The French Riviera: La Côte d’Azur

Doesn’t it just sound cooler in French?

My husband and I began our recent vacation in France here, in Nice. I’d never visited this beautiful spot, though I lived on a Mediterranean beach a few hours to the west many years ago, in Languedoc, à côté de the more famous Provence. Shortly after we arrived in Nice, we strolled down the palm tree lined Promenade des Anglais and climbed the Colline du Château (Castle Hill), where I took the above photo. Afterward, we wandered through Vieux Nice, the old part of the city (recognizable by the sienna-tiled roofs) on our way back to our hotel, across from the pebbled beach about a mile further down.

Like all of France, Nice is full of history. Much has changed here over the centuries, and even within the last thirty years. But its beauty is timeless and enduring.

The following day, after picking up our rental car* at la gare (the train station, where a taxi dropped us), we made our way east out of the city and over the side of a mountain toward Monaco. On the way, we stopped for a marvelous four course lunch at Chateau Eza (we both selected the Menu Prince) in Eze-le-Village, a gorgeous place I’d never known about until recently. Our table was on a private terrace jutting out from the Chateau, high over the sea, rocks and beaches below. Déjeuner began with an aperitif: champagne, of course. We shared a bottle of wine as we savored each of the small delicious dishes and practiced our French.

The view was breathtaking. Like “Elle” (what we’ll call the main character in my upcoming novel, for now), I have a fear of heights. I don’t know how I managed to enjoy such a leisurely lunch on a balcony perched high above land and water. Maybe it was the vin.

“Elle” doesn’t deal as well with her acrophobia (though, I dare say, if she had thought of handling it with wine, it may not have been an issue). Perhaps she doesn’t think of doing that because usually, when she has to face her fear, no alcohol is available, except for that time in Amsterdam — but I’m jumping ahead.

Back to Nice, Eze and the Côte d’Azur: another very romantic spot in the world, one I would love to visit again, and spend more time in, someday.

* For more about our adventures en voiture, see prior post, Le Tour de (Montpellier) France.

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