Thursday, September 29, 2011

French Riviera: Villefranche-sur-Mer, Monaco, Nice, Antibes Sept. 22- 27

We met up with our daughter Hazel and took day-trips to visit the cities in the area. Hazel went to school near Nice so she knows the area well and was our tour guide. Monaco and Nice are less than 30 minute train rides away, and our boat was anchored right by the train station! Summary impressions:

Monaco: Beautiful, compact city/principality. Mega yachts filled the entire bay. Everything is meticulously clean and tidy. It’s like an expanded version of Disneyland. They also have rules for visitors: no bare chests are allowed, and proper shoes are required. The casino ground is impeccably done, and is quite a sight at night with the lights. We returned a second day to visit the aquarium; very impressive.

                                Villefranche-sur_Mer dawn view from 3Rivers

                                The garden at Villa Ephrussi di Rothschild


                                Dress code

                                         Cousteau Aquarium

                                          Monte Carlo (left) & Hotel de Paris (right)

Nice: A large city with a nice city center and a large old town. The citadel overlooking the city has been turned into a large park and is great for walking. The downtown is nicely laid out, with a central promenade and a large park. The water fountain at the square used to have a bronze statue, which has been replaced with an ugly non-descript cement one. Overall a nice, lively city.

Antibes: Catching the morning breeze which seems to come alive at 9:00 and dies by 11:00, we sailed the short hop of 10 miles from Villefranche to Antibes. We found good holding ground outside the marina, which with a capacity of 1,500 boats is the largest marina in the Med. Antibes is a beautiful seaside city. It doesn’t have much in the way of grand buildings or magnificent downtown, but the seaside is lined with beaches, parks, and grand mansions. The city is also small enough to be safe to walk anywhere. The city is known to be posh, like its neighboring Riviera cities, but it has an unpretentious feel.

Antibes marina - the biggest in Europe

                                        Pastries in St-Tropez

                                    The Nomade at Antibes

                                   The well-to-do at Antibes

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