I’m very excited to be returning to France later this summer. I absolutely adore Paris and it’s my favorite “big” city in Europe that I have visited so far (and we have hit most of the major cities including Madrid, Barcelona, London, Rome, Munich and Prague…though Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence and Milan are still on my list). This trip we will be flying into Paris for a 2 night stay in the St. Germain district and then catching an Air France flight to Nice for 6 nights on the French Riviera.
As we have hit all the major sites in Paris, we will probably spend our time just walking, doing some light shopping and, of course, eating during our two days there. The only major museum in Paris we have not been to is the Pompidou Center so I would like to make a stop there one afternoon for a museum visit.
We have never been to the Riviera or Southern France so I am really looking forward to this part of the trip. I’ve been working with my Virtuoso travel agent, who is fantastic, and the plan is to stay 3 nights in Nice while making one day trip on our own to Eze and VilleFranche Sur Mer and then another day trip with a private driver to see some hill towns like St. Paul de Vence and Grasse and visit a winery or two.
I’m particularly interested in seeing the famous Matisse church in St. Paul de Vence.
After that we will take it easy and are moving down the road to Antibes for a 3 night stay at the Hotel Belles Rives, which the agent recommended. I was originally looking at the Hotel Cap du Eden Roc mostly because of its cliff side pool but the agent had stayed there recently and said the rooms were quite dated and the property, while beautiful, wasn’t quite worth all the hype. She recommended we stay the Belles Rives and visit Eden Roc for a nice poolside lunch instead.
Hotel Belles Rive is also done in an art deco style, which I love, and it’s where F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived for a year during the 1920’s so I loved that historical connection. It’s also right on the water and features a Michelin star restaurant, La Passagere.
We will most likely be taking it easy after all the sightseeing in Paris and Nice and will just hang by the beach or hotel and visit the charming village of Antibes and its French market and Picasso museum. If we get ambitious, we may take a quick cab ride down the road and spend a half day in Cannes but there’s a good chance that won’t happen. The older we get, the more we like to mix in a few days of pure downtime into our trips.
As for meals, I am starting to scout out a few places. I think one must-visit will be lunch at the Michelin starred La Chevre d’Or located in Eze, which has incredible views of the coastline. Another may have to be the Jules Verne restaurant located in the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Finally, I think a long leisurely lunch, fueled with plenty of rose wine at the Eden Roc’s poolsode bistro will be a nice way to round out the trip.
I’ve given some thought as to whether we want to try and squeeze in a day trip to Monaco but I’m leaning towards skipping it. We could take a train from Nice to Monaco, spend a few hours there and then head to Eze but that wouldn’t leave us much, if any, time to visit Villefranche sur Mer, which looks so picturesque. I’ve also read that Monaco is packed with tourists and cruise ship visitors during the summer and there isn’t that much to see there except fancy yachts and the exterior facade of the famous Casino and neither one of those seem worth the visit to me. Let me know if I’m wrong about that. Hopefully, this will be a great trip!