Firstly, it must said - With a heavy heart, I pray for everyone who has been affected by the recent unspeakable attacks in the south of France, I pray for recovery and unity. We stand with you. #PrayForNice #PrayForTheWorld #LibertéEgalitéFraternité
Being one of my favourite places to visit, I have been planning this blog post for a while to share this beautiful place with you. I have been visiting the French Riviera nearly every year since 2010 and even though I haven't branched out in my travels THAT MUCH to give a fair comment - it is honestly one of the best holiday destinations I have ever visited for various reasons. Being the most popular tourist destination in the country aside from Paris, Nice welcomes around 5 million visitors per year thanks to great airport and boat links. See below my top 4 things to see and do whilst in the south of France!
1. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and relax on the Pebble Beach
The Promenade des Anglais was constructed in the Victorian era as well to-do visitors and tourists demanded a flash walkway to show off their elegant attire - today the Promenade welcomes everyone as it stretches the whole way from the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport to the port. You should take an afternoon to stroll and appreciate this beautiful landmark - seeking the picturesque views of the Med and the many flash hotels that sit alongside (such as Le Negresco and the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée).
To my surprise, Nice beach is actually pebble! I have no idea why this is - it is pretty to look at but I am definitely not a pretty sight trying to walk on it! Always make sure you take flip flops with you or you can buy suitable 'beach shoes' in the shops along the street. Once you get a emm... a comfortable rock to lay your head, Nice beach is the perfect place to sit and people watch. Bear in mind that there are various sections of Nice beach that are private and belong to hotels (check with your hotel to see if you have a section) but there seems to be enough space for everyone on the public stretch (and it's free!).
2. Go to Eze Village
Eze is a little village approximately 40 minutes from Nice (by bus). Virtually untouched, it is built into the mountainside and still boasts perfectly pebbled narrow streets and tall buildings with terracotta rooftops. Take the bus (currently from Vauban station) for €1.50 - always check the times for going and returning as there may only be one bus every couple of hours.
Although set into a mountain, anyone with a decent level of fitness can visit Eze Village. You don't have to be a rambler/hiker and you can definitely wear your sandals! On the way up you will pass many small independent boutiques and art galleries - if you would like to bring home something different from the south of France this is one of the places to get it. Once you reach the top (30mins-1hour) take a seat at the outdoor cafe and enjoy a Niçoise salad or some focaccia bread - I have had both and they are utterly AMAZING. If you want, you also can pay to go into Le Jardin Exotique (currently €6) - if not, make your way back down again and visit the two perfumeries - Parfumerie Galimard and Fragonard. Personally, my favourite is Fragonard and I purchased one of their perfumes - 'Cèdre'!
|The narrow streets of Eze Village|
Eze Village is a place that I have visited each and everytime I have been to the south of France - It's definitely in my top 5 things to do!
Best way to travel? Bus
Visit duration? 2/3 hours
Landmarks? Cafe at the top of the hill and Le Jardin Exotique
Don't forget... to take your CAMERA! The views over the land and sea from this quaint village is well worth the bus ride
For more information click here to go to the official Eze tourism page or here for TripAdvisor
This place is far too pretty to not share more photos!
|Eze Village sea view|
|Salade Niçoise (my fav!)|
|Old buildings of Eze Village|
|Herbes de Provence|
3. Splash out in Monaco
Want to stick out like a sore thumb and see how the other half live? Monaco/Monte Carlo is the place to do just that! Officially called 'The Principality of Monaco', Monaco is the second smallest country in the world (yes that's right, it is an independent country) and it is the home to the highest amount of billionaires on earth. Facts aside, Monte Carlo in particular is a beautiful place - as one of the highest sought after places to live, a home there doesn't come cheap and they actually have to built upwards due to the small ground area. Want a Monaco address? A few million for a one bed apartment should get you that!
|Cafe de Paris Monte Carlo|
Monaco is East of Nice and it takes approximately 1 hour to get there by bus (number 100 from Nice Port), depending on the traffic. Don't let the travel put you off though - the bus travels the whole way along the coastline and the views are breathtaking (sit on the right side of the bus on the way there and on the left on the way back). There are a few stops in Monaco but I always get off at the stop 'Monte Carlo' - you can't get too confused with that, even if you speak zero French!
Once you get off the bus, make your way down into the centre of Monte Carlo where you will see the Café de Paris so you can dine like a celeb, the spectacular Monte Carlo Casino where you can pretend to be in James Bond and the Hôtel de Paris which has played host to many well known figures. Personally however, each time I have visited Monte Carlo I have done little walking about and just sat and people watched! There is a lot of hustle and bustle for a small place, there is so much going on and always something to look at! Try and get a seat outside in the Café de Paris and order yourself a tea or coffee. Prices are expensive, but not extortionate. €12 for two small coffees anyone? Anyway, it's the location and experience you are paying for.
|Monte Carlo Casino|
I got my first Louis Vuitton handbag in Monte Carlo (Speedy 30) and if that is your interest, you have many designer shops to choose from. There is nowhere else you'd want to splurge, right? Aside from that, go a stroll around the port where you will see yachts of majestic size belonging to anyone from celebrities and businesspeople to royalty. Click here to see the number of boat and cruise trips you can drop around this beautiful part of the world.
Best way to travel? Bus or Train
Visit Duration? Anything from 1 hour if you are just going for a quick look around to a good half-day trip
Landmarks? Monte Carlo Casino, Hôtel de Paris, Monte Carlo Port, Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Le Metropole Shopping Centre, Grand Prix.
4. Visit Nice Vieille Ville (Old Town)
Do you like mazes? No map, GPS or friend with an amazing sense of direction will ever get you out of Nice old town the first couple of times you visit! Everytime I go I always end up walking round in circles... What I like about it is that each time you go, you find another street with another boutique or restaurant that you haven't seen before. The key is to visit evening time, when I spend the days shopping or visiting the nearby villages I always come back to have dinner in Nice old town at night. It's a great place to sit, chill and just watch the world go by.
|Old cobbled streets of Nice Old Town|
There is so much I could say about Nice Old town and i'd like to take another post and talk about it in more detail. For now I will leave you with my two favourite restaurants in the area, sure that's the most important thing, right?!
1. La Favola (Cours Saleya) - You will find that the majority of restaurants in Nice are Italian inspired (due to the fact that Nice hasn't been French for that long!) so if you like pizza and pasta then you will be in your element. La Favola is one of the most popular restaurants in Nice and it has a waiting list to get seated most nights (don't let this out you off though, it's very fast moving and well worth the wait!). You don't need to worry about what you order from this menu, I guarantee that you will enjoy anything! (I'm slowly but surely making my way through the entire menu, ummm... but my favourite dish has to be the lasagne).
|Pasta dish La Favola|
2. Di Piu (Quai des états-Unis) - Ok... I'm kinda cheating' here because Di Piu is actually owned by the same people as La Favola (La Voglia too!) but their pizzas are to die for! I also love where this restaurant is situated as it looks right out onto the promenade so you can sit and eat whilst looking out to sea. Perfection!
|Di Pui Pizzas|
For more information see the restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor: La Favola / Di Piu
Ok... I am aware of that fact this post is getting' extra long! I initially was going to write about my top 10 things to see and do in and around Nice but soon realised that I'd be sitting here all day...
In that case, there will be a part 2 (maybe parts 3/4/5!) to look forward too!
In the meantime, follow me on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter where I do the most of my Cote D'Azur reminiscing!
See my previous post: Louis Vuitton Favourite MM Monogram Handbag