I have to admit that sitting here on a freezing Melbourne evening, sipping a hot cup of green tea and writing this post truly makes me wish I was back in the French Riviera again. It was July 23rd, 2012 when my sister, dad and I flew to Nice and began one of the best holidays of our lives. For those of you that missed Part 1 of my French Riviera travel post you can read it here.
Prior to the trip I did a lot of research about where to go and what to see in the French Riviera in 10 days. I wrote page after page worth of notes and took these to my sister for her opinion and input. She said, “Whoa, you want to see all that?” and my response was… “Definitely.” I’m proud to say that we managed to accomplish the majority of the places on that list, even though it was the middle of a very hot summer.
My trip to Monaco would definitely be a highlight. We entered the Royal Palace where Princess Grace once lived and also found ourselves in the playground of the rich and the famous at Monte Carlo’s world-famous casino. The views of the harbour-side, with mountains in the background certainly made a great impression on me.
St. Paul de Vence resonated with us all for its typical French village atmosphere and relaxed medieval vibe. With lots of galleries and small boutiques, it was certainly a charming place to spend a few hours.
All of us really loved Cannes! Every year in May the Cannes Film Festival draws in the crowds and the celebrities and from the minute we got there we could see why! It had such a lively atmosphere, yet it felt smaller than Nice and had some wonderful sandy beaches. It was great fun to cross the Walk of Fame and see the hand-prints of stars such as Sylvester Stallone, Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie and others. I’d love to return to Cannes and stay there a few nights because it left me wanting more after we got on the bus back to Nice.
Next we visited Grasse, the perfume capital of the world! With such perfumeries as Galimard, Molinard and Fragonard, you’re spoilt for choice with a plethora of enticing scents. I took a small group tour of Fragonard and was shown the entire process of how their perfumes are made. On the streets of Grasse, I was amazed to see a really unique sprinkler system where periodically a small burst of water was released from above to cool everyone down! Grasse is also the death place of legendary French singer, Edith Piaf.
We visited two wonderful villas located at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The first was the villa of Ephrussi de Rothschild, the daughter of prominent banker and art collector Baron Alphonse de Rothschild. The stunning pink façade, somewhat resembling a doll’s house, was tastefully decorated inside and we could tell that no expense was spared. Outdoors there were musical fountains, a vast amount of different gardens (i.e Japanese Gardens, Italian Gardens) and fantastic views of the second villa, the Greek Villa Kerylos. I loved them both!
Last but not least, the beautiful town of Menton, located just shy of the French border with Italy, really gave us some breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
The French Riviera is breathtaking and I hope, through my photographs and stories, that I’ve ignited your curiosity for this wonderful part of the world. I leave you with my impressions of these quaint French villages, some by the Mediterranean sea and some deep in the French countryside.