SEPTEMBER 03, 2017/ EUROPE, FRANCE, MONACO, TRAVELS

THE GLORIOUS CÔTE D’AZUR

To have a best friend that lives part of the year on the Côte d’Azur is fantastic. Because feeling the glamour of the blue shore of the French Riviera is not the same if you are just a regular tourist and being their with someone who is actually at home.
I landed at Nice Airport, where Prince Albert of Monaco parks his luxurious private jets and where all the Hollywood stars and elite lands when attending the Cannes Film Festival.

The Côte d’Azur has so much to offer from larger cities like Nice and Cannes, to the out of this world luxury of Monaco, to cute little towns and villages such as Menton and Villefranche-sur-mer. It’s definitely a must visit destination in Europe. The best time to visit will be May to August when it’s the peak season.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Although tiny, Monaco is indeed an urban place. Once you enter the streets of Monaco you will see expensive cars parked everywhere, the sea filled with enormous yachts, high end designer shops and expensively dressed people. Considering its size one day is enough to go around Monaco and see all the popular and worth to see places.

Must do’s and see’s:

  • Prince’s Palace of Monaco- where the royal family lives (Grace Kelly used to live here).
  • Take a walk in the Japanese Tea Garden- located in Monte Carlo, it is perfect for a little walk, and for a moment you will think you are in Japan.
  • Monte Carlo Casino- one of the most famous casino’s in the world, make sure to go inside. Tip: visit it early in the morning that way you won’t have to pay an entry fee and you can view all the rooms.
  • Drink coffee in Café de Paris- although overpriced still worth going and drinking your coffee while enjoying the view of Monte Carlo Casino.
  • Retail therapy- the amount of high end designers stores in Monaco will amaze you. Make sure to check out the Shopping Promenade as well as La Metropole even if it’s only for window shopping.
  • Party in Monaco- partying in Monaco is a completely different than any other place I have been to. If you have the chance make sure to go to some of the most famous clubs.
  • Saint Nicholas Cathedral- a beautiful cathedral, inside many of the members of the Grimaldi family are buried including Grace Kelly.
  • Enjoy the view from Port of Fontvieille- amazing view over the port of Fontvieille, surrounded by the beautiful gardens of Saint Martin.
  • Stroll through Monaco Old Town- the old town is charming with small local shops and restaurants, very different from the rest of Monaco.

Nice

Nice is beautiful just like the girl from the poster of the French Riviera and it is the ideal place to deep your feet in the water of Côte d’Azur. Nice is the capital of the French Riviera, a combination of old and new. World known for its vibrant markets, award winning restaurants with exquisite food.

Must do’s and see’s:

  • Enjoy your day at one of the beaches in Nice, although the beaches are not sand but pebble. Still, they are very nice and the water is turquoise colored
  • Take a walk down the promenade- this was probably something that I enjoyed the most in Nice, walking around the promenade and enjoying the mesmerizing view of the Mediterranean
  • Get lost in Vieux Nice- the ‘old town’, filled with maze streets and tight alleyways

Cannes

Known for the famous international film festival, that is held every year in May. But Cannes is also known for its beautiful sandy beaches, palatial hotels and trendy shops. It’s another must visit when on the French Riviera.

Must do’s and see’s:

Boulevard de la Croisette- A 2km long promenade, known for its beautiful sandy beaches and exclusive beach clubs, but it is also the location where the Cannes Film Festival is held.

Palais des Festivals- is the venue located on Boulevard de la Croisette where every year in May the Cannes Film Festival is being held. Touristy photo spot where you can take a picture on the famous red carpet covered stairs.

Menton

Although not as popular as Nice or Cannes, Menton is a beauty for itself. Famous for the lemons and Jean Cocteau . Menton is the last stop of the Cote d’Azur before entering Italy, and it is definitely worth the visit even if it’s just for a day. The town itself is filed with beaches, gardens, and color houses. In recent years Menton has been named as the most instagramable town of the French Riviera, and it’s no lie that this little town has gorgeous photo spots everywhere.

Must do’s and see’s:

  • Tan on the sandy beaches- unlike Nice, Menton has beautiful sandy beaches
  • Explore the old town- you will be amazed by the beautiful color houses that fill Menton, it is the perfect straight out of the stories little French town.
  • Try the lemons of Menton- Menton grows one of the best lemons in the world, so treat yourself with some limonchelo or jam made from lemons. There’s a really good store for jams called Maison Herbin.
  • Eat seafood by the water- the shore is filled with restaurants that serve fresh from the sea sea food and fish make sure to grab a bite while there
  • Jean Cocteau museum and Bastion museum- located on the shore, these two museum are a must if you have the time.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Located right next to Nice is this beautiful coastal commune Villefranche-sur-Mer. Color houses, churches and chapels and beautiful beaches are some of the characteristics of this little commune.

Must see’s and do’s:

  • Enjoy a day on the Plague des Marinieres-
  • Stroll through the old town- the old town is really charming with cute souvenir shops and local artists stores. Make sure to also visit the beautiful Église Saint-Michel de Villefranche-sur-mer cathedral.
  • Have coffee on the square- lots of cute cafes where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the pretty views.
  • Chapelle Saint-Pierre- designed by Jean Coctou. Entry fee is 3 EUR, and there are no pictures allowed, the chapel itself is really small.