In the time I spent in the French Riviera last year during the European summer, I very quickly became infatuated with it. Seriously, from the moment I saw the beach at Juan-les-Pins on my first day there, it was love at first sight. And then this feeling repeated itself every time I visited a new town along the Côte d’Azur. That is not an exaggeration. I literally felt like I was living a dream every single day that I was there. I have seen celebrity homes in Hollywood and expensive real estate in New York, but absolutely nothing can compare to the wealth I saw in the French Riviera. Coupled with breath-taking natural landscapes, it made for a holiday which will long remain a highlight of my life. Here are some of my favourite memories.
Antibes is such a quaint town with a rich history and a lot of character. It is little wonder that it attracted the likes of Picasso, who made Antibes the subject of a large number of his paintings. During my visit to Antibes, I had a wonderful time simply strolling through the cute little streets and discovering all different kinds of shops and beautiful vantage points along the coastline.
Cannes is synonymous with all things celebrity. However, I found the venue of the Cannes Film Festival, the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, severely underwhelming. Fortunately, the rest of the town is absolutely gorgeous and lives up to its hype. And the beach itself was probably my favourite in the French Riviera.
Due to the location of where I was staying, I spent considerable time in Juan-les-Pins. It is a far less ostentatious area than a lot of other areas along the coast. My highlight in Juan-les-Pins would undoubtedly be attending the Jazz à Juan festival and watching Norah Jones perform, while the sun set over the Mediterranean sea in the background. It was a moment in life where I literally had to pinch myself. I also think that Juan-les-Pins is a fantastic place to be based during a trip to the French Riviera, because it is quite centrally located between Cannes and Nice.
Monaco may be a tiny sovereign state, but Monte Carlo instantly made itself to the top of my list of favourite cities that I have ever visited. Everything about Monte Carlo is perfection – the incredible views, the architecture, the luxury cars, the unbelievably enormous private yachts, the botox-filled faces and the impeccably clean streets. Of course, I could not go to Monte Carlo without paying a visit to its world-renown casino. It was extremely beautiful. In fact, I was actually escorted out of the casino by security for being unable to resist taking a photo inside. It was worth it.
It is little wonder that Nice is the second-most popular tourist city in France, after Paris. Everyone I know that has been to Nice loves it, including myself! There are so many things to explore. I would strongly recommend walking up towards the hilltop park near Le Château to get the same amazing view over Nice that I got in the photo to the left.
I mention this town for one particular reason – its incredible drawcard, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. It is hard to believe that this picturesque villa was once privately owned. I guess it is a true illustration of the luxury that is the French Riviera! Thankfully, the villa is now a museum, so everyone can enjoy the exquisite scenery that it has to offer. This was certainly a highlight of my trip. It should definitely be a priority to visit for anyone travelling to the French Riviera for the first time!
I have been somewhat hesitate to write a travel post about France. It is widely known that I am obsessed with the United States, but what a lot of people do not know is that I always consider my heart to belong to France. And there are a lot of reasons for this, which makes it difficult for me to do it justice in a blog post. First and foremost, I have the most incredible friends in France. One of my best friends – my ‘French sister’, Isaure – lives there. Secondly, my two trips to France were my first two overseas holidays without my parents, so they both mark significant moments of personal growth for me. Thirdly, I studied French for eight years, so nothing compares to witnessing (and failing miserably at practising) it in action with locals. Fourthly, I have seen so many incredible things in France that I was not sure where to start… But my memories from the French Riviera were just too good not to share. And who knows, someday I may tackle the overwhelming task of blogging about Paris…