July 01, 2019
W&W Weekend in South of France
The Cote d’Azur is known for its old school glamour and jet set lifestyles, but is it possible to enjoy a few days away on a budget?
We flew cheaply by Easyjet to Nice, and managed to pick up a little cabriolet BMW for less than a standard saloon car and hit the road for a few days.
Staying in hotels anywhere from Monte Carlo to St Tropez can be an expensive business, and as it was a special occasion we stayed on the infamous Cap d”Antibes. But Antibes town itself is a wonderful place with beautiful sea views, ramparts to walk along in the evenings (check out the Picasso museum inside the old fort) and winding old streets where Air BnB rentals throw their shuttered windows open to enjoy a wine on the little terrace. We found three great places to stay on their website for much less than a hotel .
Antibes is 30 minutes’ drive west from Nice airport (take the coastal road not the motorway which has toll roads). It’s a great place to base yourself to tour the South of France as St Tropez is less than 2 hours and Cannes is 20 minutes away.
Cannes is a must stop for lunch and an afternoon strolling along La Croisette, nosing in the windows of Chanel, Miu Miu and Gucci. We had a seafood meal on the beach, but the town’s side streets have numerous cheaper eateries.
The drive away from Cannes to Frejus follows the winding red cliff coastline, which takes longer than the motorway but is like cruising along in the opening scenes of Big Little Lies – France’s answer to the Monterey coast.
Heading inland from the Cote d’Azur is worth a day trip up into the forests to the crumbling little town of Grasse – France’s home of perfume. There are several perfumeries to tour, we chose Le Fragonard in the ‘centre ville’ as it has a great museum to wander round away from the midday heat. The boutique is huge and sells a really reasonably priced selection of hundreds of scents.
The town itself is worth a wander to the main square for lunch, and don’t miss the pink umbrellas (perfect Instagram backdrop)!
image credit: Oetker Collection
Heading back to Cap d’Antibes, take a drive around the peninsula and you can pull in for a sunbathe at many of the shingle beaches, or head to Plage de la Garoupe for lunch at one of the beach restaurants. If your budget will stretch you can nip into the famous Hotel du Cap for a drink, or hire a poolside bed for the day – its where the rich and famous film stars stay, although they will probably have one of the private cabanas on the cliff edge.
We first went to the South of France twenty years ago and it hasn’t changed a bit, the glamour and the casual French shabby chic makes for a wonderful blend of style and sunshine.
Check out our South of France inspired holiday capsule collection here.
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