18 July 2015

Ooh là là!...Mini Break to the South of France

Here it is, the much anticipated blogpost (Laura!) all about my recent trip to the South of France. :) 

Since this is going to be a lengthy and trés photo-heavy post (expect lots of rubbish 'Frenchisms' littered throughout - apologies in advance!! ha!) you may want to grab a cuppa or press pause on the Netflix series you're trying to watch whilst reading blogposts, checking your Instagram, messaging your friends....come on, who else does this?!

Anyway, I digress.

So, the weather has not been that great in the UK recently and after a challenging few months personally, we thought it would be nice to get away for a bit and explore a little around the French Riveria.   As you can imagine a lot went into planning the holiday wardrobe (I was picturing effortless beachwear, large hats, plenty of stripes, my french sole ballet shoes, high waisted shorts and loose but flattering dresses, oversized sunglasses - all very chic!) and nearly as much effort went into the itinerary - and I have to say I was really pleased with my planning in both aspects!

We left Heathrow on the Saturday evening, I obviously picked up a few make up bits in Duty Free - holidaying without Duty Free shopping isn't even an option for me! 

Flying into Nice is a great experience, the airport is right on the coast and the plane flies along the coast for a bit then turns into the airport.  It's a truly spectacular view and this picture doesn't really do it justice in all honesty - but you get my drift! 

We stayed at the NH Nice Hotel in Nice in one of their larger suites.  It was a good base for us because we planned to travel about quite a bit during our short time here.  I wouldn't describe it as perhaps the 'plushest' hotel I've ever stayed in but the decor was very contemporary, it had a nice 'trendy' modern vibe to it and the facilities were excellent.  It was also very clean - something I'm a huge stickler for! In addition to this, the views were exceptional from the rooftoop pool and terrace bar / restaurant. 


On Sunday, we decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and go and eat "Petit Déjeuner" in a more 'traditional' style at one of the Boulangerie / Patisserie style cafés that are literally everywhere in France! 

Sat with all the locals, dipping Pain Au Chocolat into what has to be one of the best tasting Cappuccino's I've ever tasted was oh. so. good! 

After a morning by the pool (determined to also relax a little on this holiday!) we got ready to go and explore Nice on the Sunday afternoon.  We headed to the Old Town of Nice since this is the nicest area and to be honest, I wasn't that interested in trawling across the promenade where a lot of holiday makers seem to gravitate towards (it's really tacky, commercialised and not really my cup of tea!)

Nice does have it's own tram system and in hindsight it probably would have been a good idea to use it to get down to the Old Town, nevertheless it was an interesting, sweat inducing walk! 

After walking around the gorgeous narrow little streets (see multiple pics below!!) we headed down to the Marina for a bit and slightly around to the tacky promenade area (until after about 5 minutes I decided I'd had quite enough and we should go back to the Old Town!) 

A couple of drinks back in the Old Town (whilst doing a bit of the all-essential people watching!) we hunted around for somewhere to have dinner (easier said than done, SO much choice here!!!) 

I stumbled across a gorgeous little authentic French restaurant called 'Chez Juliette'.  I lie, actually, what initially caught my eye were the aesthetically pleasing tables and table decorations! After googling it later on (as you do) I found out that it actually has very good reviews and the food was exceptional. Trés bien! 

Afterwards, whilst sauntering back we grabbed some ice-cream and I urge you try this if you're out there, some of the flavours are out of this world! I had amaretto and cappuccino (probably not the best served together if I'm completely honest though!) 

Monday was the day we chose to be all fancy and posh and headed off to Monaco. 

I can't deny the fact that I absolutely love it here.  Yes, it's ridiculously expensive.  Yes, everyone 'appears' to be super-rich.  Yes, you feel like you must fit in and therefore can't help behaving a bit 'hoity-toity' but it's FUN :) and I could come here and just 'watch' people all day and be suitably entertained! 

In the afternoon we sat and had drinks in the famous 'Cafe de Paris'.  Very busy, but a 'must do'.  It overlooks the famous square where the casino and hotel are located and nestled alongside is a flurry of designer shops :)

For the evening I'd booked a meal at the Horizon Deck Restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel.  To say this hotel was breathtaking would be an understatement.  Situated on the famous F1 hair pin bend this hotel sits right on the coast and has some of the best views in Monaco.  Within the hotel there is also a Nobu restaurant and the famous Nikki Beach club as well as a Champagne Bar on the same floor as Horizon.  

The food was sensational, not too ridiculously expensive (let's not beat about the bush here, it wasn't cheap, but then you wouldn't expect it to be really! - but it wasn't astronomically expensive is what I'm trying to say!).  There was nothing over complicated it about, just good food with some impressive quirky little touches (like my pipette of vinaigrette in my little gem lettuce!)

And after dinner....I kept snapping away, because of course, everything looked different when it was dark!

Feeling a little full and a little bit squiffy from the bubbles we tottered up the hill to Buddha Bar .  They serve amazing food here, but it's also a great spot for drinks or cocktails and is one of THE places to be seen in Monaco... and for those of you who are partial to shisha, you can sit and enjoy one here! :)

Our last day consisted of a mini-tour down to St Tropez :) 

This was, by far, my favourite day of the holiday because we got to see so much and it really was  such a beautiful and very picturesque drive (if you're planning to do this too, make sure you take the coast road and hire a smallish car - some of these roads are quite narrow!) 

We got up early and picked up our little baby....

First stop was a lovely little town called 'Antibes' (hunger pangs were the main reason for this stop!) 

I had been craving a Croque Monsieur since we touched down in Nice, and at a little café here, my craving was finally satisfied! 

Back to the car and a little bit further down the coast we arrived at the very famous 'Cannes'.  

Now, I have to be honest, this wasn't what I was expecting at all! It was rather more 'inconspicuous' than I thought.  I imagined something along the same sort of lines as Monaco but it was far less 'in your face'.  The coastline was stunning and if I was to stay in this region again I'd like to explore Cannes a little more because we were only here for a couple of hours. 

We stopped and had an ice cream whilst walking around the marina and took a few pics (standard!)

Following the coast road around quite a bit after this (stopping a couple of times for refreshments and snacks!) we eventually stopped at a quiet little beach in 'Sainte-Maxime' armed with a small picnic and sat in the sun for a couple of hours.

Quick costume change in the car and another hour or so down the coast and we finally reached our final destination, St Tropez :) 

Ever since I'd heard that Kate Moss holidays frequently here (and also the Beckhams!) I've always fancied coming here.  Now, I had NO idea what to expect at all really. St Tropez to me has always been a pretty reasonable tanning range and not a lot else! :)

Let's just say St Tropez over exceeded my expectations.  Such a pretty and quaint place and very unspoilt.  It almost has a 'village' feel to it, but don't be fooled.  The streets are lined with designer shops, high end restaurants and cafes and boutique hotels (including the Dior hotel - swoon!) 

After dragging the OH around shop after shop (and eying up several items in Valentino!) we sat down and had a coffee at Cabane Coffee in a cute little shopping arcade called 'Galerie de l'hôtel Sube Shortly afterwards I spotted the Dior 'So Real' dupe sunglasses in a little boutique window opposite the cafe and nabbed them when I discovered they were only €15!! 

Then, proceeded to admire myself in them at every angle in the car on the way back to Nice, there's something about reflective sunglasses isn't there!? Once I was bored of that, I tried to capture the sunset (poor attempts below!) 

We eventually got back to the hotel in Nice at around 9pm, had a quick shower and then headed out for some food in the Old Town of Nice again. 

On the last day I squeezed in a few more hours sun bathing in the morning before packing and heading back to the airport (side note - Nice Airport is not the best for shopping or food, especially when you get through security - my advice if you're looking for something to eat - grab something from the Joe & The Juice bar in the check-in area, much better choice of food! and buy all your duty free items on the way out to Nice!!) 

Although it was only a short break, I really felt like we packed a lot in and saw quite a bit. 

The South of France is a gorgeous place and somewhere I'd definitely go back to.  

No holiday blues for me....I've just booked a September trip to Dubai, which should be a good one because I'm going with my best friend Sian and we've never had a girlie holiday away together, plus looking forward to meeting up with some of the Doobie ladies! (you know who you are!)

Au Revoir for now!

1 comment

  1. Hey Lis! So it's 4.14am and jet lags a bitch what can I say? Loved hearing all about your holiday-I LOVE France, been to a Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo a few years ago. I would have been severely tempted to hit up Chanel given the state of the euro right now! Right, back to my chocolate digestives! Tres bien xx


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