A few weeks ago, Hubby, the bear and I went on a lovely holiday to Nice, France. A thorough search on Tripadvisor found us a beautiful apartment with a view to die for.
We were extremely blessed with the weather – it was dry, warm and sunny, daytime temperatures reaching 26 degrees celsius on some days. A far cry from wet and windy London.
The holiday was a last hurrah of sorts before the bear started nursery and I headed back to work. Our main goal was to spend quality time together, wind down and recharge our batteries.
We had no real agenda. On our first day, after having checked into our apartment, we went for a drive to find our bearings. A check on the SatNav showed there was an E.leclerc supermarket not too far from us. Call me lame, but I was excited to be back at E.leclerc which was my stomping ground during our holiday in Northern France back in August/September. I remember delightfully checking out shelf after shelf of groceries, their in-store fishmonger, vegetables, fromagerie, butcher and even their baby section.
I wanted to stock up for dinner and we bought sole from the fishmonger and round courgettes, lemon and potatoes from the veggie section.
Whilst I was having fun with grocery shopping, Hubby and the bear stumbled upon a petting zoo on the other side of the shopping centre. Hubby and I had so much fun showing the animals (lamb, goat, duck, rabbits, piglets) to the bear, we came back again the next day (and the day after!)
We were all tired after setting off early from London and wanted to get baby girl settled in for the evening back at the apartment. Dinner was pan-fried sole, courgettes and potatoes – all cooked with butter, lemon and Herbs de Provence. Simple but delicious.
We woke up to clear, blue skies and warm sunshine bathing through our balcony. We had certainly struck the weather lottery on our October holiday. What shall we do today? I suggested a drive to Italy and after consulting several guidebooks left by our gracious host, we decided on San Remo, via Monaco.
The coastal route had breathtaking views of the French Riviera, enough to divert your attention from the steep and windy roads! The traffic into Monaco was rather busy, there were plenty of high-rise buildings, fancy boats and yachts and the sea was glistening like diamonds against strong rays of the midday sun.
The traffic made it impossible for us to park somewhere and go for a stroll. We decided to get out of Monaco, and head towards San Remo for lunch.
The drive to San Remo hardly took any time at all on the motorway from Monaco. Upon arriving, we parked the car, declined the offer of luxury watches from street vendors and made our way to Restorante Pizzeria Torrino. Hubby and I shared a Pizza Napoletana (too hungry to snap a photo) and a lovely Pasta Vongole. The bear had a taste of both, but I think she preferred the pizza – her first taste of Italy!
As the height of tourist season was over, San Remo was pretty quiet. A drive around town ensued, and we decided to head back to Nice. We drove back on the motorway to Nice, and it was quite hairy to be honest, with trucks speeding at 100km/h and little cars literally flying past us. As we exited the motorway, we decided to go back to see the animal farm at E.leclerc. I bought some squid and scallops for the next night’s dinner. That night, we had more sole and courgettes, washed down by a glass of wine each before calling it a night.
Hubby and I were in Nice in 2009 to attend a friend’s wedding at Cap Ferrat followed by a reception at a grand Chateau up on a steep hill, which was booked out by Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis the week before the wedding. Pointless name dropping there, but I remembered talking to some exciting guests who had caught a glimpse of both celebrities.
During the wedding, Hubby and I stayed at a lovely B&B in Villefranche-sur-mer, around 25 minutes drive from Nice centre. We decided to take a trip down memory lane with the bear in tow. The seaside town was as pretty as we remembered it, and it was another glorious day.
We stopped for coffee and crepe, and counted our blessings to be able to enjoy a lovely family holiday in October.
We then retraced our steps (or more like carbon footprint) back to Cap Ferrat – more breathtaking views of the sea, mountains and luxury boats!
Dinner that night was another home-cooked fare. Pan-fried scallops and battered-squid, more courgettes and potatoes. The scallops were sweet and the squid incredibly tender. We used up the last of the butter and lemon, all bought from E.leclerc at the start of our stay.
Whilst researching our trip, I had read up on Saint-Paul-de-Vence and was keen to visit. Hubby didn’t need much convincing, and it was a quick 30 minutes drive from Nice centre heading inland. Saint Paul is a stunning medieval town, and there were plenty of galleries, boutiques, arts and crafts as well as souvenir shops. We spent a good few hours browsing and taking in the sights and atmosphere. I’ve mentally bookmarked Saint Paul for a return visit. Wear comfortable shoes though as the town is perched on a hill, and cobblestones are aplenty.
We bought me a lovely leather bracelet, stopped for lunch at Restaurant La Terrasse Panoramique, rested our feet whilst tucking into gelato and many hours later, finally bade farewell to the lovely town of Saint Paul.
That evening, we went on what was intended to be a leisurely drive on the coastal route, but got stuck in rush hour traffic in the centre of Nice. Thankfully, we managed to find our way out and got back on track.
Our trip was coming to an end , we’d had a fantastic time together as a family and the bear couldn’t be happier.
Where to next, Hubby?