A TRIP TO THE FRENCH RIVIERA

THE FRENCH RIVIERA, WHICH STRETCHES FROM TOULON TO THE ITALIAN BORDER, IS A FEAST THAT APPEALS TO YOUR EYES, SOUL, AND TASTE BUDS…

The French Riviera, also known as Côte d’Azur, has become famous as being the favorite destination of rich, famous, and tanned people. Stretching from Toulon to the Italian border along the Mediterranean, this route appeals to the eye, spirit, and taste buds. You might be accompanied by Picasso while eating at La Colombe d’Or; Brigitte Bardot while strolling around St. Tropez; or a princess while walking down the streets of Monaco where the Ferraris keep passing you by at full speed. You might not care about a 35 km long beach, gourmet restaurants, or expensive boutiques… Then, you should walk around a colorful farmer’s market, visit Picasso’s studio, get lost in the old towns with pastel shutters, gothic stone works, and narrow alleys, watch the retired French people play petanque, and breathe in the fragrances of the tropical gardens. Here is the elegant, classy, and posh Côte d’Azur and more…

Queen of the shore
Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, with its candy colored palaces, blue Baie des Anges, and old town, is the queen of these shores. It is possible to find accommodations at bargain prices in Nice. The city achieves to be both entertaining and peaceful. It is also within close distance of Cannes, Monaco, or the other famous destinations of Southern France. People begin to sunbathe in the first days of March in Nice. The beach is stony but free. The water is clear and warm. The city used to be the winter capital of the wealthiest European class once upon a time. Russian and British aristocrats had been constructed mansions in here during the 18th century. Nature and architecture are impressing in Nice. Walking down Promenade des Anglais, where the palm trees are lined, during the evenings is a tradition.

From Beatles to Burton
If there were a building to symbolize the magnificence of the Riviera, that would be Hotel Negresco, located on this road. The hotel that looks like a wedding cake is the symbol of Nice. Resembling the golden age of the city, the hotel has hosted many celebrities from Beatles to Burton since 1912. The glass ceiling that was built by Gustav Eiffel is impressive. Each upper floor references to a different era in the French history such as the reign of III Napoleon theme on the fifth floor and the reign of XV Louis theme on the third floor… Its restaurant, Le Chantecler, can be counted among the bests in France. You may not be blessed everyday with a chance to see an extravagant breakfast hall such as Carrousel Room with Folies Bérgère chandeliers and a carrousel of course…

Quai des Etats- Unis that reaches to the old Nice, Espace Massena that is among the liveliest places of the city, Place Massena that is surrounded by neoclassical buildings, Avenue Jean Medecin that is the business center of the city, and Cimiez that is the most elegant neighborhood of the city make you feel the ambience of Nice. The old Nice is from the medieval age. The modern Nice has impressive buildings that look Italian. The market place named Marchaux Fleurs is more like a garden with its roses, orange flowers, and mimosas. Mondays are reserved for antiquarians. If you’d like to visit a museum in Nice, make it Musée Matisse.

A sanctuary for painters
Antibes is literally a Mediterranean town. Narrow streets with cobblestone walkways reach to a marketplace lively with flowers and plants. Harbor is frequented with luxurious yachts. Cap d’Antibes is also a popular sanctuary for some of the wealthy people who own villas there, surrounded with high walls. In the past, this place had been a location where many painters such as Picasso or Max Ernst had experienced the golden years of their productivity. Another location where painters used to populate is St. Paul de Vence. The Russian painter Marc Chagall had settled in here in 1966. This place was also the favorite of singer-actor Yves Montand. St.Paul, which used to be a modest town in the past, has still an ambience that values arts. Artists such as Braque, Chagall, Dufy, and Picasso used to eat at La Colombe d’Or, which is impossible to eat without a reservation today, and pay in exchange of their artworks. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that the restaurant owns one of the most important private art collections in France. However, you must have a table at the restaurant to see the artworks exhibited.

Life is a festival
Cannes is like the celebrity of the French Riviera. The philosophy of the city is ‘Life is a festival.’ The fame of it comes from the Cannes Film Festival. The population of the city folds three times overnight during the festival that hosts many celebrities around the world for ten days. The most pleasant walk is done at La Croisette. This boulevard is like the summary of Côte d’Azur with its gorgeous hotels and apartment buildings lined along the shore where the palm trees stand with all their might. Cannes also is home to a museum that exhibits ethnographic works and art galleries. You might sit on a bench or at Golfe de Napoule and watch the beauty that surrounds you or eat at a restaurant near the shore. Settled on a hill facing the city, Suquet is a neighborhood well worth to spend time with its narrow streets, arched passageways, handicraft shops, pastel shutters, and gothic stone works.

From a fishing town to a film set
The success of the movie titled as ‘And God Created Woman’ had committed Brigitte Bardot and St. Tropez into our memories. The star of St. Tropez, where the film was set, might had been shined in 1956; however, the film had tolled the death knell for this peaceful fishing town. Nonetheless, seems like the old days return as you sit at a cafe in Place des Lices or watch the French people play petanque. A great beach called Palge de Tahiti and the rest of it, called Plage de Pampelonne, are located four kilometers away in the southeast. For the ones who like walking, Sentier Littoral is 35 km long and reaches from St. Tropez to Cavalaire beach through the secret coves and rocks.

A place of aristocracy
An aristocrat family who used to own broad lands once upon a time still keeps a part of the French Riviera and this is the proof of that the feudal system still continues. Grimaldi Family dominates over an area of two square kilometers with its own area code, car plate, and tolerated tax system. Monaco and Monte Carlo are the centers of the tourism of the world and France. The region that faces Corsica Island and populated mostly by French people with Italian origins is favored by the high society. III Charles of Grimaldi Family decides to open a casino in here not to tax the residences in 1850, although he is in need of an income. The first roulette spins in 1856. However, no one comes because accessing Monaco is hard. The railway that passes through Monaco in 1868 brings British, who escape from the fogy air of London. In no time, residents become tax free in Monaco. The kingdom becomes an elegant leisure destination of the European society.

VIEW POINT
The lush bird’s eye view of Nice and the beauty of the houses are striking from Mont Boron hill.

ART STOP
Works by artists such as Miro are exhibited at the Musée Picasso located at Grimaldi Castle in Antibes.

PHOTO SPOT
The landscape from Corniche de l’Esterel in Cannes as the Alps rise above is to die for in winter.

ACTIVITY
It is possible to rent a boat from Grimaud Harbor, a special lagoon created at the edge of the Gulf of St. Tropez in the 1960s, to the islands.

TASTE STOP
Try the socca of Nice, crepe made with garbanzo beans, at Pipo Socca.