One of the reasons I was lured to Nice was because it is also the perfect hub to explore other jewels of the Côte d’Azur, many of which can be easily reached by bus, train or car.
When I launch my Côte d’Azur print collection next week, you’ll notice that 4 places on the coast really tugged on my heart among all the towns I had the chance to visit. Places speak to us in unexpected ways sometimes, and so much of our nostalgia depends on our own memories of that day, the light, the people and perhaps whether or not there was ice cream involved.
So, who knows which places on the Riviera will inspire YOU the most! You’ll have to see them all to pick your own favorites.
As I mentioned in my last post, Nice has the perfect mix between old and new, urban and maritime, French and Italian.
2. Villefranche, Cap Ferrat & Beaulieu sur Mer
If you'd like to walk down to the beach, there is a steep winding path from Èze-Village. The surface of the path (even within the village) is quite slippery, so choose your shoes wisely.
Although it was mid-October, I took a deep breath and plunged into the Sea at the city beach just beneath the old town. As a local joked, after the first 30 minutes, the temperature of the water became more bearable. I didn't take pictures while floating on my back, but instead made a vivid memory of the stacked colored houses of the old town and the green hills surrounding it.
It is easy to forget that Monaco is an independent country because France borders it on 3 sides (its fourth side bordered by the Mediterranean Sea) and French is its official language. Although Monaco is not formally part of the EU, there is no official border control when entering Monaco from France, and the euro is the sole currency.
The opening of its Monte Carlo Casino in 1863 made Monaco so wealthy that it no longer needed to charge income tax on its residents. To this day, Monaco continues to be a tax haven and a recreational destination for the wealthy, attracting visitors not only to its Casino but also to its annual Formula One race.
The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès was closed to the public during my visit, as they were setting up for an upcoming event, but I was able to enjoy a view of it from the long sandy beach. Fun fact: the sandy beach in Cannes is "artificial", in the sense that the city has had the sand brought over to enhance its appeal to visitors.
8. St Paul de Vence
In the 14th century, St-Paul de Vence occupied a strategic position as a border city, and city walls were erected in the later half of the 14th century. Those ramparts and two of its original towers still stand today and, from them, you can enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
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Stay tuned for the unveiling of my new Côte d'Azur collection of fine-art prints, postcards and wall art. To get on the VIP list and get a sneak peek of the collection before it's launched, sign up here.
From my heart to yours!