I went back and forth over how to organize my France travel guides — initially, I wanted to combine the entire Côte d’Azur into one post, then cover Provence in another. But, y’all, the photos. I can’t pick just a handful, and, quickly, the posts get out of control. You’re not going to scroll for ten minutes. And I’m not going to choose favorites. However, I also didn’t spend enough time in each place to truly write a travel guide.
So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to break the Côte d’Azur down by city, and, for each place, I’m going to share what we did in a summary rather than a full travel guide. It’s a travel diary, of sorts. Then, I’ll share all the photos from each place. As I knock out each travel diary, I’ll link them together so you can navigate from one spot to the next.
Côte d’Azur Travel Diary: Nice
We ended up in Nice thanks to my old Glover Park roommate, Laura, who took off on a month-long adventure living in France. When she suggested friends come visit, I obviously was more than willing to sacrifice my time and miles (spoiler: don’t ask me and/or Adam to visit unless you are prepared for us to follow through!).
She got an apartment a quick walk from the iconic Place Massena. As you may recall from my Barcelona Travel Guide, we ended up driving from Barcelona to Nice and, on our first day, we got in just after lunchtime.
It was a gorgeous early fall day and we strolled down to the main drag, the Paillon Promenade, where we stopped at the first cafe we found with outdoor seating and grabbed sandwiches and aperol spritzes — the first of many.
As we walked along the water, I couldn’t believe how much it looked just like I imagined, with relaxed Europeans sunning themselves on a weekday afternoon, the golden hues of coral and orange contrasted with the turquoise water, which leaves no room for doubt over the origin of the name Côte d’Azur. One delightful surprise was the rock beach — watching the smooth pebbles make their way in and out with the tide is a unique type of zen.
I wish we’d had more time to pop in and out of all the little shops and gourmet food stands. We picked up pastries, olive oil, and cheese, but I don’t recall the names of anywhere — and that’s fine. You don’t need names, they’re everywhere.
That first evening, we had dinner at the wonderful cozy La Pêche à la Vigne, a tucked away spot with a chalkboard menu and a delicious cheese board. It was perfectly French, and perfect for our first evening in my favorite country.