All Things Riviera
The south of France is famous for its iconic cities and towns and cities sprinkled along the Riviera coastline.
From our villa…Nice, is 15 minutes, Antibes, is 20 minutes, Cannes is 30 minutes and Monaco is 45 minutes.
We have been spending our summers exploring France, way before we bought a house there. And the reason we did, is that we never ran out of things to do. Particularly in the South of France the weather is usually quite mild in winter, and the perfect place to spend a cosy Christmas. The log fires around the house mean that the house can still be enjoyed in the outdoor spaces.
Skiing is a particular favourite pastime of ours, and Auron is our favourite spot. Little over an hour door to door, you can be in the Alpes skiing, and with good snow normally through to March, you can often spend the morning on the slopes and head down to catch the few last rays of sunshine back on the Nice Coast.
I can find things to buy in an empty field, so France is like Pandoras box to me. The beacons of Cannes, Nice and Antibes call out to me for a spree every time I visit and the main shopping streets both high end brands and luxury items and the best of European high street retail can be easily found.
Closer to home the Polygone Riviera is a godsend. No more than 10 minutes from the house in Cagnes Sur Mer, this is a large newly built shopping precinct which as well as some pretty good cafes and restaurants has a surprising number of British brands like Primark. On two levels spread over quite a wide area, with underground parking and Printemps the reknowned french department store, its well worth a few visits punctuated with lunch and a glass or two of wine.
..but it also has the most stunning villages to escape to and explore.
St Paul de Vence is a famous rampart town second only to the likes of Carcassonne and is 5 minutes away, it is overflowing with cobbled streets, galleries, restaurants and artisanal boutiques. Watch them play boules just outside the walls and check out the views with a glass of wine in your hand at Andreas’ bar. Have lunch at Le Tieuille, book for the evening but definitely sit outside its magical, and we eat there so frequently its like an extension to our kitchen.
The town of Vence is much more of a working town, a large town square which hosts markets most days through teh summer selling clothes, antiques and fruit & vegetables. The older medevil part of it is hosts some of the best boutique charcuterie, boulangerie and pattisserie around. Look out for the Craquelline, a yummy almond pastry speciality to enjoy with a large cafe au lait.
If you’re a cycling enthusiast like my husband, you will know that the Tour De France is a bike lovers Mecca. But routes in the hills above Nice is also home to many a triathlon and serious athlete. La Colle de Lecre is a stunning ride, and good bikes are easily hired.
If that’s a little on the strenuous side, then hire some electric bikes and potter effortlessly around.