Karryll Tours the Côte d’Azur by Scooter: Day 2

Spectacular view seen from the terrace of the Chateau d'Eza hotel in Eze

This story is part of a four-part series in which ScooterFile contributor Karryll Nason recounts her scooter trip through the French Riviera with touring company Edelweiss.

Day 2: Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo and Eze

Getting an early start, we rode through what might be called the “suburbs” of Nice to the edge of the sea. The Promenade des Anglais leads to the Corniche outside of Nice, following the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) nearly all the way to Monaco. Despite Monday morning commuters, which included hundreds of scooters, it was thrilling to ride almost at the water’s edge of that impossibly blue sea. Following our guide through a maze of narrow streets, we stopped in Nice’s old town. We parked at the Palais du Justice, at the edge of the Cours Saleya daily market, with dozens of other scooters of all makes, ages and sizes. We had ice cream at the world-famous Fennochio gelateria, which boasts more than a hundred flavor choices. We then browsed the market a bit before riding through the old port and onto the Corniche. We stopped once more for a photo op above the Baie des Anges, overlooking a sea full of fishing boats and stately yachts.

Monaco, principality and royal theme park
Riding through Villefranche-sur-Mer and other tidy, prosperous towns, we approached the tiny principality of Monaco. We entered through “the Rock” — a road with tunnels blasted through solid mountain rock. Our arrival terminated in an immense interior parking lot directly beneath the Cathedral and Grimaldi Palace. Modern escalators and elevators deliver visitors to the town above, coming out at the impressive Oceanographic Museum. Inexplicably, Marc Quinn’s gigantic “Planete” baby sculpture, and equally immense white orchid. A matching orchid, in red, graces the park in front of the Casino.

We hopped on the little tourist train, which featured commentary in several language, and rode through the to the Monte Carlo Casino. Splendid indeed. However, upon arrival, the stalwart guards would not allow us to take a group photo with our scooters or even peep inside the Casino. Taking the train back to Monaco proper, we had time to explore the Cathedral which is home to the graves of Princess Grace and Prince Ranier. We also toured the nearby Grimaldi Palace. The narrow streets of the adjacent village were full of shops and restaurants, where I enjoyed a delicious, if unorthodox, Caesar salad while people-watching. After lunch, we took off on the scooters to trace the course of the Monaco Gran Prix through the streets of the city, which, by the way, are even tidier than Disneyland.

The world-famous Casino at Monte Carlo, surrounded by some of the world’s rarest and most expensive autos, yet no scooter parking.

A breathtaking mountaintop village
Our next stop would be Eze, the medieval village atop a mountain 1,401 feet above sea level. Eze afforded us astounding views of the sea and surrounding area. Despite the steep, narrow roads with their abundant switchbacks and hairpin turns, this was, for me, the pinnacle of the trip. The exquisite village, carved out of the rocks, is beyond charming. With its narrow, stepped streets housing artists’ ateliers, cafes and two luxurious, expensive hotels. With its 14th century Chapelle de la Sainte Croix (on the site of an original temple to Isis) and botanical garden, it’s truly magical. Everyone loved it so much that we didn’t want to leave. As a result, we ended up picking our way back down the mountain just in time to hit the rush hour traffic going back through Nice. We got back to Grasse so late, we had to go directly to dinner before taking the scooters back to the hotel. Another day behind us, and all the more adventure had.

Continued in part three »

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