I took the overnight train from paris to Nice on Cote d'Azur (french riviera). The next morning the train had reached the Mediterranean Sea and the train journey from a little before Cannes all the way to Nice was spectacular to say the least. Infact the entire train journey from about Cannes all the way past the Italian city of Ventimiglia might well be on the most scenic train journeys.
Reached Nice and walked towards the sea. I needed to make a few phone calls and passed by a few pay phones. Now payphones like street signs are almost impossible to use in france. These payphones dont take coins/cash and inserting your credit card any which way causes the payphone to show WARNING - put back the receiver as if the phone booth might explode or blast off into space (without having the border guards having their one last hurrah on checking your travel documents). Cursing the lack of user friendliness of the payphones, I continued towards the sea and on reaching it, you are met with a sea of people sunning, running, walking on the mediterranean sea.
Well considering that sunbathing wasn't my cup of tea and I couldnt really run with a heavy backpack on your shoulders, I decided to walk up and down the riviera. It really is a pretty place to be and I can imagine why the rest of the europeans head down here to enjoy the warmth and probably the beautiful bodies on view.
I decided to take the train towards Ventimiglia south of the border in Italy. On the train station I met this Indian family heading towards Monaco. The gentleman had an interesting story and was part of the generation kicked out of Uganda by Idi Amin and immigrated to the UK (a fact that most people dont know is that most of the Indians in UK are Ugandan in origin). Its also nice meeting someone who identifies himself as Indian irrespective of the country they might live in currently.
The train continued its amazingly scenice journey along the Mediterranean Sea past Monaco and into Italy finishing up in Ventimiglia. You can see that you are italy and not in france/monaco when you hardly see any tourists, the village looks like a sleepy village town and things look a little more run down. So someone wanting the same scenary as the french riviera but are more than happy to avoid the tourists and high prices, might want to consider the italian part of the Cote D'Azur.