If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen that Richie and I spent a month in Europe this past summer! Neither of us had traveled to Europe (I hadn’t even been out of the country), so needless to say we were ecstatic! We traveled to France, Italy, and Germany. We were celebrating Richie graduating dental school, moving to a new city together, and best of all…getting engaged! (Read our engagement story here! )It truly was a trip of a lifetime.
I will be posting travel guides to all the cities we visited, but I had to start in the South of France. You hear about the French Riviera being one of the most luxurious and breathtaking destinations, but nothing does it justice. It is simply paradise.
We chose to stay in Nice because it is centrally located, easy to fly into, and more budget-friendly compared to surrounding cities. I recommend flying into Paris, exploring the city for a few days, then flying or taking the train into Nice. From Nice, you can travel to Monaco, St. Tropez, Cannes, Antibes, St Jean Cap Ferrat, and Eze in no longer than an hour (sometimes two with summer traffic).
Hotels in this area can be pricey, so we stayed in an AirBnB. It was the best decision! We felt like true locals in the heart of the central square and saved a ton! If you are visiting between late June through the end of August, then be sure to book early as these places go quickly. The only drawback to an AirBnb is that most of them do not have air conditioning. But hey, you’re in the French Riviera! Don’t spend more time inside than necessary! Our flat was on the corner of Rue de la Liberte and Avenue Jean Medecin. Surrounding us were restaurants, live music, cafes, and shopping. I highly recommend finding a place to stay in this location!
So without further chatting, let’s get to the good stuff…
WHERE WE ATE
Closest thing to an American bar. I know what you are thinking. Why travel half way across the world for the same food you have in your own back yard? Well let me tell ya, sometimes you just want a juicy cheeseburger and fries! This place has classic bar food such as chicken wings, nachos, and mozzarella sticks! The food is delicious, the customer service was on point, AND they have live music! If you’re homesick and need a little taste of America, then this is your spot!
Twenty five minutes up the coast from Nice, this secret bay is a must see! Rent a lounge chair for the day and sip on mojitos or come for dinner and party into the night. I recommend stopping by this spot on the day you visit Eze Village. Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney have graced this establishment with their presence and if it’s good enough for Leo then its good enough for me.
Le Bar Du Coin
Nestled in the central plaza of Nice, the atmosphere is ideal and the food is perfection.
One of the best pizzas I will probably ever have in my life. Lasagna was delicious too!
Twenty minutes from Nice and one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. This little village is nestled on top of a hillside on the French Riviera overlooking the ocean. It is absolutely breathtaking. Parking is limited, so I recommend taking the bus (Google Maps is a necessity on your trip) Stone staircases and paths wind through the village as you pass boutiques, art galleries, cafes, and a stunning hotel. At the top lies a botanical garden with unobstructed views of the ocean. You feel as though you have been transported back to the middle ages. This is an experience you do not want to miss!
Hands down, my favorite destination from our entire trip. This beach is my heaven on Earth. Located on the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula, surrounded by lush greenery and estates you’ve only seen in movies. Plus it has its own private diving board! Most of the French coastline is rocky (we are spoiled with our sandy beaches in the US), so I recommend paying $70 for a chair and umbrella for the day. Renting a chair also gives you access to the restaurant and bar. However, there is a free public area as well. I could go on about this little slice of heaven for days! Rent yourself a chair, order a glass of rose, pinch yourself for being in this paradise, and thank me later!
I had such high hopes for Monaco and hate to say that I was pretty disappointed. Monaco is pristine and beautiful, but it is pretty much a Beverly Hills on the water. Designer stores and luxury hotels line the coastline, so be prepared to spend spend spend!
CANNES & ANTIBES
Known for their world famous film festival, Cannes is known for celebrities and glamour. Enjoy a peaceful stroll along the harbor or visit the tower in Old Town for panoramic views. Antibes has wide, long, sandy beaches and after days of stumbling over rocks this was amazing! The beaches are public and offer a chance to feel like a true local!
If you are not on a budget and want to see how the other half lives, then St. Tropez is the place for you! Mega yachts off the coast, designer stores on every corner, five star luxury hotels, and overpriced everything. Nikki Beach and Bagatelle are infamous party spots where you can enjoy both day drinking and parties well into the early morning. Book your restaurant reservations early because these definitely hot spots! If you want to avoid crying from your credit card bill, then make your way to Le Plage des Graniers, a public beach just south of downtown.