Adventures of Sam and Tina

Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nice, Monte Carlo, Bordeaux and Toulouse

While the two older ones are gallivanting around the countryside Samuel and I have decided to leave Andrew home to write and recover from a cold. I have been wanting to have a look at Monte Carlo, Bordeaux, Toulouse and because we just had a real quick stop in Nice I wanted to go back and check out it's pebble beaches (recommended as one of many "must things to do in Europe"). So another early morning start and a few overnight trains ahead of us we were off. The last two days in Southern France have been beautiful, warm spring days. We got to Avignon and the fog had set in and didn't lift until we got to Antibes where the sun was trying to break through. No luck with the sun though in Monte Carlo, it was grey and overcast. Not quite the Monte Carlo I had envisioned, but we got to climb up to the Palais Princier to see where the Monaco's royal family live, the fantastic view out to the Mediteranean and Port de Fontieville and Hercule with its luxury yachts, climbed stairs and more stairs to get to the Jardin exotique, find the Cathedral that Grace Kelly married her Prince and just roam around the city that Grace Kelly was once the Princess of. Poor Samuel dragged around the city, he survived but I'm not too sure about our overnight train from  Nice to Toulouse. When booking the seats to travel in you believe that all you need is a soft spot to sit on to survive an overnight ride and every time you are on that overnight ride you remember WRONG I need a bed to lie in and a blanket!!!! We made it though but we have arrived at 5.15am and nothing is open, so we are in the warm waiting room and Samuel is catching one last lot of sleep that you can on wooden seats before the sun comes up and things are open.

We spent about 3 hours wandering around Toulouse waiting for a McDonalds to open so we could let Andrew know that we were safe. We got to the river and watched the sun come up over the city skyline. Samuel got to explore along the river on a rental bike. I roamed at my own pace. We were due to catch the train to Bordeaux at 2.00pm so we managed to squeeze in a few more old churches and buildings.

Samuel and I decided we liked Bordeaux the best with its Ancient Victory arches and Aquitaine Bridge. Its building skyline is not as high and closed in as Toulouse and Paris and we enjoyed looking around for the 2 hours that we had. We saw the spectacular Quinconces Square Fountain monument. Most associate Bordeaux with wine,but it is a classified "City of Art and History". UNESCO World Heritage lists Bordeaux as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble".

When we booked our tickets to Bordeaux and Toulouse I figured we could get back easily enough. Because we hit the weekend at the end of our tour we were left with a train trip back to Paris arriving at 11.30 at night. We thought we could be hobos and tough it out at a train station to wait for our train in the morning. After checking the warning posts on a travel site about "whether staying in train stations overnight was a good idea" and getting to Paris exhausted and finding that they shut the waiting room at 12.30 am we ended up staying at the Hotel de Paris across the road from the Monteparnasse de Gare. We had a bed to lie in and a hot shower, RELIEF!!! It was so goooood!

We finally got back to Pont Saint Esprit at 4.30pm exhasted and relieved to be back, but we had been to Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Paris!

Thanks to my little (actually not so little anymore) travelling buddy Samuel. We had a great time racing around catching trains and spotting sites.
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