Côte d’Azur Road Trip
Menton. Roquebrune Cap Martin. Monaco. Nice.
Cannes. Saint Tropez. (+ everything in between)
I shared one of my favorite spots along the French coastline yesterday and today I’m going to share a broader take on the Côte d’Azur. We felt a little adventurous near the end of our stay in the South of France and one day we decided to wake up early and drive to Menton, located on the French/Italian border, and then work our way westward along the coast to St Tropez. We made stops in Menton, Monaco, Cannes and Saint Tropez. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much beauty in one day …
Starting the day in Menton, the Italian influences were apparent and abundant, the colors bright and cheerful.
This rainbow wash of colour on these homes in Menton made me think of citrus-flavoured sorbets … tangerine, citron, melon, grapefruit, anyone? We crossed the Italian border just because we could, took a pic or two …
… and then headed right back to our beloved France …
We had to stop in Monaco. Marble sidewalks, McLarens, Monte Carlo and, of course, Princess Grace … it was nothing like I had imagined … it was soooo much better.
What’s that saying – save the best for last? That’s exactly how I felt on this day. The sun was sinking and the sky was saturated with dreamy pastel hues as we made our way to St Tropez …
And here’s what was waiting to meet us:
I travel frequently but it’s not too often that a place really ‘clicks and sticks’ with me. The first time I flew into NYC and saw the skyscrapers stacked like legos with the occasional cloud intercepting my vision, something clicked. The island seemed to hold so much promise and hope – it was more than just visually beautiful. The energy and inspiration seemed fully tangible looking down on the city from above. (Queue the Jay-Z song …) That instant, that first view of the city, has always stuck with me. And that’s the same kind of feeling I had when we walked around the corner and my eyes first took in the harbour of St Tropez. Something clicked. The moonlight glistening on the still and amazingly blue-green water, the row of skinny pastel homes accented by the cafe and club lights, the incredible blue sky punctuated by the bright stars. That instant, that first view of the St Trop harbour, will always stick with me.
Even though we were obviously here in off-season (hah, try to look past the burgeoning crowds), we had to stop for drinks at Senequier (despite the non-people-watching views … boo!). In Spring 2011, Karl Lagerfeld hosted a Chanel test run in front of Senequier … if only we had planned a spring vacay!
Top Tips for a Road Trip across the Côte d’Azur:
– It was soooo much fun to drive along the twisty coastal cliffs of the Côte d’Azur. I would highly recommend renting a teensy tiny sports car (the more luxurious, the better) to really hug the curves and have some fun (extra points for vintage).
– We spotted a flea market in the town center of Nice but didn’t have time to stop. It would be fun to chart out a few markets and incorporate them in your itinerary for some one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
– If I were to choose a few spots to recommend spending a night or two, it would be the following: Menton (and it might be fun to head over to Italy and do a little exploring), Monaco, St Tropez, and Cassis.
– Common sense but if you want to do any celeb spotting, come in the hotter months. I actually really enjoyed the calm and quiet, the comfy temperatures and the non-existent crowds but whatever floats your boat, right? … I do have to admit, it would be pretty killer to see Kate Moss on vacay …
All images by Sarah Darcy of Classic Bride blog.