Hi guys, we bring to you today our travel experience at The French Riviera. Composed of Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Antibes, Eze, and St. Tropez, the French Riviera is the most romantic, luxurious, and euphoric coastline in Europe. While we would’ve loved to cover all these gorgeous cities, we were on a clock and decided to cut it short to just Nice, Cannes and Monaco this time around.
While you’re along the French Riviera, travel is fairly easy between these fairytale cities. Means of travel can include renting a convertible, boarding a private yacht, or rent a speed boat to cruise between the shores as you wish. All of these cities are very well connected via road and water and don’t take up too much commute time. Hence, if you’re staying for a short period of time, you could stay put in any one of these cities and just visit the others
We arrived Cannes at around 4 pm, on a Saturday. With touring around Europe for a couple of days, we had pre-planned our journey in a way that we got to spend a relaxed weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the typical cities. Glamorous Cannes is more about resting than doing. Although you can visit a few museums and see some pretty architecture, the main tourist attraction is enjoying life at a leisurely pace. The whole vibe of the city is laid back and completely hassle-free.
Where we stayed:
Cézanne Hôtel Spa: We made sure the property was close to the beach and the city center so we could get around by foot. This beautiful property is a 6-minute walk from the beach.
Boulevard de la Croisette:
We were all set to explore the heart of the city, walking down beautiful palm-lined Boulevard de la Croisette, a mile-long promenade that skirts the shore, you can lookout on the sparkling Mediterranean and the rolling Esterel hills. Even when off the star-studded grid, the city is upbeat, lively and pulsing with young people. This is the place to have a cup of coffee and be on people watch taking in all glamor surrounding you from fashionable pedestrians, dressed in everything from designer apparel to skimpy bikinis and high heels to luxurious yachts on the dock or to just lie on the beach and soak in the sun. The vibe here is just something else!
On the other side of the boulevard are rows of luxurious hotels, high-end boutiques and elegant terraced restaurants. I was hoping to spot a celebrity or two– but I guess the lure of the beach got to me and I was distracted.
We spent a relaxing evening strolling down the beach, taking a dip in the Mediterranean waters after which we headed to dinner. Strolling around the town, we were spoilt for choices when it came down to eating joints. Typically, when we’re away on vacation we like to try out the local cuisine. However, we had the craziest craving for our favorite cuisine (Thai) so we stopped by this cosy little Thai restaurant named Le Mai Thai. The restaurant had the most authentic tasting Thai food, and our craving was 100% satisfied!
After an evening of relaxation, we were all pumped up to explore Monaco the next morning. A mere 1 hour drive from Cannes is the beautiful country of Monaco. This is a must visit when you’re along the French Riviera, since visiting this place would check off an entire country from your bucket list! Yes, Monaco is the 2nd smallest country in the world that covers just two km² which means you need a maximum of 3 hours and you would’ve covered the entire country. Pretty cool!
Métropole Shopping Monte-Carlo:
We arrived Monaco city around 10 am and it was a particularly hot morning so we decided to start the day with an early shopping trip to the mall just so we could stay indoors for a bit. In the quest to find some special merchandise we arrived at Métropole Shopping Monte-Carlo. This mall despite being largely underground is simply beautiful. The chandeliers are stunning. The mall had a great variety of shops under budget shopping as well as luxury shopping but our favorite were the boutique stores that had such a fine variety of clothes, jewelry and shoes immersed with their local touch.
Casino Monte Carlo:
Just a mere 4-5 minute walk up the road was one of the most glamorous Bond locations is the Casino Monte Carlo. The beautiful casino with it’s impressive facade features prominently in Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye.
Even if you’re not into casinos, Casino Monte Carlo is a great place to visit! The square around the establishment is considered the heart of the city as is always humming with the engine sound of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins and about every other exclusive car you can think of.
* There is an entry fee, so make sure you prepare €10 per adult from October to May and €12 per adult from May till October.
As for us, we did enter the Casino and even though the Casino is much smaller than expected, it’s every bit of glamorous and worth a visit! We also tried our hand at a few games of black jack and let’s just say we were quite in luck 😉 enough to get out in time and shop in the adjacent shopping square.
What may look like a dome shaped art installation is in fact a shopping square where all the elegant shops are located, filled with luxury goods and prestigious brands. Such as Dior, Gucci, D&G, Dior, Louis Vuitton and much more. On visiting the stores, we noticed how many of these stores had certain bags or shoes that were exclusively available only in Monte Carlo. So if you’re looking for an exclusive designer item that you haven’t been able to get your hands on, you’re highly likely to find it in here.
As the weather started to get cooler, we headed to our last stop, The Japanese garden. Those who take a stroll through the gardens will be able to discover all the essential components of a Japanese garden: a pond, islands, a waterfall, lanterns, bridges, a tea house and a Zen garden.
This green oasis is a rich mix of Japanese tradition and Mediterranean touches, the result of close collaboration between gardeners from Monaco and Japan. The bamboo hedges, tiles (Awaji Island), stone lanterns, and the woods used in the various structures (gate, tea house, etc.) were all imported from Japan, while the plants, all Mediterranean (pine, olive and pomegranate trees), were pruned and looked after by Mr Beppu for three years to give them a Japanese appearance.
On our way back from Monte Carlo, we decided to make a quick stop at Nice for lunch at the old town since we had so much to hear about the food in Nice. Which is an eclectic mix of French and Italian, because it is so close to the Italian border and is termed Niçoise.
Le Vieux Nice (Nice Old Town):
Old town, Nice almost feels like a medieval village with narrow streets curving between old buildings and distinct red-tile roofs, small restaurants and buzzing open-markets. Personally, our favorite way of exploring a city are the old towns and the exclusive local boutiques selling hand-crafted novelties, clothing or jewelry with each item having their one-of-a-kind unique story to tell.
This is the perfect location to take in the bustling local lifestyle. The Cours features a vast array of products. In the market you’ll be able to find from collectible, handcrafted carvings to a wide variety of well-kept quality fruit and vegetables. There’s also a popular flower quarter displaying a vibrant array of colors.
Where we ate:
Looking around, there’s not too many cuisine options in the market so we went for what we thought was regular Italian food. We randomly stoped for lunch at the Bistrat Jennifer and were pleasantly surprised by how different the regular Pizza, Pasta of Risotto tasted from the ones we tried in Italy.
We also HAD to stop by Fennochio’s which has the reputation for being the best and the local’s go-to place for ice cream around here. On arrival we discovered that they had 94 different flavors of both ice cream and mouthwatering sorbets to pick from and they also offer some unusual treats, such as jasmine and avocado or poppy, and sorbets including cactus, beer and lychee. This place is definitely a must-try!