Cap d’Antibes – Coastal Walk

This walk captures the beauty of the Cote d’Azur and is a superb way of ingratiating yourself into the natural environment of this area. Plus the simple fact that your can park for free at the Plage de la Garoupe beach and then feed your soul with the magnificent 5k walk. It only takes about a couple of hours and is well worth doing. The walk can be rocky in places so do wear trainers or sensible footwear.

Cote d’Azur is known for magnificent properties, manicured gardens and superfluous wealth but this walk is surprisingly simple and enjoys a wild natural landscape. Also, you have the Mercantour National Park and the Estérel mountains to savour as you scramble carefully over the rocks.

On one occasion, I nearly fell because I was so busy looking at the clear blue sea, mountains, flowers and resplendent landscape. Parts of the path are properly built pathways but then dissipate into rocks, beach, and steep steps so can be precarious.

The limestone cliffs are very pretty because they are covered in glorious vivid flora, olive trees, exotic cacti and the cumbersome agaves. The blend of crystal clear blue water, rocky coves and mother nature is spectacular.

The final part of the walk is along a road called Avenue de Beaumont and then along Avenue de la Tour Gandolphe. Make time to enjoy the gardens and general serene landscape of this gorgeous vicinity, and then when you locate the beach, you can then enjoy some refreshment at the beach café and languish some more. Great fun.

Nice, France

During our most recent visit to Nice, during April of this year, we explored the historical Old Town. The previous visit was August 2017 and rather hot. I’ve included some photos from the August 2017 visit, to show the superb Nice park and how much the French children enjoy it. Well, not just the children, but adults too. Note the two chaps doing handstands; they weren’t young!

Nice has a long, pebble beach with the bluest sea I’ve had the pleasure to see. In fact, the first time I visited Nice (about 5 years ago), I remember an overwhelming joyous feeling upon viewing the vivid azure water and felt like I’d come home. (Still feel like that, but really adore Juan Les Pins, as the place to stay.) The coastal area of Nice, is called Promenade des Anglais (Promenade of the English). This is because the wealthy English aristocracy spent time in Nice because of the fine weather and panorama along the curving coast. You will see palm trees, pergolas, walkers and lots of French people with small dogs. They seem to love their little dogs and quite right too.

During a bad English winter in 1820, the Rev. Lewis employed workmen to build a promenade and it became France’s first piece of tourism infrastructure. It derives much of an Italian influence because it was the Kingdom of Sardinia. Not until the Treaty of Turin in 1860, did Nice become integrated with France. It was also part of the Grand Tour, which wealthy people enjoyed during the 18th century. This was a long holiday and they enjoyed extensive travelling through France and Italy whilst taking in the cultural sights. When I studied literature, I remember reading about Wordsworth and Coleridge undertaking such a journey.

The region has a splendid mix of beach life, shops, restaurants, hotels, history, architecture and a useful tram going through the centre of Nice. The Place Massena and surrounding area, is a spectacular city square full of bustling life and so impressive because of the Italian red ochre architecture. The lack of traffic, is an inspiring ideal and endorses a thriving Mediterranean square which is quite stunning.

The historical area is lovely with the colourful houses, winding streets, old traditional shops and markets. We ended up, eventually, at the harbour and decided to have a spot of lunch. We sat down at a busy café. They were all busy, but this one supplied a good menu so we ordered, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Obviously, the French don’t mind the interminable wait for their food. Listening uselessly to the incessant, loud chatter, I became obsessed with watching food leaving the kitchen. Well, I was just beginning to die of boredom, when the long awaited food arrived and it was, I must declare, delicious. After which, when trying to pay, the card machine wouldn’t work, and the owner started to laugh hysterically whilst pulling and pushing at the wires of the credit card machine. By this time, I strolled towards the bobbing boats thinking I may throw myself in (not really) and my husband came out joyfully saying he has now, finally, paid for our meal. Incidentally, I do prefer to pay for my drink, as in the British pub, and sit down then… well… just leave the building. Find it annoying to drink your beverage and sit there and wait and wait and then have to beg a server for the bill.

Anyway, I can certainly recommend Nice for a long weekend away or holiday. It has an abundance of history, culture, coastal and culinary delights. It is the fifth largest city in France and is exciting and interesting. The people are friendly and welcoming. There are plenty of inexpensive hotels and of course, Easy Jet flies to Nice, which is a short flight from Gatwick, London.

Source and loads of information here: https://about-france.com/cities/nice-city-guide.htm

 

Next blog postHotel or Apartment?

Is about whether it is best to stay in an apartment or a hotel plus some tips about what to look out for when choosing holiday accommodation.

 

Saint Paul de Vence

Saint Paul de Vence

 

Once again, I was lucky enough to enjoy a ten day holiday on the Côte d’Azur. We stayed in Antibes for a week and then went to my favourite place, Juan Les Pins for the last three days. During this exquisite holiday we did visit the Provence area and one of the places we explored is the beautiful Saint Paul de Vence.

We parked on the hill near the actual village. It is bizarre how the village looks miles away, but is, in fact, a short stroll from the car park. We passed the chaps playing boules and I wondered (out loud) why all the players are male? We assume this is how some of the retired French chaps spend their retirement.

The rocky outcrop of this omnipresent village, St Paul de Vence, is certainly one of the most fascinating villages to visit. As you drive towards the village, it appears to be both floating and protruding amongst the surrounding landscape of the Provence. No wonder it attracted artists such as Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse,  James Baldwin, Jean-Paul Satre, Picasso and the Rolling Stones bassist, Bill Wyman is said to have a home in this area.

The walls of this historic village are from the mid-15th century and astonishingly have not changed since they were built. St Paul de Vence itself is serene and compelling, especially if you like contemporary art and beautiful views. The winding paths are enveloped by beautiful scenery and copious art galleries. To be honest, this is my idea of bliss; an array of paintings, sculptures, drawing you into the artistic spaces.

Love this window display…

It is also fun to lose yourself in the maze of ancient paths, curious street sculptors, ceramics, fountains, flowers and spectacular landscape. If you wander away from the crowds, as we did, you enjoy the quiet back streets and views of the superlative Côte d’Azur. Such a haven for dripping plants, arty discoveries and inspiring views, particularly if you are creative.

Whilst visiting a quiet area, we heard a car coming and rapidly stepped to one side. A large gleaming Bentley, shimmering in the sun, stopped abruptly at large gates. The driver waved to thank us for jumping out of the way. The man in the back had a rugged look about him and wore a floppy hat. Wondered who that was? Beautiful, old car. Oh, that’s the other thing about this region of the world, you see some glorious, classic cars.

This magnificent village is a great place to wander and enjoy some ice cream, cuisine, art, sculpture, historical architecture and scenery. Great to see how well this village has been preserved among the citrus trees, flowers and vineyards. We visited at the end of April and it was fairly busy, so it is probably packed during July and August. This ubiquitous place is truly wonderful, insightful and uplifting, so I’m not really surprised.

It is 7km from Cagnes sur Mer and between Nice and Antibes. Do visit and more travel posts coming up.

Source and loads of info here: saint-pauldevence.com