After flying to 20 domestic destinations starting at the end of February, my husband and I finally got the nerve to fly to France, our first international destination since the pandemic. We flew from JFK to Nice, France round trip on Delta Airlines. Before stepping into the airport, we had in our possession our vaccination card, copies of these cards on our iPhones, and had pre-filled out special Green Pass Identification Cards needed to enter restaurants, hotels and public transportation(ultimately only I was able to receive the pass and Jon’s pass was never approved. Even though Jon never was approved for the Green Pass, all restaurants just quickly checked the CDC vaccination card and we were allowed to enter everywhere.)
We took a bus from the Nice airport to Monaco which is about a forty minute drive for 22 euros each. We stayed 2 nights at the Marriott in Cap D’Ail which is in France, but is on the border of Monaco. The hotel is located on a beautiful marina with many yachts. Our room had a magnificent view overlooking the marina with a terrace. Since we have titanium status at Bonvoy, we were able to check into our room upon arrival.
Our first day began with a walk through Monaco to have lunch at a cafe near the main port. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and is approximately the size of Central Park. An average person can walk the width of this country in an hour. We have been there before many times in the past. However, it has always been a special and unique country to visit. It is very clean and extremely safe. It has the largest police force in the world(per capita) It is a very mountainous country and there are many elevators and escalators embedded into the mountains to alleviate the walk upstairs in many locations. The scenery is breathtaking.
As per the COVID protocol, I noticed signs that required face coverings even outside on the streets. At one point, without knowing this ordinance, we were stopped by a policeman outside and were told to put our masks on. Almost 100% of the people complied with this mandate.
On our second day, we decided to see two picturesque villages near Monaco but in France. We had always passed them on the train but had never actually visited them.
The first one is named Villefranche sir Mer. This village is directly on the ocean, is located just over the hill from Nice. We have seen this village only from the train and always wanted to visit. Once again the scenery was breathtaking.
The next village was Beaulieu sur Mer which is known as a secret hideaway on the Riviera. It is one of the tiniest villages in France. We walked there from Villefranche sur Mer and is about a mile walk on the sea.
Our third and final day was spent in Nice. We stayed at the AC Hotel, which is also part of the Bonvoy chain. We have also visited Nice several times in the past. We proceeded to take the famous walk down the Promenade des Anglais. It stretches for many kilometers and provides a beautiful view of the blue Mediterranean Sea and palm trees. We were determined to return to the Old Town. It consists of quaint restaurants, shops and galleries of local artists.
From there we continued on the Promenade Des Anglais which turns into the Quai Des Etats Unis. We went to the Collins du Chateau/Castel Park, which is a park on a mountain overlooking Nice. There are steps at the end of Quai des Etas Unis or a free elevator. There are wonderful views of Baie des Ange, Old Nice and the port. There is also a magnificent waterfall near the top of the hill.
That evening we took Nice’s brand new tram to the Place Massena which is a historic square in Nice. The are many cafes in this area and we had dinner in one of them. The tram service is excellent and I felt like it was trams of Switzerland. The tram stop was located 2 blocks from the AC hotel and this was our transportation the next day to the Nice airport. It took about a half hour and stopped at both terminals.
Please remember that much more time must be allotted for check in in both directions, in that international passengers are no longer allowed to check in at home or even at a kiosk in the airport.
One tremendous benefit of technology now is that upon arrival at JFK, the Arrival Kiosks are gone and all passengers just look into a screen and walk into the United States. It is also being tested now that video cameras, will capture you face when walking down the hall to Immigration and there may be no need in the future to stop and even look at a television screen. Amazing.