Once we got our bearings right and settled into our vacation home, we couldn’t wait to explore more of the Cote d’Azur. I think every girl who grows up taking French class always dreams of getting to try their French in Paris and doesn’t really consider the delights that await them outside of the big city, case and point: Nice. Exploring Nice is like taking all of the best parts of Paris, the buzz, the pastry shops, the shopping, and putting it in a colorful, coastal town that’s completely walkable and very safe.
Our first day in Nice, we had to wait a few hours before we could check into our house, so we stole away at a long lunch in Vieux, Nice (old town). Our taxi dropped us off with luggage in hand at Cafe Turin right in the Place du Grimaldi (Square). They were extremely friendly and offered to hold our bags in the back while we dined on the patio. Nice celebrates seafood in every meal, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dive into a raw plate with some French Sauvignon Blanc for our first lunch. The little sea snails were the most fun to eat of our fresh catch plate. The only mistake we made was not ordering frîtes for the table. We retired shortly after to our house for a quick dip and a bit of rosé on the patio.
The goal for the week in Nice was to relax, recharge and see the city on foot. We didn’t do a lot of research on where to go while in Nice, so sadly we missed out on a few things I’ve outlined for you to do in our Cote d’Azur travel guide, but we did discover a few treasures along the way. We found a cluster of shops in Vieux Nice that we were able to pick up a few souvenirs to take home. Tresors Publics was a beautiful shop of French goods, each item was meticulously categorized and shelved with a tag denoting its origin. The shop was relatively inexpensive, I bought a beautiful comb for 4 Euro and it works just as good as the Mason Pierson comb I left at home. Next door, a confiture of apothecaric bottles welcomed you in with jams and spreads of all varieties. We picked up some Olive spread and Cherries & Champagne from Maison Bremond 1830 before we left.
The next day, we woke up early, made a quick breakfast, and headed down the road to St. Jean Cap du Ferat to explore the Villa Ephrusi de Rothschild. We were one of the first groups there at 9:45 (they open at 10) and we made a beeline up the hill to be first into the estate. The Villa is more than just a pretty pink house, but a winding labyrinth of gardens, each with its own theme: like the Italian garden, the French garden, the Stone Garden, the Japanese Garden and so forth. As we walked through the gardens the smell of jasmine, lavender, and rosemary made it all the more delightful.
Looking for a bite to eat, we decided to visit Hotel du Cap and have lunch at their poolside Pavillion. The property is absolutely stunning and while you don’t need a reservation to have lunch on the property, it makes for a more seamless experience if you do.
After lunch, we popped up to Eze for a little tour of the town. I highly recommend making reservations at Chevre d’Or, the five-star restaurant attached to the Relais Chateau hotel that makes up half of this medieval town. The restaurant juts out over the mountainside, staring out over the Mediterranean. Since we had already eaten lunch, I opted for a scoop of chocolate gelato instead, as we walked around the village.
As charming as the village is, it was extremely overrun with tourists. I wish we had either come at dusk or early morning to sneak around and take photos. Just be aware that the streets are very narrow, no cars are allowed up to the top, and if you go during the middle of the day, the crowds of tourists will be there as well. As pretty as the photos were, it wasn’t really our favorite stop on our itinerary.
After an afternoon of intense exploring, we retired to our house for some rosé and a cheese plate. Falling asleep with the windows open and drifting off to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.
What I wore in the Cote d’Azur