Just across the Italian border from Menton even before reaching the centre of Ventimiglia, you will find one of the hidden gems of the Riviera, the 19thcentury Villa Hanbury Botanical Gardens built by British entrepreneur, philanthropist and botanist Sir Thomas Hanbury. Fair enough, the term “botanical garden” may conjure up a dry and boring place full of signs with Latin names to designate some obscure inanimate objects ie. plants and flowers and may not exactly set the pulse racing but believe me, this is one of my favourite parts of the area to just get out, relax and see something different amidst nature. This is thanks to the beautiful setting, the lovely microclimate and most importantly, the mystical Oriental vibe of the place, soaked in a melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere where time seems to have stood still. In this article, I’ll try to help you travel through time to 19thcentury China to understand the history and convey why I love this place so much, why you should spend a couple of hours of your time visiting it and some practical advice about how to optimise your visit… Enjoy the journey!Continue reading
The mist added extra atmosphere to the view from the spectacular Fort de la Revère facing west on Sunday afternoon towards Eze Village, Cap Ferrat and Nice. This viewpoint perched at 750m above the Mediterranean is easily accessible by car but if you’re brave, you can walk up from the coastline, it will take you about 2 hours (or one hour from Eze Village) and help you burn lots of calories! I’ll be writing more about this place soon so watch this space!
It’s the weekend so a great opportunity to put your feet up and enjoy some serenity! There is no better place than the Exotic Garden of Eze village, definitely worth the climb to the top of the village and soak in the ethereal beauty enhanced by the lovely statues that look like a bit like the Caryatids of the Parthenon in Athens: check out this lovely viewpoint down at the bottom with deckchairs where you can just unwind! Full details and report in this article, enjoy the weekend!
THE iconic angle looking west over Monaco, taken from the former Vista Palace hotel in Roquebrune, an eagle’s nest perched 330m above the Mediterranean. To get here, you need a car and drive up towards the motorway access ramp in the direction of Italy – lots of construction work near the hotel which is being rebuilt going on but it is worth it, especially at sunset!
When I moved back permanently to Monaco in 2002, one of the first things I did was to take advantage of the fabulous weather all-year round (which, as a Londoner, I’ll never take for granted!) and start exploring the beautiful mountains and villages located behind the coastal strip of the Riviera that had always fascinated me as a child but had never had the opportunity to visit.
The wonderful Mediterranean climate of the Côte d’Azur provides plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the great outdoors and to partake in activities such as canoeing, canyoning, rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking, skiing and hiking – since I love the great outdoors but hate sports that require equipment and effort, I’ll concentrate on the latter in this article! Over a decade after I started hiking, there are still hundreds of trails that still remain for me to discover, so you will never get bored or run out of things to do.