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Villefranche is truly a jewel. According to legend, Hercules opened his arms and thus created Villefranche Sur Mer. A deep horseshoe harbour surrounded by a pretty pink and yellow fishing village that dates back to medieval times. Above the little village can be seen spectacular villas dotted on the steep mountain behind. A number of these beautiful properties are available to rent from Sunlight Properties for your next holiday. Across the bay is the verdant peninsula of St. Jean Cap Ferrat; and within the village the striking citadel. The word breathtaking, we know is much over used, but genuinely applies to this stunning little spot – natural and man-made beauty harmonise perfectly together. It is only 7 minutes by train from Nice , so easy to visit from your holiday rental apartment in Nice with frequent train and bus services (10 minutes by Bus 100 or 81 will take you to Villefranche from the centre of Nice, visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com).
The waterfront quai Amiral Courbet is lined with cafes and restaurants as well as fishermen with gnarly hands repairing their nets. There is a small square behind the yacht club that has various markets throughout the week. Rue Obscure is a rare medieval covered street, used as recently as WWII to provide shelter to the village’s inhabitants. The town is fortunate to have a sandy beach (relatively rare on the Côte d’Azur) that locals and tourists flock to. We have some exquisite holiday villas to rent in Villefranche, from which you can enjoy this port of call where there is always a vibrant mix of people and a great atmosphere. Jean Cocteau stayed here for a period of time and painted beautiful frescos inside the quaint, seaside chapel of St. Pierre. The citadel contains a series of little museums, which are well worth a visit to see the exhibits as well as the beautiful harbour views. Many of the holiday villas to let in the Sunlight Properties portfolio enjoy these same magnificent views.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays the square above the Old Town known as Jardin Francois Binon (by the Basse Corniche) has a market selling all sorts of fruit, vegetables and delicacies. Grab your basket or ‘pannier’ and take some fresh produce home to your holiday villa in Villefranche. If you are feeling energetic there is a coastal walk that follows the direction of Nice – it’s quite steep in places and a bit rough – so only suitable for those with a good level of fitness and comfortable walking shoes. The path takes you past some lovely rocky coastline and through native brush sprinkled with wild flowers, all accompanied by the scent of Mimosa. It eventually takes you up to the ‘Basse Corniche’ road from which you can return to Villefranche admiring the views over the bay, St. Jean Cap Ferrat andBeaulieu .
Coastal Walk from the village head South, past the ‘Gare Maritime’ (Ferry Terminal) and across the car park to a little pathway adjacent to the sea at the base of the citadel walls. You can follow this around to the marina and continue past the Marine Scientific Institute to the Sentier Littoral, which will eventually take you all the way to Nice.
Citadelle de St. Elme imposing 16th century fortress whose walls remain as do some of the original buildings. Within these little buildings dotted across the top of the fortress are a series of five petite museums. One of the best is Musée Volti dedicated to the sculpture of this artist who called Villefranche home. Entry Free.
Chapelle St. Pierre once used to store fishing nets until Jean Cocteau took to the interior with gusto and his paintbrush. The beautiful frescoes are available to view for a small fee. Quai Amiral Courbet. Open Tue-Sun. Entry €2.50.
Old Town meander around the old town and discover rue Obscure, a rare covered medieval street (it runs parallel to quai Amiral Courbet and is only one block above the waterfront). Rue du Poilu contains some little shops for browsing. When the cruise ships arrive in the harbour a quaint market mushrooms on Place Amélie Pollonais. On Sundays the same spot becomes an antique market.
La Mère Germaine is an institution in Villefranche; they’ve been serving fresh seafood and fish here since 1938. This is where Jean Cocteau elected to eat his daily meals. The tables are right by the waterside – perfect for people and yacht watching. 9 quai Amiral Courbet. Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner. Tel: 04 93 01 71 39. www.meregermaine.com
L’Oursin Bleu another one of the many restaurants situated beside the beautiful Villefranche bay, and one we recommend for its relaxed atmosphere; superior service and food. 11 quai Amiral Courbet. Tel: 04 93 01 90 12. Open for Lunch & Dinner.
Le Cosmo located in a pretty square, this laidback brasserie is a favourite with the Sunlight properties team due to its great variety of quality food and excellent Asian choices on the menu. The seating inside and out affords glimpses of the bay beyond the Gare Maritime. 11 plc Amélie Pollonais. Tel: 04 93 01 84 05. Open Daily for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. www.restaurant-lecosmo.fr.
L’Apartécharming restaurant with a little outdoor area and an intimate interior space at the beginning of rue Obscure. Sandrine and Beatrice serve delicious meals in a relaxed environment. ‘Capsule’ their little Westie dog is always on hand to help out with the service! 1 rue Obscure. Open Tue-Sun for Dinner only. Tel: 04 93 01 84 88.
Welcome Hotel Pier Bar Domenic and his team are a real delight, providing fabulous service with personality from 4pm everyday. This is such a great spot to watch the world go by whilst enjoying a delicious aperitif – and where you will frequently find the Sunlight Properties team after a hard day’s work! The Welcome Hotel is situated right beside the water and has a splendid indoor/outdoor terrace. 3 amiral Courbet. Open Daily from 4pm to Late. www.welcomehotel.com
Achill’s Benoit and Thomas will do their best to help you ‘chill’ at the bar and restaurant ‘Achill’s’. Their terrace is one of the last places to receive the afternoon sun, making it a favourite with the cocktail crowd. We love their Margueritas. 2 Amiral Courbet. Open Daily Early to Late.
Beaulieu is an attractive and elegant little town by the sea, only 10 minutes by train from Nice (or 15 minutes by Bus 100 or 81 from the centre of Nice), visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com), with belle époque architecture, some excellent restaurants and cafes, palm trees, and even a casino. A stroll along the seafront promenade will allow you to see some of these belle époque treasures including Villa Leonine the former home of the Marquess of Salisbury. Sunlight Properties has some beautiful holiday rental villas available here, to see our portfolio of holiday lettings in Beaulieu click here: Property Search.
One of the many elegant hotels in Beaulieu is La Reserve, which also has a Michelin star restaurant. The hotel was built by the former owner of the New York Herald, Gordon Bennett. The same gentlemen who as a publicity stunt sent a certain Mr. Stanley out to Africa to ‘rescue’ the Scottish explorer Dr. Livingstone, and who apparently utter those famous lines: “Dr. Livingstone I Presume?”.
Beaulieu has one of the warmest climates on the Côte d’Azur as it’s protected to the North by a spectacular rocky cliff face. It is also home to the Villa Kerylos, built in an exquisite spot beside the sea by the eccentric archaeologist Theodore Reinach. The building was designed to resemble an ancient Greek villa. Authentic techniques and precious materials were used throughout to create lavish inlaid furniture, mosaics, and frescoes. The villa contains original Greek ornaments and a sculpture gallery. Apparently Theodore was such a stickler for authenticity that he would even hold Greek ‘symposiums’ where the women were banished and the men would recline on low loungers, attended to by servants whilst they held their discourse. Beaulieu makes for a great spot from which to rent a holiday villa due to its centrality, waterside location, and tranquillity. We have holiday villas to rent close to this lovely spot.
From the town there is an excellent walking trail that starts in Beaulieu-Sur-Mer and follows the water’s edge to the port of St. Jean past the pretty pink villa that once belonged to David Niven and the site of some legendary parties!
Villa Kerylos authentic ancient Greek villa beside the sea. The architecture, and also the furniture surprisingly appear timeless. Impasse Gustave Eiffel. Open daily 10am-6pm/7pm; and Nov-Feb: 2pm-6pm Mon-Fri & 10am-6pm Sat-Sun. Entry €10. www.villa-kerylos.com
Coastal Walk to the West of the Villa Kerylos is a little beach. This lovely walk is one of our favourites on the Côte d’Azur. It starts on the Western side of that beach and makes for a very pleasant 20 – 30 minute walk to the town of St. Jean.
Shopping the best shopping street is boulevard Marechal Leclerc where you can find some antique stores and boutiques.
La Raison Gourmande charming setting for this modern cuisine. Bistrot style at lunch and more sophisticated for dinner. 4 ave du Marachel Foch. Open Mon-Sat for Lunch & Dinner. Tel: 04 93 01 13 12. www.laraisongourmande.com.
La Réserve de Beaulieu contemporary, inventive cuisine served in elegant seafront gardens. The refined dishes have incredible flavours with a Mediterranean influence. Their specialty dishes favour fresh fish and seafood. 5 blvd Marechal Leclerc. Tel: 04 93 01 00 01. www.reservebeaulieu.com.
Bar Le Cap decorated in an ‘Out of Africa’ style this elegant bar in the beautiful Hotel Royal Riviera is the perfect spot for a Martini overlooking the perfectly manicured gardens and pool. 3 ave Jean Monnet, Beaulieu Sur Mer. Open Daily. www.royal-riviera.com.
The site of some of the most expensive real estate in the world, a long, lush peninsula with a beautiful rocky coastline and villas to die for - owned by Russian oligarchs, aristocrats and celebrities. The trend to build your villa on this spectacular peninsula was started by the Belgian King Leopold II when he built ‘Les Cedres’ on the Western side of Cap Ferrat. Today the park that once belonged to the estate is home to the Parc Zoologique. In 1906 King Leopold built the magnificent Villa Mauresque for his priest, which was subsequently purchased by the English writer Somerset Maugham. Sunlight Properties can offer you to let for your next holiday some of these incredible villas, where you too can enjoy the elegance and tranquillity of St. Jean Cap Ferrat. To see some of these magnificent properties you can call home whilst on holiday click here: Property Search.
The walk around the peninsula enables you a glimpse of some of these palatial homes, and will also take you past some lovely beaches including Paloma that has a wonderful little restaurant right on the beach. St. Jean Cap Ferrat is the address for one of the most beautiful villas anywhere; built in the early part of the 20th century by Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild; this is a real highlight of the French Riviera and a must see, not only for the architecture but the magnificent gardens. Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild was an extraordinary woman with a passion for art and travel and the financial means to achieve her desires, one of which was the creation of her ‘dream villa’ on the Riviera. Combining Moorish and Italian architectural elements, the villa boasts Savonnerie carpets, Beauvais tapestries, Meissen porcelain, and Fragonard sketches. The French garden is designed to resemble the prow of a ship and at parties the staff wore sailor suits to enhance the illusion. There are various themed gardens as well: Florentine, Japanese, English, etc. Completed in 1912 Beatrice spent only 4 years there. Following the death in 1916 of her beloved husband she never lived there again. To get here from Nice you can take the train to Beaulieu Sur Mer and walk 20 minutes along the Eastern side of the peninsula towards the town of St. Jean or go directly by bus in 35 minutes (Bus 81 from the centre of Nice will take you to the heart of St. Jean Cap Ferrat, visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com).
Musée Ephrussi de Rothschild one of the most beautiful villas and gardens on the Côte d’Azur. There is a little tea salon where you can sit in the garden and take in the sumptuous views. 1 ave Ephrussi de Rothschild, St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Open daily 10am-6pm/7pm; and Nov-Feb: 2pm-6pm Mon-Fri & 10am-6pm Sat-Sun. Entry €12. www.villa-ephrussi.com
Parc Zoologique over 500 animals amongst a luxuriant jungle of pines, aloes, and eucalyptus. 117 blvd General de Gaulle, Cap Ferrat. Open Daily.
Coastal Walk from the town of St. Jean follow the signs to the beautiful Paloma beach (you can stop at the restaurant of the same name which sits right on the beach for lunch or dinner). The path continues past the beach and follows the entire perimeter of the peninsula. There are some lovely rocky stretches on the Western side of the cape. Sunlight Properties is fortunate to have villas available to rent for your next holiday along this spectacular coastline, click here to view: Property Search (2).
Shopping St. Jean is a tiny place but there are a few little shops on avenues Mermoz and Denis Semeria.
Le Panorama modern cuisine is served from this elegant restaurant found in the equally elegant Royal Riviera hotel. The views of the bay and the beautiful Villa Kerylos, are as the name would suggest - gorgeous. Sunday brunch is very popular. 3 ave Jean Monnet, St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Tel: 04 93 76 31 00. www.royal-riviera.com
La Voile d’Or delicious Provençal food with a focus on seasonal ingredients and fresh, local fish. Meals are served on a terrace with sea views. 7 ave Jean Mermoz, St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Tel: 04 93 01 13 13. www.lavoiledor.fr.
La Pergola traditional cuisine served beside the pool in a chic brasserie. 3 ave Jean Monnet. Tel: 04 93 76 31 00. Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner.
Le Cap beautiful classical dishes with a modern twist and an amazing selection of wine (they even have Château d’Yquem 1893). The terrace is lovely. 71 blvd General de Gaulle. Tel: 04 93 76 50 26. Open Tue-Sat for Lunch & Dinner. www.ghcf.fr.
Paloma Beach this delightful restaurant is right on the beach. The Sunlight Properties team adore this place, not just for the location, as the food and service are also excellent. They will even provide a water taxi to fetch you if required. 1 Chemin de St. Hospice, St Jean. Tel: 04 93 01 64 71. Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner from Easter to the end of Sep. www.paloma-beach.com
Club Dauphin grilled fish and meat with excellent flavours served on a pretty terrace by the pool. Access to the restaurant is via a private funicular. 71 blvd General de Gaulle. Tel: 04 93 76 50 21. Open Daily for Lunch only.
The Bar, Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat champagne based cocktails are a speciality and unique creations by their celebrity barman Jean-Luc Bardin; plus a huge range of single malt whiskies. Extremely elegant bar designed by one of Frances’s most well known interior decorators. If you seek a place to get dressed up, sit quietly and sip on a perfect Martini – then this is the place. Open Daily with live music in the high season. 71 blvd General de Gaulle. Open Daily. www.grand-hotel-cap-ferrat.com.
Eze is a perfectly preserved medieval village that sits majestically on top of a craggy clifftop some 427 metres above the sea. The views are truly spectacular. On a clear day you can see all the way to Corsica. The maze of tiny streets are home to a few inhabitants, the odd café, restaurant and craft boutique. Eze is quite magical – organically built and yet so perfect with bougainvillea and jasmine vines intertwined with stonewalls and houses. At the top are the ruins of a 14th century castle destroyed in the 18th century. To get to this point you enter through the Jardin Exotique (Exotic Garden), which has little meandering paths and is filled with cacti and sculptures. The 18th century church has a bust of Christ made from olive wood that miraculously survived terrible fires in 1986. Another attraction of this village is the Chèvre d'Or (Golden Goat) - a hotel, restaurant and bar which is composed of a series of village houses. Well worth a visit to admire the views and beautiful terraced garden filled with sculptures. Bus 112 will get you to Eze from Nice in 30 minutes (visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com). By car you can take the Moyenne Corniche. Or alternatively we have villas in the area of Eze and La Turbie for you to let for your next holiday, to view these properties click here.
Below the medieval village of Eze can be found Eze Sur Mer, which is where the trains stop. The beach here is a long stretch of sand and a great spot for bathing. The nearby town of La Turbie is dominated by the spectacular vision of the Trophée d’Auguste, a huge Roman monument built from local white stone. It marked the boundary between Italy and Gaul. Its construction was ordered by the Roman Senate in the 6th century to honour the conquering of 44 Ligurian tribes by Augustus in the year 13 B.C. In the 4th century St. Honorat chipped away at it because it had become the object of pagan worship. It was then partly destroyed in 1707 on the orders of Louis XIV through fear of it falling into enemy hands during the invasion of Provence. Restoration began in 1905 by an American, Edward Tuck. Access to La Turbie is via the wonderfully named road the ‘Grande Corniche’.
Jardin Exotique these lovely gardens filled with succulents and sculptures lead to the summit and ruins of the former castle. The views are heavenly. Rue du Château, Eze. Open Daily. Entry €4.
Church – Our Lady of the Assumption beautiful 18th century baroque church on the Northern side of the village of Eze. Open Daily. Entry Free.
Musée du Trophée des Alpes there is a small museum on site and spectacular views of St. Jean Cap Ferrat (19), Eze and Monaco (21). Ave Albert 1er, La Turbie. Open Tue-Sun: 9.30am/10am-1pm/1.30pm & 2.30pm-5pm/6.30pm. Entry €5.50. www.la-turbie.monuments-nationaux.fr
Eglise St. Michel Archange 18th century Baroque church built with stones stolen from the Trophée des Alpes. The church contains two fine paintings by the well-known Niçois artist Jean Baptist Van Loo. Ave de la Pinede, La Turbie. Open Daily. Entry Free.
Shopping both old towns of Eze and La Turbie feature a number of artist studios, galleries, and boutiques.
Château Eza magnificent sea views from this perch high above the French Riviera – and the cuisine is not to be outdone. Modern French food with delicate flavourings. Rue Pise, Eze. Tel: 04 93 41 12 24. www.chateaueza.com.
Château de la Chèvre d’Or one of the most famous restaurants along the French Riviera. The Hotel to which this restaurant belongs inhabits part of the medieval village that has grown out of the rocky outcrop high above the Mediterranean. The views are breathtaking, as is the food. Only the finest ingredients are used to create this modern French food. The service is outstanding. Rue du Barri, Eze. Tel: 04 92 10 66 66. Open Tue-Sun for Lunch & Dinner. www.chevredor.com.
Cap Estel impeccable service, lovely environment and modern, light cuisine. 1312 ave Raymond Poincare, Eze Bord de la Mer. Tel: 04 93 76 29 29. Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner. www.capestel.com.
Hostellerie Jérôme housed in a Cistercian refectory from the 13th century. The food is delicate and regional focussed. The restaurant has a fine collection of wine. Napoléon once stayed the night here. 20 rue Comte de Cessole, La Turbie. Tel: 04 92 41 51 51. Open Daily for Dinner only. www.hostelleriejerome.com.
Château de la Chèvre d’Or if you don’t fancy forking out for a meal you can enjoy the same views and good service at the bar. Rue du Barri, Eze. Open Tue-Sun. www.chevredor.com.
Few places are so famous or conjure up such images of glamour and sophistication, wealth and Lamborghinis as the words: Monaco or Monte Carlo. Sit in Café de Paris for the afternoon (adjacent to the Monte Carlo Casino and opposite the famous Hotel de Paris), and watch the people and cars that slowly circuit around the perfectly manicured roundabout - millions of euros of cars, jewels, and clothes go by – its fantastic entertainment. The Monte Carlo Casino has been the site of many a drama over the years. This is where Mata Hari shot a Russian Colonel with a jewel encrusted revolver after he tried to slip his hand down her cleavage! King Farouk was referred to as ‘the Swine’ due to the enormous amounts of food he would devour – eight roasted Guinea hens and 50 oysters before he would proceed to the tables and lose thousands. And this is where Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor the enormous Kohinoor diamond. You can add your own drama, by renting one of our holiday villas in nearby Cap d’Ail. To view our properties in this area click here.
But besides the glitz there is lots to see in Monaco including the Grimaldi Royal Palace, perched on top of a rocky promontory known by the locals as ‘le Rocher’. First built in the 13th century, it has been enlarged and altered over the centuries. There are beautiful frescos from the 16th and 17th centuries, gilt furniture, paintings and tapestries on the scale befitting the monarchy of Monaco. Concerts take place in the Cour d’Honneur. Le Rocher is also the site of the lovely Old Town of Monaco known as ‘Monaco Ville’; the cathedral where Grace Kelly is entombed, some delightful clifftop gardens, and the famous Oceanographic Museum where Jacques Cousteau was based for much of his professional life. The building itself rises dramatically out of the clifftop and makes quite a sight from the sea.
For botanical lovers the Jardin Exotique that opened in 1933, is an extraordinary garden mixing sculpture and plants, with an impressive collection of succulents planted into the rocky mountainside. At the base of the garden is a prehistoric cave, 60 metres below ground, with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites formed over the millennia. The location means you enjoy beautiful views over the entire principality of Monaco. Further East and closer to the seafront is a delightful Japanese garden with all things designed to replicate a full size landscape of mountains, hills, waterfalls, beaches, and streams, all in miniature, within 7,000 Mô.
From your holiday apartment in Nice to the glamour of Monte Carlo it’s only 25 minutes by train. Or you can take Bus 100 from the centre of Nice to Monaco in 45 minutes, visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com. You can take Bus 112 from Nice to Cap d’Ail in 45 minutes. Alternatively you can let a holiday villa just outside of Monaco to participate in the nearby highlife, click here to view our villas to let in Cap d’Ail.
Cap d’Ail is a charming and elegant haven beside the sea. The smell of pine fills the air due to the profusion of these trees here. The rocky coastline is stunning; however there is also a beautiful white sandy beach, perfectly sheltered as it’s wrapped by rocky headlands. Cap d’Ail feels off the beaten track due to its tranquillity yet being just around the corner from Monaco, it is the perfect place from which to explore the Ranier principality.
Palais Princier the Grimaldi Royal Palace is open to the public for part of the year. The changing of the guard occurs outside the front entrance daily at 11:55am. Plc du Palais, Monaco Ville. Open Daily: Apr-Oct 10am-6pm. Entry €8 (includes audio guide). www.palais.mc.
Jardin Exotique set high up the hill with beautiful views over the entire principality is this extensive collection of exotic plants. The most spectacular of which is a ‘hypertrophied organ’ designed to store large reserves of water. Blvd du Jardin Exotique, Monaco. Open 15th May to 15th Sep: 9am – 7pm; 16th Sep to 14th May: 9am – 6pm or until nightfall. Entry €6.80. www.jardin-exotique.mc.
Japanese Garden the design respects the strict principles of Zen - harmoniously combining stone, water and vegetation. Ave Princesse Grace, Monte-Carlo. Entry Free. Open 9am until sunset.
Oceanographic Museum founded by Prince Albert 1 in 1910, this museum is set in a dramatic stone building that rises above the edge of the cliff. The aquarium is filled with all sorts of exotic marine life. Jacques Cousteau was the director of this institution for 30 years until 1988. Ave St. Martin, Monaco Ville. Open Daily. www.oceano.mc
Cathédrale originally the site of a 12th century church that was replaced in the 19th century with the current Neo-Romanesque structure. Princess Grace and her husband Prince Rainier III are both buried here. 4 rue Colonel Bellando del Castro, Monaco Ville. Open Daily. Entry Free.
Casino designed in 1878 by the famous baroque loving architect Charles Garnier (who designed the Opera house in Paris) the casino has a terrace on the seaside with exquisite views. The interior is all Belle Êpoque with opulent salons in which you can try your luck at roulette or blackjack. Plc du Casino, Monte Carlo. Open Daily from Midday.
Shopping the main shopping areas are to be found just off Plc du Casino in Monte Carlo such as ave de la Costa, allée Serge Diaghilev, ave des Spéulgues and on plc du Casino itself.
Vistamar this restaurant creates customised dishes as requested by its clientele. Situated by the Port with relaxing, modern décor. Square Beaumarchais, Monte Carlo. Tel: 98 06 98 98. www.montecarloresort.com
Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse from the maestro himself, Alain Ducasse, comes a restaurant that is perfection in every regard. Sumptuous décor at the Hotel de Paris, incredible Mediterranean flavours, wonderful service, exceptional wines – an evening to remember. Plc du Casino, Monte Carlo. Tel: 98 06 88 64. Open Wed-Mon for Lunch & Dinner. www.alain-ducasse.com.
Joël Robuchon Monte Carlo as with all Robuchon restaurants the envelope is always pushed with inventive combinations and food pairings. Set in a luxurious dining room which looks onto an open plan kitchen. 4 ave de la Madone, Monte Carlo. Tel: 93 15 15 10. Open for Lunch & Dinner. www.metropole.com.
Yoshi the second Robuchon restaurant at the Metropole Hotel with a focus on Japanese cuisine. Delicate soups, sushi, maki, etc. created with “yoshi” which means kindness in Japanese. 4 ave de la Madone, Monte Carlo. Tel: 93 15 13 13.
Restaurant La Pinède an institution on the Côte d’Azur, this restaurant is simple elegance, perched right by the sea. 10 blvd Raymond Gramaglia, Cap d’Ail. Tel: 04 93 78 37 10. Open Thu-Tue for Lunch & Dinner.
Le Bar Américain sophisticated low-key ambiance, impeccable service and live Jazz every night. We love to don something elegant and soak up the atmosphere – always some fascinating people to meet. Hotel de Paris, Plc du Casino, Monte Carlo. Open Daily from Early to Late. www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com.
Café de Paris if you are not prepared to pay the hefty prices at the Bar Américain across the road you can always come here. Find yourself a prime table overlooking the immaculately manicured roundabout and get dizzy watching the Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Bugattis, Ferraris . . .cruise by the adjacent casino. Plc du Casino, Monte Carlo. Open Daily Early to Late.
Along the wonderfully named ‘Grande Corniche’ is found Roquebrune. This village is accessible by train (30 minutes from Nice), however be warned that a seriously arduous march straight up the mountain awaits you. But the charm of the village of Roquebrune with its vaulted streets make it well worth the trip – and besides think about those ‘buns of steel’ you will have by the time you reach the top! Roquebrune is reputed to have the earliest feudal château in France - the sole remaining example of Carolingian architecture. Built in the 10th century by Conrad I, Count of Ventimiglia to thwart Saracen invasions, it was later remodelled by the Grimaldi family. In 1911, a wealthy, eccentric Englishman, Sir William Ingram bought the château and added a mock medieval tower.
At the bottom of the hill (and therefore far more accessible) is Cap Martin situated on a forested peninsula. At the beginning of the 20th century Cap Martin was ‘the’ place to be seen on the Côte d’Azur. Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III and Queen Victoria would spend their winters here. Later visitors included Coco Chanel, W.B. Yeats, and Winston Churchill. To add your name to the illustrious individuals who have stopped here you can rent one of our holiday villas in Roquebrune & Cap Martin, click here to view our properties. The well known architect Le Corbusier drowned off Cap Martin in 1965. Consequently there is a gorgeous coastal path named after the French architect. You can take Bus 100 from the centre of Nice to Roquebrune & Cap Martin in 60 minutes, visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com.
Château de Roquebrune interesting chateau dating back to the 10th century with a mix of architectural styles. Follow the signs when you arrive at the Old Town of Roquebrune. Open Daily.
Corbusier Coastal Walk one of the most beautiful walks along the coast passing by gorgeous villas and scenery. Starts near the Vista Hotel and follows the coast from Cap Martin all the way to Monte Carlo Beach, takes about 1½ hours one way.
Grottes du Vallonet the site of some prehistoric remains in caves nearby the village of Roquebrune.
Olivier Millénaire is the name of one of the world’s oldest living olive trees, believed to be at least 1000 years old. It’s located just outside the village of Roquebrune on the road to Menton.
Elsa beautiful dishes prepared simply with an emphasis on fresh fish and Mediterranean flavours. Ave Princesse Grace, Roquebrune Cap Martin. Tel: 04 93 28 66 66. Open Daily for Lunch & dinner. www.monte-carlo-beach.com.
La Vigie opposite the sea, a refined environment under the sun. For lunch there is a buffet and for dinner grilled fish. Ave Princesse Grace, Roquebrune Cap Martin. Tel: (+377) 98 06 52 52. Open Tue-Sun for Lunch & Dinner.
Les Deux Freres a combination of beautiful food and views. The menu is unapologetically Provençal with lamb and duck. In summer the tables are placed in the square providing a fabulous view of Monaco’s skyscrapers and the sea. We have villas in this area with equally spectacular views, why not select one to rent for your next holiday in the South of France: Property Search. Plc des Deux Freres, Roquebrune. Tel: 04 93 28 99 00. Open Wed-Sat for Dinner & Wed-Sun for Lunch. www.lesdeuxfreres.com.
Le Sea Lounge chic bar serving up cocktails and tapas, with nightly DJs beside the beach. Ave Princesse Grace, Roquebrune Cap Martin. Open Daily May to Sep from 4pm to Late. www.sealoungemontecarlo.com.
More Italian than French, sitting as it does right on the border, but only 35 minutes by train from your Nice holiday apartment. Menton is celebrated for its gardens and warm, mild microclimate and was consequently the destination of choice for many famous people over the years who came here for their health. The town is very attractive especially when viewed from the end of the pier – this always makes for a magical photo. There are a number of attractions in Menton with museums dedicated to: Fine Art, Jean Cocteau, and Prehistory; as well as an interesting cemetery where a number of famous and infamous people are buried - each terrace is dedicated to a different religious faith.
The Palais de l’Europe is a fine Belle Êpoque building, which is now a cultural centre and sits beside the Jardin Bioves. The twin towers of the 16th century Baroque Basilica St. Michel are the centrepiece to the skyline of the Old Town. Above the marina is the area known as Garavan and is where you can find an adorable little villa called ‘Isola Bella’, which is where the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield lived in the 1920s whilst suffering from tuberculosis.
There are some lovely old hotels that line the waterfront and are very pleasant for an afternoon drink. Lovers of gardens must seek out this attractive town: visit the Jardin Botanique Exotique, Serre de la Madone and Val Rahmeh. Should you also be a lover of all things botanical, we have some gorgeous villas available for you to rent for your next holiday in Menton, click here to view. In the 1930s and 40s, an American, Major Lawrence Johnston, a gentleman gardener bought a choice estate in the village of Gorbio, 10 km Northwest of Menton, and spent two decades creating the Serre de la Madone - one of the horticultural masterpieces of the coast. He brought back exotic plants from his many trips to South Africa, Mexico, and China, and planted them in a series of terraces, with little pools and stone steps, and exquisite views.
Val Rahmeh is an exceptional property of 11,000 Mô, first created at the end of the 19th century by Menton aristocrats. It was owned by a number of notable individuals including Lord Radcliffe the former governor of Malta. In 1957, the aptly named Miss Maybud Campbell began work on the construction of this botanical masterpiece. The garden is only a 5 minute walk from the sea, and is highly regarded by botanical connoisseurs due to its rare ornamentals and subtropical plants.
Jardin des Colombieres is a private garden open to visits by appointment only through the Menton tourist office. It was designed by the writer and artist Ferdinand Bac, and is reputed to have the oldest Carob tree in France. The garden is filled with little features: rotundas, bridges, atriums, obelisks, etc. strategically placed to exploit the magnificent water views. We have luxurious villas with their own immaculate gardens for you to rent for your next holiday in the South of France, click here to view.
Jean Cocteau was also a fan of Menton and you can visit the Jean Cocteau Museum dedicated to this multi-talented artist. And if you are in town in February be sure to participate in the Fête du Citron. You can also take Bus 100 from the centre of Nice to Menton in 60 – 90 minutes (depending on if it is an express bus), visit the bus network site for further details: www.lignesdazur.com.
Serre de la Madone reopened by the town of Menton, following the restoration of both the villa and garden. It has become a must see destination for enthusiasts of rare and exotic plants. 74 rte de Gorbio, Menton. Open Apr-Oct: Tues-Sun: 10am-6pm; Dec-Mar: Tues-Sun: 10am-5pm. Entry €8.www.serredelamadone.com
Val Rahmeh Jardin Exotique this garden has exquisite water lily pools and fountains and attracts over 15,000 visitors a year. Ave St. Jacques, Menton. Open Wed-Mon: 10am-12.30pm & 2pm/3.30pm-5pm/6.30pm. Entry €6. www.jardinvalrahmeh.free.fr
Jardin des Colombieres was restored with the assistance of the state and is classified as a historical monument. Rte de Colombieres, Garavan, Menton. Open Daily between Jul 1 & Aug 9. Guided Tour €10.www.jardins-menton.fr/Jardin-des-Colombieres-jardin.
Musée Jean Cocteau formerly a 17th century fort, the conversion to a museum was overseen by the artist himself. Bastion du Port, Menton. Open Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm. Entry €3. www.tourisme-menton.fr/Musee-du-Bastion.
Cimetière du Vieux Château each terrace is for a different religious faith. The inventor of Rugby, Webb Ellis, as well as the assassin of Rasputin are buried here.
Musée de Préhistoire Régionale the collection includes a 30,000 year old skull known as ‘Grimaldi Man’ found locally in 1884. Rue Loredan Larchey, Menton. Open Wed-Mon: 10am-12pm & 2pm-6pm. Free Entry.www.tourisme-menton.fr/Musee-de-Prehistoire-Regionale.html.
Salle de Mariages decorated with frescos painted by Jean Cocteau in 1957. Hotel de Ville, plc Ardoino, Menton. Open Mon-Fri: 8.30am-12pm & 2pm-4.30pm. Entry €2.
Musée de Beaux Arts 17th century palace and former summer residence of the Princes of Monaco and now the home to Menton’s main art museum, which features Sutherland, Dufy, and Terechovitch. Palais Carnoles, 3 ave de la Madone, Menton. Open Wed-Mon: 10am-12pm & 2pm-6pm. Entry Free.www.tourisme-menton.fr/Musee-des-Beaux-Arts-Palais.html.
Shopping the best shopping streets in Menton are around and off the pedestrian street of rue St. Michel in the Old Town.
Auberge Pierrot-Pierrette a country restaurant 5 kilometres from Menton with a relaxed, family atmosphere serving such classics as duck a l’orange and homemade ravioli. There are also beautiful views. Plc de l’Eglise, Monti. Tel: 04 93 35 79 76. Open Tue-Sun.
Mirazur sleek, contemporary restaurant with wonderful views over the old town and the sea. Very special meals are prepared by the head chef Mauro Colagreco – always creative, always good. 30 ave Aristide Briand, Menton. Tel: 04 92 41 86 86. Open Wed-Mon for Lunch & Dinner. www.mirazur.fr
Le Petit Prince traditional cuisine served in a pleasant environment surrounded by palm trees and cacti. 4 ave General de Gaulle, Menton. Tel: 04 93 41 66 05. www.princedegalles.com
Balzi Rossi a few metres across the French border in Italy is this elegant dining spot with spectacular views from the terrace over the coast. The cuisine is focussed on fish and seafood in a Ligurian style. Via Balzi Rossi, Ventimiglia. Tel: 01 84 38 13 2. Open Wed-Sun. www.balzirossi.com
Bars along the Promenade du Soleil are a number of old elegant hotels with pleasant terraces across the road from the beach where you can sip on an aperitif. Or alternatively, rent a holiday villa from Sunlight Properties and enjoy that apero on you own terrace or in your own garden, click here to view our gorgeous villas:Property Search.