne in my bag and it worked beautifully as a fan. The train ride wasn’t direct, we had to change trains at Marseille and we only had a half hour waiting time between trains which is great if the first one arrives on time. Ours didn’t, so as we watched our connection leave without us, we lugged our bags off the train and through the cavernous terminal of the famous Gare de Marseille. I was going to see about exchanging our tickets at the ticket counter when I spied on the Departure Board, a train heading to Nice-Ville leaving at 20:30 on Track D, I turned and told baby girl to follow me. Without too much added stress, we arrived at Nice around 23:30 exhausted and hot and determined to get a taxi.
We got a taxi but it wasn’t easy, we encountered our first shickster. He told me that taxi’s had a minimum distance they had to travel and my hotel wasn’t far enough. By this time my brain was fried, my body was crying internally for a bed and I said I’ll give you 20 euros to take us to our hotel. We got to the hotel five minutes later and it was 20 euros well spent. Yesterday I walked to the station to get tickets to Arles for Tuesday and there was no way in this universe that we could have lugged our baggages to the hotel.
Our hotel, Hotel des Cigales, is fantastic. I highly recommend it. It is in a great location, three streets away from the Promenade des Anglais and the sea and five minutes walking distance from the open air marche and Vieux Nice, old Nice. The breakfast here at the hotel is really nice, they offer choices of savory things like cured meats, eggs and cheeses or croissants, fresh bread, cereal, fruit and yogurt. The staff is very friendly and helpful as well. The rooms are well air-conditioned and there is free wifi. What more can you ask for?
Nice is interesting, as we walk along all the charming streets, the baby girl and I are hearing every language except French. There are the Scandinavians roaming in full force the streets of Nice, joining them are visitors from Eastern Europe and Russia and don’t forget the Italians, they love Nice. It is strange not to hear French when you are ordering an ice cream cone even though you are surrounded by people. I imagine Nice in September is a vastly different city when everyone goes back home and back to work. The prices here are very expensive, I shouldn’t be surprised, it is a city surviving on the tourist trade, but I was a little shocked paying 42 euros for two salads, granted they were a Cobb salad and a Nicoise salad, a coke, a Perrier and a bottle of Vittel. It is a grand city and the architecture is stunning, very majestic, I especially love the musician’s quarter. They call it that because all the streets are named after the greats; Rossinni, Mozart, Vivaldi and etc. I would call the architecture classic, I’m not versed in the school of architecture, I just know what is pleasing to my eyes and that quarter has caught my eyes.
There is a reason why they say Nice is nice.