Do you long to visit the clear blue sea on the southern coast of France? Does the French Riviera conjure up images of cerulean waves and warm sand? Does Monte Carlo sound like an elegant locale for your next vacation? Do traditional Provençal dishes sound like heaven on a plate? Then consider a trip to Monaco and the French Riviera on the Mediterranean coast of southestern France.
Monaco is an independent city-state on the French Riviera and the second smallest country in the world (only Vatican City is smaller). It is surrounded on three sides by France, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. On Sceptre’s French Escapade vacation package you will spend several days with Monte Carlo in Monaco as your homebase, with a rental car to facilitate your day trips in the area. Don’t forget to admiring your surroundings in Monaco, complete with stunning views of the Mediterranean coast and a rich history. Stop by the Old Town that includes the Prince’s Palace and see the Changing of the Palace Guards, drive the route of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix car race, or visit St. Nicholas Cathedral where Grace Kelly was married and is buried.
You may want to explore Nice and stroll down the Promenade des Anglais to check out the charming sidewalk cafes and sunny beaches there. Or visit Castle Park with its marvelous view of the Bay of Angels. If you are visiting in February, check out the lively Nice Carnival featuring six Carnival parades with seventeen floats and more than 1,000 dancers and musicians that travel the promenade to Place Masséna. This festival is also well known for its flower battles, when paraders on flower-decorated floats throw flowers to the crowds.
Traveling inland you can visit Grasse, considered to the the world’s capital of perfume, and St. Paul de Vence, an ancient walled city now known for its art museums and galleries. Èze, a hilltop town on the coast, has spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea but be sure also to explore this medieval town’s narrow cobblestoned streets with picturesque bougainvillea-covered buildings.
And of course don’t forget Cannes, home of the famous film festival (which incidentally begins this week). During the event, more than 30,000 movie stars, producers, and directors come to Cannes to promote their films. See the iconic red stairs of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and the Boulevard de la Croisette lined with palm trees.
The French Riviera (also called the Côte d’Azur) is in the province of Provence, and the cuisine there is not to be missed. Beyond the seafood, start with olive tapenade and aïoli to enjoy with a glass of rosé before moving on to a soupe au pistou or daube beef stew, and of course there is ratatouille and salade Niçoise which both originated in Nice.