The French Riviera is a summer getaway of many Hollywood actors and famous artists from all over the world who own luxurious holiday homes here in almost every town along the coastline. Local people will be more than happy to share with you some stories about celebrities coming here in the summer season and to show you their villas.
The medieval village of Èze, nestled in a scenery of craggy cliffs 400 meters above sea level offers awe-inspiring views of the French Riviera and is truly one of the highlights of the South of France. Walking along a delightful maze of never-ending narrow streets while admiring walls covered with flowers will make you feel like each building in the village is trying to tell you the story of its past and famous past visitors. One of them was Walt Disney, who stayed in Château de la Chèvre d’Or hotel. Sooner or later you will come across this place walking along the streets full of local craft stores, restaurants, galleries and workshops. On the top of the hill you will find a must-see spot that you cannot miss! It is the Jardin botanique d’ Èze, the second most beautiful botanical garden in the French Riviera (after a majestic one in Monaco that boasts an impressive cave). The botanical garden in Èze offers astonishing views of the French Riviera, which inspired Friedrich Nietzsche while working on his most important work ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None’. The entrance to the botanical garden costs 7 Euro.
Saint-Paul de Vence
Another impressive town that is a pretty little reminder of the area’s medieval past is Saint-Paul de Vence. From the distance the Old Town in Saint-Paul de Vence looks like a nest. It was built on a small ellipse-shaped hill and surrounded with a high wall. It has become a must-visit destination for artists from all over the world who started coming to this town in 1920. The artists who visited this place were Picasso, Dufy, Matisse and Marc Chagall, who lived in Saint-Paul de Vence for 19 years and was buried on a local cemetery, just next to the entrance on the right. The urban tale says that artists were staying in the hotel with Colombe d’Or restaurant, just in front of Old Town walls, and were paying for their stay to the owner with their works. The town was also visited by movie stars such as Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren and Catherine Deneuve.
The town might not be famous for its tourist attractions, but it is a great attraction itself. The main street Rue Grande will take you from the Vence gate (Porte de Vence) to the cemetery and on the way you will come across countless local galleries, shops, restaurants and art workshops. One of the most photographed spots in the town is the fountain in La Grande Fontaine square, which was the most important place in Saint-Paul de Vence in the Middle Ages.
Antibes, former Greek town of Antipolis, is situated halfway between Nice and Cannes. This charming town provides spectacular views of the sea and mountains at once. In the area you will find up to 48 beaches, a few yacht ports and Picasso Museum. But there is so much more to see there! Antibes is the only town of the French Riviera that has a view of both Nice, the Maritime Alps and crystal blue sea. It has a very turbulent history being founded by the Greeks, then conquered by the Romans and attacked by pirates very often. Nowadays it is a popular summer resort that tourists eagerly choose as their holiday destination because of a convenient location and affordable prices of the access to the harbour.
Antibes’ tourist attractions to explore are The Old Town with its narrow streets as well as beaches for sun lovers. Walking along the Old Town you will undoubtedly come across the Provencal market (Le Marché Provençal). This is the place where you can daily buy fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, seafood, spices and local products. You should definitely taste a local speciality – socca, which is a crepe made from chickpea flour cut into small pieces served in a cornet and powdered abundantly with freshly minced pepper.
Just next to the Provencal market you will find a unique bar, where absinthe is served and there is also the Museum of Absinthe, where you won’t have problems to communicate in English and of course will have a chance to drink this strong alcohol (Absinthe Bar, 25 Cours Massena).