I’m spending time at my home on the Cote d’Azur this Springtime.  Luckily I drive down from the Uk so load the car with lots of clothes and essentials!  I will share my what to wear tips with you and hope they may be useful if you plan a trip here too. My What to Wear on the Cote d’Azur in Spring!

Basically, take everything you possibly an fit in your suitcases – it can be cold, warm, sunny or rainy at this time of year.  Luckily we are enjoying glorious sunshine so I can wear my lovely new clothes.  I have packed my Christian Dior raincoat just in case!

 

Monaco Port wearing Burberry Jeans and Pinko Jacket

I have packed my Hotsquash London blue and white striped Nautical style top and pretty floral dress which are just perfect.  Hotsquash clothes are specially designed and have hidden technology in the fabric. There are two collections ne designed to keep you warm and one designed to keep you cool.  How clever is that!  Super chic but practical too.  I can testify that they do not crease in a suitcase either!

The cool collection with Coolfresh is designed to keep you cool and regulate your temperature.  The fabric is so soft and comfortable, a pleasure to wear.  Easy care too so perfect for my travel lifestyle.   The Warm collection is designed to keep you warm so you need fewer layers when the weather is chilly.

Hotsquash London was created in the UK and is a growing company with many loyal customers.

My gorgeous Hotsquash Top below, looks great doesn’t it!

Cafe de Paris, Monaco wearing Hotsquash Top, Louis Vuitton Sunglasses

Hot squash Top, Max Mara Trousers, Hermes Bag, Louis Vuitton Sunglasses

I love wearing my pretty Hotsquash dress.  Perfect for lunch out with friends.  Take a look at their website, such a great choice of wearable, gorgeous clothes!

Hot squash Dress, LK Bennett Shoes

Lovely Springtime dress, which will take me to so many different places during my  trip to France.

Cashmere Rebel http://www.cashmererebel.co.uk

I already have a lovely Pashmina from Cashmere Rebel and now I have a beautiful Summer Beach Scarf too!

Cashmere Rebel Summer Beach Scarf, Wolf and Whistle Swimsuit

Made from fine eco cotton, it is so versatile and I am wearing it as a Sarong, scarf, bandana and beach wrap! It costs £79 and you can buy online from Cashmere Rebel.

Cashmere Rebel Summer Beach Scarf, Max Mara Shirt, Burberry Jeans, Jimmy Choo Boots

Not just a beach scarf as you can see in my photo above! So versatile.  Remember, it can be very warm in the daytime but chilly in the evening.  Prepare for colder days too.  I always pack a blazer, so useful for dressing up or down and a classic.

 

 

Disclaimer: Some of the products and clothes are gifted to me. I only accept gifts from companies that I love and use all the time. If I write about something and say I like it, I really do like it and use it. Also, some of my trips are invitations or subsidised. I only go to places that I really like so my recommendations are always impartial.

 

Perched villages of the Cote d’Azur

eze

French peculiarities 

Before we get on to the perched  villages of the Cote d’Azur, I would like to mention that I have noticed some strange french characteristics after many years travelling to France.  France is a huge country and I’m not talking about the WHOLE country.  The people in northern France are very different and more akin to Northern Europeans in outlook and lifestyle.  No, I’m talking about the Eastern section of the Cote d’azur.  Here, they are a very singular, insular people and have developed some strange habits!  Well, strange to the rest of the world, perfectly normal for them of course.

Many is the time I have queued in a french supermarket in a rural area, only to blush bright red as the elderly gentlemen standing behind me discuss the size of my bottom – quite openly and unashamedly!  This is a daily occurrence, sexism laws just do not affect the french who blatantly ignore such dictate from the EU.  Oh, and they really do say ooh la la – a lot – again usually with reference to some part of my anatomy!  I was reminded of this at the weekend during my visit to St Agnes, victim again of casual sexist remarks.  I have concluded it is much better not to learn french and then you will be blissfully ignorant to all the insults. Xenophobia is rife and far right politics are popular in many  areas of Southern France.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know this is a huge generalisation, but xenophobia, misogyny and sexism are rife.  I don’t know how french women put up with it.  Oh another peculiarity is that cinq a sept really does exist!  If you don’t know what this is then Google it!  I think this explains the mad rushing about in cars, tooting horns and suffering from road rage

The beauty of the Cote d’azur more than makes up for these annoying french habits as does the food, politeness in general, delicious food and many other things!

 

There are over 120 perched villages on the Cote d’azur!  I’m just visiting a handful that are near my villa.  My visitors always enjoy them and I hope you will too.  It might give you some ideas for a day out – great to escape the heat of summer, it is always cool in the hills.

Eze

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The most popular with tourist is the Medieval village of Eze, perched dramatically above the sea.  Meander through the streets visiting tourist junk shops interspersed with some nice art galleries and stop the Chèvre d’Or for lunch.  If however, like me you avoid anywhere with tourist buses then visit in the evening when they have all gone home.  The village is dramatically lit at night too.

After Eze you can drive towards La Turbie –  good place to stock up for a picnic if you are planning an al fresco feast. Take a tiny road on the left going out of the village towards Menton signposted Peille.  Keep going until you come to Peille.

Peille

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This is my least favourite of the perched villages, maybe it is me but I find it slightly creepy and more shabby than chic!  Although it makes for a great photo with the 14c remnants of buildings.

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You may disagree but if not, just stop and take a few snaps and then retrace your steps a couple of kilometres and take a tiny road on the left to Saint Agnes.  The road alone is worth the trip breathtaking views and hairpin bends, quite an adventure!  This route is often used for car rallies and the sometimes the tour de France – you will see why!

Saint Agnes

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It looks like something from a fairytale doesn’t it?  A sign is proudly displayed at the entrance to the village stating it is one of the most beautiful villages in europe and at 800m the highest Littoral village in europe – quite a claim.  It is certainly very pretty and with an interesting history, including the church which dates in part from 1535.  At the southern end of the village you can visit a fort built into the cliff that was built as part of the maginot line of defences in the second world war.

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Village of St Agnes 

Another peculiarity of the french is that they will eat anything that moves!  Again, this is a leftover trait from times when food was scarce and one that is still practiced today.  All of the bits that we generally throw away, and even my dogs would refuse to eat, appear as delicacies on a french menu; brains, guts, tripe are very common.  They also have a love of hunting and freedom to hunt anywhere during the hunting season is still widely practiced today,also a tendency to shoot themselves by accident.

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little restaurants and art galleries in St Agnes

The food in the isolated villages is generally good and in season. I’ve eaten delicious fresh Trout in the restaurant above but you will also find rabbit and wild boar in season.  Well, after a good lunch you can get back into the car and drive down towards Menton.  Enough for one day!

To be continued …. Roquebrune Cap Martin and Eze in detail

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are only a personal opinion and any resemblance to anyone is entirely coincidental!

 

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Hire e-bikes and Segways to get around town

Fun things to do as a tourist for a day in Menton.  Menton is a sweet little town on the Cote d’Azur sitting right on the Italian border. Set in a perfect little micro climate with the beautiful blue Meditterannean and gorgeous beach with the stunning backdrop of the hills behind.

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The Old Town Menton

The Old town is picture perfect with a wonderful array of little shops to explore, enough to keep this shopaholic happy anyway!  I do believe there are so many restaurants here that you could choose a different one every day for an entire summer.  I’ll tell you my recommendations later in the blog.

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Shops in Menton Old Town

There also a brilliant Food Market right on the sea front

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Menton Market

Buy all your provencal goodies and don’t forget to try the Limoncello!

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Menton Old Town

The beach front stretches for miles right to Cap Martin and is never too crowded.  This beach picture was taken in August. Top Tip:  The Ice cream is fabulous in Menton, thanks to the large Italian population.

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Menton Beach

There are dog friendly areas of the beach.  The beaches are supervised by Lifeguards and are very safe and clean.  Little cafes and restaurants are to be found all along the Promenade facing the beach.  Also visit the Jean Cocteau Museum

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Jean Cocteau Museum

http://www.museecocteaumenton.fr

2 Quai de Minion, 06500 Menton  The Museum is dedicated to French artist Jean Cocteau and includes the collection of Severin Wunderman.

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View of Menton from Cap Martin

Menton does not attract many foreign tourists and it is mainly French tourists who stay here and, of course, this is where french pensioners like to retire.  This means that it has a feel of a french town, which is lovely and so different from tourist hotspots such as Nice.

Hire a bike or Segway from Frank at http://www.greenlines.fr  He speaks english and is a very patient teacher for newbie Segway riders.  It is easy and a fun way to explore the seafront and only costs a few euros.

Hire a bicycle or Segway in Menton

The Segway was fun but I loved the e-bike so much I’m going to buy one!

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We loved the Segway!

Despite all of these delights, I must admit that I generally just drive through Menton on our way to Italy and tend to visit Monaco, Beaulieu and towns further East. instead of driving 10 minutes to Menton! The reason for this is Menton is the town in where many french pensioners decide to retire.  The average age of the population must be 75 at a guess! However I must visit more often, we enjoyed a fun day!

Definitely take a Trip to Menton if you are visiting the Cote d’Azur.  You can even drive a few minutes further and visit Italy while you are there.

Information

Tourist info:  http://www.tourisme-menton.fr

Restaurants: Splurge – Menton has 1 of the top 50 in the world restaurants.  I’ve never tried it so can’t personally recommend.  Let me know if you like it! http://www.mirazur.fr

Good value: Cote Sud http://www.cotesudmenton.com  This restaurant is always packed which is a good guide to whether a place is any good or not!  Stephen and I eat her from time to time and always enjoy delicious food with the most delightful staff.

Bike hire:  http://www.greenlines.fr

Casino: http://www.lucienbarriere.com  There is even a Casino in Menton.  I don’t like gambling but if you do, take a look at the website.  Don’t go mad though!

Market:  Open daily

Lemon Festival: http://www.fete-du-citron.com 11 February to 1st March 2017

Fly to Nice, the nearest airport to Menton