On the Road Trip

Village Hopping from Nice to Monaco

by Anne Ditmeyer
Eze, one of many gorgeous pitstops along the Côte d'Azur. Photo by Anne Ditmeyer.

Nice and Monaco are stunning, but there's a lot see in between. Anne Ditmeyer lands in Nice and works her way down the Côte d'Azur, one charming medieval village at a time.

NICE, HOW NICE

Chances are that you'll arrive in Nice — by train or by plane — on your way to Monaco. It's also a perfect getaway for a day at the beach.

The historic Hotel Negresco recently celebrated its 100th birthday. Their La Rotonde Brasserie is like being inside a 19th-century carousel, and the bathrooms through the lobby are just as memorable. But nothing is more delightful on a warm, sunny day than their signature "coup Negresco" — ice cream with raspberries. Out the front door and across the street, you're already at the pebble beach, perfect for a stroll.

For a taste of the avant-garde, swing by Chantier Sang Neuf, a former abattoir that's now an experimental art center.

THE CURVES OF CÔTE D'AZUR

Rent a car to explore the villages that dot the Mediterranean Sea. Or book the informative (and affordable) guide and driver Jean-Luc to .

is a medieval hilltop town with an ochre cathedral and stately clock tower. It's a village for tourists, full of galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and, of course, the beach.

A drive along the corniches (cliffs, aka very windy roads), and you'll arrive at Villefranche-sur-Mer. More colorful than the nearby medieval towns, this port city has a 16th-century citadel with beautiful views, gardens, and an art museum.

A bit farther along, you'll find another medieval village, . The main city is pedestrian-only, the streets lined with beautifully paved stones. There aremany (primarily contemporary) galleries to discover, and the views over the surrounding areas are magical.

is a picturesque village that is practically a suburb of Monaco (though it's technically in France). A visit to the 10th-century fortress reminds you of less glamorous times.


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