The start of 2017 hasn’t been wonderful in terms of weather on the French Riviera, at least from what I’ve been told as I’ve been travelling for 5 consecutive weeks so far for work to some much colder parts of Europe, namely Paris, Vienna, Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Cologne. However, this weekend was hopefully a sign of better times and after a lovely day yesterday in Nice (see the carnival pictures and video I shared on the French Riviera Blog Facebook page), I decided to enjoy the afternoon with a very pleasant 45 minute run around some of the major sights on the western part of Monaco and therefore enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
I figured, in the spirit of this blog, that it would be nice to share the pictures as it’s a really nice tour that takes in plenty of the most beautiful views of the Principality, just be warned that it does go uphill and downhill a lot so I did this at a very slow pace given my appalling fitness condition!
Enjoy the photos! Next week if the weather is still decent, I might go and check out the last weekend of the Fête des Citrons in Menton, if so I’ll share my experiences soon!
I was deeply saddened by the shocking terror attack last night on the Promenade des Anglais, especially as it hit so close to home. I was in Monaco when it happened but had just flown back to Nice airport in the afternoon after a JCI visit to Luxembourg and stopped in the city centre a few hours before the incident to do some errands: walking around Place Massena and avenue Jean Médecin on a lovely sunny public holiday afternoon, it was impossible to imagine the carnage and fear that were to follow.
The French Riviera Blog offers its heartfelt condolences to all the innocent victims of this senseless tragedy and strongly condemns the mindless violence that has hit this beautiful part of the world and many other cities and countries in recent months.
I am certain that the people of Nice will rise to the occasion and show the true spirit and resilience of this beautiful, tolerant and international city, welcoming visitors from all around the world with open arms and showing that terror cannot prevail. With heavy hearts, the French Riviera remains open for business.
Take care everyone and stay safe wherever you are, all the best,
I have always believed that one the greatest wishes that all frequent global travellers such as myself have is the ability to teleport in order to avoid the hassle of getting from A to B and just enjoying the stay in B instead of wasting time getting bored in some random means of transport without a decent wi-fi connection… Unfortunately at the time of writing, this is somewhat impossible (perhaps it won’t be the case in a few decades or so), so the best one can do is to try to optimise travel times and make the journey as smooth as possible!
The French Riviera is no exception: the destinations listed on my blog may be in a pretty small geographical area, but getting from, for example, Cannes to Monaco at the height of the summer might be a rather sweaty, crowded, time-consuming and unpleasant experience if you don’t play your cards right.
In this short practical guide, I would like to share my experience and tips on how to get around the French Riviera with as little hassle as possible (and even perhaps squeeze out just a tiny bit of enjoyment!) so that you can enjoy your time in the actual destinations that I describe elsewhere. I will cover the three major means of transport, which are the train, bus and car, but will leave out the snazzy methods such as water taxi, limousine and helicopter, which are reserved for the elite. The same applies for taxis which are a rip-off and therefore also an elite mode of transport unless there is no other choice.
Although I’ve lived on the French Riviera on and off since 1989 and therefore think it’s safe to say that I know the area quite well, I regularly stock up my bookshelf as there are always new places and nice hotels and restaurants to explore and to discover despite the area being rather small from a geographical perspective.
I recently got the opportunity to receive a copy of the France edition of the Charming Small Hotel Guides by Fiona Duncan, which made for a very interesting read…
The author is a leading British travel writer who publishes hotel reviews amongst others in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper with the Hotel Guru column and who launched the series of Charming Small Hotel Guides in 1986.
The main reason for which I enjoyed the guide was the fact that they provide a totally unbiased but also totally selective view with no advertising and therefore share the same editorial philosophy as the French Riviera Blog, writing about places that the writers and by extension readers will enjoy.
Although the guide covers the whole of France, there is an extensive selection covering the South of France including destinations that I cover on the French Riviera Blog. I particularly liked the emphasis on smaller hotels with personalized service, the detailed “methodology” explanations at the beginning highlight the fact that the only hotels selected are those with under 20 rooms and with a family touch, meaning that the rooms do not feel like a hotel but have more of an individual atmosphere.
The selection itself is pretty eclectic, both in terms of style and price range: the French Riviera hotels mentioned start with the 80€ Auberge de la Madone in the picturesque village of Peillon to the crazily priced Colombe d’Or Hotel in St Paul de Vence with its lovely Michelin starred restaurant (see my article on this beautiful Provençal artist village for more information). Other places listed are mainly pretty traditional such as Chateau de Cagnard in the lovely old village of Cagnes and the Auberge de Tourrettes in Tourrettes sur Loup in the hinterlands close to Grasse but also include exclusive destinations like the lovely Chateau Eza in Eze Village or the exclusive Hotel de la Panche in St Tropez.
The articles themselves are well-written and fun to read, often with small anecdotes about the owners and plenty of practical information.
I would therefore be happy to recommend this guidebook to any discerning travellers looking to visit the traditional side of France and you can find more information on this link. Charming Hotel Guides are published by Duncan Petersen and also exist for other areas of Europe, notably Italy (another of my favourites).
The summer season is fully upon us and the French Riviera is filling up with tourists: this means fireworks, music festivals, farniente beach time and outdoor dinners, amongst plenty of other activities, so here’s a quick guide on how to enjoy a fun-filled week here.
Of course, plenty of visitors just want to relax and enjoy days at the beach, but feel free to pick and mix according to your centres of interest. These day-long excursions are ideal if undertaken from Nice, located bang in the centre of the French Riviera, but plenty of them are also feasible if you are based further down the coast, either east or west, as long as you have access to the main railway line.
We’re currently enjoying a great spell of beautiful weather after a rather mild winter, which bodes well for a fabulous summer. Here’s a view taken from the port of Monaco this morning over Cap Martin and the Italian Riviera, with the crystal clear blue skies that you can only see at this time of the year.
In the meantime, I’d like to thank all the readers who have enjoyed my advice for their positive comments, we will probably hit the 200.000 visitor mark on the blog in the coming months and this gives me the energy to keep going on, despite the work it all entails! Plenty of new articles are in the pipeline ahead of the summer, I just need to find the time to write them up, so keep yourselves posted and like the French Riviera Blog Facebook page for the latest updates.