Places like Nice, Monaco, Cannes and St Tropez may bring images of celebrities to the mind, but what really makes the French Riviera an attractive travel destination is its rich cultural heritage and fabulous sceneries.
The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera travel guidebook focuses on the coastal section of the Alpes-Maritimes region in southeast France (also known as the Riviera or locally, Cote d’Azur). The book covers the Riviera from Mandelieu to Menton, describing towns like Antibes, Grasse and Monaco, In addition, the book unveils Riviera gems tourist buses haven’t discovered yet.
I recently visited Cote d’Azur, and two things caught my eye: the popularity of cycling and camping. Road cyclists and mountain bikers are all over the place, especially, during the weekends. Often, in big groups. Sometimes, old men take it easy and chat more than pedal. The point is to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. Camp sites are open only from spring until autumn, and you won’t find many near the beaches, but on the hills and mountains.
Riviera is not only about the sun and the sea, but it is also about spectacular mountain sceneries and exciting activities. The city of Nice is much more than the Boulevard des Anglais – the old town, market places, galleries, restaurants and shopping streets are buzzing with locals and visitors. St Paul de Vence is advertised as the most visited medieval village, and that’s how it feels. Why not try Vence, a larger medieval village further up the mountain as the guidebook suggests?
My favorite place in the region is Antibes, but my travel companions like the mountains (Vence, Grasse) and the little bit more quiet side of the Riviera in Mandelieu.
The best thing with this travel guidebook is that it includes plenty of pictures. Some places reveal their characteristics in two or three photographs. It makes it easier to decide if a village or a town is worth a visit. All and all there are more places and things to do in the book for many weeks in southern France, even if you try to visit a new place daily.
Antibes on Cote d’Azur (Riviera) in Southern France is one my favorite towns. Once you leave the busy traffic of coastal roads behind, and approach the old town, the port and the Mediterranean Sea, you realize why so many French and foreigners want to visit or live in Antibes. The town is located between Nice and Cannes that everyone knows, but Antibes is even more charming than its more widely known neighbors.
The last time I visited Antibes, I drove directly to the large car park located by the port, and started walking. A bicycle is another good choice to explore Antibes – even the old town.
This trip to Riviera was one of the many that were required to collect information for the travel guidebook The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera.