Côte d’Azur-Le Septième Jour-Day 7

Once again the seventh day of our trip began with the breakfast buffet before getting dressed for the day. Since we had ended up needing our passports on the previous day when we went to Monaco we figured we should go ahead and take them that day too since once again we would be leaving France. This time we would be riding the train and crossing over into Italy!

After leaving the hotel we walked to the train station. The day before when we had to wait for over an hour for our trip to Monaco I had checked the train schedule so that we could plan accordingly for when we needed to get to the train station to catch our train to the Italian border city of Ventimiglia. Since we had a better idea of the train schedule than we had the day before we only had a few minutes to kill before boarding our train.

The day before we had missed out on getting a good window seat on the ocean side of the train on our way to Monaco. Although I was disappointed I didn’t dwell on it because I knew that we would be taking the same ride the next day. I figured that since a great view of the French Rivera was  twice in a life opportunity I could let it pass me by the first time but certainly not the second time. Since there was no way I was going to miss out on getting a window seat on the ocean side of the train for the second time I was rather forceful as I pushed my way onto the train. I kind of wish I could say I felt bad about it but I didn’t really. I was going to get a great seat, no matter what, and I did.

The train ride from Nice to Ventimiglia took about a hour. The views were everything I hoped they would be.

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They were utterly breathtaking and everything you could possibly dream the French Riviera would be. The train took us through Monaco once again but since the train station is inside of the mountain all we could see was the train station itself.

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As we crossed back over from Monaco into France and towards the Italian border there were even more spectacular views.

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When we crossed over into Italy the train sat still on the tracks for about five to ten minutes. Then finally we got moving again and pulled into the train station.

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I love French language and French culture. I put a lot of effort into working on my French prior to our trip so that I could communicate with the French people as much as possible in their language since we were in their country. Although I am nowhere near fluent I felt much more comfortable and confident in my French than I did when my husband and I went to Paris in 2012. I didn’t realize just how comfortable I was with French until we stepped off the train in Ventimiglia and everything was in Italian. I was totally lost!

My husband and I only planned on being in Ventimiglia for a short time and we didn’t want to get stranded so before leaving the train station we decided to looking buying our return ticket to France then and there. Unfortunately,  the automated ticket machine wasn’t allowing us to buy tickets for all of the outgoing trains that were scheduled. So we decided to talk to one of the cashiers at the ticket window. Between my husband’s Spanish, the cashier’s broken Spanish, a little bit of French and a little bit of English we were able to figure out the ticket situation. We bought an open ended ticket that would allow us to take any number of the trains out of Ventimiglia and into the French border town of Menton.

After exiting the train station we began to explore our first Italian city.

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My husband and I were both very excited to be in Italy.

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Italy was the twelfth country I’ve visited in my life and it was my husband’s fifteenth. The first place we stumbled upon was a park. It was nothing special but did have a nice statue honoring the Italian soldiers that fought in World War One.

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We next walked along the beach. Much like the beach in Nice it was a pebbly/rocky beach but it was still nice.

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Then we had a decision to make. We were both a little hungry. We each had a snack bar with us that we knew would fill us up until diner time if we ate it but we also wanted to eat lunch in Italy. What to do, what to do…I would have rather eaten in Italy but my husband was unsure. He really wanted to eat dinner back in Nice. Although I wanted to eat lunch in Italy it wasn’t something that I felt I HAD to do so I let it go. We ate our snack bars and then continued to explore.

Ventimiglia is not a touristy city.

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It is just a city where people live. With that being said I have to admit I was a little disappointed on what there was to see but I really was okay with it. It was a nice little city.

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If we had wanted to see more we could have gone to San Remo or Genoa further along the train line. The purpose of our trip to Ventimiglia was just to cross over into Italy and it served it’s purpose. As we were finishing up our walk we crossed a bridge that provided a great view of the Italian Alps.

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Right before we went back into the train station I decided that I wanted to have some gelato. It seemed like the perfect compromise. It allowed me to eat something that was very Italian while in Italy without spending the time and money to have a full meal. I got three scoops and my husband got one.

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It was a yummy and inexpensive way to fulfill my desire to eat something Italian while in Italy.

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When my husband and I visited Luxembourg for a day in 2012 we ended up buying our souvenirs at the train station and the selection was quite small. Thankfully, that was not the case at the train station in Ventimiglia. The store had plenty of souvenirs and Italian food and drink specialties including coffee and pasta (I bought both). I was especially excited about the pasta. I figured if I didn’t get to eat pasta while in Italy I would at least get to make pasta I purchased in Italy once I was back in the United States (It was amazing by the way and I ended up wishing I had bought two packages).

My husband and I were a little confused about which train to take but after clearing it up with the cashier we waited for our train to cross back over into France. Although Ventimiglia isn’t a flashy city we left Italy happy that we got to visit. We are looking forward to a much longer trip sometime in the future.

Our train ride from Ventimiglia to Menton was quite short, only about twelve minutes. When we arrived in Menton I was starting to drag a little bit so I bought a cup of coffee. We then headed out to explore a bit.

I am a big tennis fan. I was very excited when we came up on the Menton tennis club and saw that their courts were red clay.

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While I didn’t get to play I was thrilled to finally see red clay tennis courts.

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We made our way down to the beach which was sandy…or at least mostly sandy. We relaxed at the beach for a little bit. The weather report had called for clouds and rain but we were fortunate that it had been sunny all day. I could see a large number of clouds when I looked West towards Nice but it was quite warm in Menton. I decided to put my feet into the ocean.

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While the water was cold it wasn’t super cold. If I had brought my swimming suit with me that day I probably  would have gotten in all the way in but since I didn’t have a swimming suit or a towel I figured it was better just to put my feet in. Still, it’s fun to say that I have now put feet  in the Mediterranean Sea in both Spain and France.

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After relaxing at the beach we made  our way back to the train station.

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We agreed that while Nice isn’t an ugly city by any means Menton is a prettier city.

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Once we were back at the train station we purchased our tickets to return to Nice. On our train ride back we enjoyed, one last time, the spectacular views of the French Rivera from the train.

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When we arrived back in Nice we caught the bus back to our hotel where we relaxed for a little bit.

For dinner we returned to our new favorite restaurant, Rina. We started with Foie Gras, which was really good.

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My husband had their Salad Nicoise.

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He raved about the salad to the point where I wanted to try it myself. Meanwhile, I had another signature French dish, Coq Au Vin.

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It was my first time having that dish and I really enjoyed it. Once again we were incredibly impressed with this restaurant  and were really happy that we had passed on our lunch in Italy to save room for dinner there. We planned on returning for a third time before we left Nice.

With two days  left in our trip  we debated what to do. We thought about trying to go to St.  Paul De Vence or another location outside of Nice. While we gave ourselves the  option to change our minds we were leaning towards taking it easy and sticking to Nice. So often we return form our vacation needing another vacation. We thought it might be nice to actually relax…for once.

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