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.
You have many options for beaches in Nice. There are a number of public and private beaches in Nice. The public beaches are free; however, you will have to be jockeying for position with hundreds of other coconut-oiled, Speedo-wearing beachgoers, especially in the vacation month of August. (There really aren’t that many people wearing Speedos in France, but I thought it would be entertaining to perpetuate the stereotype, and it seemed to flow well.) There isn’t much free real estate on the beaches, so be prepared to have people walk all over your personal space in order to get from place to place. Additionally, it’s wise to have someone stay with your belongings at all times – you don’t want to lose sight of your phone or wallet amid the crowds.
In order to secure a private beach, you will be paying for a lounge and umbrella, which could run you (gasp!) in upwards of 25 euro per person for the day (No, you don’t get to keep the lounge and umbrella). Undeterred by the exorbitant costs, hordes still flock to the private beaches, so they’re not all that private. The upside of private beaches is that you run little risk of having your wallet swiped, as you will likely be out money after paying for your lounge rental.
No matter whether you’re at a public or private beach in Nice, however, you will have the same layer of pebbles to lay on. So be prepared if you’re used to fine sand. Now this is not to say that it’s not worth visiting a beach within the city of Nice, even though I am listing a lot of the negatives. You get the Miami-esque backdrop of a glamorous beachside city, and it’s likely going to be close to where you’re staying. But if you like a little more serenity and a little less bankruptcy, you may want to check out some of the beaches in the bordering towns.
We decided to check out a small town called Villefranche-sur-Mer. V-s-M boasts a smooth surface and fewer crowds than in Nice. It’s an easy 15 minute bus ride from the Old Town (take the 81 or 100, the bus stop is Octroi). The beach, Plage des Marinières, is about a 5 minute walk down a hill and past some condos from the bus stop. While not technically a sand beach, Plage des Marinières is composed of extremely fine pebbles that are smooth like sand to walk and lay on, yet not too tiny to the point where they get in every nook and cranny of your body and bathing suit. So it’s a very comfortable beach. Blake (our friend from the Kingdom Hall the night before) came and met us at the beach, and we enjoyed several hours of sunbathing and swimming. The Mediterranean water is very calm, and swimmers of all abilities can enjoy it. Blake brought along his goggles, and was able to see some sea life beneath the surface.
Oh, and the scenery ain’t bad either.
And best of all, Villefranche-sur-Mer beaches are FREE! We picked up an 8 euro umbrella (that we got to keep!) and we were on our way.
After a day in the sun, we headed back to Nice.
Jolyn, Blake, and I picked up some pizza from a delicious, low-key, and affordable local place called Al Taglio. We grabbed some beers and headed down to the beach to enjoy a picnic meal by the sea. What a glorious end to the day!