It was hard to say arrivederci to the spectacular Italian lakes but we were now headed for the French Riviera! On our way we spotted numerous sunflower fields which were really just little rays of sunshine to highlight our road trip as the roads got extremely windy and mountains. Full concentration was needed by Rob and for me it was …..buckle up and grip on to everything around me which included the car door handle – hopefully locked!! My seat pillow, ceiling door handle and I used my feet to slow down – emergency make believe co- driver air brakes!!! The French Riviera is built on sheer cliffs with spectacular views – if you dare to look out onto the ocean!! You know you are here by the high quantity of expensive sports cars that fly past you!!!
Our Airbnb accommodation was in Eze overlooking the ocean on a cliffside which meant climbing a steep stone pathways with our bags. Poor Rob!!! Our French host was very friendly and our accommodation was the guest cottage next to their beautiful cliffside house. Our red goldilocks cottage was cozy and filled with vegetables from their garden. We had nice spray free tomatoes and zucchinis. It was also stocked with eggs, butter, orange juice, wine, coffee and treats like delicious chocolate cookies and crisps!!! Then came the superb homemade limoncello, better than any grandma’s limoncello we have tasted in the Italian Riviera, which shocked us!!! There was also an amazing homemade strawberry jam!! Who has time to make such homemade treats?!!! Some unexpected treats to calm our nerves from the hair raising whirlpool white knuckles driving Rob endured so well.
Once the heat of the afternoon settled we explored the ocean view and our quaint gardens under the shade of the apple tree. Bees buzzed in the garden lavender, snails trailed along the iron fences whilst exotic large boats sat playfully on the water just minutes away from the prestige waters of Monaco.
Here are the vibrant purple flowers that spilled over our walk way fences!!!
We knew now exploring the French Riviera in the summer would mean lots of steep up and down hill walking!!!! Tight precision driving along coastal cliffs!!! Here are some of the roads we drive that hung the cliff edge:
Views at a look out at Villefranche-sur-Mer over the ocean:
Eze roads tunnels cut into the rocks which lead to the most spectacular views so it is nearly impossible to keep your eyes on the road!!
SAINT JEAN CAP FERRAT
The beach we went swimming in at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The water was 24 degrees which was nice and expensive boats bobbed around on the water …. but there was so much more to the ‘Swimming in the French Riveira’ experience than meets the eye. First you tip toe out on sand but then you sink into descending stone sized bowling ball which feel like slime covered boulders under foot that are hidden from view as you swim through the sea weed. Under foot then turns to a smooth boulder filled grassland. Somehow people never paint our graphic swimming experience in the French Rivera, not horrible just very, very different from sandy beaches in Australia. That is what travel is about embracing your surroundings- we slide like seals out of the refreshing waters laughing. I don’t think anyone had the faintest idea why it was funny!!! Were we the only awkward seals sliding onto the beach?!!! Well it is impossible to walk on slime covered bowling balls though I did see a Mum try and balance with a young child on her hip. She had clearly made it past the seal stage as a youngster!!!
The port at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
The quaint stone streets at Saint- Jean-cap-Ferrat full of flower boxes and pastel buildings
BEAULIEU SUR MER
The oasis exotic trees and flowering streets of Beaulieu-sur-Mer
Push bikes hog the narrow lanes making it impossible to overtake with oncoming traffic, whilst daredevil motorbike riders wearing just a shirt overtake without a second thought within inches of concrete median strips!!!
VILLEFRANCHE SUR MER
Towns such as Villefranche-sur-Mer are built on steep hillsides in a warm pastel sunny hue to match the warm Mediterranean temperatures.
The ocean dances in the view at Villefranche-sur-Mer. A very pretty town!!
We made the steep uphill climb and then wandered down through the narrow charming old town streets.
We found the underground hidden road which lead us out to a beautiful view of the ocean where a cruise liner and private boats enjoyed the bay.
On our second full day we couldn’t bare the heat until the late afternoon. So in the late afternoon we explored a down hill path directly across the road from our Airbnb. The pathway said closed, but all the locals were returning from the beach so we decided to do it like the locals do, so we headed down the steep spiral cliff path.
It lead us to a cave rock which opened up to the most stunning pebbled secluded beach cove.
The water was transparent and huge boats sat just off shore. We gazed at all the expensive boats!!! One had its own inflatable slippery slide off the top deck straight into the ocean!!! Now that looked fun!!
We watched as a younger local crowd did back flips off the cliff into the depths below. We both made our way down for a swim. Walking bare foot was a painful experience and getting into the crystal clear warm water was no easy feat, but once in I floated around like a bobbing seal for about an hour admiring the beautiful boats.
I could see straight into the clear stony depths below. Sliding myself out like a seal I quickly put shoes on and we explored the waterfall that was spilling down the rock face. The waterfall was cold and refreshing as it comes straight from the mountains. Locals used it as a shower and to fill their water bottles. Swimming here was hard work due to the hike down the craggy cliff path and the stony beach but it was worth the pain of the long uphill trek out!
Oh and I forgot to say as we tried to cross the road after our swim a car came tearing around the windy corner and nearly collected Rob!!! Not good!!!