Hi! I’m Jill, and I work on the Azamara social media team. I’m currently onboard the Azamara Quest, exploring the Mediterranean with Simon from #CruiseChat.
Stay tuned all week for onboard Twitter chats, live photo and video posts from our AzAmazing Evening, shore excursions and onboard experiences, and daily updates on our Hide & Tweet contest!
Nice, France is a gorgeous place to begin a cruise. We arrived on Saturday, and spent the day strolling the Promenade des Anglais and exploring the Old Town. We visited the fragrant flower market, the water fountains and statues at Promenade du Paillon, and the famed Hotel Negresco. Travel expert and Azamara guest blogger Ann Tran recommends arriving the day before you cruise departs. It gives you a chance to shake off any jet lag, and get “underneath the skin of a city”. I’m so glad we took her advice! Cafe au Lait, croissants and sorbet are the best jet lag cures!
There are so many shops, cafes and restaurants to choose among and no shortage of places to sit and watch the sunset. We found a restaurant in Vieux Nice and enjoyed a variety of Niçoise appetizers - fresh tomatoes with cheese, octopus, quiche, delcious fresh olives, baguette, mussels with frites, calamari and more. After dinner, we strolled the lively streets of Nice and admired the beautiful architecture, illuminated in a romantic glow.
On Sunday, we awoke early and made our way to the train station to embark on an adventure. Did you know that Monaco is only a 20 minute train ride from Nice? Many of the other guests on the Azamara Quest arrived early for our voyage, and took the time to explore Cannes, Villefranche-Sur-Mer, Menton and Eze. If you ask around, everyone will have a favorite French Riviera town!
Monaco has a few main attractions, including the famed Monte Carlo casino. There's also the Princess Grace Rose Garden, Jardin Exotique, the Prince's Palace of Monaco and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. The museum is a reasonable walk from the train station, and you can see the Palace along the way. The Oceanographic Museum is in a stunning building, and is home to a fascinating aquarium. Fun fact: It has been host to more than one AzAmazing Evening!
We returned to Nice by train, and our Hide & Tweet secret location was merely a hop, skip and a jump away - the Russian St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral! The cathedral was built in 1912, and is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral West of Russia. The church is the legal property of the Federation of Russia, but it also recognized as a National Monument of France. The inside of the church will be closed for construction until December 2015, but the outside is so beautiful (and in this area, very unique!) that it is absolutely worth a visit.
As I explored the grounds, I tweeted and Instagrammed clues. There were lots of guesses, and eventually Twitter user @mbcohn correctly identified our location! (A few fans on Twitter and Instagram also guessed correctly, only a minute too late - better luck next time!) Congratulations, Melissa! Your reward for your excellent French Riviera knowledge: a year's subscription to AFAR Magazine.
After a lovely (one could even say, “nice”) weekend in Nice, we’re onboard the Azamara Quest, sailing for Livorno. Tomorrow, follow along as we make our way to the next Hide & Tweet location in beautiful Florence, Italy! I’ll be tweeting from @AzamaraVoyages, and Simon from #CruiseChat will be live-tweeting his Azamara shore excursion to Florence & Pisa from @SimonTravels.
Daydreaming about the South of France now? This 12 Night European Jewels Voyage in Spring 2016 also embarks from Nice.