France and Monaco in Spring
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
This time, my travel destination was South of France (Antibes and Marseille), Monaco, and Paris. It was such a lovely spring, Antibes-Nice-Cannes were pretty and I must say that Monaco was really charming! As for Paris, what can I say - Paris est toujours une bonne idée, Paris is always a good idea - as Audrey Hepburn said.
I flew by Air France (Singapore Airlines is better - so far based on my experience, I don't think any airlines can beat Singapore Airlines) to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris - then a domestic flight to Côte d'Azur Airport, Nice - then a drive to Antibes. I felt really sleepy and I was jet-lagged. I stayed in Hôtel Impérial Garoupe at Antibes for a night then drove to Monaco and stayed there for two nights and back to Antibes and stayed in Hotel Du Levant, just across the beach.
On the first morning after I landed and managed to get a little sleep, I had a nice breakfast at Plage Keller, a lovely restaurant by the beach. Many people went for swimming but it was too cold for me :-)
A few days after, I was there again at Plage Keller, a French-Mediterranean restaurant, for a birthday lunch. I couldn't remember anymore what I ate but all I can remember it was nice food and nice wine.
Just across Hotel Du Levant, there's another restaurant, La Petite Plage, a nice and relaxing spot. I felt like this holidays were really relaxing and calming.
Monaco is located at the north-east of Antibes, about 45 km away. It took about one hour drive. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. It's lovely to do sightseeing in Monaco. I walked passed Port de Fontvieille, Prince's Palace of Monaco (the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco), St Nicholas Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée or Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, a Roman Catholic church), Port Hercule, and Monte Carlo Casino.
Driving from Monaco back to Antibes, passed a few viewing points of Mediterranean Sea - very breathtaking! Driving up the mountain to Sainte-Agnes Cote d'Azur through winding roads made me feel a little bit sick but with these kind of view, it's worth it.
I took a 2.5 hour train journey from Antibes to Marseille (a port city in southern France), about 200 km on the west of Antibes, where I spent a night before heading to Paris. Somehow, I felt a bit unsafe in Marseille and my impression was that it's not that neat, clean, and charming. I remember seeing small and dark alleys with graffiti on the walls. It's hard to explain but yeah, the feeling was very different in Marseille especially right after Antibes-Monaco.
I took the hop-on-hop-off bus to see the landmarks of the city - Notre-Dame de la Garde (Our Lady of the Guard, a Catholic basilica and the city's best-known symbol), Marseille Cathedral (Cathédrale de la Major, a Roman Catholic church and a national monument of France), Old Port of Marseille (Vieux-Port de Marseille, located at the end of the Canebière, the major street of Marseille), Marseille Courthouse (Palais de justice de Marseille), Monument Aux Morts Des Orients.
I had a craving of Aglio Olio while in Marseille (weird, I know!), walked along Quai du Port (at Vieux-Port de Marseille) to look for an Italian restaurant and found one but didn't have Aglio Olio style in the menu (bummer!).
Next journey was from Marseille to Paris, a 750 km distance and about 3.5 hours by train. I stayed in a Mercure hotel (they are everywhere!). While in Paris, I went to an Indonesian restaurant called "Indonesia" at 12 Rue de Vaugirard. Not bad.
During that time, I was crazy about Annekabouke fairies. I bought one or two fairies in a shop in Singapore and thought I wanted to get more while in Paris because there's shop selling the fairies collection. The shop was said to be located in L'Étang-la-Ville. I took an hour train from Paris to Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche - Forêt de Marly Station, a 30 km distance, west of Paris. I didn't find the fairies I was looking for (and later found them somewhere else in a hospital) but L'Étang-la-Ville was such a lovely little village. So serene.
Last day in Paris, in the morning I visited Sacre-Coeur Basilica (Basilica of the Sacred Heart), a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris.
It's always been a pleasure to visit new places in the world - and especially Europe, my favourite. Never get bored of Europe! Till next trip... :-)