Everybody knows that France is famous for its perfume production. Whatever brand of perfume you buy it’s very likely that perfume was made in France. I’ve been several times to the south of France, specifically to the French Riviera and on those trips I have visited two perfume factories.
I’ve visited Fragonard factory in Eze village and I’ve visited Galimard factory in Grasse. These factories/shops are open to visitors and offer free guided tours in a variety of languages. I definitely recommend to visit at least one of them while you are at French Riviera.
Easter eggs and Easter chocolate bunnies and spring and cakes and family gatherings are a part of my Easter memories. But I have also travelled during Easter weekend in the past years and have experienced slightly different Easter celebrations.I still fondly remember Easter I spent in England in April 2010. I had Easter lunch in one of the most picturesque English village-Lavenham. Before the lunch we walked around the tiny but very medieval looking village and took photos of quaint half-timbered wobbly houses. Then we had our superb Easter lunch at the Swan and enjoyed the piano music. The whole experience was so lovely and so British!:)
Nestled in a bay at the French-Italian border lies the small town of Menton famous for its annual Fête du Citron (the Lemon Festival). Less known than Nice or St.Tropez this charming French Riviera town offers a laid-back experience of both the French & Italian Riviera.
Menton has a population of under 30 000 inhabitants but like almost every town at the French Riviera there’s a casino and a sunny promenade by the sea. The proximity to Italy means that you’ll hear a lot of Italian on the streets. Unlike with some other towns there’s no pressure here to do all the sights because there isn’t that much to do really. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty to see here but since the town is so small you can do it all without the rush. Or you don’t have to and you can just enjoy the sun & the beach guilt-free. 🙂
My advice is to take your time in Menton and just enjoy yourself. Walk by the sea, browse the stalls of the local market full with fresh fruit and vegetables, try limoncello from the local type of lemon in the shop Au pays du citron, have lunch, take numerous photos of beautiful pastel coloured buildings, walk around the old town and breathe in the fresh air. But if you really want to do some sightseeing then here’s what you can explore in Menton.
- Basilica St.Michel
If you walk uphill from the main street Rue St.Michel you’ll come to this elegant baroque church after you’ve climbed a wide stairway. The annual Music Festival takes place here too. The interior of this 17th century church is really lovely and you should look for St.Devote’s chapel inside since Menton was under the rule of Monaco (there’s a Grimaldi coat of arms too on the square) a long time ago.
Worldwide famous for its annual Film festival Cannes has become synonymous with film star glamour and glitz but you can enjoy it too especially if you don’t visit during the festival frenzy. Cannes can be appreciated even if you can’t afford to stay at Carlton because there are many things to do that don’t cost much.
So here are my suggestions for a day or two in Cannes (really you don’t need to stay longer unless you want to take day trips to other beautiful towns along French Riviera):
1. Walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette
Whether you want to do some people watching or do some window shopping or you want to imagine how it would be to stay at Carlton or Martinez this is a must while in Cannes. When you get overwhelmed with everything sit at one of the blue chairs and relax your eyes by staring out to the sea 🙂 You can refresh yourself with an ice-cream or a drink from kiosks along the promenade and you can even get a temporary tattoo or buy a painting or sunglasses.
2. Climb the stairs to the top of Suquet hill and wander the streets of the Old town
The bet view of Cannes is from the little square at the top of Suquet hill. You have to go through the clock tower and you find yourself at the square with the Virgin Mary statue in memory of the fallen soldiers. From here you can see the entire bay of Cannes and the Lerins islands. If you want you can visit Musee de la Castre or go inside the church Notre-Dame-de-L’Esperance. After you’ve rested your feet and took numerous photos you can go down and explore the winding alleys back to the Rue Meynadier or even buy something fresh at the local market (Forville).
3. Find your palm twin at the walk of fame around Palais des Festivals et des Congres
Sorry, but the building of the Film festival is so ugly. However, it might be fun to take your photo at the red carpet on the stairs or to walk from the Tourist Office to the little park on the left and try to recognize the names of the film stars in the pavement. My palm is the exact size of Sharon Stone’s. 🙂
I’ve been in Nice (France) for New Year’s a couple of times. You might not associate beach and the palm trees with Christmas spirit but Nice has it in abundance. The biggest city at the French Riviera likes to show off a bit in the winter time which means that you can enjoy the festive decorations and the Christmas Markets as much as you can in traditionally more Christmassy destinations (e.g Austria &Germany ). But in a milder weather 🙂
This year I visited the Christmas markets in Vienna, but last year and the year before that I spent a couple of days in Nice just around New Year’s. I really love Nice and it’s my favourite town at the French Riviera and I’ve been lucky to see it in different seasons. The main venue for all things festive is of course the main square Place Massena. You’ll find a giant Ferris wheel there as well as a Christmas market. You can drink vin chaud (mulled wine) or eat pancakes&waffles or choose some other sweet or savory snack to nibble on while you browse the goods at the Christmas stalls. Everything is beautifully decorated and lit so you have to take a stroll in the evening to fully appreciate the festive lights. Another festively decorated square is the Garibaldi square. All the palm trees along the Promenade des Anglais are festooned with Christmas lights too. The Old Town under the Colline du Château and the streets around the Cathedral look very Christmassy and are as usually full of people. The main shopping street Avenue de Jean Medecin prides itself with exquisite lighting and nicely decorated shops’ displays.
But unlike in Austria or Germany in Nice you can almost have a picnic at the beach if it’s not too cold 🙂 And you can ice-skate too 🙂
So, enjoy the photos of the festive season in Nice (they are not from this year but from the previous years).
Do you want to read about how I lost my fortunes in a Monaco casino? I’m sorry to disappoint you but that won’t happen because although I did gamble in a casino I wasn’t that reckless 🙂
So, if you read my first post on Monaco you’ve already seen the oldest part of the country Monaco-Ville where you can find the Prince’s palace and the Cathedral. If you came by car to Monaco after visiting Monaco-Ville you should drive along the port area (this is where the Formula 1 race starts) and through the tunnel and go into another underground parking. And that’s already Monte-Carlo. When you leave the car you should take a short stroll along the promenade and you come across Grace Kelly’s Japanese garden. It’s lovely and you should visit it. This is a tranquil oasis among Monaco’s skyscrapers. When you come out of the garden go back via the promenade and you’ll see something interesting on the pavement. If you love football, you’ll be delighted. The winners of the international Golden Foot award which is given to outstanding football players leave a permanent mould of their footprints on the so-called Champions’s Promenade.
But Monte-Carlo is all about its famous Casino Square. How can you reach it from the parking where you left your car? Only by going uphill on foot past the famous Hotel Fairmont (those of you who follow Formula 1 have seen this hotel and know that taking this bend is the most dangerous part of the whole race). You can admire the luxurious cars parked in front of the hotel and then take the steps up to reach the Monte-Carlo Casino.
The Monte-Carlo Casino is a huge building dating from the 19th century and it also houses the Opera and a Buddha bar/night-club and some luxury clothes shops. You need to continue walking to reach the main entrance and see the other landmarks on the square which include the most expensive hotel in the country Hôtel de Paris and Cafe de Paris which is a casino and a restaurant. If you like fast & expensive cars this is the place for you! There are many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and the rest parked in front of the casino and in front of the hotel. All this uphill walking has probably made you very thirsty so you should rest and have a drink. And there’s no better place for that than the terrace of Cafe de Paris where you can do some people-watching (and car-watching!). You can take the best photos of yourself with the Casino entrance if you go to the fountain (park) across the casino. There are some new pavilions with clothes shops too.