About 10 km from Nice, nestling in the midst of luxuriant vegetation, Beaulieu (“Beautiful Place”) bears an appropriate name. With its palm tree-lined beaches, superb light and mild temperatures for most of the year, Beaulieu is one of the most privileged sites on the Côte d’Azur.
The Greek Villa Kérylos is well worth a visit. This faithful reproduction of a luxurious villa from the Age of Antiquity will enchant you with its beautifully decorated rooms. Once a favourite destination for members of royalty, Beaulieu is still a town steeped in Mediterranean traditions yet offering a certain glamour. Sumptuous properties, lovely parks and gardens, as well as the many limousines will remind you that you are at the heart of the Côte d’Azur.
Cap d’Ail is a peaceful spot on the coast at the gateway to the Principality of Monaco. It has been classified as a climatic resort since 1921. The quality of its sea water and facilities has earned it the “Pavillon bleu” for its 3 beaches:
– Plage Marquet is the most suitable for families. On a gentle slope and with easy access, it is home to the Cercle Nautique for water sports and has 2 waterfront restaurants.
– Plage Mala is a little cove surrounded by vegetation which is only accessible by foot down a very steep path. It is also suitable for families and has 2 restaurants.
– Plage des Pissarelles is for the more sporty: it is flanked by rocks and reached via a path that is rather daunting for children.
You can also visit the Centre Mediterranéen with its amphitheatre designed by Jean Cocteau and, very close to the sea, the Sacha Guitry Park laid out in terraced embankments next to the villa which once belonged to this famous author. In fact he was not the only one to fall under Cap d’Ail’s spell. Its 3 km shoreline was also appreciated by many other personalities such as the Prince of Wales, the son of the Czar, the Lumière brothers, Greta Garbo, Apollinaire and of course Jean Cocteau.
The municipality of Eze extends from the seafront to the Grande Corniche – a steep path links Eze Village to the seaside resort. Eze is one of the loveliest villages on the Côte d’Azur, offering a panoramic view of the entire Riviera. On some winter mornings, from the highest point of this “eagle’s nest”, you can make out Corsica. Stroll along its ramparts, admire the view from the castle ruins, explore the steep narrow streets which are only accessible on foot, and discover Mediterranean flora and cacti in the recently refurbished Exotic Gardens.
Situated between the Principality of Monaco and the Italian Riviera, in a kind of amphitheatre of mountains facing the sea, Menton is one of the foremost “Towns of Art and History” on the Côte d’Azur. Benefitting from a subtropical climate, its magnificent gardens have largely contributed to its fame. All categories of accommodation, restaurants, a casino, gardens, museums, beaches, sports and water sports – all the amenities one could possibly need for a really enjoyable stay.
Elegant yet also casual, Nice has all the charm of Mediterranean towns where an enjoyable lifestyle is explained by the beauty of the town itself as well as its exceptional climate. Here, even in winter, one can relax on café terraces and admire the world-famous Promenade des Anglais, always brimming with flowers all along the sweeping curve of the Baie des Anges (“bay of angels”), with pebbly beaches on one side and luxury hotels on the other. Nice surprises visitors for the Baroque architecture of some of its residences, the chateaus on the slopes of Mont Boron and the outright exaggerations of its Belle Epoque architecture.
Other amazing achievements are also to be explored on strolls through flower-filled parks and gardens on the Colline du Château, Parc Chambrun and Masséna Gardens.
Proud of their history always marked by a certain independence, the Nicois have their own language (called “Nissart”) and a tasty local cuisine, as typical as the town’s famous carnival: “pissaladière” (onion tart with anchovies and olives), “ratatouille” (tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes), “pan bagnat” (a round sandwich with tuna and salad) and “salad niçoise”, generously doused in olive-oil and garnished with Nice’s little black olives called “caillettes”.
Nice is also a city of art and culture: after Paris, it is the town with the most museums in France. It is lively by day and by night, with a famous Jazz Festival in summer and battles with flowers on the Promenade des Anglais, thrown to the crowds by the prettiest girls on the Côte d’Azur. Every morning (except Monday), the Cours Saleya plays host to a big flower and fruit market. Always colourful and lively, these neighbourhoods with their markets amidst boutiques and restaurants are exhilarating: entertainment guaranteed.
Situated between Monaco and Menton, at the foot of the Alps, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (about 2,333 acres) offers several neighbourhoods rising upwards from the Mediterranean shore. With a seafront 7 kilometres long, it is a well-known resort on the French Riviera.
The old village combines traditional picturesque charm (one of the “perched villages”) with historic landmarks (10th-century castle) and evidence of the modern age (new neighbourhood of Le Rataou).
Cap Martin, a long peninsula with sheer sides, is composed of magnificent villas surrounded by wooded parks, the work of great architects who built houses for wealthy foreigners at the beginning of the 20th century (Tersling etc.), and examples of contemporary urban architecture (Plateau du Cap).
Situated on its enchanting peninsular, Saint-Jean is an old fishing village which encircles the little marina. You will also find here the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a sumptuous palace containing priceless works of art, set in the midst of seven kinds of gardens. The Villa is open all year round.
In summer, in winter, Villefranche shines with a certain stylishness, proud of its superb waterfront, reputed to be one of the loveliest in the Mediterranean. The harbour, Citadelle, old town and the curve of the shoreline all contribute to the picture-postcard charm of this village which dates back 130 years BC. Its port serves both as a fishing harbour with colourful boats and nets, and as a port for visiting cruise ships.