Walking down a major shopping street in Monaco last week after a dentist’s appointment, I looked up and noticed some nice classical Belle Époque architecture from the 1920s. Sadly more and more of these buildings are being knocked down to make way for more modern and functional buildings but it’s important to stay close to the heritage of the area as the past often contains the keys to future success!
The influence of the French Riviera truly stretches all around the world! I’m currently touring around East Asia and was pretty surprised when I came across a subsidiary of the glamorous Café de Paris of Monte Carlo, not on Casino Square but in the lobby of the palatial Galaxy Hotel in the former Portuguese colony of Macau in southern China, also a global gambling capital. Was very happy to see a nice sculpture of the late Princess Grace and some vibes back from home, even on the opposite side of the world by the Pacific Ocean…
A perfect walk to do in the spring is to enjoy a 30 minute stroll along the coastline from Beaulieu to the port of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat – it’s a fully flat footpath and affords stunning views along the eastern part of the French Riviera and its dramatic mountains. Why not combine with a visit to Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu and then either go to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on top of the hill or else a nice lunch by the quaint port of Saint Jean? Enjoy the weekend!
When you fly in to Nice airport from the west, it’s difficult not to notice the striking red rocks and bizarre shapes of the Esterel mountains, a volcanic mountain range that floated off Africa several million years ago and now forms the border between the Var and the Alpes Maritimes departments, just west of Cannes! Nowadays, in the absence of dinosaurs and other dodgy creatures, it’s a great place for hiking and also to relax on the lovely red beaches, the contrast with the blue of the Mediterranean makes it a truly magical spot. But this time of the year is perfect to visit when there are fewer crowds and it’s not too hot in the hills.
As the weather gets warmer, the mountains get more appealing and spring is the perfect time to go hiking on the French Riviera! Indeed, the coastline is only the tip of the iceberg and the “département” (county) is called the Alpes Maritimes for a reason as most of it is covered by the southern Alps. This is the view from the top of the Col de Tende, the mountain pass at around 1000m above sea level that marks the border between Italy and France up in the hinterlands, looking south down the Roya valley towards the coastline and Ventimiglia. Find out more about the opportunities to explore the mountains and make the most of the great outdoors with my practical guide!
When I had just arrived in Monaco as a kid, this kind of idyllic scene really epitomised the style and luxury of the French Riviera: the secluded private villa that takes up a prime part of the coastline and has a wonderful pool and stunning sea views. It just so happens that I stumbled across this lovely view on the way back from Beaulieu to Monaco and that this isn’t a private villa but a 5* boutique hotel called the Hotel du Cap Estel which stands on the eponymous cape on the eastern side of the Bay of Eze before Cap d’Ail. I’d never actually seen this place as it’s tucked away from the main road and even though it’s currently closed for the winter season, it looks absolutely idyllic – definitely somewhere to try out for a drink or lunch when the warm weather kicks off 😉
It’s sometimes important to take the higher ground! This is the high altitude view I’ll be enjoying quite a lot of over the next 6 weeks, with 12 flights lined up across 3 trips and 5 countries for various business and leisure trips, the first stop being Hong Kong… This particular lovely sky was observed last month just above the French Riviera when landing on the Lufthansa flight from Munich, the second leg of my trip back from Sofia in Bulgaria.
Pure serenity in the Mediterranean air on a blissful evening! Driving back home after a perfect afternoon this weekend in Villefranche, Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu, I stopped over on the quiet road at the entrance of the Cap Estel Hotel and snapped this lovely sunset looking back over Cap Ferrat and Cap Roux in the foreground. Wishing everyone an amazing week!
It certainly already feels like spring, now that March is upon us and yesterday I decided to go on a lovely day trip around Villefranche, Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu under the sunshine. Why not do the same today and enjoy a nice lazy Sunday lunch sitting on a table by the water, like the people on this picture? Check out l’Oursin Bleu there, lunch there was amazing and I’ll be posting a full review on it soon. In the meantime, to optimise your day in Villefranche, check out this in depth blog article and have a wonderful Sunday!
Some inspiration for the weekend… This amazing view was taken in late February (basically last Wednesday), from the village of Grimaldi Inferiore, just across the Franco-Italian border, on my way to the Villa Hanbury botanical gardens. Across the turquoise water, you can basically see the Tête de Chien mountain that overlooks Monaco, the luxuriant Cap Martin and in the foreground, the old town of Menton. Wishing all my readers an amazing weekend 🙂