Posted by: Alex MacGregor | May 18, 2010

Everything is Nice…Except for the Trains

Caroline and I decided to make one final day trip to Nice, France, from our base in Menton. The weather forecast was apocalyptically bad, and we figured that if we were in for a rainy day we would be able to at least find some indoor activities in Nice. So we shrugged off the morning storm and hopped on the train.

Thankfully, the clouds quickly gave way to a nice afternoon!

By this point in the trip we were a bit weary from visiting so many major tourist attractions, so we were mainly interested in exploring the pleasant, coastal city.

One great thing about Nice is the influence from both France and Italy, after being traded back and forth between the two several times. Not only can you find fluffy croissants and sweet crêpes in the French-looking parts of the city like the ones above, but you can also explore the Italian old town:

Of course, that’s not to mention the azure blue sea (although it was much to chilly for us to get in!).

After spending so much time in less-developed countries in the Balkans, the grandness of the churches was overwhelming!

We made a visit to Nice’s excellent Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, but we’re going to show you a  picture of the adjacent theater because the museum was covered in scaffolding. The Loch Ness Monster sculpture in front is the work of one of the featured artists in the museum’s permanent collection.

Nice has an abundance of public art, like these elevated sculptures in the main square. I guess one might call Nice the Skopje of the West.

After we got our fill of sightseeing, we headed to an internet cafe and took a few hours to work on the blog. On the way to Nice, the train station ticket clerk handed us a timetable with all the return times. We saw that the trains ran at least hourly until 1AM, so we figured returning to Menton was a non-issue. We spent a couple hours updating this blog and made it to the train station at around 10:30PM.

There were no trains. Apparently there was some sort of problem in Marseilles holding up service, but it appeared that the train timetable I was handed was a year old, and for the high season!

Over time we learned how bleak the situation was. There was an 11:15 train that only went as far as Monaco/Monte Carlo. Besides that, the only transport to Menton was a bus that left Nice at midnight and took almost two hours to make the trip. Or a train that left at 3AM!

We decided to take the train to Monte Carlo and roll the dice, so to speak. Much to our delight, the train arrived just in time to meet an earlier bus headed to Menton.

Caroline was more overjoyed than you would think anyone could be at midnight in the Monaco bus station.

So we didn’t make it back to Menton until well after midnight, but, hey, it sure beats getting back at 2AM or later!


  1. […] the train. We’ve had train adventures in places ranging from Mozambique and South Africa to France and Switzerland. Why not add Cuba to the list? After all, it’s one of only a few Latin […]

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