In this blog I will introduce you to some highlights of the Cote d’Azur. I went for a week and managed to squeeze in as much as possible, while still feeling like I was on a relaxed holiday. I chose Antibes as a “homebase” and explored from there. Hielke and I drove to the Cote d’Azur with our own car, which takes about a day from the Netherlands (beware you do not go on “black Saturday” as it will take much longer). What is great about the Cote d’Azur is that all the towns are easily connected by train, so Hielke and I were both able to drink rose all day 😉. We visited the following towns:
Antibes was even more lovely than expected.. I would even classify Antibes as a hidden gem! There were French tourists, but other nationalities seem to skip Antibes for more famous destinations (such as Nice and Cannes). The old town of Antibes is really charming; it has bougainvillea growing everywhere, amazing views over the Mediterranean, a small harbor with an amazing sunset, a top-notch Picasso museum, great markets, cool beach bars and good restaurants. Antibes has a small town feel, so you do not have to do much research as you will bump into all highlights by just strolling around, which makes your holiday super relaxing.
I would particularly recommend going to the beach bar of the Royal hotel. You can rent beachchairs here and drink lovely rosé.
A visit to the Cote d’Azur isn’t complete without a visit to Cannes. I did not love Cannes the way I loved Antibes, Antibes just has much more to offer. However, it is still nice to make a visit to Cannes. I liked strolling in the harbor of Cannes and checking out all the beautiful boats. We visited Cannes on a Monday and an antique market was held when we were there, which was my favorite activity in Cannes! The neigbourhood Le Suquet is still pretty charming and has old school vibes and great views and bougainvillea.
Nice is the largest town we visited in the Cote d’Azur and required some more planning regarding what to do. What I love about small towns is that you can wander around and will automatically bump into all of the highlights. I did not think this was the case in Nice, so make sure you research what you would like to visit and do. We visited “Musee d’Art Moderne Et d’Art Contemporain” but the exhibitions were being switched while we were there, so a lot of it was closed. I was a little bit disappointed in the museum as I did not like many of the collection. The terrace of the Museum had a good view, but was impossible to photograph and was not maintained well. A lot of the restaurants in Nice felt really touristy, so we had trouble deciding where to eat. In the evening we ate at La Griglia, because the waiter convinced us he would serve a special sort of beef (Tagliata). We were super surprised that it actually was a good meal, instead of a tourist trap, as we just had an awful lunch. I would definitely recommend going to La Griglia! The alleyways of Nice are much more crowded than similar ones in Antibes and Menton, which is to be expected, but I did not expect Nice to be this popular. At the beach of Nice there is a great atmosphere, with restaurants with colorful umbrella’s (closest to Amalfi you are going to get in France) and people playing volleyball. Overall it is really nice to sit on the blue seats and just enjoy people playing sports and watching people pass by on the boulevard. We also took an elevator to Castle Hill and enjoyed the views over Nice.
Below you can see the views from Castle Hill!
We visited Eze as I saw amazing pictures of the Jardin Exotique. This is a garden with lots of cacti and views over the Mediterranean. The garden costs € 6 to enter and you can park in the town of Eze. The Jardin Exotique is a short walk up through the town of Eze. Eze itself is also a really cute town to visit, with old buildings, nice terraces and art shops. The garden + Eze are both absolutely worth a visit and are a highlight while visiting the Cote d’Azur!
Below you will find pictures of charming Eze itself:
Menton is another hidden gem in the south of France. The beach looks out over the town center which consists of colorful houses on a hill surrounding a church, a magnificent view! It is like a less overpopulated Positano 😉 We were able to use the beach chairs if we would order drinks, this might be more expensive if you visit in the high season, we were there in June. The town itself is also really cute, with cobblestone streets and small alleyway of colored houses. In the middle of town there is a lovely terrace with restaurants with good food, where you can also read French newspapers (just for the vision).
Another must visit on the Cote d’Azur is Monaco. Unfortunately we could not visit the Casino because Hielke did not bring long trousers… However we had a good alternative and visited the Victor Vasarely “swimming pool art installation” instead and watched the sunset over the harbor.