The charming aspects of the French Riviera lie in the towns between heavy hitters Nice and Monaco. Villefranche, Beaulieu-sur-mer, and away from the water in Saint-Paul-de-Vence the charm becomes more pronounced and authentic. Driving along the coast and through these villages have a deja vu quality to them because you have seen all of these quaint cobble stone streets, umbrella-ed beaches and suited waiters in movies and in books. Fitzgerald wrote Tender is the Night down there. “And God Created Woman” was filmed in Saint Tropez. Signac, Braque, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Renoir frequented the coast to paint.
The towns really are beautiful. Winding streets, colourful buildings, tromp l’oeil facades. There’s a lovely respect for the artists that lived and created here. Their work is revered, shown and - when they were still around - used as currency for hotel rooms and meals. La Colombe D'Or in Saint-Paul has millions of dollars of art hanging in the dining room. The Calder next to the swimming pool has a child's sun-blocked handprint on one of its mobile pieces. In Villefranche, Hotel Welcome has decorated it's lobby, rooms and elevator doors in Cocteau copies.
AT THE FLEA MARKET
Found at the center of a cobble-stoned plaza entrenched with history, the Nice market is both full of amazing treasure and garbage. But, like, cute garbage because it was found in France? It's a great place for things like silk scarves, 70s posters, creepy dolls and the soap dish my boyfriend found. It says something about women, their tongues and how annoying they are in French.
The winding streets of hilly seaside towns are so cute it hurts. Colorful, narrow and populated with pretty friendly cats, I took a lot of pictures of different towns that all look the same in the best way possible. La Voile Bleue is the best place for lunch and a swim, and a good wander will lead you to the most amazing little chapels.