There are a few places that have captured my heart over the years. Destinations that call me to return, over and over again. In my Silver Street now, I am not so much for discovering new places, but returning to the familiar locations of beauty.
One such is Ville Franche Sur Mer, a town that dips into one of the deepest, natural bays on the Mediterranean and climbs up the cliffs to the Upper Corniche. The three Corniches that pass through the town are roads that travel to Italy, but ideal for cheap bus trips to Monaco, ten miles away, St. Jean de Cap Ferrat, Eze Village and many of the stunning towns that pepper the coastline. Around the corner is Nice, larger, fun to discover and your main entry into the Cote’d Azur.
You will not find sandy beaches here. Hardly anywhere in fact, but the fine pebbled beach that nestles in the bay, is heaven for me. Think the bluest colours of water, swirls of aqua and turquoise – stunning clarity and happiest of lapping waves – all very gentle and my kind of beach experience. This is our summer holiday of getting a tan experience. Without burning. Without funfairs and candy floss, just quaint cafés and inviting restaurants on the edge of the water to while away the hours at sunset with the bottle of Cote de Provence Rosé (summer requirement) and festive fare. Gentle is the operative word, even if your hotel is a mile up the cliff, gentle is the way to get there.
For me, lying on a beach all day, is a little much. I know the places I want to visit again, and first on the list is the magnificent Villa et Jardins Euphressi de Rothschild. I think I must have been part of ‘The Grand Tour’ in a previous life, for the Villas and Gardens of Europe and the United Kingdom are my joy. This impressive Villa and her becoming gardens weaves a story for me. Easily accessible on the 100 bus, for a Euro or two, an afternoon of vistas and glamour is just the thing.
Also on the agenda, of course, is a trip to Monaco and Eze. Monaco for the glamour and glitz of faded days, super yachts and film locations, to view the Pink Palace and remind yourself that the world has super millionaires but not care too much, and Eze, well Eze is where this young girl fell in love with the Cote ‘d Azur. Where this young girl finally realised what her mother had been trying to teach her of places she never dreamed of, this Medieval village that turns and tucks itself away so that each turn is a magical surprise. And the candles are lit in her ethereal church.
‘Upon entering Eze I felt transported back to the Medieval period while walking up the uneven stone streets through narrow passages and under low archways. Such feelings of being in a museum village quickly subsided as an expensive art gallery, gift shop or cafe could be found around every corner.’
Craig O’Sullivan, Huffington Post.
On the other side of Ville Franche Sur Mer, past Nice and a little trickier to get to if using public transport, lies the Artists delight of St. Paul de Vence.
Make a turn at Juan Les Pins and say hello to Scott F. Fitzgerald’s ghost, or Antibes and Cannes. There is so much to do, on the exploring days, and so little you need to do on the languid days. It is a holiday after all.
July and August can be hot, and I would normally recommend early or late Summer, but my flat was let out for Wimbledon and thought, what better to go and swim in the sea, meander through colourful streets and dine with the best company on the edge of the sea – and I did, and I shall return again, which for me, is being happy.
If you would like any assistance with planning a trip to Ville Franche Sur Mer, or the French Riviera, please contact our sister company on www.londongreenafrica.com
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Images: Own and pinterest