French Riviera – Côte d’Azur

After checking in to the hotel in Grasse, the leading perfume-producing city, we wanted to swim. The receptionist suggested going to the beach in Mandelieu-la-Napoule. The beach in this area is narrow, but the waters are clear and turquoise blue.

That evening, we also visited Casino’s local supermarket to buy local delicatessen for dinner. We had different cheeses, olives, charcuterie, and fruits. This was a delicious dinner on the hotel balcony with a view over the valley.

The next day, we mainly explored Cannes. First, we went to the beach. After that, the walk on the Croisette, the promenade of Cannes, was good. The expensive hotels at the promenade have their beaches. Parking in Cannes is easy; our choice was to park in the center. It feels safe, and also the car is cool inside. There is a restaurant street in the town. But it seems that it is more widely exploited for dinners. At lunchtime, only one cozy restaurant was open and packed. There are lots of restaurants in Cannes, and they serve local delicacies like oysters, patès, foie gras, and crème brule.

We also visited St. Tropez that day. St. Tropez is an international tourist Mecca between Hyeres and Sainte Maxime on the Mediterranean coast. It was fantastic to walk around the harbor and relax. I have read that “people watching” is a favorite summer sport here in the South. Visitors like to sit at the outdoor cafés. We also visited the Tourist Info in St. Tropez to get help with the accommodation. As it was Saturday evening and 7 PM, nothing suitable for us was available. Tourist information gives information only on surrounding areas. As we were in St. Tropez, they only had info about St. Tropez hotels.

Cannes beach

We turned to the Lonely Planet guide again and called the different places nearby. It should be noted that it helps if you start the conversation with “Bonjour!” We found a nice Hotel du Soleil in Hyeres. Lonely Planet’s description, “Ivy-clad place at the top of the very steep Rue du Rempart, is Medieval Hyeres’ loveliest hotel,” is very precise.

When you are in medieval Hyeres, it is worth going to Place Massillon, a big terrace with cafes. There was also live music, in addition to excellent food.

We thought we were smart this time and did not buy breakfast in the hotel for 6 EUR as it seems there are several cafes nearby. But, they were not open when we wanted to hit the road in the morning. So, our lesson was that it is still worth having breakfast in the hotel.

Another oddity about French hotels is that the rooms rarely have air conditioning (at least not in the ones we stayed in). When you enter the room, it seems that it is not possible to sleep at that temperature. But then you open the hatchways to clear the air inside the room.

The next day, before lunchtime, we also visited the beach and market in Sanary-Sur-Mer. The true “wow” of the day was the Sunday market. It was full of delicious smells, and we ate with our eyes! We also bought delightful pate from one farmer, fresh bread from the baker, and some fruits. We had a romantic lunch with all of that on the stones on the beach. But the destinations of the day were Provencal mountain villages.

The trip continues to Provence.


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