From Genoa To Marseille: How To Relax On The Cote D'Azur And Not Go Broke

A life 2022

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From Genoa To Marseille: How To Relax On The Cote D'Azur And Not Go Broke
From Genoa To Marseille: How To Relax On The Cote D'Azur And Not Go Broke

Video: From Genoa To Marseille: How To Relax On The Cote D'Azur And Not Go Broke

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I sat down to write this text on July 14, and it had to start with a paragraph about what associations Nice had evoked in me. But now they are completely different. Just ten days before the terrorist attack, we watched the victory match between the French and the Icelanders in a street bar and returned after it along the English Promenade, going through it all from start to finish. The buses no longer ran - we walked in a huge crowd, and then I described to my friends how the French are happy for their national team, how people hug in the streets, waving flags, singing the anthem, honking. It was this night walk that stood in front of my eyes, when I leafed through the news with horror on the night of July 15, and a file with the beginning of the text about the trip along the Côte d'Azur was opened on the computer. I dedicate it not to the night of July 15, but to the night where we happily go home after a football match, and planes flying into this azure city continually land from the sea.


To be honest, the first thing that crossed my mind before when I said “Cote d'Azur” was the villas of celebrities, Ferraris flying from Nice to Monaco, and diamond necklaces around the necks of the wives of Russian oligarchs. For a long time it was an unattainable reality from foreign films, but after I started traveling and traveled around more than thirty countries myself, little seems unattainable to me. Now the Cote d'Azur was for me rather an attractive and somewhat mysterious place, the moment of meeting with which I unconsciously delayed, knowing that I would have to say goodbye to a long-established image in my imagination.

The first time I went there "for exploration", making a circle on buses for 1 euro on the route Milan - Lyon - Marseille - Nice - Cannes - Monaco - Genoa. Then I went alone, having no more than 25 euros a day for food, housing and travel. It was March, the azure color of the water was overshadowed by rain and fog, and Nice looked like a three-dimensional black-and-white photograph. Then, in the spring, they were still just preparing for the opening of the season. There is always more charm for me in this backstage life of cities than in summer embellishment, but still I decided to return in summer.

I want to tell you about a July trip with my mother along the amazing Mediterranean coast - from Genoa to Marseille. We travel often and try to do it as cheaply as possible. It all started with the fact that at the beginning of April I managed to catch an excellent promotion of the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizzair - a 50% discount on the second ticket. I picked up convenient connections in Budapest in order to have time to see this city as well, and bought two tickets Moscow - Milan, Nice - Moscow. Their advantage was the price (about 10 thousand rubles for a round-trip ticket at the end of June), and their disadvantage was the ability to take only a small hand luggage with you. Since my mother is a big lover of shopping, on the way back we had to pay 11 euros for each flight through our personal account in order to be able to fly with a suitcase. Therefore, it is important to check the fare rules and pay for your baggage online in advance.

We traveled all the way along the coast by buses. I paid for these internal transfers back in April - this way it turns out to save several times. For example, we traveled from Milan to Genoa for 1 euro, from Marseille to Nice - for 5 euros. The advantages of such an early booking, I think, are obvious, the disadvantage is the impossibility to change or return the ticket. In Genoa and Marseille, I booked apartments through Airbnb. The adventures began with the fact that while still in Moscow, while planning a trip, we changed our minds to stay in Milan and decided to go to Genoa immediately upon arrival. Therefore, I contacted the owner of our apartment in Genoa and warned that we would arrive a day earlier. She confirmed that the apartment would be vacant and made an appointment outside the supermarket for eleven in the evening. We arrived early, quickly found the right street and, to while away the time, went to dinner at a nearby bar.

On the slopes of the promontory you can see the villas, immersed in flowers and greenery, below - the sea of ​​such a color, which can only be found in tourist brochures

When the time came to eleven, I left my mother with the bags to finish the beer, and I myself went to meet the hostess to take the keys from her. Having stood at the supermarket until half past eleven and did not wait for anyone, I was slightly surprised and returned to the bar for the phone. On the other end of the line, a soulless female voice politely said to me in Italian: “Unfortunately, the subscriber is not available. Leave a message or try to call back later. " “Indeed, it's a pity,” I thought, and went to tell my mother that we don't seem to have a place to sleep.

I do not know what happened this weekend with Genoa, which is not the most popular among tourists, but I could not find a single free hotel at any reasonable price. The cheapest room cost about 100 euros (and our apartment, by the way, 40 euros per night), and he was in a hotel near the airport, where you had to get by taxi. Luckily, I speak Italian well, so I explained the whole situation to the waiter and asked him if he could tell us an inexpensive hotel nearby. Another twenty minutes later, half of the bar was looking for us, talking from table to table.

Ten minutes later, I got into a conversation with a girl sitting next to a large company, and found out that she had once studied Russian and that we had a common Italian friend with her. Another five minutes later, her friend was already calling her friend, who soon came to the bar and agreed to take us to spend the night with her for 30 euros. And now we are walking along Genoa at night, all the way up, and talking with Daniela about Dostoevsky, travel, the Genoese ethnographic museum, and then we come to a house of the early 19th century with high ceilings decorated with stucco, a library where all Italian literature is collected, and two lazy cats. And Daniela suddenly says: “Look, you are in a difficult situation, you don’t need any money, just feed me breakfast in the morning”. The next day, early in the morning, the landlady called with a million apologies and an invitation to dinner, saying that she had mixed up the date of our arrival. We were honestly not angry anymore, because despite a little stress, it was a great adventure.

We stayed in Genoa for four days, two of which went to towns located south of Genoa, along the coast of the Ligurian Sea. On the first day - in Portofino and San Fruttuoso. You can get there by ferry from Santa Margherita Ligure station. Portofino is a small fishing town located at the foot of a high promontory. Now it is one of the most popular, expensive and beautiful Italian resorts. On the slopes of the promontory you can see the villas, buried in flowers and greenery, below - the sea of ​​such a color, which can only be found in tourist brochures. A couple of hours was enough for us to walk around the town, climb a little up the trail and walk between the villas, but you can come for the whole day: the town is part of a national park and there are excellent hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. You can walk for hours along these paths among flowers and trees and look from above at the sea, yachts and fenced off private beaches.


On the second day, we drove to the famous Cinque Terre ("Five Lands") - five fishing villages located high on the cliffs. You can get between them by train, ferry or on foot. If you ever want to go there and walk from one village to another, be sure to study in advance all the routes, their length, difficulty and time of passage. I have long wanted to walk along one of the trails, but in the first two villages we were unlucky: the trails were closed for restoration work. Therefore, in the third village, Manarole, when I finally saw the entrance to the cherished path, I cheerfully waved my hand to my mother, and we began to climb.

For three hours we walked up and down the mountains, turning into rocks, under the scorching sun, looking longingly at the fresh blue water, shimmering far below. At the beginning of the journey, joyful tourists in trekking shoes and with bottles of water walked towards us, who came down and greeted us. After about half an hour, we realized that they greeted, knowing full well what lay ahead. Three hours later, we greeted those who were going up with the same joy. At the very end, already descending from the mountain trail onto the city asphalt, we saw three cheerful and energetic Americans, who were clearly thinking whether to go or not. And I, trying to stay on the limp legs, blurted out on the machine: "Don’t do it, don’t go!" We, of course, all laughed, but then, having noticed them by chance in one of the restaurants, I realized that they still changed their minds to go.

From Genoa, we had to go to Marseille, first by train, and then by bus: with an early booking, the trip cost us 20 euros per person and on the way it was possible to walk for a couple of hours in Nice. But this time we regretted that we took non-refundable tickets, because I managed to mix up the number! I must say that my mother and I closely followed the European Football Championship and went to watch matches in bars with Italian and French fans. And so, calmly walking around Genoa, I saw the Portuguese flag in the window and decided to remind my mother that the day after tomorrow I would have to go to the match between Portugal and Poland. “Not the day after tomorrow, but tomorrow,” my mother corrected me. And then I realized that this morning at nine in the morning we had to leave for Marseille, and we calmly walk around Genoa and did not even begin to collect things. We left for Marseille at five o'clock in the evening, arriving at the station ten minutes before the departure of the last train and spending 120 euros on tickets. But they left, and thanks for that.

Marseille is the capital of Provence, a coastal city with the Côte d'Azur to the east and the lesser-known but equally beautiful Blue Coast to the west. The city is large and incredibly diverse: walking around it, I remembered Sicily, Malta, Tunisia, Israel, Rome, Madrid, Paris and Budapest. I wanted to take this city into myself, to capture in my memory as it is, with a port, a fortress, parks, cathedrals, mountains, sea, chaotic spots of neighborhoods and streams of people. One indigenous Marseille treated us with a local delicacy: a freshly baked croissant is cut lengthwise, a piece of smoked salmon is put there, and a thin layer of honey is smeared on it. I never thought that I would eat something like that, but after taking a bite, I realized that this is the taste of real Mediterranean France, the taste of summer, where you sit on a terrace overlooking the city and there is nothing but the present moment.

Nice is also

and just a sincere, beautiful and open city, where they live completely

ordinary people

A studio in Marseille cost, the same as in Genoa, 40 euros per night, but it was much less: if the bed was unfolded, it was no longer possible to stand at the stove, the shower was separated from the room only by a curtain, and the toilet generally ended up behind the closet door. But there was a large terrace overlooking the city. We stayed in Marseille for four days, one of which we spent in Aix-en-Provence, a small but stunningly beautiful town. It is there that you can fully enjoy the Provencal style known from paintings and books - with pastel-colored houses, flowers on the windows and a lavender scent.

On another day, we did not know where to get away from the unbearable heat, so we took a ferry ticket and sailed to the Friuli Islands. No sooner had we got on board and settled on the bow of the boat in the sun, when the sailors began to wave to us from the wheelhouse and call us upstairs. So we taxied a boat full of tourists and took it out of the port, and then, under the leadership of the captain, we headed for the castle of If, where Edmond Dantes was in prison, and sailed to the Friulian archipelago, accompanied by out of nowhere Russian pop music and the abrupt speech of Marseilles sailors.

Our last destination was Nice, from there we flew to Budapest, and then to Moscow.Since we only stayed here for one night, I chose the hotel directly opposite the airport, which is also the bus terminal, which we arrived at from Marseille. A room at the Ibis Budget cost us 60 euros for two with non-cancellable advance booking, which is very (very!) Cheap for Nice. We arrived at seven in the morning, left our belongings at the hotel and went for a walk until check-in. After walking along the English Promenade from the airport to the city center, we were terribly tired after an almost sleepless night, and the heat in Nice was absolutely merciless, so we decided to take a bus, return to the hotel and wait there.

I got on the bus first and, trying to portray the words “Deux, aéroport” (“Two to the airport”) in half-forgotten French with a burnt “r”, I heard from the driver an answer in the purest Russian: “Here, hold, apply to the right. Where are you from, what are you doing in Nice? " We finally got to the hotel, but only an hour and a half later, because Pavel (that was the driver's name) said that he had his last working day before the vacation and suggested that we take a ride with him along his route north-west of Nice and admire the Alps and mountain river. He told us that he came from Dagestan and has been living in Nice with his family for sixteen years. It turns out that he is the only Russian-speaking bus driver in Nice, but as you remember, we know how to choose the right seats.

Certainly, my idea of ​​Nice as a city of the rich was confirmed to some extent. But it seems to me that the most important thing is that I saw the other side: it is also just a sincere, beautiful and open city, where completely ordinary people live, where you can find inexpensive shops, get by public transport to the most beautiful free beaches, stroll along the embankment along luxury hotels, meet people. Not only Nice, but the entire coast from Marseille to Genoa, including the Côte d'Azur, you can go around on inexpensive buses and trains, stay in apartments, buy food in local markets and supermarkets without spending money on cafes and restaurants.

From my extensive travel experience, I learned one important thing: the most important thing for me is the atmosphere of the city or place, it is this that determines how I will spend my time. And the atmosphere, although it depends to a certain extent on nature and architecture, is still created thanks to people. And if you are open to the world, the world opens up in response - this is what our trip once again proved to me, in which strangers always helped in difficult situations, were friendly and hospitable, and even from a hopeless, at first glance, situation, the way out was in the last moment.

PHOTOS: mary416 -, robert lerich -, forcdan -

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