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Bavarian Night and Booking a Holiday

Posted on 2011/02/05 12:00:29 (February 2011).

[Friday 4th February 2011]
TGIF, the end of the week beer-and-pizza thing we have at work, had a special Bavarian theme today in honour of the village of Oberstaufen (I shall leave you to figure out why). So there were Bavarian beers, Bavarian nibbles (of which I just ate the pretzels) and an accordion player. There was even a bit of dancing and German karaoke towards the end. All very enjoyable.

I left around 8ish, taking home a couple of slices of cake and a pretzel for Chie.

We'd been recently mulling over the idea of a late winter / early spring getaway to warmer climes, and having recently read about Noel Coward and Le Train Bleu, and also having recently watched Hors de Prix (Priceless) again, I'd come to the conclusion that I wanted to revisit the Cote d'Azur (where we went for a summer holiday in 2009). Particularly given that it had been, if anything, too hot the first time we went to visit, and I'd read that the prime season for the "train bleu" set (the English aristocracy in the 1920s and 30s, including Noel Coward and chums) was between November and April.

Rather than just mull it over ad nauseum I thought some decisive action was required, so this evening we booked the trains for a (very) long weekend in March. The rough plan is as follows:

Wednesday afternoon: Eurostar to Paris. Dinner at Le Train Bleu restaurant in the Gare de Lyon, and stay in a hotel nearby.

Thursday: Leave Paris in the morning to get the train down to Nice, which arrives a little after 3 in the afternoon. This time I booked our tickets via the TGV Europe site which lets us choose what kind of seat we want. It's a duplex train and I've got us in first class, on the upper deck, in a pair of solo seats facing each other with a little table. This should be great for enjoying the views on the way down, particularly as the whole journey will be in daylight. From Nice we take a short trip along the coast to Èze, the little village perché high up on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean where we'll spend the first night - probably at the Chateau de la Chevre d'Or.

Friday: not sure yet - maybe one of the towns we didn't visit last time - Villefrance or Beaulieu - or perhaps somewhere on the Cap-Ferrat?

Saturday: on to Monaco. The weather had been really oppressively hot in the daytime when we'd visited last time, and it had been a Sunday so pretty much everything was closed, and it felt a bit deserted. So I'm hoping to get a chance for slightly more relaxing wander around this time - particularly would like to see the palace and some more of the old town, and I'm guessing Chie would appreciate the chance to have a wander around the shops. For dinner I rather like the look of Il Terrazzino - an Italian restaurant I've read some very good things about, or perhaps Alain Ducasse's new La Trattoria, or maybe even the Louis XV in the Hotel de Paris...? We'll probably stay at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel again - despite being very modern and worryingly having the word "resort" in the name this was a great place to stay last time - the room, the service, the swimming pool and the breakfast were all fantastic. Plus it's one of the hotels owned by the state of Monaco, so it comes with the card giving you free entry to the Casino and so on.

Sunday: back to Nice in the morning, lunch there, afternoon train to Paris, hopefully time for a quick dinner there, then late evening train back to London.

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