Èze, Nice, St. Paul de Vence & Monaco
Èze and St. Paul de Vence, two Medieval hilltop villages, plus the funky grandeur of Nice and optional Monaco.
A NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TIMES
Distances in this part of France are reasonable; figure about 2.5 hours of driving time with Monaco, 2 hours or so without.
This excursion is a combination of contrasts — the grandeur and unique blend of old and new in Nice is starkly different from the Medieval hamlets of Èze and St. Paul de Vence. Monaco is optional as it makes the timelines a bit tight. If your heart is set on Monaco you might want to consider skipping St. Paul de Vence in order to have more time to enjoy places.
DETAILS: ÈZE, NICE, ST. PAUL DE VENCE & MONACO from Villefranche or Monaco
The day begins with a panoramic drive on the “Corniches”, the cliffside roads traversing the Mediterranean coastline to the east of Nice. As we head towards Èze, perched on a hill 1400 feet above sea level, you’ll get a first-hand look at this dramatic section of the Azure Coast where the Alps drop precipitously down to the sea. (Classic movie lovers may recall scenes from To Catch a Thief, shot by Alfred Hitchcock on the Grande Corniche in the 1950’s.)
In Èze you will be enchanted by the beauty of the village, its winding narrow streets and stunning views of the coast. Those interested in history will have lots to learn about; Èze has been populated for some 2,000 years and was inhabited by all sorts of ancient cultures including the Greeks, Phoenicians, Moors and Romans. In more modern times it was a fortress in the Republic of Genoa (Italy).
In Baroque Old Town you'll get a sense of the splendour of the Belle Epoque, when the wealthy of Europe (particularly from colder climates) came south for the winter, building lavish homes and luxurious hotels. As you take in the Promenade des Anglais, Hotel Negresco and the Russian Church you're sure to relive the opulence of a bygone era.
Today Old Town is home to a vibrant farmers market in Cours Saleya, particularly known for its flowers of every colour and kind. Sample some local culinary specialties or go for a dip in the sea and you'll have experienced "Nissa la Bella" (as it was named in the 19th century) with all your senses.
St. Paul de Vence
Standing on a rocky spur in the back country of the French Riviera, St. Paul is one of the oldest Medieval places in the Côte d’Azur and perhaps one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. Besides giving you spectacular views of the surrounding terrain, the village is a living testament to its rich past; the 16th century bastioned fortifications that encircle the city are still marvelously intact. Today Saint Paul is a flourishing center for art and artists, noted for its many art galleries and museums. Here you will find beautiful shops, many featuring local handicrafts, nestled among the stone buildings and abounding bougainvillea.
Although Monaco is mostly known as a playground for the rich and famous, it actually has a great many historical and modern attractions. "The little Medieval village on the rock" is now the most densely populated independent country in the world, sought after for its ideal climate, sophisticated shopping and, of course, gambling. We'll stop at the Old Casino, a palace in the Beaux Arts style, to take photographs and to hear stories of it's conception, construction and journey to becoming one of the most sophisticated gambling destinations on the globe.
NOTE: We can skip Monaco if you’d like to spend less time driving and more time enjoying the Medieval places and Nice.
ÈZE, NICE, ST. PAUL DE VENCE & MONACO from Villefranche or Monaco
DURATION: 8 hrs
Please note: A supplement of 30 Euro applies to services originating in Monaco.
OTHER COSTS & NOTES
- CHURCH DRESS CODE
Proper attire is required to enter churches (bare shoulders must be covered and shorts/skirts must come down to your knees).
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