Mini-Guide | Cote d'Azur, France

Monday, July 23, 2012

When friends or family tell me they're going to Europe for the first time, I always sneak in a little advice - stay in a single country and really dig in to experience that country for what it is. Unless of course you have several weeks across the pond. Chad & I fight the urge to want to pack 6 countries into 14 days by telling ourselves, "We'll we back over." When we visited France we zeroed in on 4 completely different regions of the country - Paris, Burgundy, Lake Annecy, and the Cote d'Azur. We gave ourselves a month to do so, and to this day that trip is one of our favorites. What can I say? There's just something about France, particularly where France meets the sea. Here are my suggestions for a stay on France's Cote d'Azur:

There are many small towns and villages along France's southern coast, some large & flashy, some tiny & demure. My recommendations tend to lean toward the tiny & demure because I find them to be the most charming. If you prefer the bustle, use Nice as a base from which to take day-trips, particularly if you're traveling by public transport. It's one of the larger towns in the area which makes accessibility for exploring quite simple. If tiny is more your style, Eze all the way.

S t a y
E a t
Calypso | Villefrance Sur Mer
La Mere Besson | Cannes
S i p 
The rooms are a bit steep, literally & figuratively, so if you can't swing a stay at Chateau de la Chevre d'Or in Eze you must go for at least a cocktail just to soak in the views.

S e e  &  D o
If you're not staying in Eze, make strolling through this village a day-trip. You can take a bus but the 1-hr hike up the mountainside is a much better route to take.
Once you've properly visited the village, and if you still have time, the Jardin d'Eze is stunning. Another day-trip worth the time is Cagnes-sur-Mer to see the Musee Renoir. The museum isn't your typical museum, rather it's a tour through the houses that Renoir built, set among citrus groves.
 S h o p p i n g
Both Cannes & Nice will provide you with the best variety along the coast when it comes to shopping for clothing or local foods. Be sure to pop by Cave Bianchi in Nice to seek out that perfect bottle of French wine or olive oil to take home.


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