Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat: A Slice of Quiet on the French Riviera

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After much research on where to go for a “taste” of the Côte d’Azur—while wanting to avoid the crowds—we resolved that Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat was what we were looking for. After all, it is apparently a place for millionaires and European aristocracy, according to one source. Sounded good to us!

As we made our way to the village along a corniche road, passing Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer, we caught glimpses of sparkling blue sea with yachts scattered about and private gardens nestled in the hillside. Something told us that this was a place we could get use to. There was an old-world elegance from the days of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, and not much had changed.

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Upon arrival, we started out on the Promenade Maurice Rouvier, in the village of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and made our way to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild for our first stop. (More about Villa Ephrussi next time.)

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From the villa, we proceeded on to Paloma Beach, with its stunning view of the cliffs of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Eze. After a dip in the Mediterranean, we continued on the beautiful walkway that goes around the peninsula. We stuck to the Plage de la Paloma loop trail, which takes about 45 minutes. If you have time, the entire walk around Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat takes about two hours on the Tour du Cap trail. There is also a walk called the Promenade de Saint-Hospice, which starts around the port and takes you past Paloma Beach, circling back to the port in about an hour and a half.

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In the month of September, the Côte d’Azur was really quite peaceful. But now, after a wonderful day getting a taste of the Côte, it’s time to make our journey back to our rental in Bonnieux.

À bientôt!

Tourrettes-sur-Loup: The City of Violets

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The thrill of discovering new villages with the expectation that the next one will surely be more charming than the last is why my early trips to France entailed a five-page list of villages in alphabetical order to see. The sight of this list would often make my husband’s face turn pale from exhaustion at the thought of it.

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So while he was heading to the nearest bench or rock to relax, I was rushing around in the pursuit of more villages yet to be discovered. All that has changed. I still have my list but have learned to appreciate the value of slow travel and to enjoy the moment. For that reason, it it hard to venture outside of the Vaucluse department of Provence, an area that just forces you to slow down and take two-hour lunches and leisurely strolls as the sound of the cicadas lulls you into a trancelike state of relaxation in the afternoon sun.

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Yet, the Côte d’Azur was calling. On our way over, we stopped off at the village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup. And what a dream this medieval village filled with old-world charm, ancient walkways, cobblestone steps, and colorful flowers dotting a landscape of mountain and sea was!

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Situated high up some 27 kilometers from Nice, this perched village is considered to be less touristy than the stunning Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Èze, which we are saving for another time. I don’t know what the summer months bring, but Tourrettes-sur-Loup was a quiet place in the month of September.

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Known as the City of Violets, Tourrettes holds an annual Fête des Violettes in March. The whole village is filled with flowers. The cultivation of violets is used for the perfume industry in Grasse as well as for making local products such as crystallized flowers, candied fruit, and ice cream. The village is also home to many artisans, whose workshops are filled with pottery, jewelry, paintings, and sculptures.

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We found ourselves at the most adorable café called L’Epicerie that just called to us. Now, I know we were in France, but let me just say, it was some of the best Italian food I have ever had! So simple and so good.

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The gorgeous village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup is well worth a visit, especially outside of July and August when you can enjoy wandering the ancient streets and narrow passageways while the sight of the Mediterranean off in the distance just beckons you to come explore.

Looking for  a special little place to stay? Look no further. Histoires de Bastide is the perfect place to spend a night or two.

À bientôt!

Histoires de Bastide—A B&B With a View

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On our recent two-day French Riviera adventure, we stayed at the amazing Histoires de Bastide in the most charming of villages, Tourrettes-sur-Loup. After much online searching and scrutinizing of every bed and breakfast in the Côte d’Azur, we settled on this one, and boy was it a find! I selfishly don’t want to share but want to keep this all to myself because it was that good.

Histoires de Bastide is a guest house on the side of a cliff with a stunning view of the village and of the sea off in the distance. It is made up of four guest rooms, two on the second floor and two on the first, all with the same amazing view that will make you think you have crossed the border and gone over into Italy.

The gracious owner, Sandrine, who lives just a short distance away, comes over in the morning to prepare a delicious breakfast with fresh croissants, breads, homemade jams, and fresh-squeezed orange juice all served on the outside terrace with a view that makes it hard to leave. Yet, the sea beckoning in the distance awaits.

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Histoires de Bastide was a perfect base away from the hustle and bustle to further explore the French Riviera. And the village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup? A medieval dream we’ll talk more about next time.

À bientôt!

The Riviera in Two Days

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I have avoided the Riviera when visiting Provence, figuring that it would be too busy, too ritzy for my taste. Well, after finally deciding to give it a try—after all it is the Riviera—all I can say is “I get it!!!”

I now see why it is so popular. It is gorgeous! The stunning mountains, the blue sea, the colorful flowers, the Italian-style villas dotting the hillsides are all like something out of a painting.

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Instead of planning too much on our two-day adventure, I wanted just to get a taste of the Côte d’Azur and perhaps save some for another time. I also wanted to avoid the crowds. But I have to say, everything seemed calm in the month of September, while the weather was still balmy.

Our first stop along the way from the Luberon was Gourdon in the Alpes-Maritimes department of Provence. This village has been on my list for some time based on this picture.

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From Gourdon, we headed to Tourrettes-sur-Loup, where we had a reservation at an amazing bed and breakfast for the night, which I will write more about later. The village itself was the most charming of medieval villages with gorgeous views, and I must go back.

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The following day, we drove to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. We parked our car and walked the Promenade Maurice Rouvier to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to explore the peninsula.

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Once arriving in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, we first made our way to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a beautiful rose-colored villa with nine gardens overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

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From there we continued along the coastal path and stopped at Paloma Beach for a dip in the Mediterranean. The water was so warm and calm, and the stunning mountains made it surreal. We continued along the path, taking in more stunning scenery.

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As we made our way back to our car in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, we stopped for a drink along the coastal path and then started on our almost three-hour ride back to the Luberon. Needless to say, I must return to spend more time in the Côte d’Azur. Though I can’t give up my Vaucluse region of Provence entirely.

À bientôt!