Explore a dozen delightful destinations in Alpes-Maritimes
Provence is a must for your travelwishlist! The region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur comprises of 6 departments, i.e. Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhone, Haute-Alpes, Var and Vaucluse. In our second blog we explore Alpes-Maritimes from Cannes in the West to Menton in the east - 60 km of the most beautiful and famous coastline in the world:
Cannes is world-famous for its international film festival. Its Boulevard de la Croisette, curving along the coast, is lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and palatial hotels. By the 2nd century BC, the Ligurian Oxybii established a settlement here known as Aegitna. The area was a fishing village used as a port of call between the Lérins Islands. In the 10th century, the town was known as Canua. The name may derive from "canna", a reed.
Up in the hills to the north of Cannes, the town of Grasse has been synonymous with perfumery since the 16th century, and the town is still home to a number of producers – large perfumeries such as Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard offer tours. Explore the heritage of Grasse at the Musée International de la Parfumerie in the town center.
The chic resort of Juan-les-Pins is known for its long, sandy beaches and seafront promenade lined with smart outdoor eateries and fashion boutiques, overlooked by modern apartment buildings. Inland, narrow streets are home to cocktail bars and nightclubs, while the pine-dotted Jardin de La Pinède park hosts the summer Jazz à Juan festival.
Antibes is a resort town between Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur). It is famous for its old town enclosed by 16th-century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré. This overlooks luxury yachts moored at the Port Vauban marina. The forested Cap d’Antibes peninsula, dotted with grand villas, separates Antibes from Juan-les-Pins.
Ideally located between Nice and Cannes, Cagnes-sur-Mer draws its charm from the mediaeval village of Haut-de-Cagnes whose Château-Musée Grimaldi dominates the city and where many artists and personalities have stayed. Renoir, an emblematic painter of Impressionism, but also a sculptor, lived for many years at Domaine des Collettes in Cagnes-sur-Mer, on the French Riviera. A visit to the Renoir Museum, established in this residence, allows you to discover the atmosphere in which the artist lived during his last years.
6. ST PAUL DE VENCE
Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a little over a hour away from Nice and one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. This stunning village became a magnet for artists and art lovers in the 1920’s, when a group of impressionist painters rediscovered the town. Today it is world famous for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries such as the Fondation Maeght which is located nearby.
Nice is the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes and sits on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges. Founded by the Greeks and later a retreat for 19th-century European elite, the city has also long attracted artists. Former resident Henri Matisse is honoured with a career-spanning collection of paintings at Musée Matisse. Musée Marc Chagall features some of his major religious works.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is immediately to the east of the city of Nice, along Mont Boron, Mont Alban and Mont Vinaigrier, and 6.2 mi (10.0 km) south-west of Monaco. The bay (rade) of Villefranche is one of the deepest natural harbours of any port in the Mediterranean Sea. The site of what is now Villefranche and surrounding Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has been settled since prehistoric times. Celto-ligurian tribes roamed the area and established farming communities on the surrounding hills. The Greeks and later the Romans used the natural harbour as a stop-over en route to the Greek settlements around the Western Mediterranean. After the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar, the Romans built an extension of the Via Aurelia (Aurelian Way), which passed through the settlement of Montolivo.
9. ST JEAN CAP FERRAT
Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat is one of the most loveliest places on the Mediterranean coast. The peninsula is situated next to Nice and Villefranche sur Mer and extends out to Cap Ferrat. Its tranquillity and warm climate make it a favourite holiday destination amongst European aristocracy and international millionaires. Do not miss the coastal path - it is signposted for 14 km and divided into 3 parts : the tour of Cap Ferrat, the pine-forest and the Maurice Rouvier walk which links Saint Jean Cap Ferrat to Beaulieu.
Beaulieu-sur-Mer is one of the tiniest villages in France and situated between Nice and Monaco. Visit Villa Kerylos - built at the beginning of the 20th century by the archeologist Théodore Reinach and is in the style of an ancient Greek villa at the time of Pericles. The Villa was bequeathed to the Institute of France in 1928 and is currently classified as a historical monument.
The beautiful hilltop medieval village of Eze is situated in a stunning location between Monaco and Nice. The village is famous for its spectacular views, impressive architecture and Jardin botanique d'Èze with its collection of cacti and succulents, The area surrounding Eze was first populated around 2000 BC as a commune situated near Mount Bastide. The earliest occurrence of the name "Èze" can be found in the maritime books of Antonin as a bay called the St. Laurent of Èze.
Menton is located on the tip of the French Riviera, not far from the Italian border, and is known as the Pearl of France. It has an exceptionally mild climate where magnificent Mediterranean plants thrive. Lemons are the symbol of Menton and they are celebrated each year between February and March with a festival in their honour.
BUY FRESH SEASONAL FOOD AT THE MARKETS
Provence has an abundance of fresh seasonal food - sweet mellon, juicy figs, plump tomatoes ...... visit the markets and have a feast!
HOW TO GET AROUND: Rent a car to truly experience the magnificent coast and countryside, all the villages on your on your travelwishlist and much more
WHEN TO GO: The best times to visit Provence are from March to May and September through November, when the weather and the crowds are moderate. Early July is however the best time to visit lavender fields in Provence - lavender fields start to be harvested on the Valensole plateau in mid-July.
SLEEP AT HOTEL LES BASTIDES SAINT PAUL (SAINT PAUL DE VENCE)
Hotel Les Bastides Saint-Paul is located near Saint-Paul de Vence, where the scent of Simone Signoret and Yves Montand still floats, come and discover this charming hotel just 6 kilometers from the beaches. You will appreciate the large clover-shaped swimming pool, open in summer with its sunbeds and parasols. Their hearty breakfast, served on the sunny terrace, will satisfy the most greedy.
SLEEP AT HOTEL WINDSOR (NICE)
The Hotel WindsoR is a family run hotel, hidden in a wonderful garden in central Nice. This hotel is set in a 19th-century building and features a tropical garden with a swimming pool. The hotel’s fitness and wellness centre offers a hammam, a sauna and massage treatments. Each air-conditioned and soundproofed room has been uniquely designed and decorated by an artist. Rooms are equipped with free WiFi, a satellite TV and an en suite bathroom. The larger rooms have a balcony or a spa bath.
SLEEP AT ORION TREEHOUSES (ST PAUL DE VENCE)
Located in a quiet and natural setting in the valley of the medieval village of Saint-Paul de Vence, Orion Threehouses offers one of the most unique bed-and-breakfast experiences on the Côte d'Azur. Orion Treehouses have four treehouses in a green garden surrounding an ecological pool. The treehouses can accommodate a total of 14 guests.
PLAY AT FRENCH RIVIERA SIGHTSEEING (NICE)
With French Riviera Sightseeing's excursions, discover the breathtaking beauty and feel the enchantment of the Riviera in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and with departures from Nice, Cannes or Monaco. The team of French Riviera Sightseeing puts its experience, its professionalism and its enthusiasm to ensure an impeccable service. Go to their website to see all the tours the offer and book direct for the best price.
PLAY AT SAILCANNES (CANNES)
Discover the serenity of sailing a Classic Yacht in the Mediterranean waters onboard ALGUE, a 42 foot Vintage Cutter from 1948. For either a half (4 hours) or full day. Enjoy the beauty of the Riviera coastline with the wind in the sails and the only noise the lapping of the waves against the hull. Swim in the crystal clear water around the Iles de Lerins, snorkel, paddle board or simply relax....
PLAY AT VINOLOVE (NICE)
Julia founded the VinoLove project to share her love of wine, history and culture, as well as breathtaking views of the French Riviera. VinoLove offers wine tasting, food tours, guided tours of Nice and day trips.
PLAY AT WILD CHILD CHARTERS (NICE)
Wild Child Charters was born out of the belief that your day charter in the French Riviera should be wild fun, filled with fast boats, good friends and lashes of Rosé. While there are a myriad of yachts for charter across the Côte D’Azur, many were designed for a quiet, leisurely cruise around the Med. They felt there was a need to bring a bit of party to the fore. So in that vein, their charters have been designed for the Wild Child in everyone