Nice – where the blue of the Mediterranean Sea met the blue of the sky. Another perfect day for our arrival in Nice for a week. A week of visiting villages and enjoying the French Summer, sipping chilled rose wine and enjoy cheese and other local delights.
These are our favourite villages, could they be yours too?
Antibes is located 21km south-west of Nice and 11km north-east of Cannes. A town situated on the largest yacht harbour in Europe which has over 2,000 moorings and can handle super yachts more than 100m in length. The harbour known as Port Vauban dominates this town. It is just a short ten-minute walk from the train station to the heart of Antibes and the Port.
On the day that we visited it was blustery, the spray from the sea wetting us as we eyed off the super yachts with their helicopter pads within the walls of the Port. Can you imagine some of the yachts have up to 60 crew and staff?
The harbour known as Port Vauban dominates this town. Not only from the point that it is the main harbour but it is also home to crew quarters, yachting supply and yachting recruitment companies.
It is just a short ten-minute walk from the train station to the heart of Antibes and the Port.
Now it can’t be too bad a place to reside in as Grahame Greene lived in an apartment there and frequented the Felix Cafe regularly and Picasso took over the 2nd floor of Chateau Grimaldi as his own private art studio for a few months back in the summer of 1946.
If you want one of the best views of the French Riviera be prepared to climb for it. You can climb the path to Eze itself (straight up and approximately 1 hour climbing depending on your fitness level) or arrive there by bus or car but you will still have a steep ascent to arrive at the top of this pretty medieval village perched high up on a narrow peak.
Eze is situated 427m above sea level with narrow cobblestone streets that are not suited for cars only pedestrians. It does not take long to walk around the village which has shops, restaurants, cafes and the Eze Cathedral that was built in the 18th century over an existing 12th century church. It is a pretty village with loads of character as you wander up and down and round the round the narrow streets.
During Summer expect many tourists from cruise ships and bus tours to descend on Eze.
Villefranche Sur Mer
A seaside medieval village just 7km from Nice. The beach extends to over half of the harbour area where some of it is sand and the other half is pebbled. During summer it is one of the most popular areas of the coastline for swimming.
The Old Town of Villefranche is cobblestoned with narrow winding streets, restaurants and cafes that spill out onto the alleyways which lead down to the harbourfront. The pastel coloured buildings line the streets and are a photographers dream. Hotel Welcome which is located in the centre is famous, apparently, Jean Cocteau stayed in Room 22 for 2 years during the 1920s and you too can stay there, just ask for Room 22!
Perfume everywhere, walk down past Fragonard (one of the most famous Perfume Houses in Grasse) and gentle mists of perfume sprays over you, head to the park, relax in the chairs there and experience mist sprays of perfume. The shops in the narrow alleyways will have you window shopping for hours, from lavender to perfume, cheeses, wine, antiques, jewellery, fashion and homewares.
St Paul de Vence
Known as the Jewel of Provence and home to many great painters and now high-end art galleries. Wander the city walls, get lost down the side streets, meet in the small squares with fountains and enjoy your time window shopping down the Rue Grande. Just enjoy one of the oldest medievel villages on the French Rivieria that dates back to 1540s.
Once a small fishing village Cannes is the #1 destination for the A-listers and of course the Cannes Film Festival. For great shopping experiences head to the Croisette and Rue d’Antibes or wander the cobblestoned Rue Saint Antoine in the Old Town. Or do just what we did, enjoyed great meals at one of the many restaurants that line the harbourfront.
Nice has a vibe about it, head to the Old Town and just wander the alleyways, enjoy the smells from the Patisseries, Cheese and Lavender shops. The daily market is a buzz during the day and at night it turns into a busy restaurant strip. From Indian restaurants to Tapas on the Promenade, Nice offers more than your typical French fare. It oozes richness from multi-million dollar yachts in the Old Port to the expensive hotels that line the Promenade.
Day Trip To Another Country – Monaco
Just 30 minutes from Nice by train and you arrive into Monaco. We have not been in one place ever where we have seen so many Ferraris and Lamborghinis. We were enjoying an expensive cup of coffee at the Cafe de Paris close to the Casino. Monte Carlo is hilly and we chose to travel on the Hop On Hop Off bus around the city stopping at the Palace, Cathedral and the winding streets of Old Town Monaco.
What has been your favourite French Riviera village?
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