TOP 5 For the French Riviera
- Take the bus (or drive) to Mougins, an astoundingly beautiful Medieval village in the hills behind Cannes. Pablo Picasso spent his last 12 years here. Known for its gastronomy, you had better enjoy a meal here as well J
- Enjoy a completely lazy day on the beach, with nothing but the sunshine and water.
- Take a boat ride over to Isle Sainte Marguerite, just 1 km across the bay from Cannes. Here you can enjoy peaceful walks in lush forests and tour the prison which allegedly held the Man in the Iron Mask.
- For a taste of the high life, take a day trip over to Monte Carlo – mammoth yachts, casinos, luxury cars, and a rugged coastline await you.
- Enjoy a night bar-hopping between the posh clubs and lounges celebs frequent each year during the Cannes Film Festival.
The French Riviera is a tricky place – it draws you in, overwhelming your senses with the most pleasant of sights, sounds, and smells. The fresh sea breeze, the oddly alluring odor of boat gas from the many many yachts floating around the place, the bright blue sparkling water, the long stretches of beaches . . . you could stay forever, I swear. The tricky part comes in however, when you realize the cost of staying forever in such a paradise. I will state it up front – a vacation here is not cheap. Even if you attempt, as I did, to do the “budget” version, you still need to suck it up and shell out some dollars. We decided to rent an apartment for our 5 day visit- something I highly recommend. It gives you more freedom; to sleep in, cook meals at home, come and go as you please, and overall feels a little more comfortable than a hotel room. Apartment Jardin Florian, which I found through holidayslettings.co.uk, was perfect. Small, yes, but with a fully equipped kitchen, double bed, small balcony overlooking the most beautiful street, and an extremely helpful host. We paid roughly 75 euro per night. Our first task upon arrival was to find a market, where we bought fresh seafood, local wine, vegetables, and freshly baked bread, and enjoyed the most wonderful quiet meal on the balcony. A perfect start to the trip.
The view to the street below
After a couple days came and went where we did nothing but read books, sleep on the beach, sunbathe, and sleep some more, we got a little bit antsy and though we should see some of the rest of the coastline. A day trip to Nice is very doable – we had a lovely lunch and then toured the Chagall museum there. However, I have to say my favourite place to visit in this area was Mougins, a tiny Medieval village perched on the hilltops above Cannes. A short 20 minute bus ride and we found ourselves huffing and puffing up the steep road to the village. The town center is tiny, with nothing more than alternating art galleries, small shops, restaurants, and cafes. The attraction here is simply to enjoy – enjoy the amazing views, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the peacefulness, and, very importantly, enjoy the food. Known for it’s gastronomy and boasting a history of famous restaurants and chefs, the town is completely saturated with great food. We wandered around the town, poked our noses in some art galleries, and finally settled on lunch at a small Italian restaurant on one of the winding side streets. We ordered off the short lunch menu – choices were the salad or quiche of the day, with appetizer and dessert. One would think . . .how good could a salad/quiche be? It was the best one of my life. . . hands down. Even the olive oil which came with warm bread as a starter. . . we may as well have licked our plates. And the tiramisu finale was also, just, so so good. Indescribable and so impressive how talented chefs can transform simple things into a symphony of flavours.
other notable activities included a day trip to Monte Carlo – perfect if you’re into mammoth yachts, casinos, and spending a few euros. My favourite part was the water/marina- for whatever reason it was especially turquoise and gorgeous. A short ferry ride over to Isle Sainte Marguerite gives the perfect opportunity for nature walking in thick lush forests and touring the prison where the Man in the Iron Mask was allegedly held.
All in all, I recommend the Riviera if you are in need of some relaxation, beautiful scenery, good food/wine, and rejuvenation 🙂