A Travellerspoint blog

Last few days on the Cote d’Azur

Well, our holiday is almost over but we are making the most of our last few days in the sun. Yesterday we drove a short trip across the bay to Saint Raphael. We parked in the underground parking, followed the exit signs out and found ourselves overlooking the harbour and some very expensive yachts - even one with a Viking motorbike in a special display cabinet at the stern of the boat. Why you ask yourself? Not sure but it makes a good photo!
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Anyway, there we were minding our own business admiring the boats and a policeman walked up to us and explained after much pointing that dogs were not allowed in this area - oops, there was nothing to say that on the exit door. After thanking him profusely we walked on!

Next stop was the very impressive church.

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And after that there wasn’t much else except lunch and Tom got his haircut.

Wandering along the Harbourside ( the bit we were allowed in with Lucy) we were aware of some people smiling and looking at Lucy. They actually caught us up and started chatting. It turned out that they were Dutch and had a Springer Spaniel that died a few years ago but they still miss it and just wanted to give Lucy a bit of a hug. They live near Menton which is where we visited a few days ago. After a nice chat and lots of cuddles we said goodbye and returned to the car.

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We then drove for 15km along the coast road towards Esterel (red mountains) and this time managed to park and get a few nice photos.

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Today was supposed to be really hot, so off we went to the beach only to find it very windy and the nice calm Med had waves and lots of them! The kite surfers were out in force and no swimming for Lucy much to her dismay. We lasted quite a few hours but didn’t swim, just got wind blasted!

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The weather is supposed to be getting a bit dodgy over the next few days with thunderstorms so we have packed away the awning in the dry and will await and see what arrives. Good luck to South Africa and England in the rugby world cup. One good thing about this campsite is its amazing wifi - so we will be watching this weekend’s games!

Posted by TomAndSue 08:56 Comments (0)

Royalty, famous painters and celebrities!

Today we travelled down the motorway to a town right on the Italian border called Menton - never heard of it before but often referred to as the Pearl of the French Riviera. On the way you pass Monaco and when we stopped at some services for a quick pit stop for the dog we stumbled across a fantastic panoramic view of Monte Carlo. The motorway was so high up we were almost in the low clouds but it did give us those lovely views.

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On arriving at Menton one is struck by the flowers and plants and the quite different buildings all painted in different colours or shades of orange, yellow and terracotta. Looking back from the harbour at the old town is a wonderful sight and for me probably what I will remember most about this holiday. See what you think ...

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A bit of history about Menton:
The widowed Queen Victoria arrived in Menton in 1882 only to find that there were some 5,000 Britains already living there busy building mansions and planting tropical gardens. This is Europe’s mildest climate being sheltered by the high Maritime Alps and because of this oranges qnd lemons bloom even in winter (it is said that Menton’s first lemons were planted by Eve). Menton is Picture -postcard pretty with year-round seaside sunshine, and is where the British inadvertently invented the French Riviera.

The medieval old town, compressed between two bays, was founded by pirates and warren-like alleys still bear their names. The princes of Monaco owned Menton for six centuries, taxing lemons to fund their sumptuous Carnolès palace. But they squeezed them too hard and in 1848 Menton established a republic, uniting in 1860 with Louis Napoleon’s France.

From Menton we headed back on the motorway but came off just North if Nice and went to visit a medieval hilltop town called St Paul de Vence a favourite tourist destination. Some of you might have heard of this small place because it became home to a number of famous painters like Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Léger. Winston Churchill also painted there when he and his family stayed in Cannes for 5 months - you may remember the painting featured in BBCs Fake or Fortune which was thought to be by Churchill in this village.

Anyway the town is full of galleries and nice hotels and restaurants and fancy shops. We had a nice wander and ended with an icecream at the very spot that the infamous Churchill painting was said to be done!

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A lovely day out again.

Posted by TomAndSue 11:18 Comments (0)

Medieval village v modern Cote D’Azur

Today we travelled down to the medieval hilltop village of Eze, which is actually very close to Nice and Monaco and overlooks the azure sea. It is a popular tourist attraction and is famous for its spectacular views, impressive architecture, and stunning geographical location above the French Riviera.

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It lived up to its reputation and we had a wonderful few hours wandering the streets. It was a shame that whilst it was hot, there was some light cloud so some of the spectacular views don’t look so spectacular!

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Look at this last photo. If you enlarge the picture you will see a tiny dot between the eyes. Stare at the dot in the middle of the eyes for 60 seconds and then close your eyes, what do you see? Not sure if it works on the photo but there it was truly amazing! Let us know if you see anything when doing that and we’ll tell you what we saw!

We stopped for a cold drink at the Chateau - a restaurant and hotel near the top with glorious views. It was lovely- quiet and peaceful with a fantastic backdrop. The price for this tranquility- 2 cokes cost 18 euros - yes thats nearly £8 a coke!!

After recovering from the shock of the bill we wandered back down through the streets, Lucy had a few cuddles with people (as she always does) and then we treated ourselves to a cheaper lunch!

Back at the car we took the coastal road in to Monaco and had a drive around. We have been there before but we were so close it seemed churlish not to at least pop in! And see the opulence! No more Ferraris - primarily Rolls Royces in various shapes!

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From Monaco we drove the coastal road to Nice passing through Beaulieu sur Mer, Villefranche and Cap Ferat - all very picturesque, wealthy harbours with lots of expensive boats moored in the bay - it is Sunday after all and that’s what you do in the French Riviera! !

But nowhere to park - even Ferraris were parked along the curbside. So photos are courtesy of shots out of the car window - sorry we must go back in the week come south on the road and we should be able to park!

And so to Nice - a very large city that I was keen to drive along the Promenade des Anglais the history behind the name:

Starting in the second half of the 18th century, the English aristocracy took to spending the winter in Nice, enjoying the panorama along the coast. In 1820, when a particularly harsh winter further north brought an influx of beggars to Nice, some of the English proposed that they could work on the construction of a walkway (chemin de promenade) along the sea. It was funded by the Reverend Lewis Way and members of Holy Trinity Anglican Church.[2][3]

The city of Nice, intrigued by the prospect of a pleasant promenade, greatly increased the scope of the work. The Promenade was first called the Camin deis Anglés (the English Way) by the Niçois in their native dialect. After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 it was rechristened La Promenade des

The promenade is 7 km along the beach front with beautiful beaches and fantastic buildings. It seems a very popular place to walk at the weekend! Nice seems like an interesting place with some fantastic buildings.
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Well time now for a well earned glass of wine. Our neighbours, Fillipinos - 7 small tents and 4 or 5 families all on one pitch - about 20 people including children have left and its peaceful one again! Cheers!

Posted by TomAndSue 10:12 Comments (0)

Boats and even bigger boats!

We had a lovely trip to St Tropez today.

The traffic was a bit slow getting around Sainte Maxime, but when we did arrive we found parking easily alongside the port. Lucy had lunch overlooking the bay and a little paddle in the sea and we were all ready to hit the port.
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This large super yacht is owned by Australian James Packer (son of Kerry Packer) who is now one of the richest men in Australia after inheriting his Dad’s company.

We stopped for a cooling drink - I had a coke and Tom the smallest coffee imaginable- he forgot to say Americano when ordering - he he!!!
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Oh my goodness did we see some massive boats - the small harbour was full of them all neatly parked up right next to the old buildings on the water front. St Tropez was originally inhabited by the Greeks and then the Romans but the town is now known as the playground for the rich. Brigitte Bardot was famously discovered here and filmed wearing a bikini (a novelty in the 1950s) in the film And God Created Women. Ever since St Tropez has lived up to its reputation of being trendy and attracting the rich and famous. Unfortunately we didn’t see anyone rich and famous that we recognised!

Enjoy the boats and the harbour front - we did - you cannot imagine how much money was invested in the boats in the harbour!

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We had a lovely lunch in a shaded square at the back of the town with the obligatory glass of rosė as you do.

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Then we wandered around the posh end of town where all the shops have security guards!

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Boy was it hot today about 29 C and Lucy had another paddle in the sea just to keep cool of course.

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We had a nice swim when we got back to the campsite- our turn to keep cool. Now we are enjoying a warm evening, a beer and a BBQ. This is the life!

Posted by TomAndSue 10:11 Comments (0)

Cannes? Yes we can!!

Yesterday we went to Cannes and we found out how busy it can get when the Cannes Boat show is on - there was nowhere to park for miles and you couldn’t see the bay or drive anywhere for the traffic and fancy cars!

This was supposed to be one but Sue’s thumb got in the way! Oh no! She’s actually deleted it! Oh, oh, there it is again! Bit blurry but hey! This was just one of many Aston Martins, Ferraris, Bentleys and you name it! There was plenty of money on display!

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Any way, we did find somewhere to park slightly out of the main centre of town and we did wander down to the waterfront and along to the old town. I think going to the boat show would have been interesting, but dogs not allowed and so old town instead! There were lots of alleyways meandering to the top where the most important church of Cannes stands. What a view - now we could see some of the boats I wonder how much (in £ terms) was on show!

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After a nice lunch in one of the popular areas of Cannes we tried to drive around the bay - we managed it, but same story, nowhere to park. We drove around the coastline until we came to Antibes but everywhere full and so photos only taken from the car I am afraid!

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This last photo is of the yacht built for Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft. The largest explorer yacht in the world and can have a 20m submarine! Helicopter pad and you name it! Sleeps 26. We actually saw this in Cape Town last year just after he died. You can now buy it for $325m! If it wasn’t for the submarine I may have been interested!

Today was a scorcher and so we went to the local beach. Lucy swam with us in the beautiful blue med lots of times , she was in doggy heaven.

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Tomorrow St Tropez, we think, before the weekend.

Posted by TomAndSue 10:47 Comments (0)

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