We decided to spend 3 days exploring the Cote d’Azur earlier this month and I cannot recommend these places enough.
We arrived at 7.30am in Nice, caught the airport bus to the train station (6 Euros) and then a train to Monte-Carlo (around 7 Euros), the capital of this micro-state known for its upscale casinos and prestigious Grand Prix motor race.
After a hearty omelette for breakfast, we climbed up the stairs to get to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco where we were greeted with stunning views of the yacht-lined harbors.
We took a bus back to the port in Nice which cost only 1.20 Euros.
Famous for its year-round sunshine and stunning seaside location, the capital city of the Cote d’Azur has so much to offer. Beautifully curved round the Bay of Angels, stroll along the narrow winding streets in the enticing old town and the spacious urban sea-front Promenade des Anglais.
If you love seafood, don’t miss the delicious moules et frites (mussels and fries). I cannot recommend enough the one we had at Lou Pilha Leva where Rue due Collet meets Rue Centrale in the old town.
Socca is a famous Nice specialty gluten-free pancake made of chickpea flour, olive oil and water. We went to Chez Pipo which claims and is voted to have the best socca. It was good but personally, nothing to rave about.
Cours Saleya is an open air market in the old town in Nice. Shop for fresh produce, warm fresh bread and everything else under the sun.
It turns into a sprawling Antique Market on Mondays which we were lucky to witness.
From our Airbnb in Rue Centrale, the Nice Cathedral was just around the corner. From there, we walked towards the seafront and took the free Ascenseur du Chateau (a very old lift) up to the park Colline du Chateau. The kids had fun playing at the playground and we enjoyed a lovely walk up there with great views of the Port of Nice.
Don’t miss the Cascade Du Casteu when you’re up there!
Another place I would recommend when in Nice is LAC Chocolatier. They had the most amazing dessert options that reminded me of Patisserie Gilg in Colmar, our favourite.
When tired and looking for a break, why not do some people watching as you sip a mocktail and soak in the glorious architecture in the streets of the old town.
A trip to the beach in Nice that is made entirely of pebbles is not to be missed. The kids had fun throwing them into the sea!
Located between Nice and Monaco, an easy bus ride from either city, Eze is a little village that sits on top of a mountain. From the bus stop, it is a short walk up before you enter Eze. I felt thrown back to the Medieval period with its narrow passages, brown walls, cobbled stones and low archways. What a magical place!
The highlight was the famed Jardin Exotique d’Eze (Eze Exotic Botanical Gardens) which is perched at the top of the mountain offering jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Mediterranean and the winding roads clinging to the surrounding hills.
We didn’t bring a stroller and would recommend other families to do the same. We always had water bottles with us which we would refill when we came across these free drinking water fountains.
St Paul de Vence
Somewhat similar to Eze (perched on top of a mountain/hill) but with a more expensive feel thanks to the many art boutiques, St Paul de Vence is another ideal day trip one can do while exploring the French Riviera. It took about an hour to get there by bus no: 400 from Nice.
Get lost along its narrow cobbled stone alleys and wander in and out of its many quaint tourist friendly shops.
We also visited the nearby Maeght Foundation which I would recommend to any modern art fans.
To swim in the sea in September in Europe seemed like a dream and we were determined to make it happen. It wasn’t so easy to get to the beach in Antibes from St Paul de Vence – bus, train, long walks (up and down pedestrian bridges, etc). The kids had fun along the way and a good sleep in the Ergobaby and stroller respectively while us parents hauled the Cabin Zero backpacks all the way.
It was a lovely stroll along the city’s dominating walls built in the 10th century. The old town had lots to offer – restaurants, cafes, shops, museums and more. We made a mandatory stop when coming across the second carousel for the day.
The beach was lovely. Unlike in Nice, it was sandy just the way we like it.
What a lovely 3 days we had in France in the month of September!