French Rivera: The most affordable expensive trip ever

Monte Carlo. Cannes. Nice. The places where celebrities are known to vacation. AKA the most expensive place I’ve ever visited, so how the hell did I– a broke college girl survive a week there?

A majority of my Spring Break was spent in the French Riviera. We went from quaint Amsterdam to sunny side, pebbly beach, bougie French Riviera. The part of France that’s notoriously known to be a popular vacation spot for celebrities. But we did it, and did it on a budget.

We were a party of four, who stayed in an Airbnb that was a short five minute walk away from the beach and the city center of Nice. We fell in love with it’s aesthetic and the humbleness that it carried.

Throughout the week we took multiple day trips by train to Cannes, Monaco, Cap D’Ail, and Eze. Each having it’s own charm and less than an hour away from each other. The trains are completely affordable, with round trips ranging about 20 euros per person.

Cannes did not have much to see besides the construction of the Cannes Festival event that is two blocks away from the train station and at the west end of the beach. It can easily be walked down, either in the sand or on the boardwalk that is dotted with ice cream vendors. We decided to stop at the Ritz Carlton for their bathroom. Eric and Jeff had decided to stop for a glass of wine (eleven euro each) at their outdoor cafe. We decided to pop into more hotels such as the Grand Hyatt and the Radisson Blu. We ended our visit at the Radisson to watch the sunset at their rooftop bar.

Monaco, was a bit of a longer train ride away– but for five euro round trip we didn’t mind. Upon arriving we learned that the country was essentially separated as the New City– where Monte Carlo is, and the Old City where the Royal Palace sits on top of a mountain. We decided to take the two euro water taxi across to the Old City first. From there we walked along the side of the mountain up to the Royal Palace. The panoramic views had to be one of my favorites of all time. The sea was dotted with sailboats training for future competitions. Stone stairs lead down to small pebbly beaches with locals sun bathing. Although the hike upward became more difficult the view got better as we went higher. Eventually coming down from the other side of the mountain we returned to the New City and headed towards Monte-Carlo. As we got closer storefronts became more polished and displayed brands we wish we could afford. Bentleys, Mercedes, Rolls Royces, and Ferraris were the only cars that occupied the streets. Gardens were perfectly manicured next to the regal hotels supported by tall columns. Although we clearly couldn’t afford anything in Monte Carlo it was a dream to see. We ended up at Nobu for happy hour where drinks were half off. Easily we each only had one drink. Following we decided to treat ourselves and have dinner at Avenue 31.

Going to the beach was on the top of our list while in the French Riviera. Eric had did some research and found a blogger that mentioned that his favorite beach was in Cap D’Ail, a stop before Monaco. This was easily my favorite part of the trip. When getting off the train only then we learned that we had to do a bit of a hike to get to the beach. It was alongside the mountain, with the ocean on our left. The views were incredible, and the beach’s view was equally amazing. It was a small beach with two restaurants that were closed for the season. Some locals had already laid out before us and enjoyed the sun. It was pebbly like any other French Riv beach, but it was very secluded and intimate.

That evening we took the train back to Eze to watch the sunset at Le Jardin exotique d’Eze. We had took a two euro bus up to the top of the mountain where most of Eze’s city is. From there we hiked up a bit to the garden to appreciate the wonderful view. The colors played amongst the clouds and the horizon slowly faded. I’ve never cried at something becautiful, but that view almost made me cry.

The French Rivera was my favorite trip so far because it embodied what I believe is the best vacation. Being able to relax, see multiple places leisurely, having perfect weather throughout the whole time, and good company. The views were absolutely incredible and unforgettable. 

Saying that all is swell would be an understatement for this trip.


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