In September 2017, I went to the Nice to explore the French Riviera. I was very lucky with the weather and it was perfect for exploring the amazing city of Nice and the whole Riviera.
I started off my trip with walking around the beautiful city of Nice with all of the amazing colourful buildings and great atmosphere. This city is amazing for just strolling around in and you can walk for ages on the 7 km long Promenade des Anglais (the Walkway of the English) back and forth. The promenade was built during the 1800’s when the English aristocracy started to spend a lot of time in the area. In 1820, when a particularly harsh winter up north brought a big number of beggars to Nice, some of the English suggested a useful project for them- the construction of a walkway (chemin de promenade) along the sea, which resulted in Promenade des Anglais and thereof the name.
The area of the old part of the city is very picturesque, with small allies, beautiful buildings and cosy shops. The city also has a lot of parks and green areas which makes it easy to find places for a break. Of course, the beach is a great place to take a break and along the beach you can find several (over prized) restaurants with lovely views over the Mediterranean bay. I had the second most expensive beer in my life on one of these restaurants (the most expensive one I’ve had was in Venice, Italy). But I must say, the view was lovely and I must say, it was worth it!
Not far from Nice you find the small village of Èze in the commune of Èze-Sur-Mer with only about 3000 inhabitants (this is where all the celebrities have their amazing houses along the cliff sides). This very charming medieval village with its oldest building Chapelle de la Sainte Croix that dates back to 1306, feels like a maze when you first start walking around, but just relax and enjoy the ride. The village has become a tourist hot spot, but luckily, I went there off season, so I managed to walk around undisturbed. A must to visit when in the area!
Saint Paul de Vence
This is one of the oldest medieval towns in the French Riviera and definitely my favourite when it comes to the feeling and my prejudices of the French Riviera. I was stunned the moment I walked over the bridge and into this totally different world. I felt taken back in time and was totally amazed by the incredible charm of this village. The first thing I see is a couple of friends gathered together for a boule match in the afternoon sun, with a smile on their faces. Amazing! I almost have no words for this place, it’s just so enjoyable and so very cosy!
In Antibes, I had the best ice cream ever from a small café in the heart of the city. There were so much flavour in the ice cream and I was floored! Unfortunately, I forgot the name of it, but if you are interested in trying it, give me a shout and I can explain the way from the harbour. In Antibes, you can find the most amazing parade of yachts in the harbour. When I was there, the world’s most expensive yacht was on display and you could get it for (only) 600 million €, it’s a bargain!
The city is known for its association with the rich and famous, its luxury hotels and restaurants, and of course the Cannes Film Festival. I didn’t get to spend that much time in this city, but it was a visit to remember. It felt like I was in a movie- walking along the Boulevard de la Croisette with all the impressing buildings, stopping at the place for the Film festival to have a photo and took a break in Square Mistral for a waffle.
Monte- Carlo, Monaco
The capital (or Quartier) of the tiny country of Monaco is Monte-Carlo known for its amazing casino. The country is the second smallest state in the world with around 39 000 inhabitants. The official language is French, but Montégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The head of state is Prince Albert II (son of Grace Kelly) as a constitutional monarch, but he has immense political power of this small country. The widely famous House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco since 1297 (with brief interruptions). I stopped by the castle to say hello and ended up coming just in time for the guard swift.
One other thing Monaco is famous for is the Monaco Grand Prix that has taken place annually since 1929. I was utterly amazed finding out how many things along the roads are temporarily there due to this race. Every year they pick a part large portions of the signs, road pumps and so on to arrange the Grand Prix. I heard about a glass sign in front of a hotel, that is destroyed every year before the races and then they put up a new one once it’s over.
It felt so strange driving in to this tiny country with its underground motorways and perfect surface. I must say the whole visit felt a bit surreal, but also truly amazing!