Several years ago, we had the good fortune to travel to India, Hong Kong, and Bangkok with my grandmother and grandfather. We spent 16 days traveling thru India mostly by minibus. For our final stop in Rishikesh, we traveled by train from Delhi to Rishikesh. The train was shall we say not the cleanest place. I spent the better part of the 4 hour trip with a scarf wrapped around my face to try to mitigate the pungent bathroom smells.
It took awhile for those smells to waft to my grandparents, but when they did my grandmother had a new appreciation for why I had a scarf wrapped around my face. We were so anxious to get off the train that the entire family stood up early in the vestibule to wait for the train to pull into the station. My grandfather in all of his nearly 90 years of glory at that point dropped this fabulous one liner, “if that was first class, I don’t want to see second class.”
This quote came to mind today as D and I enjoyed a much different train experience aboard the TGV in France. We traveled first class and this was well worth it. Clean bathrooms, awesome little café, and stunning vistas of the French countryside and seaside.
We woke up very early to bid adieu to Paris. We enjoyed the complementary cappuccino and espresso from the Renaissance Vendome for the last time while walking around the block. The light was just beautiful.
We took a taxi from the hotel to the train station after our initial train experience this trip. The Gare du Lyon was just a short ride to a part of Paris that I had not seen before. The train station was beautiful complete with a pianist playing lovely music. We were grateful that the hotel had suggested arriving quite early as the station is large and it gave us plenty of time to get to our train and settle in.
For the first part of our train journey, we switched to the two seats facing each other before moving to our assigned side by side seats. We were on the top floor of the train as I had read that the view was better. The seats were super comfortable. Unlike India, I would be willing to see second class on these trains as first class was so nice.
To minimize travel time, we stopped at Antibes rather than Juan Les Pins as the train schedule for express trains was better from Paris to Antibes. After a lengthy wait for a taxi, we arrived at the AC Marriott Ambassadeur. The hotel is so much larger than the Renaissance Vendome and has a very modern feel. Our room is quite spacious, more comparable with US size rooms than European.
We wasted no time swapping our travel clothes for swimsuits and taking the short walk to the hotel beach. Thankfully our rate not only includes breakfast and a welcome cocktail, but also fabulous lounge chairs at the beach. The chairs would normally run €25 each per day. We loved our perch on the beach today.
The water is a bit chilly, but feels very refreshing with the warm weather here. Tomorrow I plan to rent a stand up paddle board. We will probably rent a kayak or boat of some sort too. The water activities here all look like fun. We saw one paddle boat with a built in water slide, which may become a must rent.
We met a lovely group from Montreal. The salades at the beach were quite good. D got the goat cheese and I got the niçoise. We are loving the goat cheese salads as they are different than the US style. Rather than breading and frying the goat cheese rounds, they put the goat cheese on a slice of bread and broil it slightly.
Sun, read magazine, dip in the water, repeat, makes for a very relaxing day.
We enjoyed a fruits de mer dinner at La Festival de la Mer in Juan Les Pins. We were happy to discover that in addition to being close to the plage aka beach, the hotel is also close to tons of restaurants and nightlife.