My objective for the day was travel from Nice to Cap d’Ail, the French town bordering the western boundary of Monaco, for a 2-night hotel stay at Marriott Riviera La Porte de Monaco. I won an auction last year for $115 for 2 nights in a Deluxe Sea View room with buffet breakfast. The hotel location is literally across the street from the country of Monaco.
A night at Best Western So’Co Nice for 8,000 points was a convenient location for an overnight in Nice, only a block from the bus stop for Nice Airport bus. Bus 99 from Nice Airport to Nice Gare SNCF train station cost 6.00 EUR.
Tip: The bus stop is actually called Poste Thiers and end of the line. The train station, located another 100 meters is not visible from the bus stop. Best Western So’Co is 100 meters back in the airport direction.
The phrase ‘shabby chic’ matched my impression of the hotel in a good way. The place was fine for one night as a solo traveler with a comfortable bed and working wifi. Hotel photos to come in a separate post.
Around 8pm on a Sunday night and dark, I wandered into Nice for dinner and a stroll along the beach about 10 or 15 minutes away. Found myself standing outside Le Meridien Nice.
Cafe life was bustling on a couple of streets near the beach, but the rest of the streets were kind of deserted. Lots of motor bikes whizzing around.
The next morning I walked over to the train station and purchased a ticket to Cap d’Ail for 3.30EUR.
Stupid is as stupid does, but I don’t care when it does not really matter
I had directions to the Marriott Riviera Porte de Monaco on my computer, but did not bother to recheck them before buying my ticket from an automated kiosk and taking off on the 18 minute train ride to Cap d’Ail.
The train hugged the coast in isolated coves with villa dotted peninsulas extending out to the sea.
When I was the only person who stepped off the train at Cap d’Ail, I kind of felt like the train was hanging around to see if I wanted to step back into the carriage. Something did not seem right to me. The train left and I looked around at the deserted station and knew this was not where I was supposed to have exited for Marriott.
Of course, I could have simply stayed at the train station and waited 20 minutes for the next train to continue into Monaco. I scoped out the station and saw the sign showing Centre Ville 15 minutes walk from the station. That was reassuring information. I came to France to see the French Riviera and seeing it with my small roller bag in tow walking to the Marriott was no problem.
A gorgeously sunny day was pleasant after the cold rain of Warsaw the day before. Up the stairway the road was quite narrow and uphill, but no cars around. I came to an intersection, but no sign pointing which road went to Centre Ville, so I walked downhill since I knew the Marriott is located on the harbor.
The space for me to walk along the road was minimal if a car passed. There were not many cars, but a few did come by. I chose the safer side of the road to walk depending on which way the road curved. I wondered if I would be the first person to die walking the roads of Cap d’Ail with my luggage in tow.
Eventually I came across another sign showing Cap d’Ail 15 minutes walk…back uphill in the direction I had just walked downhill. I chose the wrong road at the intersection. Back at the intersection I noticed the sign for Cap d’Ail on the signpost was missing. Finally, I did the sensible thing and turned on my iPhone to learn that I was actually 2 miles from the Marriott, despite being 10 minutes from Cap d’Ail Centre Ville.
While I was hot by then, the walk became much easier after another 300 hundred meters when I reached town streets with sidewalks. The walking was truly downhill from there.
And finally the end was in sight when I spotted Port de Cap d’Ail, the location of Marriott Riviera La Porte de Monaco.
I checked into my $57.50 USD per night hotel room for a 2-night stay.
After two days walking around Monaco, I am sitting in the lobby of the Marriott waiting for the shuttle to the Monaco train station for the trip back to Nice. I don’t regret my mistake of exiting at Cap d’Ail train station, but no way I am walking back uphill. Lesson learned.