John posted a Nice and Monaco recap sometime ago, and I failed to put in my 2 cents. But with inflation that’s now worth 2 Euro, so one could argue I’m right on time.
Just 30 minutes past Èze-Village on the 112 bus is the world’s second-smallest country, Monaco. With over 38,000 people packed into 3/4 of a square mile, it is also the world’s most densely populated country.
Let’s throw it back to Salvo, NC in 2002. Thanks to my dad’s old waterproof Nikon film camera, we were able to take some surfing and bodyboarding shots with our family whenever we were in the Outer Banks.
The medieval village of Èze is an eagles’ nest perched about 1,400 feet above sea level just 12 km from Nice. First settled in 2000 BCE, the village has passed through the hands of the Romans, Moors, Phoenicians, Turks, and Italians. The village is broken up into two sections: Èze-sur-Mer, which is located on the water, and Èze Village, which is the hilltop village. They are connected by the Nietzsche Path, where Freidrich Nietzsche apparently enjoyed hiking to the beach and pondering the beauty of the area.
We love a good adventure. Don’t get us wrong. But we had been adventuring for a while now, and it was time for a day of rest. Our Sand Sabbath, if you will. So we decided to join the sun-worshiping Niçois and head to a local beach.
After a couple of busy days in Lyon, it was on to Nice. We decided to bite the bullet and take the toll roads (and thus save us 2-3 hours of driving), which ended up costing us about 40 euro. (Seriously, French toll roads…!!) Immediately upon arriving in the French Riviera, we noticed a different vibe. The weather was hot, the streets were crowded, and the people were infinitely less patient. Mopeds and scooters cluttered the roads, and traffic made each short trip an eternity. Just before getting to our rental car office, we got stuck behind two motorists engaged in a heated argument. The driver in front (a macho-looking dude with a shaved head) stopped his vehicle and walked back to the car behind him and started attacking the driver while he was sitting in his car! Fortunately, the guy in the car was also pretty big himself and seemed to be able to defend himself until the bald guy gave up. I had never seen anything like that in person – but it seemed to characterize the hot-blooded personality of Nice.
Our next adventure was to be found in Lyon, about a 5-hour drive from the Loire Valley. We set off early and planned to take the back roads to Lyon, which tacked on about two hours, but also saved us about 45 euro from what we would have spent on the exorbitantly expensive French motorway. (Seriously – if you have the time, avoid France’s toll roads. They are ridiculously expensive. They do save you a lot of time, but are severely overpriced). Aside from frugality, we were also simply excited to just experience the countryside. So that’s exactly what we did!