You wake up refreshed. Your first sight of the day is the blue diamond sparkle of the Mediterranean Ocean. You watch the boats go by. Some are goliath yachts and some are small sailboats. Observing the variety is your television for the morning.
It becomes about the simple moments. The way you melt like honey in the sun. The juicy peach you have for breakfast. The creamy cheese so good you reason that another slice is necessary.
What will you do today?
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
This pink palatial villa has grounds so pretty it’s well worth the 15-euros entrance fee. The dancing sprinklers are so unique that you’ll feel like a little kid watching the water jump into heart shapes timed to lovely music. You’ll probably want to treat yourself to a lemon tart and café in their tea room after walking for a few hours through the gardens. The rose and cactus gardens are particularly memorable. There is also a must-see movie on the history of the villa in an air-conditioned room that you’ll appreciate in the relentless heat.
A short hike leads you to the most stunning vistas. The first time I saw it, my eyes were born. An exotic garden filled with beautiful statues and a waterfall add to the charm.
Visit the 5-star hotel the Chèvre D’Or. A coffee is 8 euros and a glass of wine is 23 euros. It’s worth it just to peak over the railing and gawk at the pool overlooking the ocean.
The walk to the hotel is right out of a fairy tale.
Rent a paddleboard, a jet ski or a small boat to explore and picnic. Parachute anyone? There are so many options available so it all depends on how well you deal with heights. Snorkel or scuba dive. Or, take your chances and jump off the cliffs for free!
The Nice boardwalk is epic. Runners, children chasing bubbles and all ages walk and stare out at the turquoise water.
Shop at Galleries Lafayette. The summer sales are from July 4th through to August 14th. Buy your gifts in Old Nice where you’ll want to stuff your suitcases with everything from chocolate to bread baskets to Provence-style table cloths and flowy dresses. Their Jazz Fest is from July 17th through to July 21st. If you miss it, no worries, there is always something going on and often fireworks in the area for no reason.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Sit at Café de Paris and enjoy a sundae or cold drink as you watch the international crowd walk by. Some drive their fancy cars in circles around the roundabout in front of the Casino as a hobby. Watch the people be seen. Play the slot machines if you are feeling lucky. (You need to show your ID to get in). Check out the caves, Palace, many gardens, and insane yachts at the port.
For shopping, you’ll find Cartier, Chanel and Burberry. Almost every luxury designer has a storefront. (You can also find Zara.) Buddha Bar is legendary for drinks.
The train is efficient, so if you don’t feel like driving, this is an easy option to get around. The buses and trains are air-conditioned and inexpensive.
Beaulieu Sur Mer
Grab a coffee or cool drink at Gran Caffe run by Italians who know their coffee. Their croissants are hot out of the oven and filled with apricot jam. Yum. Shop at the little market across the street. Treat yourself to a fancy meal at African Queen or Jasmin Grill & Lounge. This little town is charming.
Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat
The hike through Cap Ferrat has once-in-a-lifetime views. Every time I take this walk I am in a constant state of stupefaction because of the sheer sparkle and beauty. It gets rocky so you’ll need your sneakers or sturdy sandals. Bring your swimsuit!
Treat yourself to a luxurious day at the Four Seasons’ Club Dauphin for pool time and those spectacular views
A drink, lunch or dinner at Paloma Beach with the jet set crowd is an experience. Of note, they no longer have lounge chairs available so bring your beach gear.
This sleepy little town has a rocky beach with new sandier sections. The view is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.
Have a delicious pizza outside under the trees at Cote Jardin. Their moules frites are also scrumptious.
Or treat yourself to Les Garçons. O my! Eat under the stars overlooking a small fountain while medieval walls embrace you. The result by candlelight is heavenly and the food is divine. The service is also excellent. There is always a dog or cat lounging close by that adds to the cozy vibe.
The ice-cream at Soléa Gelateria Di Corsica will make you want to move to France.
There is no view more spectacular on the French Rivera than this beach. It is blinding. Take the train and bring your bathing suit. Rent a beach chair and watch the glameratti walk buy.
Having anything from a salad to a five-star meal is an experience you should have at least once. You can also shop around some of the most exclusive boutiques in the world.
The architecture of the Ritz Carlton hotel set against this coastline is perfection.
Of all the towns I’ve visited along the coast, this is the quietest. The all-things-lemon store Au Pays du Citron is worth a pop in. Their limoncello is delicious! There are a few cute vintage shops and gift shops worth perusing. There is a fort on the beach dating back to 1636 that is impressive. Bars line the beach so stopping for a cool drink is also an option. Some call Menton “the pearl of the French Rivera”.
Saint Paul de Vence
This is a famous artsy spot and is known for the famous restaurant and hotel La Colombe D’Or. It is a pretty walk up the hill and there are impressive art galleries that are fun to peruse. It’s become a bit touristy like many of the sights during peak season but the architecture, views, and history make this idyllic spot worth the drive through traffic.
There are so many hotels to chose from and with Airbnb (if you book early enough) you’ll have no trouble finding accommodations with a spectacular view. Enjoy grocery shopping and fixing yourself simple meals that will consist of the most mouth-watering ingredients. Treat yourself to delicious fruit, cheeses, honey, breads, meats, seafood and pastries. Rosé is cheaper than water and is the perfect cool drink to sip as you enjoy the view. It’s a simple life, but an abundant one.
P.S. If you have a car, drive into Aix En Provence or try Antibes for a beach day. This hotel is everything. Drive through the mountains to Italy and visit the little town of Allasio for lunch and a walk on the beach.