#13: Cote d’Azur And Paris

View from our house on the outskirts of Nice, France in the Cote d'Azur
View from our house on the outskirts of Nice, France. Photo: J. Chung

5 women. 5 carry on bags. Two flights and we arrive in Nice, France.

Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France in the Cote d'Azur
Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France. Photo: J. Chung

Cote d’Azur

Also known as the Riviera, the Cote d’Azur has the rich, the sunbathing and the money. But there is much more……

For this trip, we rented a station wagon and rented a villa that was just on the outskirts of Nice. In hindsight it was not the best location. While it was a beautiful place with many bedrooms, a large living/dining room and a pool with two terraces, the location made it necessary to always have a car.

We couldn’t just walk into town. We were in a gated community and the the nearest town or place to eat was a few kilometers away. So, lesson learned: when there are a number of people travelling together, there are bound to be times when people want to do their own thing. This is difficult if you always need a car.

However, we did have some great excursions:

  • Nice: had lots of time to explore the old town (Vieux Nice) and the entire city
  • Grasse: perfumeries
  • St. Paul de Vence: cobblestone streets and art; but as we did not have a reservation at Colombe d’Or, a famous restaurant that has works of art throughout, we couldn’t go there for lunch. Next time!
  • Cannes: stopped for coffee and walked around
  • Eze: cactus gardens overlooking the Mediterranean
  • Monaco: we drove to Monaco in the afternoon and walked around looking at the yachts, visiting some shops and and casino in Monte Carlo. We also had dinner there.
  • Driving along the Corniche: windy roads high above the Mediterranean
  • Did an excursion to San Remo in Italy.
  • Drove to St. Tropez. Traffic (this was August) was horrendous. In total, it took 6.5 hours to get there and back.  St. Tropez was crazy busy. Friends went swimming there and then we headed back to Nice for dinner.

Food: salad nicoise, seafood, ratatouille, tapenade, and ailoi (like garlic mayo)

Wines: rose and Cotes de Provence


Then back in Paris, we shop, and shop, and shop! Great streets to “lecher les vitrines” (window shop):

  • Champs Elysee (Givenchy, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier)
  • Faubourg Saint-Honoré District (Hermes, Lanvin, Lancome)
  • Blvd Haussmann (Galeries Lafayette, Printemps)
  • Avenue de Montaigne (Chanel, Dior, Bulgari, Valentino)

Getting to the airport to head home was a nightmare. We didn’t realize there was a rail strike and therefore couldn’t get on the RER to the airport. Getting a cab was tough but we finally did, but we missed our flight. Fortunately, they put us on another flight via Amsterdam and then London. Interestingly, we were compensated 300 Euros (this was 2008).

Avenue Montaigne, Paris, France.

    • Avenue Montaigne, Paris, France. Photo: J. Chung

    Trip #13 To France_ Côte d'Azur and Paris