Read my impressions and find out about the beauty of France in Part I.
So, what to do when you are in France? A lot. And everything is wonderful.
A lot of aspects of southern France are included in here, since I know this part of France the best and I am there most of the time when traveling home. Paris will not be included in this post, because it deserves its own 🙂
The Côte d’Azur
You could literally spend weeks at the Côte d’Azur and still not have seen everything it has to offer. Put these cities on your list and you can then be able to check the south of France off your list.
Being one of the smallest countries in the world with only 2 sqkm, Monaco is definitely a must-see. Feel the more than classy and chic vibe in Monte-Carlo, if only for a day. The country is super small and has an interesting story. I love the oceanographic museum in Monaco and “Le Rocher”, the rock where the palace in built on. All the locals – especially the teens- hang out at the new port in restaurants such as Beef Bar.
Also known as “The Lemon City”, Menton should not be missing on your list. It is called so because the “Fête de Citron” (lemon festival) is carried out by Menton yearly. Another reason why you should definitely try the fruits the Côte d’Azur has to offer 😉 Furthermore, Menton is the first French city after the Italian border, which is why it has often changed between the Italian and French membership – ending with the certain membership of France. Furthermore, Jean Cocteau. has a meseum there which you should visit. It is very interesting. Yet, there is something else which draws everybody to this calm city: the quiet, uncrowded and sedate streets. The colorful houses remind one of Italy. If you stop on a street and listen closely, you won’t hear any chit-chat, but a coffee machine. This city is pure balsam to your soul. Relax in Menton before another city is turned into a tourist magnet.
3. Èze Village
A tiny town built upon a hill is truly a wonderful view. But the view you get from the hill is even better. You can best enjoy it at the hotel/restaurant “La Chèvre d’Or”. Be sure to walk the path leading to Èze Village (careful, not Èze-sur-Mer, that’s a different town!) and get lost on purpose trying to find out which narrow street will take you to the viewing platform, just to suddenly realize you’re standing in the most beautiful patio garden you may have ever seen.
Nice, Nice and again: NICE. The fourth largest city in France is an absolutely must-visit. Four days are enough to explore just the city itself – you have to visit the historic center though. It is my favourite part of the vibrant city by the sea. It is actually quite hidden. The path to the old town where you can see the most is when you walk the Promenade des Anglais – which is called so because the British queen Victoria once built her winter palace there because Nice was the city with the most sun days a year. Then turn to the city center and stroll past the many shops selling individual French fashion towards Place Massena. It is the iconic square of Nice. And just behind the statue of Massena there are a few houses. Take one of the small paths and you will land in between many narrow houses and find yourself in the middle of Nice’s historic center. Sit down for a café to experience the full beauty of a romantic city. The Notre Dame Cathedral is breathtaking, even ore by night. All of Nice looks magical when it’s nighttime and all the lights are on.
The best fish restaurant in Nice is “Boccaccio” and “Le Grand Café de Lyon “ will leave you speechless with its breakfast/snacks.
But don’t forget to stop at the Promenade des Anglais and pay your respects to the victims of the terror attack of July 14th 2016. I was there and the aftermath was horrible. A minute of silence won’t harm anyone.
5. Small towns along the coast
It would take too much time and space to list all these heartwarming French towns, so check out my travel map of the Côte d’Azur and fall in love 🙂
It is a very chic and classic city, all about to and to be seen. You can sip a glass of champagne for hours while watching the regattas, the International Film Festivals, the flour festival and so on. There are plenty of possibilities to purchase beautiful and elegant blouses and sandals. Feel like a real celebrity in Cannes for a day.
I was on an exchange in Pèzenas, only about an hour by bus away from Montpellier.
This city with about 400.000 inhabitants really surprised me. It’s actually the fastest growing city in France. It has a great location, with the ocean being just 10km away from Montpellier. It has a compact city center and cute medieval streets. Spend some time discovering Saint-Pierre Cathedral, a massive gothic cathedral. Montpellier even has a famous attractions: The Arc de Triomphe. It is much less crowded than its sister in Paris. A beautiful place to just hang and eat a crêpe in a small café is the Place de la Comédie. It’s the best place to be oh-so France and feel the vibrant city vibe.
What are you waiting for? Decide to go and see the most beautiful south of France!