This Is Your Brain On French Riviera Beaches

This Is Your Brain On French Riviera Beaches

Fortunately the skies were clear and a brief flight later, we were greeted with the breath taking view of Nice- the low Alpine mountains, the sea and the town itself nestled nicely in between. We seemed to have corresponded with the Harley Davidson Euro Celebration 2010 which takes places in the Saint Tropez bay, meaning we were rubbing shoulders with (and overtaken by) roaring motorcycles along the method.

When in St Tropez, we decided to sample the local seafood and view the afternoon promenaders, which lead us to the marina. We were not disappointed, cleaning down seafood pizza with a dry and fruity rosé. Now that our stomachs were complete we headed along the coast, meandering aroundPort Grimaud and Sainte Maxime. The former is known as a personal lagoon pleasure city, full of waterways, luxury yachts and homes in tasteful Provencal style. The brainchild of an Alsatian architect who wished to recreate the feel of Venice, the town only emerged from the sand dunes in the 1960s. Owners here are more than a little wealthy, and include Joan Collins. Sainte Maxime, typically called St Tropez's poor and less fashionable neighbour, was an enjoyable surprise. The shaded streets were well worth a go to, consisting of the 18th century church, colourful exteriors, patched alleyways and various squares with fountains.

We bought some keepsakes obviously. I was told that in the area one is never more than 20 minutes far from a golf course! This is simply as well, as it is such a popular sport and I for one wouldn't desire too many eyes enjoying as I recovered my ball from yet another bunker.

It was getting late already, and we decided to head back to our hotel in Nice, via the Esterel Massif, a coastal, rocky range of mountains. It was however, too dark to see much by this point and we decided to explore even more the following day.

In Great we saw the Jardin Pastorelli Development of houses and townhouses, which is positioned at the heart of Nice old town yet still feels remarkably serene once inside. On the way to St Raphael we decided to take a much better appearance at the Esterel, marvelling again at its wild, unblemished beauty, with rugged red cliffs jutting into the sea and rich greenery.

On Saturday early morning we decided to obtain up early and take advantage of the covered Marché Provencal in Antibes. Here one finds the best produce you have actually ever seen, prawns, langoustines, crab, tomatoes, peppers (both far redder than the pale sorts one finds in grocery stores here), courgettes (larger than any I have actually ever seen), lemons, salads, fresh herbs and spices in yellow sacks, and olives, packed with all sorts of heady active ingredients- garlic, nuts, peppers, anchovies or marinaded in thyme and lavender. We even found a celeb, the Welsh footballer Robbie Savage, searching the stalls with his spouse.

As we remained in Antibes, we chose to check out the Picasso museum in the Grimaldi Palace where we saw the resplendent "Joie de Vivre", celebrating joy restored (post World War Two), and the d azur glowing Mediterranean light.

Continuing the arty style, we then visited Vallauris, west of Antibes, where Picasso lived for seven years. He practically solitarily brought about the renaissance of the Vallauris pottery market and his existence is felt and stimulated constantly (he was permitted to embellish the chapel in town and produced a bronze statue for the local kids to get on in Place de la Liberation).

Biot was the next location on Click here! our map, a previous pottery centre now renowned for its glassblowers and bubble glass items. The glass factory is open year round to the public who want to see the artisans develop their masterpieces. Following on in the arts and crafts vein we ventured 25 minutes up the road to Grasse, the world capital of perfume. There are plenty of old perfumeries one can go to though we didn't have the time. Still, you can question and wander to your heart's material in between the 17 and 18th century structures, under arched tunnels, up and down ancient actions and then all of a sudden come upon a square with a three-tiered fountain, a Cathedral or a watchtower.

On the way back from Grasse we decided to drop in Valbonne, a stunning town which keeps a familial, town atmosphere. We sat in a square and drank a hot chocolate-coffee beverage in an attractive coffee shop, utterly tasty, as we viewed the world pass again- children playing, moms and dads sipping wine and watching, tourists like us basking in the last rays of the day.

Our last meal of the journey took place in Antibes, and we delighted in Aioli Provencal- vegetables (carrots, potatoes, green beans) with fish served with the aioli sauce, heaven for garlic lovers like us, however not as satisfying for anyone stepping within a few feet people. We then ambled along into Juan les Pins, which really comes alive when the sun goes down, with its giddy mix of casinos, clubs, live music and late night shopping. Watching the beautiful individuals drift previous as we drank a beer, it was difficult to imagine that within 24 hours we would be back in less Mediterranean climes, considering another week in the rat race.

In three days, we saw plenty, but just briefly. What struck me above all were simply the colours- the blueness of the sea (it isn't called cote d azur the Cote d'Azur for absolutely nothing), the detaining old town of Antibes with yellows, reds, greens; charming yet not extremely so. Then there is the culture- for all the sunbathing, jet setting crowds, the Cote d'Azur is likewise a location of overwhelming creativity and artistry, from perfumery to glassware, Picasso to pottery, it is really a feast for the senses.

If you're still uncertain where to buy on the Cote d'Azur, and weighing up the pros and cons of Nice, Antibes, Cannes or any other town, don't hesitate to get in touch.