St. Jean Cap Ferrat boasts the most expensive real estate in the world. It is a peninsula with numerous splendid villas which belong to a combination of political, regal, historic, and celebrated residences who have made sure that almost no one will get a glimpse into their properties! They have erected tall walls and rows of thick trees to prevent interlopers from disturbing them, so a stroll through the residential area is usually quite uninteresting. However, the town, is quite accessible and has the feel of a friendly and simple, but exclusive, coastal town. There are cafes and restaurants that line the docks by the harbor which is one of the most beautiful in the world, especially with its backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs in the distance.
I find Monaco to be quite artificial. It feels like I am visiting a movie set, not a real town. Nonetheless, it is such an unusual place that one must visit it at least once! There is something for everyone in Monaco. If you love luxury shopping, this is the place for you. In the heart of Monte Carlo, there are avenues with store after store of the world’s most fashionable (and expensive) goods. There is the iconic Casino which you can tour during the day or dress up and gamble during the evening.
La Turbie is the closest thing I’ve come upon as a traditional French Village where there are few tourists, everyone seems to know each other and most importantly—it has the best bakery, cheese store, fish store and butcher within miles of Nice and Monaco—all along one small main street. The locals stand in line daily to shop at these four markets. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t find myself in La Turbie at Ma Premiere Boulangerie—the best bakery in the world (according to me!)
Ma Premiere Boulangerie (bakery)
Le Coin du Fromager (cheese store and intimate restaurant)
Poissonnerie Posidonia (fish monger)
Boucherie Des Alpes (butcher)
Old Town Nice: The Old Town is conveniently located near the Promenade des Anglais (main wide pedestrian walkway which follows the Bay of Nice for 4.5 miles) and the Port of Nice.
Old Town is defined by a large square (“Cours Saleya”) lined with cafes and restaurants. In the middle of the square is a world famous daily fresh food and flower market, except for Mondays when the square turns into one of the largest and interesting antiques markets in the world. Numerous side alleys begin at the square and meander throughout the old town where there are dozens of small shops, galleries, restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, perfumeries, soap, spice and candy stores. There is something in Old Town for everyone and it is a very pleasant and novel environment in which to escape the “big” city of Nice.
Castle Hill: Between the Port of Nice and the Old Town, there is a very large promontory that can be accessed by stairs or elevator. A climb to the top will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Mediterranean coastline as well as an eagle eye view of all Nice. Castle Hill is in a beautiful parklike setting and has a cafe, a few classic cemeteries, a carousel and creative playground, beautiful waterfalls and quiet walking paths.