D and SC arrived from Paris on Friday afternoon. SC was all agog: the sunshine, the blue skies, and the warm weather were a dramatic change — for the better — from the subzero temperatures in Toronto and the snowfall in Paris. After a stop at the apartment the three of us headed down to Vieux Nice and dinner in Cours Saleya. It was a perfect afternoon for a walk and D and I showed him our favourite spots. We had dinner at a restaurant recommended by friends and then headed to the Promenade to walk off some of the food.
From the Promenade we drove the car up to the Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill) where we could see the entire city of Nice below.
Saturday was another perfect day to be out on the coast. D and SC went to the boulangerie and returned with pains au chocolate and a pain au raisin. After a quick breakfast we made our way through Vieux Nice with a stop at the Christmas village in Place Massena. We treated ourselves with roasted chestnuts and cheese and saucissons from Savoie.
By noon we were back in our car and off to Monaco for lunch. Instead of the A8 (highway) we took the Basse Corniche. Much to SC’s delight we stopped several times along the way to take photos.
We arrived in Monaco and after parking our car made our way around the marché de Noël at the port. We considered having crêpes or waffles for lunch but reason prevailed. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant on boulevard Albert 1er along the start/finish straightaway of the Monaco Grand Prix. With the 2011 Grand Prix in mind we hopped back into our car and drove the entire course of the Monaco Grand Prix. Of course, it took us a little more time to go around the course as we paused a few times to ogle the beautiful cars in front of the casino in Monte Carlo. (The highlight of our tour was following the course down avenue des Spélugues and then entering the tunnel behind the casino!)
We were shortly back on the road — this time the A8 — after our Grand Prix experience. We were still on a high and making plans for next year’s Grand Prix when we arrived in Cannes. We cruised the boulevard de la Croisette and window shopped at Hermès, Bulgari, and Giorgio Armani. From Cannes we made a brief stop in Antibes and wandered through the Christmas market near the old town.
As we were getting a little cold we headed back home. We elected not to head out for dinner as we were still stuffed from our late lunch. We settled in and had a light dinner from the saucissons (from the Montbéliard Christmas market), cheese, olives, and the rest of the morning’s baguette.
Sunday was a quiet morning in Nice for SC. After a late and filling breakfast we piled into the car for the drive to the airport. Needless to say, SC was in no hurry to head back to Toronto; however, his mini holiday was over. We said goodbye to SC and it was back to the car for me and D. The sunshine beckoned and we answered and off we went. We drove back to Nice along the Promenade des Anglais and picked up the Moyenne Corniche and headed east to Villefranche-sur-mer.
I have to say that the views from Villefranche have to be among the best in the Riveria. From the Moyenne Corniche you have views of the rade de Villefranche, the ports, as well as St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
We continued along and made our way to Èze. (For a little info on Èze see Wikipedia or for visit the village’s tourist office.) We wandered through the medieval village and found ourselves in the jardin exotique d’Èze. While the collection of cacti and succulents had me thinking of the desert in California, it was the view from the garden that took my breath away. I could almost imagine myself at the top of the world.
D and I were in a travelling mood and from Èze we continued eastward, this time along the Grande Corniche, through La Turbie and Beausoleil then descending along the Moyenne Corniche through Roquebrune. We eventually found ourselves in Menton. (You have to know that we briefly entertained ideas of continuing east to Italy.) Instead, we found a spot by the sea and treated ourselves to ice cream.
We headed home while the sun set and with thoughts of repeating the trip in the future. Our immediate future, however, includes an early departure on Friday for a week in Coustellet with les parents. Visions of oysters and la mamie’s escargots are already dancing through my mind! After Coustellet, D and I head to Toronto for 3 weeks. I’m not sure if I’m ready for the cold weather but I am ready for some of my mother’s amazing cooking!
Between now and Friday I have one afternoon of Christmas shopping to complete my list. Then, it’s clean up and pack up for our 3 weeks on the road. I will be posting while on the road so à très bientôt mes amis!