Curated by: Lucas Santos & Ben Dumas
Travel Period: August 2017
Traveled With: Just Us
Typical Weather: 75-80 degree days with crisp 70 degree nights
Getting There: NYC – Dublin – Nice + Drive | However, there are direct NYC to Nice flights in the Summer, so look ahead
Getting Around: Mix of Ubers & our rental car
For us, an ideal vacation includes lots of sun, lounging by the pool, lively beaches, great restaurants, and endless amounts of rosé—and in the summer, the South of France definitely delivers on all fronts. We flew into Nice from Dublin, after spending a week with Ben’s family for his dad’s 60th birthday. We immediately picked up our rental car and drove up to the small cliff-side town of Éze. We spent our first two days there before driving back down to Juan Les Pins (just south of Antibes), for our last two days.
We were only in France for a total of four days and we wish we could have extended our trip for at least a full week, if not more. We were also there during peak season in August, so if we could do it over, we would have gone in June or September to avoid the masses of Europeans that descend onto the South of France in the summer. If you’re planning a trip, we would recommend picking 2-3 towns and spending at least 3 nights in each so that you can feel settled and still have time to explore the town and its surrounding beaches/areas. It’s really easy to drive along the coast between towns and, for us, the spontaneity that comes with this road-trip travel style is one of our favorite things about exploring a new place.
Here are our recommendations for the towns that we visited. Let us know your thoughts and if you have any other recommendations for other towns in the South of France, we'd love to hear them since we plan to come back soon.
STAY - Èze
Chevre D’Or - A Relais & Chateaux dream property set high above on the cliffs of an old medieval town, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Chevre D’or is perhaps one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in, which explains why we barely ever left the property. Upon arrival, you walk along the pathway through its multi-leveled gardens We were greeted with pastries and champagne before checking into our room, where we found another surprise bottle of rosé and a hand-written note from the general manager. We stayed in room #35 which had a small living room space with a private terrace overlooking the outdoor café with unobstructed views of the sea.
Stay – Cap Ferrat
Hotel La Voile D'Or – The ideal luxury hotel for those looking to relax while still feeling the energy of the French Riviera around them. The hotel is located in the heart of St. Jean Cap Ferrat with restaurants, shops, and beaches within walking distance. The hotel also has incredible views of the port and is especially beautiful during sunrise and sunset.
Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat – A top choice for those with deep pockets looking for an extravagant French Riviera experience with all the trusted Four Seasons luxury and service
Stay – juan-les-pins & Cap D'Antibes
Hotel Belle Rives (Juan-Les-Pins) – The former home of F Scott Fitzgerald, Hotel Belle Rives is an art deco-inspired property set right on the pristine beach of Juan-Les-Pins. The property has two restaurants, with al-fresco (and beach/water-side) dining options for both. The sun sets directly in front of the hotel so make sure you splurge for the ocean-view rooms. Because of its location along the beach, Hotel Belle Rives’ Beach Club tends to be a popular destination among French tourists during the summer so if you want a good beach chair, make sure to reserve it ahead of time. Also, if you’re looking for quiet luxury in the summer, this may not be the property for you.
L’hotel Imperial Garoupe (Cap D’Antibes) – This private mansion was transformed into a boutique estate hotel to offer guests a peaceful retreat in the beautiful beach-area of Cap D’Antibes. If we come back to Antibes, we would likely stay here.
Grand-Hotel du Cap Eden Roc (Cap D’Antibes) – Another extravagant property set on the cliffs of Cap D’Antibes. This property is insanely expensive but anyone visiting Antibes, should plan a visit (even for just one drink at the bar/restaurant) to see its beauty (during sunset).
SEE & DO
IN & AROUND TOWN
Old Town of Antibes – Great for strolling around, shopping, and sight-seeing
Esplanade (Nice) – Great way to take in the beauty of Nice, its beach, and the city’s architecture
Old Port of Villefranche-sur-Mer – Cute old port town between Nice and Èze, great for a quick morning coffee/sandwich stop over
Jardin Exotique (Éze) – Set at the very top of the town, these gardens offer the best views around. Make sure to go before 11am as it’s a popular attraction in the summer
Old Town & Port of Menton – We wished we had more time to go here and see this colorful port town that feels more Italian than French
These were our favorite beaches, mostly because of its liveliness, access to restaurants or bars, ease of securing a beach chair, and of course water/swimming quality.
Plage de la Garoupe (Cap D’Antibes)
Paloma Beach (Cap-Ferrat)
Eden Plage Mala (Cap D’Ail)
Papaya Beach Club (Éze)
Anjuna Beach Club (Éze)
EAT & DRINK
La Taverne (Éze) – Great pastas and brick-oven pizzas perfect for lunch with outdoor and indoor (cave) dining
Au Marche (Antibes) – Assorted local meats and artisanal cheeses, an ideal pit-stop when exploring the Old Town of Antibes
Les Vieux Murs (Antibes) – Just south of Musee Picasso on the Promenade, this cliff side spot offers outdoor seating and amazing seafood, making it a great lunch stop
UNIQUE & UPSCALE
Eden or La Chevre D’Or (Éze) – These are the two main restaurants at Chevre D’Or. La Chevre D’Or is a world-renowned two-time Michelin-starred restaurant. It is a pricey experience, but if you’re a foodie or celebrating a special occasion it is worth it. Eden is its more casual (but just as delicious) sister restaurant. At both, request to sit close to the window for the best sunset views.
Le Pavillion (Cap D’Antibes) – A romantic al-fresco dining experience set within the gardens of L’hotel Imperial Garoupe. Coupled with original and inspired Southern French cooking, dinner here is something special
La Guerite (Ile Sant Marguerite) – Accessible only by boat or water transfers from Cannes, this lively restaurant keeps the house-jazz music blasting and the rose flowing all day
La Colombe D’Or (Saint Paul de Vence) – Very special art-filled garden al-fresco dining experience set inside a 1920s mansion estate that is unlikely to be matched anywhere else. It is a decent 30-minute drive away from Nice or Antibes, so we’d recommend going for lunch in between your drive south from Nice.
La Passagère (Juan-Les-Pins) – This is Hotel Belle Rives’ Michelin-starred restaurant. We went for the 5-course tasting menu and were very impressed with every dish. Pricey, but with an outside table right on the deck overlooking the sun setting over the beach, we could not have been happier.
Eden-Roc Restaurant (Cap D’Antibes) – A great way to experience this insane hotel property, while not splurging an insane amount for the room. We’d recommend getting there with plenty of time so you can explore the property and get a pre-dinner cocktail at the rooftop bar.
Contact Us with any questions as you start planning your getaway.