We got off the train and found a fleabag hotel. It was very close to the train station and had shutters that closed. We went into the dusty lobby and a very laid back lady showed us a large, dingy room with three beds. We booked it because it had a bathroom and was dirt cheap. It also had a TV.
I think by the time we got to Nice, I was really becoming a third wheel. I remember wandering around Nice a lot by myself, heading down to the beach and checking out all the flamboyant people. I also discovered a GREAT restaurant there. They had a deal in which you could get a three course meal for 39 French francs. I think at that time, the conversion rate was about three or four francs to a dollar, though I could be wrong. Anyway, the restaurant had really good food and it was dirt cheap. I remember later reading in a guide book about the place. It was written up in a Let's Go book for being exactly as awesome as it was for people who are traveling cheap.
I also remember walking around a market and purchasing a double cassette of The Police: Live! and a t-shirt for my niece, who was about four years old back then. To this day, I can't listen to that album, since replaced on CD, without being reminded of traveling through France.
Courtesy Wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nice-night-view-with-blurred-cars_1200x900.jpg)
We spent a night or two in Nice, then decided to get on the train and head for Spain. It turned out that was September 5th, the day of Princess Diana's funeral. I tuned in to the radio and listened to her funeral, dubbed into French. I could hear Charles Spencer's eulogy under the French dubbing, as we sped west through the mesmerizing southern French countryside. I wish we'd stopped somewhere along the way for a quick rest. I've been trying to get back to southern France ever since that trip 15 years ago and haven't quite made it yet. Fortunately, my husband is now a confirmed Francophile.
If you ever have the opportunity to take the train from the Italian Riviera through, the French Riviera, to Barcelona, Spain, I highly recommend doing it. Be sure to stop along the way, though, and soak up some rays at the beach, drink wine, and eat some wonderful French food...