Cote d'Azur The French Riviera

Nice

Let’s start with Nice first. The important thing to remember is to keep the window shades up (like they advise on the plane) to have a bird’s eye-view of the place and its surroundings. I advise this solely on the basis of personal experience and trust me, you will not be disappointed. Nice gives a great aura when you touch-down and get your bearings in order to brace what’s in store for you. Being a water baby myself, I ran towards the water to get a first glimpse of the ‘boardwalk’, if I may say. Trust me, it is too pretty to just walk away from. Just along this you have an array of restaurants, hotels, bars and casinos too! The idea of sipping a good wine or chugging a beer as the sun goes down is irresistible and takes me back to the days when I was there.

Tip: There is an open-train journey which takes a pre-determined route through town, on the roads, varying from the streets to the exotic views and things to see around town.

Nice is a great mix of relaxation (when needed) and the typical city feel (when needed) owing to its layout and planning. The town is exquisite and filled with shopping for the ladies (and gents), lots of bars and restaurants, and a breath of fresh air. Cannot miss this!

 
 

Eze

Eze is a “village” roughly an hour’s drive from Nice. It is technically a village, yet far from it. The views you get of the Mediterranean Sea from here are to die for. And if you happen to choose the Relais and Chateaux property to stay in, it’s so exquisite that you’ll thank me for it! (I’m sure about it)

 
 

Cannes

Welcome to Cannes, the land of the coveted Cannes Film Festival. Many of us have seen the pictures of celebrities lined up on the red carpet outside Hotel Martinez and probably must have fancied ourselves being there as well. The good thing is that you can be there sans the celebrities, of course, unless you are there for the film festival itself.

 
 

Cannes lures you by its charm with a simple and easy coastline coupled with killer views and classic feel. The place is laden with the modern feel of restaurants, luxury hotels, bars coupled with the traditional Old Town, offering something of its own. You can plan your stay at the Majestic Barriere, The Carlton, the Martinez or amongst many other choices available on offer. The going about and feel of Cannes is what makes it special and worth a visit. You shall not be disappointed.

Monte Carlo

I’m assuming you’re sure that a trip to the French Riviera is incomplete if you give Monaco (Monte Carlo) a miss. This place needs no introduction and is easily accessible via car or train from Nice or Cannes. It is closer to Nice, from where you can take a train (hardly 1-1.15 hrs) and is very cost effective, even for a return journey).

 
 

Monaco is an amazing experience, has the most amazing hotels, and is home to one of the two night-time F1 GPs in the world. The Fairmont provides one of the best views on offer (by hotels worldwide) and you also have the Hotel de Paris, Hotel Metropole and Casino de Monte Carlo. Monaco in its entirety is hardly 2 km in area so you can’t miss much to see here. I’d suggest you definitely visit this place not going on the size but the substance that it has to offer.

If you’d prefer a more detailed plan of action, I’ve put together a little something to help plan your trip here. Have a look and do give reviews!

Itinerary

  • Day One

    With its excellent transport connections Nice is the perfect place to start a tour of the French Riviera. After checking into your hotel head to Vieux Nice for lunch at La Voglia – their tartines go especially well with a carafe of rose. Afterwards take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, tour the Roman ruins and return to the hotel for dinner.

  • Day Two

    After breakfast walk to Rue des Ponchettes and take the free elevator to the top of Chateau Hill for some fabulous views. Head back to visit the Salaya Flower Market and dine in one of the many good restaurants situated here - Le Safari is a good bet. A trip to the Matisse Museum and the Russian Cathedral situated in the Cimiez neighborhood is also a must. In the evening Nice Port is the perfect place to watch the ferries, and enjoy the city’s liveliest nightspots. Spend your second night in Nice.

  • Day Three

    Leave Nice and head out along the coast to Villefranche – stroll the Old Town before having crepes for lunch in the harbor. Relax on the excellent beach and have dinner at the Mère Germain – famous for its fish soup. After lunch, it’s on to Cap Ferrat to visit Rothschild’s Villa, walk the footpath which runs around the peninsula, and later dine at ‘The Sloop’ for the best views of the harbor. Head back to Nice for night three.

  • Day Four

    On to Eze, a charming medieval village a few kilometers further up the coast. Walk the steep Friedrich Nietzshe path for a picnic at the top, to enjoy stunning views from the ‘Eagle’s Nest’. After a spot of souvenir shopping dine in style at the Michelin starred Chateau Eza – which offers great views of the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Day Five

    Take the spectacular Corniche coastal drive to the glamorous principality of Monaco, enjoying the spectacular panoramic views of Villefranche over Cap Ferrat on the way. In Monte Carlo’s old town watch the changing of the Palace Guards at 11.55am. Then follow the Formula One Grand Prix circuit, with lunch in ‘Le Bistorquet’ afterwards, the restaurant which overlooks the Grand Prix course. In the late afternoon, pay a visit to Monte Carlo casino and browse the luxury boutiques.

  • Day Six

    Leave Monaco and head back along the coast to Cannes for the second leg of the tour. After checking in at your hotel, visit the Old Town - its narrow streets packed with restaurants and shops. Climb the hilltop and enjoy the views from the castle ruins. Spend the afternoon like a jet setter on the beach. Have dinner in Le Coquillages Brun, renowned for its seafood dishes.

  • Day Seven

    Take a short boat trip to the small island of Ste Honorat, home to a monastery and castle ruins. Get your shopping fix at La Croisette – the main shopping street which runs adjacent to the beach. Have moules mariniére or cod in garlic sauce for lunch at Auberge Provencale – Cannes’ oldest restaurant, and then visit Forville Market to sample some local produce. For a lively night out head for Morrisons Lounge, or Le Cat-Corner club.

  • Day Eight

    Moving on to Antibes- Juan-Les Pins spend time in the charming cobblestone streets o f the old town in the morning when the market is open. Have lunch at L’Armoise, a stone’s throw from the market, and afterwards spend the afternoon in the Picasso Museum. Stay in Antibes for two nights.

  • Day nine

    Visit Cap d’Antibes and enjoy a swim and a walk on coastal paths. Have lunch in La Taverne du Safranier for its fish soup and mussels, and spend the afternoon on Plage de la Salis for incredible views of the Alps. Later soak up the atmosphere in the Balade en Provence – a former absinthe bar.

  • Day Ten

    Head back to Nice for your flight home. If there’s time do some last minute shopping at Magenta Square – located in the center, or buy souvenirs from the shops located around the Old Town Cathedral.

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