Thursday, 19 November 2015

Antibes and Nice: A Snapshot of The French Riviera

The French Riviera offers a landscape of contrasts – stunning natural coastline dotted with busy marinas and picturesque resorts, fabulous towns lush with gardens of citrus trees and olive groves, postcard-perfect villages that feature in the paintings of the greats such as Matisse and Chagall and dramatic alpine hinterland blessed with rare wildlife and magnificent scenery.

We can capture the je ne sais quoi of this region by offering the best luxury villa rentals, apartments and hotels complete with exclusive VIP access and concierge services and you’ll soon be enjoying your own luxury holiday rental experience in the footsteps of Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Renoir.

Elegant Address has a vast portfolio of luxury rental properties on the Cap d’Antibes, and if you stay in this area you must visit the nearby town of Antibes. Antibes has a defined mark on the history of the French Riviera being a major Greek trading post in the 5th century BC, and was fought over or ruled by Barbarians, Counts and Grimaldis through the millennia.

Today, holidaymakers swarm Vieille Ville (Old Town) for artisan olive oil, Herbs de Provence or bespoke artworks and Port Vauban - fortified by and hence named after King Louis XIV’s military engineer – is the region’s largest marina with the most luxurious charter yachts berthed there year round and events such as Les Voiles d’Antibes and Antibes Celebrates Yachting ensuring a visible yachting presence in the town.

Our suggestions for Antibes highlights:

Musée Picasso
Picasso occupied a studio here in 1946 and his collection of ceramics, prints and paintings during that time now occupies part of this museum alongside abstract paintings from Nicolas de Staël, Fernand Léger, Joan Mirò and bronze figurine sculptures on the sun-drenched terrace by Germaine Richier.

Musée Peynet
This small, quirky museum located at Place Nationale is one of four museums in the world devoted to the works of Raymond Peynet (There are two in France and two in Japan). It includes over 300 works of his time as an artist through lithographs, ink, watercolours and etchings. Porcelaines, poupées et autres produits dérivés sont également présentés.Displays of porcelains, dolls and humorous caricatures are also presented including works by other cartoonists.

A reproduction of a famous one of Antibes called Les Amoureux aux Remparts is found on a plaque at Pointe de L’Ilette near Plage de Salis, and if you are fortunate to be married in Antibes, the Town Hall issues all couples a marriage certificate with the image of Peynet’s Lovers printed on it as a testament to love.

Le Figuier Saint-Esprit, 14 rue Saint-Esprit
In an idyllic setting not far from Port Vauban, one Michelin star restaurant Le Figuier Saint Esprit is a favourite of the superyacht crowd and French Riviera jet set who come here to dine on culinary creations such as squid and clams cannelloni with cuttlefish ink juice and basil leaves, and tempting desserts such as lavender crème brulée.

Chef Christian Morisset has worked at some of the incredible eateries across the region including La Chèvre d'Or in Eze, La Terrasse of the Hotel Juana in Juan Les Pins and Le Moulin de Mougins and he makes divine dishes filled with the best Provençal flavours that can be enjoyed in a gorgeous restaurant with a sprawling fig tree as its centrepiece.

Our insider tips are to make a reservation via the Michelin website where you can access special offers including an excellent value lunch menu for €39, and to take advantage of the formule vin Le Figuier whereby Sommelier Romain Esnault expertly matches your dishes with the perfect accompanying wines.

La Taille de Guêpe, 24 rue de Fersen
Located in a side street of Vieille Ville (Old Town), this intimate restaurant is well-known by locals and ideal for a couple’s dinner with fairy lights creating a romantic ambience. 

The most unique thing about La Taiile de Guêpe is the floral theme that is reflected both in the décor and the cuisine. Seasonal menus offer light, healthy food with edible flowers giving dishes creativity and an unexpected taste. Expect to see mains and desserts garnished in petals – all edible – and explained to curious diners.
Menus are big on flavour, but light on calories and your wallet – we highly recommend reservations.

Nice, is one of the most desirable destinations on the French Riviera with a splendid blend of traditional charm and modern cosmopolitan living. 

From the shopping areas fanning out from avenue Jean Médecin and rue Massena, to gleaming superyachts and fish restaurants at Nice Port and the sights and sounds of vibrant Vieux Nice (Old Town), it’s a city ripe for exploring.

We have luxury rentals in nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer, Eze sur Mer and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat which are all within easy distance of a day’s sightseeing in Nice.

Our suggestions for Nice highlights:

Musée des Beaux-Arts
Claiming the title of the second city after Paris for its number of museums and galleries, one of the finest in Nice is the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

Set in a Genoese-inspired mansion, make the time to visit to marvel at the collections of 15th to early 20th century art including works by Degas, Bonnard, Dufy Monet, Signac and Niçois artist Jules Chéret. Our insider tip is to buy a French Riviera Pass from the Office du Tourisme that gives holders free access to Nice’s fourteen municipal museums and galleries.

Musée Matisse
Situated in a spectacular building with trompe l’oeil façade, the Musée Matisse set next to the olive trees at Cimiez is a must-visit for enthusiasts of Matisse’s work. 

Permanent collections show the techniques he used to produce his art, his work as a founder of Fauvism, his personal objects, sculptures, photographs, the paper 'cut-outs' which he made in later life after he became bedridden, and sketches for the murals he completed at Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence. Unknown to many visitors to Nice, the cemetery across the park from the museum holds the graves for Matisse and another prominent painter, Raoul Dufy.

Flaveur, 25 Rue Gubernatis

Awarded a Michelin star, Flaveur is on our culinary itinerary for their contemporary take on French classics. Mickaël and Gaël Tourteaux, chefs, founders and brothers go foraging in the hills twice weekly to source wild herbs and flowers to use in their dishes. Their food often includes exotic spices and sauces inspired by flavours from their childhood in Guadeloupe and world travels. 

Reservations are recommended as this cosy restaurant has 30 covers only – we suggest trying the petits farcis, island salmon or roast duck with an Asian twist.

Voyageur Nissart, 17 rue Alsace Lorraine 
Located a short stroll from the Nice Ville train station, family-run Voyageur Nissart is off the tourist track and therefore a bistro that locals want to keep secret.

Without an ounce of pretentiousness, the menu includes Niçois and Ligurian staples such as osso bucco, gnocchis gorgonzola and tarte au citron made with lemons from Menton.

If you’re looking for a traditional establishment offering a warm welcome and serving well-priced bistro food made with seasonal produce, this is our pick. 

Article written by Bespoke Yacht Charter – The specialists in luxury yacht charters and boat rentals on the French Riviera and beyond
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