Europe’s playground for the rich and famous offers stunning views in Eze, high rollers in Monaco, and of course the one-of-a-kind Carnival parades and festivities in Nice. Soak in the Flower Parade while being showered with blossoms from the floats, then prepare to be mesmerized by the dazzling Carnival Parade of Lights, all set along gorgeous coastal views and with time to enjoy the top-notch beaches between parades. With less time figuring out how to get where you want to go in the "Cote d'Azur," you can spend more time rolling the dice with celebrities at the Monte Carlo casino and reveling in the carnival atmosphere alongside the beach in Nice.
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The trip departs Florence from the Santa Maria Novella train station. The meeting point is in the International Ticketing Hall opposite tracks 8 and 9. Please meet your trip leader 20 minutes prior to departure. Travel to the French Riviera is by private, luxury coach bus with DVD, A/C, & bathroom. We make one 45 minute stop. Upon arrival to the French Riviera, we will check into our accommodation.
Friday we will wake up to Nice, the Cote d’Azur’s biggest city. Meet in the lobby at 10:45 after breakfast for a walking tour of Nice. Led by a local guide, this 1.5 hour tour will help you get acquainted with this incredible city. After the walking tour, there will be time to grab a quick lunch. After lunch, we’ll depart from the hostel for Monaco, the world’s second smallest sovereign state.
Monaco is well known as the premiere getaway for multi-millionaires, featuring the world famous Monte Carlo Casino, with its opulent decorations and extravagant cars surrounding the main entrance. Your trip leader will walk you to the casino and provide directions to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco (formerly the residence of Grace Kelly), the Monaco Cathedral, the Oceanarium, Japanese Gardens, and beach. All of these sites are reachable by foot or a short bus ride on the same high speed road as the Grand Prix of Monaco. We will leave Monaco that evening. Please inform your Bus2alps trip leader if you choose to remain and hit it big in the casino or party with celebrities. Your trip leader will then provide you with information on how to return to Nice.
Friday night is free to enjoy an inexpensive meal at the hostel and some drinks at the hostel bar happy hour, where you can also get free pasta with the purchase of a drink from 19:00-21:00. Or, head into the city center for a crepe or dinner at one of several recommended restaurants. We’ll all meet at the hostel at 20:45 to walk over to Wayne’s Bar to dance on tables while being serenaded by a live band. End your night at one of the nightclubs on or near the Promenade des Anglais, especially High Club, a Bus2alps favorite.
Saturday is yours to explore Nice and enjoy the Carnival festivities. This year’s theme is King of Music, a celebration of music's influence on culture. The Flower Parade, a tradition which dates back to 1876, will begin at 14:30. Twenty flower-covered floats will parade along the Promenade des Anglais between the Theatre de Verdure and the Hotel Negresco. Tickets for this event can be purchased at the temporary ticket offices, found along the parade circuit, 2 hours before. The parade will last approximately 1.5 hours. After the parade, take a break from the day’s festivities to explore the beach, shops, and restaurants. For an incredible view of Nice, ascend to the top of Castle Hill, located near the beach.
Saturday night, stop by the hostel bar for some cheap drinks at happy hour and free pasta with the purchase of a drink. Or, head into the city center for a crepe or dinner at one of several recommended restaurants. Then we’ll head out to the Parade of Lights, beginning at 21:00, around the Place Massena. After the parade, which will last about 1.5 hours, head to the clubs to keep the party going all night! High Club is always a good place to go on Saturday nights, or swing by Wayne’s Bar for some more table dancing.
Sunday morning we will check out of the hostel and depart for the preserved medieval village of Eze. Situated high on the Grand Corniche (1,400 feet above sea level), the views from here are unparalleled. We’ll start with a 30-minute tour of the Fragonard Parfumerie, a famous French perfume factory and shop, after which you’ll have time to shop for some delicious French perfume, soaps, candles, and more. After the parfumerie, we’ll all walk up to the best viewpoint in town in the Exotic Gardens. You’ll have some time to have lunch at one of the many delicious restaurants with a view, or grab one last crepe in town. We depart for Florence and will make one stop for dinner.
Transportation: Transportation between Nice, Eze, and Monaco is all included. Transportation is by way of our private bus or public transportation if necessary.
Monte Carlo Casino: For entrance to the table room, you need to be wearing decent clothes (open-toed shoes, shorts, and hats are not allowed). You need to provide your passport for entrance.
Exotic Gardens (Eze): One of the best viewpoints on the Cote d’Azur.
Flower Parade: A dazzling display of parade floats made of flowers lasting for about 1.5 hours along the Promenade des Anglais.