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Nice to Monaco

Thursday, July 9, 2009
If you fancy going to the French Riviera, Jason Dundas' advice is have plenty of cash. If you aren't all that flush, his tip is to stay in Nice. It's not quite as posh as say Cannes or St Tropez, but more than suitable as a base.

Best Western Premier Hotel West End is on the Promenade des Anglais, facing Baie des Anges. Built in 1842, it has the ambience of a belle époque property. It has been continuously renovated and the 126-room property is one of quality and charm. You'll be right in the thick of the action, and it has a private beach right across the road.

Its restaurant, Le Siècle, faces the Mediterranean and offers gourmet dining in an art deco setting.

In summer, guests languish in La Palmeraie terrace bar and enjoy live music. In winter, the British-inspired Horse Guard Bar is the place for cosy moments.

Another way to save a few dollars is to head to the Old Town, where there is a market every day. Stock up on some wonderful cheeses and meats, bread and fruit and you have one of the best lunches ever. Mind you, what you save on food will possibly go on other tempting goods — and beware — Monday is "gem day" at the antique market.

Just 30 minutes away by car or scooter, Monaco is the perfect daytrip from Nice. You may even fancy a flutter in the famous Monte Carlo Casino when you arrive. Grande Corniche, the highest road, is the shortest route but not as scenic. Moyenne Corniche, the middle road, clings to the hillside and winds through little villages. But be warned, car driving can be hair-raising — in fact, it's the road on which Princess Grace of Monaco was killed.

Jason took Basse Corniche, the lowest road. It skims the villa-lined waterfront and is certainly the most beautiful.

Villefranche

Villefranche is the first town you come to. It's built on a terraced hill overlooking the Mediterranean and once you see it you won't be surprised why it's a favourite for filmmakers. It's been used as a the location in many films, including An Affair to Remember, Never Say never Again and The Bourne Identity.

Remy Blouin, owner or the seaside restaurant La Mere Germaine, reckons his famous bouillabaisse is just as important as the natural beauty of the area. The restaurant was opened in the 1930s and Remy, who is Tahitian, is a descendent of Germaine who opened it.

Villefranche's bay is one of the deepest Mediterranean ports, so it's a popular place for large ships. After World War I it was home to the US Navy's Sixth Fleet.

As beautiful as the beaches are, they aren't provided by nature. Every grain is shipped in and is topped up every year.

As he scootered along the Basse Corniche, Jason saw some stunning homes. Tina Turner owns one, as does Elton John and U2's Bono. All rather impressive and definitely owned by the rich and, in some cases, famous.

Eze

The town of Eze is a medieval village about half-way between Nice and Monte Carlo with two parts. The original town was built high on the hill overlooking the bay, not so much for the views but to spot arriving enemies. Eze by the Sea is where you'll see more stunning homes.

The beach, baie d'Eze, is easily accessible and local vegetation includes pines, bananas, dates, carob, orange and lemon trees, all thriving in the year-round warm climate.

Monaco

The Principality of Monaco has been ruled by the Grimaldi family since 1297. The tax haven attracts squillionaires from around the world and its homes and luxury yachts are mouth-watering. All this in a tiny place that would fit snugly into New York's Central Park.

Its famous Monte Carlo Casino was built in the mid-19th century and was the building on which Ian Fleming based the casino in his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.

It's all terribly glamorous and beautiful, but you can do it on a budget. Hop on a scooter, take advantage of market food and drink and who knows what you might win at the tables.

Location

The south of France.

Cost

The Best Western Premier Hotel West End in Nice has rooms starting at around $180 a night.

Emirates has flights to Nice. They are for a limited time only so visit www.emirates.com/getaway for more details.

Prices correct at July 9, 2009.

For further information

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
www.emirates.com/getaway

Best Western
www.bestwestern.com

Visas: No visas are required for stays of up to three months.

Electricity: 220V at 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.

Time zone: GMT +2.

Currency: The euro.

Telephone code: +33.

Travellers should be "in date" for the standard Australia and New Zealand immunisation schedules. Depending on the time of year of travel and exact destination, other health precautions and preventions may be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.welltogo.com.au or www.smartraveller.gov.au.

User comments
I would also like to get the name and contact details of the self contained accommodation (4kms from Nice) that mazza has described in the report. It sounds amazing and very cheap!!!
a question for mazza from woollongong who mentioned such cheap self-contained apartments just 4kms from nice...can you give the name of this place? would be much appreciated, thanks champ!
I loved your show last night - the Mediterranean holiday. Brought back lots memories of Italy last year - can't wait to go to France next. The south of France looked amazing. I will get there. Thank you for whetting my appetite.
forget hotels ! self contained accommodation is much cheaper and more enjoyable Have just booked 7 nights, 2 bedroom, waterfront plus own pool, huge terrace overlooking the sea, 64 m2, 4km from Nice for 600 euros I always book appartments, not only is it much cheaper but you can take home some of that lovely market produce and make a meal in your own kitchen if you want a quite night.
What a great location. What an embarrassment Jason was displaying an "Ultra- Ocker" redneck impression of young Australian tourists. Grow up Jason, I was embarrassed for you with your display at the casino and your poor scooter skills.

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