By Mary Kay Seales
I have fallen helplessly in love with the Mediterranean Sea. The blue pierces every part of me. The aqua blues of summer and the ghostly blues of winter, and, insha’Allah, I will spend eternity here.
Nice, France, and particularly the Old Town, has become my favorite place to land on the Côte d’Azur. Yes, there are tourists, but then, so am I, so far at least, though I dream of a permanent move here. This sophisticated, but still charming town on the French Riviera, has everything I’m looking for in a place to escape my life in the U.S. Though I used to thrive on adventure travel to parts unknown, climbing the Ruwenzori Mountains of Uganda or hiking the Gulf of Aqaba, which I still long to do on occasion, I’ve become accustomed to a few more creature comforts in my travels. Nice has it all, from beautiful beaches to markets to museums to world-class restaurants. It’s simply perfect.
For those who want a smaller village feel, the tiny city of Villefranche-sur-Mer just next door to Nice is your stop on the Côte d’Azur. A jumble of ocher-colored buildings stacked on a hillside, ancient winding streets and a sandy beach, it’s a French postcard from beginning to end.
Hiking the French Riviera
Connecting Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer as well as other cities along the coast is a seaside trail that winds through pine trees with views of the sea, the water crashing on the rocks below, places to sit, places to swim, away from the traffic, away from your busy life.
Yes, it’s the French Riviera.
There ARE movie stars, and Ferraris, and beautiful sexy bodies and mega-yachts. But there are also ways to enjoy the French Riviera on an adventure traveler’s budget. I’ve gone there every year for 17 summers now, and I’m living proof that you needn’t be a super model or a millionaire to travel there.
France is lovely, Nice is a dream. Find your place for eternity and go there often.
The Beginner’s Guide to the French Riviera: Stop Dreaming & Start Packing. “This book will give you all you need to know for planning your first trip to the French Riviera, even if you’re on a budget like I am. Whether you’re a woman traveling alone, a couple on your first trip abroad, or a seasoned traveler who has never been to the South of France, this book will offer you tried and true suggestions for a fabulous vacation on the lovely blue Côte d’Azur.”