Little luxuries of The French Riviera

After a series of weekends to and fro between London and various Scandinavian countries, it was time for a much desired lazy weekend in the sun! And don’t mean to brag, but London is a stone’s throw away (or just a bit further) from some pretty terrific places – hop on a plane, take a nap, read a book and 2 hours later, you can find yourself in one of the most luxurious pockets of the world, the Cote d’Azur!

It had been a tiring few weeks, with busy days at work and consecutive weekends away, not to mention getting a chest infection somewhere in the midst of it. So it was my goal to be as lazy as possible. However, when you’re limited on time, it’s often hard to shake the guilt of not maximising it doing everything on offer. But I needed R&R, and the stunning beaches, abundance of sunshine and 25 degree heat along the Riviera were absolutely perfect for that cause.

After staying near Nice airport on Friday night, I decided to bypass the town of Nice, and continue on the train to the first beach club of my me-time weekend, Papaya Beach Club, Eze. One thing I wish Sydney had was the concept of a beach club. Lying on a sunbed by a private little stretch of beach, with cocktails, food and table service isn’t something that should only be reserved to fancy hotels!

 

The flora of the mediterranean – such a feast for the eyes!

I got off the train at Eze, crossed the train tracks, and headed down some bougainvillea lined stairs. Once I got to the bottom, I found the beach club; a somewhat Balinese styled cabana, 2 rows of sunbeds down by the water and the most cheery, chilled out French people I ever met.

 

I spent the day on the beach, catching up on my reading, having cocktails, delicious fresh food and taking dips in the sparkly water – only negative were the pebbles (you can’t have it all).



The awesome thing was that this club was really small and intimate, surrounded by sky high cliffs – and perched among them, terribly expensive real estate. Though Papaya was maybe a bit pricier than other clubs, it was nice being somewhere a bit more exclusive for a quieter environment.

img_0844
Views from my subbed in Eze 

Once the sun started to set, I packed up and caught the train to Villefranche Sur Mer, another village that was highly recommended to me by a colleague. As I walked to my hotel, the family run Hotel Provencal, I was able to take in a beautiful sunset along the pier. I’m a sucker for sunsets in any place, but it’s always so wonderful when you’re by the ocean!


Villefranche sur mer 


I didn’t do much that night – pizza and beer whilst catching up on the news. Not at all exciting, but in the name of all that is good and lazy, it was perfect 🙂

On Sunday morning, I headed out to the beach club on the Villefranche beach – this place was notably larger, busier and more flashy than the one at Eze. And also flanked with sharp, good looking people. Man, people in this part of the world have it good!

I hung out there for the best part of the afternoon, read my books accompanied by some chilled rose whilst getting crispier and more tanned (woohoo). But when the clouds rolled in, it was time to pack up and scoot on down the coast to my next destination, and 30th official country of travel – Monaco!

By the way, the train ride between Nice and Monaco is spectacular (Eze and Villfranche Sur Mer are stops along the way). With views like this on one side, and the ocean on the other, you’d be getting million dollar views for the humble price of EUR3 🙂


Now, as soon as you get off the train in Monaco, you are surrounded by all that is lux. This place simply EXUDES wealth. Which is expected, of course, being the richest country in the world.


Yachts, superyachts, cars, supercars – everything was opulent, but tasteful. The people – you wanna hate them but you wouldn’t mind being them (at least for a day… but the pleb life ain’t so bad either).



It was raining pretty hard so I spent my few precious hours in Monaco walking along the coast before holing up in a cafe to wait for my ride back to Nice airport.

I should mention, my ride was a helicopter.

Oh this ol’ thing


So for about 120EUR, you can get a helicopter to and from Monaco/Nice – to surmise, it may be the most scenic 7 minutes you’ll ever have! I wouldn’t ordinarily be so indulgent, but I was in the whole “this is me-time, i deserve this, treat yourself” mantra so was able to somehow justify it. Carpe diem?

I was picked up by the company’s car, driven to the private helipad and boarded this sleek black helicopter – as a bonus, it was piloted by a devestatingly handsome Frenchman who looked like he was straight off a movie set. We flew off over the ocean, into the sunset and the whole 7 minutes felt like a dream (moreso cos by then, I was also buzzed off 1 too many expresso martinis).

The sunshine after the storm


And this view ain’t too bad either

Before I knew it, it was over, and I was back at Nice airport, ready and waiting to board my flight back to London. I returned to home feeling tanned and tired, but definitely more chilled out. I guess 48 hours in the holiday grounds of the rich and famous is just what the doctor ordered! 😉

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