Hi there! Our last post shared some of the medieval stops in Southern France I visited while en route to the coast, so it’s finally time I talk about the famed French Riviera! This was my first time in this region and it’s glamour did not disappoint. Check out my 5 reasons on why I think everyone should spend at least a few days in this area of France!
- Feel like a movie star in Cannes
My first stop in the Riviera was Cannes! This city is most famous for the international film festival held here every May. Even if you can’t make it during that time of year, there are plenty of ways to feel like one of the stars in this luxurious beach town.
Although I was limited to only some free evenings to explore Cannes, I learned a few things. There are two famous hotels along the main strip lining the water, the Carlton & the Marquez. They are both architecturally beautiful, and if you happen to be walking by at the right time, you can watch some people hop into their Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s & Rolls Royce’s to head out for the evening! That’s another thing I learned–everyone seems to drive really nice cars here.
The waterfront hotels likely come with a hefty price tag, but the hotel I stayed in Carion Suites (not even a 5 minute walk up the road to the main strip), was much more reasonable! Every room also had a personal balcony too–check out the view from my room!
2. Stroll the English & American Promenade in Nice
Nice is famous for a beautiful promenade along the coast, which is half dedicated to the English and half dedicated to the Americans. In the evenings, you will find many people, i.e. tourists, families, skateboarders & lovers, walking the strip that lines the stunning coast.
Although it was very hot during my short time in Nice, I braved the sun to walk the promenade. One thing I noticed, that stopped me in my tracks, was a much smaller Lady Liberty! We all know the Statue of Liberty was gifted to the US by France but this statue was put in place in 2014, to commemorate 100 years since the First World War. I was in Nice on the 4th of July, which made seeing the statue even more fun. It felt like a hello from home on my country on our independence day!
3.Visit Fragonard Perfume Factory
In the small French village of Eze, you can find the world famous Fragonard Perfume Factory. It is free to tour the factory, and if you are driving through this area or spending some time in Eze, I highly recommend it. You learn a bit about the different scents they use in their soaps and perfumes and what day to day work is like there.
The people who choose the scents for the perfumes are called noses. There is a very limited number of professional noses in the world and they have to study for 7+ years (with usually a background in chemistry) before they can be deemed a nose. They typically only work 2 hours a day, in order to not exhaust their smelling senses. At the end of the tour, they bring you into the shop and let you smell a few options to decide which perfume is your favorite. You can purchase these perfumes for a lot less than in the commercial stores (which is a great gift idea if you’re looking to really impress someone)! You can also purchase their products online here.
4. Take in the stunning views at Villa Ephrussi
One of the highlights of my time in the Riviera was when I spent the morning exploring the gardens at Villa Ephrussi. This house was built for Baroness Rothschild, who was married to a wealthy banker (Ephrussi) and lived on Cape Ferrat. It is surrounded by the Mediterranean on both sides, with every room having a sea view! She was inspired by a voyage she took on a ship and wanted her house to have a similar feel.
The villa is surrounded by 9 gardens, each with a different theme or country. You can spend hours in the garden itself, before even getting to the inside of the villa! She was inspired by the different places she had traveled to or learned about, such as Spain, Italy & Japan.
Each year the Villa opens its doors to local artists and painters, who can spend the day getting inspiration from the magnificent gardens because they are just that incredible. The government of France has deemed the villa’s garden one of the top gardens in the country! For more information on visiting the Villa Ephrussi, click the link here. Check out some more of my favorite shots from my time there below!
5. Sip some rosé with your feet in the Mediterranean
Finally, and probably the most famous part of the Riviera, are the beaches! The most important beach accessory in this area–a cold bottle of rosé, of course!
Overall, there truly is magic in the French Riviera. From the glamour of film festivals, to the colorful streets of old town Nice, from the magnificent waterfront villas to the crystal clear Mediterranean–Southern France has a lot to give a traveler!
Stay tuned for my next post about Monaco!
Au revoir, Amanda