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French Girl Summer: Côte d'Azur

This summer I went on a 5-week long adventure through a country that calls my heart each and every time.

France checks all those boxes for me and I fall in love more and more with each visit.

My intention was to take a few steps back and really take time for myself- to wander, to recharge, to be inspired.

I intuitively gave myself space to paint, write, cook, sleep and do what felt good in the moment with no set schedules, hopefully inspiring you too! I feel like when we are moving with intention and living in the moment, we are our highest self, a goal I set for myself while spending so much time alone. Meeting myself right where I was.



When I began planning I knew I had to spend a few of those weeks along the Côte d’Azur.

A coast famed for its colourful beach towns, medieval villages, luxury villas and yachts galore-all along the coast.

Oui, s’il vous plaît! I once visited Nice many years ago, and was excited to return to really enjoy days along the Mediterranean and nights strolling in the Old Town.

I used Nice as my home base for this trip because it is extremely easy to get around from, with close proximity and multiple trains daily to close by towns.

Also, it feels like the most lived in town on the riviera and dare I say it, the least pretentious.


Being I would be here for a good amount of time, I decided to book an apartment vs a hotel as I wanted the luxury of cooking, doing my own laundry and really feeling like a local. My good friends at 515 Photo Co. recommended this property to me that they previously stayed in when shooting a wedding in the area and it looked like the perfect spot to

reside. It was less than a 15 minute walk to the old town, beach, train station and many markets. The best part of it all was I made a new friend, the host Luisa Maisel is an extremely talented American French sculpture artist.

One of the things I love most about traveling are the connections you make along the way.

When I have the opportunity to connect with other artists it is so fulfilling.



My days were filled exploring the maze of narrow streets full of lively restaurants, cafés, galleries and shops not only in Nice but in neighbouring towns. I really loved spending time in the markets too, shopping for local produce, flowers and artisanal products. Most evenings I stayed in and cooked from the bounty I collected at the markets and enjoyed recapping my days which more of can be found here on my Instagram account.




My favourite markets in Nice

  • Marché Cours Saleya

  • Place Giuseppe Garibaldi (only on the first Sunday of every month)

  • Marché de la Liberation


Where to eat in Nice

Peixes -There are two locations, all fish restaurant, delicious ceviches!


Bocca- Book the rooftop, I really enjoyed lunch here and can see how it would be fun in the evening.


Le Bistro d’Antoine- It’s in old nice in a popular area but the locals love it.


Le sens -I didn’t make it here but came highly recommended by a local.


Le Plongeoir - A lovely lunch spot on the water with beaches below filled with locals.

You can see here.


Hotel Amour - Greek inspired cuisine. They also have the beach club which I went to in Nice and really enjoyed!


L’uzine- Another recommendation by a local


La Meranda- Was on my list to try, but was closed during the weeks I was visiting.


Bubu Burger-When the craving hits, head here!


Pastries

After a lot of tasting, these would be my two picks.


Ice Cream

Because it’s summer and ice cream doesn’t count on vacation!


There is a host of places to explore throughout summer and I am sure beyond!

Here are some towns I visited during my stay:


Antibes

On both occasions that I travelled to Antibes it was for dinner.

The first visit was with my husband as he had spent a few night with me in Nice before heading home.

We set out for an evening at the iconic Hotel du Cap Eden Roc.

We enjoyed drinks at the Eden-Roc lounge located on the rooftop facing the sea, watching the sunset sipping on one of the most woodsy floral cocktails I’ve ever had! yum! Dinner followed at the grill where sunset turned to starlight, it felt as though we were on a ship because of the panoramic view.


Upon my return, I visited with my good friend Mike Caringi of 515 Photo Co and his hubby, and yes,

multiple photos were taken during our time together!

The mansions and dramatic villas lining the shore that once fascinated Fitzgerald are still very much a part of the landscape, but there’s local charm to be found, too. We wandered the streets of the Old Town, Cours Masséna without reservations and landed on a wonderful restaurant, Jeanne. I can honestly say each dish was better than the last.

I would highly recommend spending the day here exploring Musée Picasso and the many other museums.



St- Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Filled with some of the most lavish colourful villas, things feel a little quieter and less touristy here.

Tucked away on the northern side is the iconic Plage Paloma.⁣ The pebbly cove overlooks the east, known for its crystal-clear calm turquoise waters and stunning views of Beaulieu-sur-mer.⁣ Post WWII some of the most renowned artists retreated to this tranquil beach, it was even named after Pablo Picasso’s daughter, Paloma. ⁣




We drove in with a basket full of goods from the market and a bottle of rosé for a delicious picnic.

The harbour, Port de Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has a small boardwalk lined with hundreds of boats, definitely a cute little place to discover. Followed by a visit to the enchanting Four Seasons Cap Ferrat, you can see here one of their newly renovated villas we had the pleasure of touring. Followed by a cocktail in the lobby, it is the epitome of riviera chic.



Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Amongst all the seaside towns I visited, Villefranche sur Mer was by far the most colourful.

A popular beach amongst the locals, with mostly afternoon sun.

We enjoyed Nicoise salads, decadent baby mussels and frites in the late afternoon along Plage des Marinieres.

Be sure to also check out Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild, the grounds are lovely and the views incredible.

We shared a light lunch in the garden and waltzed around the inside of the restored villa.

Who doesn’t love a pretty in pink palace surrounded by the Mediterranean?





Éze

A picturesque seaside village between Nice and Monaco known for its panoramic views of both the Mediterranean and Côte d’Azur. It is a steep climb around the village, be sure to bring supportive shoes. We enjoyed exploring some of the small art boutiques, Le Jardin Exotique, and Château Èza, a hotel with a Michelin restaurant worth exploring.

⁣I made sure to pick up a few of my Fragonard favourites and stopped to smell all the jasmine along the way- just heavenly!




St Paul de Vence

A storybook village perched high on a hilltop somewhere between Nice and Vence lies, Saint Paul de Vence. ⁣

One of the rivieras most charming medieval towns. Filled with meandering alleyways, century old cottages, foliage and flowers blooming at every turn. Frequented by artists like Picasso, Matisse and Chagall I can see how the panoramic views drew them in. ⁣The sun blaring hot, I took cover at a lovely restaurant, Les Remparts overlooking the vistas, with a glass of rosé and an octopus dish I can still taste. Robust in flavours of the sea. Here is a video clip of all the beauty!


Cagnes-Sur-Mer

Another enchanting hilltop village with wonderful views of the Mediterranean.

Check out Chateau Le Cagnard, a wonderful hotel offering fine dining with a view, as well as a restaurant called Fleur de Sel, which we were told about by a local.


Cannes

The resort town we all know for its international film festival.

I travelled to Cannes by train from Nice one morning and headed straight for Boulevard de la Croisette. Curving along the coast, it is lined with sandy beaches (a rarity here), designer boutiques and palatial hotels. I decided to join in on one of the beach clubs for the day and sipped limoncello spritz in the beating sun, while keeping cool in the clear waters. After having a little too much fun in the sun, I decided to stroll along the Boulevard and window shop, each boutique so beautifully curated, window shopping can be fun too! I stopped at Lenôtre for a coconut ice cream and people watched for a little while. I personally think it was a great day trip, but it would not be my preference as somewhere to stay for multiple days.


Additional towns I didn’t make it to this time around:

Menton

A town known for all its beauty but a fraction of the crowds so they say!

I hear there is quality Italian cuisine due to its position on the Franco-Italian border. An ideal spot for a day trip.


Grasse

A pretty medieval village that also holds the distinction of being the world’s perfume capital. You’ll find perfumeries like the famous Fragonard factory here. The real reason to come here though is to take in the near-endless fields of lavender that dominate the area’s hilly landscape. More on lavender later though!


Monaco

Being I had been once before I didn’t feel the need to return but its worth the drive to observe the luxurious yachts at the harbour and a spin at the Monte Carlo casino.



The French Riviera will forever hold a special space in my heart.

I didn't have specific expectations for my time here and I feel as though I saw and felt more than I thought I would.

Most visit the coast for a short few days, my recommendation though would be to spend minimum a week exploring. There really is more to it than the glitz and glamour, it is shimmering with charm-truly a painters paradise.

À la prochaine!




Thank you to my friends at 515 Photo Co. for so many beautiful captures.


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