Day 2 of the Brilliance of the Seas Mediterranean Cruise. Our first port of call was Villefranche, France.
We quickly learned that on a Mediterranean cruise your port of calls were “gateways” to other, more popular cities. From Villefranche you could travel to Nice or Monaco or Eze or Monte Carlo or a combination of those cities. I had the luxury of previously traveling to all of those cities before and knew that I wanted to share Nice with Kenny.
At Villefranche we had to tender to the port. Which means we didn’t directly dock at the port, we took a smaller boat from our ship to the dock. It was on a first come first serve basis. The ship arrived early which meant that the tendering process started earlier, which through a loop in our plan to be on the first boat out. We were probably on the 10th or 11th tender, which got us to land around 11:30 am.
From Villefranche we took a train to Nice. We used instructions on how to get to the train station from Tom Ogg. The easy directions on how to get from the Villefranche port to the train station: when you come out of the port building make a right and walk down the street. You will pass the buildings in the picture above on your left hand side. You will see a sign for the “Gare” which is the train station. You will climb a set of stairs on your left hand side (they may be hidden by the tree). About halfway up you will see a tunnel, go into the tunnel and into the building to purchase your tickets. A round trip ticket from Villefranche to Nice was 3,40 Euro. Be sure to validate your ticket in the yellow box before boarding the train. If you are going to Nice, go back through the tunnel and make a right to make the rest of the way up the stairs.
Once we got to Nice we walked from the train station towards the water. It was about a 30-40 minute walk and Kenny was very concerned that I was lost. But I knew where we were going the entire time. I used the iPhone app City Maps 2Go, which I highly recommend. Prior to the trip I uploaded maps for the cities we were going to visit and pin pointed the places I wanted to see.
Our first stop in Nice was Cours Saleya, the flower market. Because of our wait for a tender we were a little late, but a few stands were still open.
We then walked along the Promenade des Anglais towards the Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Cheret. The beaches in Nice are stone, not sand. There are restaurants on the beach that rent out chairs and umbrellas for the day for about 20 euro.
There is no more beautiful place than Nice!
Along the way we stopped for lunch. Kenny had a huge pizza and I had gnocchi. Oh how I had missed good gnocchi. When I spent a semester abroad I ate a lot of gnocchi and always bragged to Kenny about how good gnocchi was in Europe and how you just couldn’t get good gnocchi in the states. He took one bite and understood completely what I had been talking about for the last five years.
After lunch we made our way to the Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Cheret. It was a long walk and the museum is at the top of a winding road, it was a bit torturous. The museum was nice, small, but nice. And it was free to Americans, which is always a plus. After the museum we leisurely walked back to the train station.
On the train ride back we kinda just guessed which train. Actually we just followed people we recognized from the cruise and hoped they knew where they we were going. We jumped on one that was going towards Monaco and luckily it stopped in Villefranche.
I cut our time in Nice a little short because I wanted to make sure we made it back to the ship. So we had some time to kill in Villefranche. And I was not leaving France without having had a crepe. Oh how I love crepes!!!!!
Kenny had a beer, his version of dessert. He ordered the beer and then the waiter gave him two options that we didn’t understand. This went back and forth until we finally understood that one option was Monaco, so Kenny went for that. What he got was a red beer, which was sweet, and different, but he still drank it.
This was our view for lunch, not too shabby!
We stopped at the first creperie we saw when leaving the train station. While exploring the city we realized that we should have explored a little first before settling on the first place we saw. There were a lot of cute little restaurants hidden throughout Villefranche.
We made our way back to the port and onto a tender and back to the ship.
When we made it back to the ship we were welcomed with Champagne & Cupcakes. A treat from us to us!
Tomorrow – Florence