Wine & sun in the French Riviera
It was a miserable November in grey old London and we were after a last gasp of sunshine before Christmas without breaking the bank. The French Riviera (or CÔte D’Azur) was a much more pleasant 20°C and under two hours away by plane. Perfect. We knew almost nothing about the area and only had only five days to see it all, but we had an itinerary that covered the essentials: vineyards, food and an authentic French experience off the usual tourist trail.
The French Riviera is pretty big. We chose Nice because we didn’t want to rent a car or visit the casinos of nearby Monaco. It’s a super convenient location and couldn’t have been easier to get to; the flight was short and the airport is only 20 minutes away from the centre of the town.
Our accommodation for the first and last night was a spa hotel, and we spent the middle chunk of our holiday in a cute rustic Airbnb. A dip in the pool at the spa hotel on arrival was great, but we also wanted to experience the real Nice. Cooking pasta and drinking wine in a stone brick-walled apartment was much more our style.
We spent our days walking along the beach right by Nice’s Old Town where there are plenty of beautiful restaurants and bars. When we return, we’ll visit every single one again. The food at every restaurant was so good we always wanted to go back.
Culinary highlights included a cheese fondue in a restaurant based in a wine cellar, moules-frites with a choice of 16 different sauces, French tapas in a wine shop, and a rotisserie restaurant where we could see the chef cooking our chosen meat.
There’s also a great bar in the centre of Nice’s winding streets that all the locals flock to. Naturally we went there every day for an apéritif and to people watch from the mezzanine.
Just out of the Old Town there’s a beautiful hilltop view from the Castle of Nice with a waterfall and café that serves a great Aperol Spritz. It’s well worth a visit for some cracking photo opportunities and refreshing drink.
The highlight of our trip was visiting vineyards that were only a 20 minute taxi away. We’d assumed you’d need to drive for ages across France to do this or pay for an expensive group tour, but we ended up taxi hopping at a fraction of the price. The Ch de Bellet vineyard is based in an old chapel and has breathtaking views with a simple wine tasting. In fact, the view was so good we FaceTimed our family to share it with them! Other local family vineyards also allow you to book tastings with a sunny tour of their vineyard, and it really feels like authentic rural France.
We can’t wait to go back to CÔte D’Azur. It catapults you into rural France so quickly, and there’s so much more we want to see.
Helen and Rebekah x