A SHORT STAY ON THE RIVIERA

Anne H here, recently returned  from a lovely short break in the South of France, which is somewhere that I have never been to before, and was on the top of my bucket list.  A friend and I went for four nights staying at a lovely little apartment, booked through Booking.com called Colonna which, apart from being on the top floor with four punishing floors to climb, had every amenity and creature comfort. 

NICE 

We were based in the old town which is really pretty and full of fabulous bars, cafes and restaurants, many with impromptu musical performances in the evening.  It is really accessible for the promenade and the new town and all its amenities and travel links and has loads of sights to see within its narrow, pedestrian friendly streets. 


On arriving on the Monday afternoon we grabbed a quick snack in a local cafe before tackling the climb to Colline du Chateau to see the sun dropping over the red-tiled rooftops and blue Med.


The views were stunning and well worth the walk through beautiful gardens to the site on the top of the hill with wonderful waterfall and stunning vistas of the city on all sides.





From here we walked down the other side of the hill to the port, spying a Russian oligarchs super yacht - the first of many.   Then back to base for a quick brush up and wash before heading out to dinner at Restaurant Acchiardo which was a gem of a find and somewhere we frequented again during our stay.



The next morning we set off for a visit to the Cours Saleya Markets in the market square in the old town one street in from the the Mediterranean.  This particular day was the flower market - and what amazing blooms they displayed too! We grabbed a quick breakfast of coffee and croissant at one of the cafes lining the market before heading off to the Tourist Information office to find out about buses and trains that link Nice to other tourist spots along the coast with our sights firmly set on Cap Ferrat for lunch.



On our third day the weather took a turn for the worse and was very grey with rain forecast, so we started the morning on a bus with a trip to the Musee Matisse which was only a 15 min bus trip, and well worth the journey as there were gardens to walk and enjoy as well as the incredible artworks in the Musee.


 CAP FERRAT 



The easy bus ride to Cap Ferrat on our second day was perfectly timed for lunch by the harbour at a small Italian/French restaurant called Nonna where we enjoyed a relaxed lunch while watching the world go by.


We then took the walk around the peninsula following the path that hugs the coastline, taking in the stunning views and admiring the fabulous villas overlooking the sparkling sea.




ANTIBES 


On the afternoon of the third day we braved the train service to go to Antibes and wander the streets which were pleasantly quiet.  Sadly the Picasso museum was about to close so we were unable to go there but maybe that is for another time. We enjoyed a drink by the market and enjoyed a lovely dinner at a restaurant recommended by the waitress at the bar (who had originally hailed from Canada).




There was another super yacht to admire in the harbour as well - also Russian and purported to be one of the largest private yachts in the world.


EZE 

On the Thursday we took ourselves off by bus to visit Eze a village perched on the hill top with stunning panoramic views out to sea.  The oldest building dates back to the 1306 along with a tangle of gorgeous medieval streets house art galleries, cafes and shops.






Walking up through the village we arrived at the Jardin Botanique which is renowned for its succulents and not least the magnificent views. Quite a test for me as I have no head for heights, but I finally made it to the top with a little encouragement.  Given the beautiful weather the village was very busy and full of tourists, so finding quiet corners was a challenge.




 MONTE CARLO 

From Eze we shared a taxi down to the coast and picked up the train to take us to Monte Carlo and observe the high rolling lifestyle of this principality.


Of course you have to start at the Casino with a drink and snack at the Cafe de Paris which was not as ridiculously expensive as I thought it would be.  The city was preparing for the Grand Prix so some parts of the harbour area were off bounds.


So we made our way to the old town to see the Palace and take in the pretty streets that lead to it.



We both felt it had a strange almost Disneyesque feel - almost too pristine to be real.  But worth a visit and wander round.


Not least for views of yet more impressive yachts.














All in all we had an action packed four days but so enjoyable and blessed with some sunshine to. I can definitely recommend a visit to the Riviera - Monte Carlo didn't really appeal that much, but everywhere else we went was lovely, though we never ventured to Cannes, so think this is one to re-visit.


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