Lifestyle blog by a thirty-something city dweller

Planes, trains, trams, buses, and a ferry


(Slightly delayed as internet issues meant I couldn’t post this yesterday) I write this sitting at the beach in the glorious sunshine on the French Riviera. I always try to get away at this particular time of the year, for my birthday. I’ve found as I get each year older that birthdays really aren’t that exciting nor something to really celebrate. Sure, I want to catch up with my family and closest friends but I want to do that most weeks so nothing special there.

Instead, I often decide to go away for a few days. This means that when look back on my birthdays, I do so with unique, fun, interesting memories of the amazing experiences I’ve had, rather than the focus being on another boring birthday. Some years I go away with friends and sometimes I go on my own.

This year, I’ve come to Nice on my own for 4 days. I love France and this is an area I had never been to before. Flights were cheap from the UK and I figured I’d at least get a bit more sun than at home – Wednesday was pretty nice and today is stunning but Thursday and Friday were very rainy (not cold though).

I love travelling because I love seeing new places, I love delicious food, and I love meeting new people. This trip has been the perfect combination of all of those.

I decided to stay in a hostel on this trip, not only because it’s so much cheaper than a hotel but because you get to meet new people too. The hostel I’m in (Villa Saint Exupery Beach) is in a great location, clean, has its own bar (with really cheap beer and cocktails during Happy Hour every evening) and pleasant, helpful staff.

nice, france, french riviera, cote d'azur

View towards the old town in Nice

Although I’m staying in Nice, I’ve also taken trips to Èze, Monaco, Antibes, Cannes and Île de Sainte Marguerite. Nice is a pretty cool city. Not too big and a nice mix of modern and old. On my first full day here I took a tour bus to see the city and also visited the Musée Matisse and the Musée du Sport. As it was my birthday, I also went to a posh hotel and drank prosecco then went for a really great dinner and then out to a few bars with the girls I’m sharing a room with at the hostel.

matisse, art, museum, gallery, nice, france

Musée Matisse

olympics, olympic torch, museum of sport, nice, france

Olympic torches at the Museum of Sport

hotel aston la scala, nice, france, french riviera, prosecco

Birthday prosecco at Hotel Aston La Scala, Nice

I wasn’t fussed by Monaco but I’m glad I have been there just to tick it off the list. I went to the Musée Océanographique and walked around the old area where the palace is, we also gambled a few euros at one of the casinos. We stopped in Èze on the way to Monaco and had a short walk around the castle on the hill. It’s such a tiny village but the views are spectacular so I’m glad we made the short detour.

casino, gambling, monte carlo, monaco

Casino de Monte-Carlo

hotel de paris, monte carlo, monaco, alain ducasse

Hôtel de Paris

Antibes is lovely. Exactly how I picture what a French town on the Côte d’Azur should look like. They have an amazing food and farmers’ market and I also visited the Musée Picasso, took a long walk through the old parts of the town and sat on the beach basking in the sun for a while.

antibes, france, french riviera, sunshine, holiday


sculpture, art, beach, antibes, france, cote d'azur

Sculpture at the port in Antibes

antibes, fort carre, french riviera, marina, yacht, history

Fort in Antibes

Cannes was really busy and I wasn’t up for battling the crowds. It’s a nice enough town but I quickly headed to the port and jumped on a ferry to Île de Sainte Marguerite, a small island 15-minutes off the coast which is a nature reserve and home to roman ruins and a 17th century fort and prison. It was beautiful and so peaceful and relaxing. I visited the fort and they had a temporary photography exhibition from a Korean photographer who had been commissioned by the local authority to capture the island. The photos were absolutely breathtaking. The island is renowned for its eucalyptus trees and my favourite photo of the series could easily have been taken in Kenya, a place I adore. I couldn’t believe the similarity.

ile de sainte marguerite, cannes, france, french riviera, man in the iron mask

Ile de Sainte Marguerite

fort, prison, art, painting, france, cannes, island

Modern art in the old prison

prison, man in the iron mask, france, cannes, french riviera, history

As if the sheer drop into the ocean wasn’t enough of a deterrent to prisoners in the 17th century…

I have eaten truly delicious food the whole time I’ve been here. From freshly baked croissants from boulangeries in the old town, a 3-course perfectly French meal of salade niçoise, baked sea bass with courgettes and aubergines, and crême brulée, colourful and tasty macarons from a food market, to absolutely exceptional carpaccico du boeuf in Monte Carlo.

salade nicoise, nice, france, french riviera, rose wine, dinner, food

Salade Nicoise at Restaurant Voyageur Nissart

sea bass, loup de mer, seafood, fish, aubergine, courgette

Filet de loup de mer – sea bass

creme brûlée, french food, france, dessert

Crème brûlée

carpaccio, beef, french food, monaco

Carpaccio de bœuf

macarons, macaroons, french food, farmers market, dessert, patisserie


I have met fun, interesting people from Norway, Canada, the US, India, South Korea and more. People taking career breaks and travelling Europe on their own; university students studying in Prague or Florence for a semester and trying to see as much of Europe as they can every weekend; others just taking a short holiday like I am. What I love most is that it doesn’t matter what age, nationality, background or reason for travelling, I have had great conversations and experiences with people I would never have met otherwise.

If you have never traveled alone, I highly recommend it. I have had the most fascinating and memorable experiences all around the world from travelling solo, and this trip was just another one to add to my ever-growing list.

Suggestions for where I should go next please…


Author: amiiat30

Marketing Communications Manager, sports coach, crochet queen

2 thoughts on “Planes, trains, trams, buses, and a ferry

  1. Pingback: My 2016 review | Amii @ Thirty

  2. Pingback: Autumn Tag 2017 | Amii @ Thirty

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