The French Riviera, famous for it’s glamorous beach resorts, market towns and coastal villages. Home to the infamous Cannes, Monaco, Nice and St. Tropez and a holiday hotspot for millions of people around the world.
After a week exploring Italy on our month long trip around Europe, we caught the plane to the French Riviera, with the hope to catch the last of the summer sun and to enjoy some delicious French cuisine.
But, is it really the perfect holiday destination for families?
Our first stop in France was Nice. The first thing that was apparent upon landing, was that the weather was not on our side (lucky I packed for British summer). We arrived when the South of France was experiencing a really unusual week of ice cold weathers and storms.
Slightly disappointed, we decided to embrace the rain and winds and tried to make the most of this summer town.
I quickly fell in love with the streets, which looked like something out of Disneyland, with the checkered paved squares and perfectly painted buildings, complete with adorable little shutters. Even in the rain the streets looked vibrant and beautiful.
The town caters really well for children. There is lots of entertainment and parks, and really close to the sea there is a huge park, the best I’ve ever seen, with sections for children of all ages. The Promenade du Paillon park has been designed in a really fun way, with all of the climbing equipment and frames built to represent aquatic animals.
At one end of the park there are also a fun set of fountains for you to admire, or run through if you are brave enough. Evie loved daring herself to get as close to them as possible. The park became our replacement beach on the rainier days.
The main streets of Nice all vary completely. There are cute little streets with market stalls and eateries, more touristy streets with a whole collection of delicacies to try and souvenirs to buy. Then in the main town there are shopping centers, with all the usual designer and high street shops.
We loved all the little side streets that sold all kinds of unique items. We were drawn by scent to the colourful exotic stalls, that sold spices and salts. We found ourselves on many occasions debating whether it was okay to indulge in the sugary macaroons.
During our two days in Nice, we made sure to climb the Colline du Chateau overlook, for the best views of the city. If climbing the steps isn’t your thing, there is also a lift that takes you right to the top.
I can imagine on a summer day, the famous blue sea of the Cote d’Azur looks even more striking than in our picture. But, even on a cold, stormy day, it was pleasant to sea the colourful city from above and the mountains in the distance.
Evie wasn’t too impressed at the top and was a bit grumpy the whole day. Whether it was a change in temperature or her starting to feel a bit homesick, we are unsure. But the only thing that cheered her up was the promise of some macaroons.
At the top of the overlook is a beautiful waterfall. Dazzling by sunlight, makes the perfect backdrop while you’re looking at the views. The sound is calming and relaxing, making sure you enjoy your visit to Colline du Chateau.
The food in Nice was the highlight of our stay. We found a beautiful little restaurant called L’Atelier du Port. Their menu was just perfect for the weather outside, offering warm French cuisine. I found it so hard to chose from all the delicious options, but in the end opted for a casserole of tender veal, cooked with flower honey.
I have to admit, Nice was a bit of a let down. Perhaps in the middle of the summer the city comes more to life, but for now I don’t see myself and my family returning here.
Two days later we caught the train to the nearby town of Antibes, where we spent the rest of our week in France. On our first day we were graced with gorgeous sunshine and took the chance to explore the cobbled streets and beautiful little boutiques.
The next day however, the heavens opened once more with the most epic storm, that rattled through the buildings. None the less we ventured out to explore the local food markets and were really impressed (and oh so grateful) that the vendors and shop keepers were still going about their daily business.
We finally came across the Provencal Food Market, not only offering us a place to huddle, but the aromas of all the fresh ingredients and spices really brought the bazaar to life.
When the weather calmed down and the heavens closed, what was left was the most magical view over looking the port. The dark sky, with the sunshine just peaking through behind us, created a warm picture in the water below. With the mountains in the distance and the storm clouds rolling on, a sense of magic was left behind for us all to see.
Old Town in Antibes completely stole my heart. I completely recommend a few days get away here, to anyone. The old buildings are so striking and this little local town really reminded me of my hometown of St. Ives. All the locals are friendly and are willing to help my toddler and me.
The buildings were so beautiful and historic. The old bricks have been very well kept, you almost feel as though you are stepping back in time.
The views are extraordinary and lush. When the sun is out and the sky is blue you can see so far into the distance, almost getting lost. The water is exactly what you imagine the Mediterranean to look like, vibrant blue and green colours, inviting you for a swim. Evie could not wait to get splashing around on the beach that day.
My ultimate favourite shop in Antibes was Jean Luc Pele, a chocoholics dream cafe. I can completely verify that the sweet treats and chocolates are out of this world. It was so hard to choose just one thing from the cabinets. What would you chose from the chocolate patisseries?
We ended up coming back regularly to stock up on homemade chocolates and macaroons. The shop even had a chocolate fountain on the wall and served up the most delicious hot drinks.
It really is a shop of pure indulgence! Luckily for us, they also did savoury lunches such as wraps and salads, so we always had a great excuse to pop in. Evie was certainly happy about that.
Nearer the end of the week, we caught some welcome rays of sunshine and got to see the Cote d’Azur in all of its glory.
We even spent the afternoon on the beach splashing about, and discovered for the first time, how warm the Mediterranean sea really is, especially compared to the sea back home. I’d happily stay and swim forever!
Evie loved dipping her toes in the water and we finally felt on holiday again!
I’ve heard a lot about Cannes. Famous for it’s yearly film festival and yacht show, and for attracting the rich and famous, Cannes really didn’t disappoint. We arrived on a really glorious day. We couldn’t believe that this was the same stretch of land that had just experienced super storms and cold weather.
I actually had to get changed into something more summery. We spent the morning on the beach so Evie could find shells and play in the waves.
At lunch time, we were spoiled for choice with an array of beach restaurants, all overlooking the bay. I definitely found myself lost in the beautiful high street, full of designer and international brands. A true playground for the rich to indulge in new fashion and lifestyle brands and products.
We chose a beach restaurant along the promenade, with a cute deck and joyful atmosphere. We tried to soak up as much sun as possible by sitting outside.
After Cannes we said farewell to the French Riviera, we certainly enjoyed our stay for the most part. Our next adventure will take us on a plane to Barcelona. Keep your eyes peeled to see what we get up to next!
Have you been to the French Riviera? Which is your favourite spot? Let us know in the comments below.