You can see why the French Riviera was invaded by the Brits 3 centuries ago, and why they keep coming back. We stayed in Nice, the largest city in the region because it has a large stock of clean but moderately-priced hotels. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the Riviera. If you want to check out Monaco, home of the descendants of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace you can take a city bus from downtown Nice for one Euro. The bus takes you along the 16km of coastal highway past some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe. Nothing but blue water and sky with villas and mansions clinging to the cliffs along the route.
Monaco used to be a gambling haven, and still has a casino; but the late Prince diversified the local economy into a financial tax haven, and let much of the tiny principality out to developers to build luxury homes. Construction cranes are everywhere. Prince Rainier liked to indulge his passion for women and fine automobiles, and even if you are not a car buff, his personal automobile collection is well worth a visit. Rolls-Royce, Bugatti, Packard, Lamborghini, Maserati, to name but a few of the more than 100 cars in the priceless collection. He also picked up a few North American classics – a 40’s vintage Chrysler sedan with wood grain paneling, and some 50’s –era Cadillac’s, with menacing grilles, that would have a hard time navigating the narrow roads in that region of France.
To get to Nice on the cheap you can fly to London on any of the charters that operate between Toronto and Gatwick, and then hop on a discount airline like EasyJet for the 2 hour trip to Nice. Or you can fly to Paris and catch an inexpensive Air France Shuttle to the south.In Nice you can get a very decent hotel room within walking distance of the beach with bath for less than $200 Cdn.
Written by: John Best