During my trip to the south of France last week my friends and I caught a train to a beach about half an hour east of Nice called Cap d’Ail (this took a long time to work out how to pronounce – apparently you say it ‘cap die’…)
The train there was rather busy. Nice train station is beautiful, but the queues to get tickets were ridiculous and the machines are incredibly confusing and difficult to use. They offer English translation and then continue to have everything written in French anyway!
After a long wait we finally bought our tickets, which were pretty cheap. A little reminder for anyone planning on getting any trains in France – you have to get your ticket stamped at a little machine in the station before getting on the train, otherwise the ticket is technically not valid. I’m not entirely sure why that is necessary, as it has the date that the ticket is being used, plus the station names already on it and the only extra information that the stamp provides is the time you used it. You can get a fine for not doing it though so don’t forget!
Cap d’Ail railway station is a little walk from the beach. There are a fair few steps involved but you get some beautiful views along the way.
The beaches are stony rather than sandy, however this is the case on a lot of beaches in Nice. I don’t usually mind this because sand just gets absolutely everywhere and I always find it in annoying places like my bed days later…
There are plenty of water sports to get involved with at Cap d’Ail. I’m not very confident in water and going in the sea can make me feel anxious at times, especially if I’m with others who are super confident swimmers, as it makes me feel even more out of my depth. However, I eased myself in slowly and by the end of the day I had managed to even stand up on a paddle board and swim in the sea! I was so happy with myself and it definitely improved my confidence in the water and also in my abilities. It was so much fun.
We also rented a pedalo which had a slide on the back which was really fun as well.
There are only a couple of places to eat by the beach, and both are pretty expensive. You will find that most of the south of France is expensive, however, so they are only a bit more expensive than other restaurants in Nice. The portion sizes are often pretty big, so if you’re going for lunch you can definitely share dishes I would say. Drinks are extortionate, so beware!
The train back was ridiculously packed – so much so that only half of our group managed to squeeze on, while the rest decided to get an Uber back home. It was literally like sardines the whole way back, it was horrendous. This is the only thing I would warn about when travelling. I think, as it’s peak holiday season, plus we left the beach at a similar time to other people who were obviously travelling back from a day out in Monaco, it lead to the trains being super busy.
If you’re ever in the south of France I would absolutely recommend a day trip to Cap d’Ail. The views are stunning, the water is just so blue and lovely and you can eat, sunbathe (responsibly of course!) and do some sports in the water.