The south of France is no place for budget travelers, but if you look for them, you can find some deals…at least we did in Nice.
In this playground for the rich and famous, you might expect to dish out the big euros for just about everything but we have managed to get by with our wallets mostly intact.
At the Carrefour, a French supermarket chain that we patronized in Spain and Portugal as well, we dropped about €35 for bread, eggs, some ham and sausage, yoghurt, soda, a bit of cheese, onions, a bag of lambs lettuce, a red pepper, and olive oil. I had pasta, rice, canned sardines, and assorted nuts and dried fruits in my pack so we just needed a supply of fresh items.
We ate a couple of meals a day in our apartment and one meal or snack out. At one restaurant we found take away pasta for €7 that made for two full meals. I had spinach ravioli with creamy salmon sauce and Steve had pasta bolognese.
So, food being fully taken care of we needed only entertain ourselves.
Though we are used to the heat at home, it is nice to duck out of it in the middle of the day. Museums, of various sorts were available and offered the needed shade and entertainment. Admission to each of the city’s 11 museums is €10.
BUT… for a one time €15 fee, you can visit as many museums as you can in a three day period.
Not ones to rush through exhibitions we managed to see four museums in the allotted time. We spent €30 (but saved €50) to visit the Matisse Museum, the Archeological Museum of Nice, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Photography Museum.
Other entertainment in Nice is available completely free of charge. There are 22 public beaches (and 15 private ones owned by upscale hotels) along the Promenade des Anglais. The Promenade stretches 4 miles along the coast, overlooking the beaches.
There’s always a party vibe along the promenade. Music streaming from the bars, young people roller blading and riding tricks on bikes, shouts from beach volleyball games, and the sound of waves crashing against the pebbled shore.
There may be a dozen or more multimillion dollar yachts in the old city’s Port Lympia marina and dozens more anchored and moored in coves and bays nearby. Pricy cars zoom around town and up the coast to Monaco.
Let them think this is their playground. We know the secret.
Another secret? You can take the number 100 bus to Monaco for €1.50. No need to risk your Ferrari on those narrow, curved roads along the coast. (Sit on the right side of the bus on the way there for unforgettable views!)