Bonjour and Happy Thursday! As I mentioned in my previous post, the Côte d'Azur is a glittery, resort wonderland and makes a wonderful trip for a honeymoon or a fabulous summer getaway. I've touched upon how to get there and where to stay. So now that you've got that suite reserved at Hôtel le Cap Estel (can I come, please?!) you're probably wondering what you should see and do (other than celebrity spotting, that is) and where to imbibe on delicious Niçoise cuisine and crisp rosé (which, btw, is totally appropriate here as it is from this region...and everyone will be drinking it!) Here are my recommendations on how to do just that:
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Explore Vieux Nice (the old town). Take a stroll along the boardwalk-like Promenade des Anglais and be sure not to miss the produce & flower market, La Marché Cours Saleya/Marché aux Fleurs.
Wander the little cobblestone paths of Eze Village. There are no cars allowed in this medieval village so park your car at the bottom of the hill and walk up. Some of the best views of the Riviera are found up here.
See how the rich live on Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Drive past the most expensive homes in the world and take a tour of the pink seaside mansion, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. When the sun is too hot to bear, rent some loungers at Plage Paloma and enjoy a dip in the teal blue sea.
Charter a luxury yacht for the day and see the Riviera from the water. Depart from the Nice area and set sail to Cannes and the islands offshore-- Île-Sainte-Marguerite & Île-Saint-Honorat. Stop for lunch in Antibes and a post-meal dip in the Baie des Milliardaires (Billionaires Bay). Captain and champagne included.
Check out the cute little seaside towns of Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer. Stroll the quaint streets and stop for a seafood lunch (and a few glasses of rosé) on the docks.
Channel your inner Princess Grace (or Prince Rainier) in Monaco. Get all glammed up and take a stroll along the harbor, admiring all the mega-yachts, or try your luck at the black jack table. Enjoy lunch at a chic café or perhaps dinner at a trendy restaurant is more your style. But whatever you do, take it easy on the drive...
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Le Safari in Vieux Nice for a lovely, fresh seafood dinner. When it's nice, aim to sit on the large outdoor patio. Reservations needed. (1 Cours Saleya)
Pain & Cie in Vieux Nice for a delightful petit dejeuners in rustic, classic French digs. (3 Rue Louis Gassin)
Le Relais Bar at L'Hotel Negresco in Nice for a martini or glass of champagne with live piano music. Expect to be transported back to the Belle Epoque era at this historical spot. (37 Promenade des Anglais)
La Mère Germaine in Villefranche-sur-Mer for an upscale lunch on the dock. The seafood is super fresh and the rosé super crisp. Parfait! (9 Quai de l'Amiral Courbet)
La Caravelle in Villefranche-sur-Mer for a casual dinner in a cute, outdoor patio on the steps of a narrow street. (3 Rue de l'Église)
Restaurant Le César in Antibes/Juan les Pins for an upscale, rosé-filled lunch on the private beach Plage Keller. The restaurant provides dinghy service for yachts anchored in the bay. (1035 Chemin de la Garoupe)
L'Avenue 31 in Monte Carlo for yummy, Italian-influenced fare in a trendy dining room. (31 Avenue Princesse Grace)
As I mentioned before and what I can't say enough of is how glamorous and luxurious the French Riviera is. If you can swing it (and your wallet can handle it!), it's an amazing place to visit. The Alpes-Maritimes/Nice area is perfect for first timers but if you've already been there & done that, then I'd recommend trying something the other side of the Riviera--the Var, which is home to seductive Saint-Tropez. Stay tuned for my next post which will feature just that!