South of France 2024 We travelled to the sunny South of France in April ‘24, to celebrate our son Jack’s 21st birthday as he really wanted to experience the casino at Monte Carlo. Well if it’s good enough for Bond, James Bond then why not?

We stayed in the area of Villefranche, which is a beautiful port area just situated outside of Nice and Monaco. Travelling distance – approx 25 mins from Nice and 33 mins from Monaco.

Having stayed in both Nice and Monaco before, we decided this time to stay somewhere we could appreciate the charming winding lanes, blue skies and a port view. As Monaco has progressed with their building programme and the area is now pretty built up, we wanted to stay with views of the sea. We visited the Cafe de Paris in Monaco for drinks, always a great place to people watch and for extreme car watching. We then ventured into the Casino de Monte-Carlo, a totally different world and its design is inspirational, a visit to the roulette wheel and bar, the casino being a popular backdrop for films and music videos. To include Ocean’s Twelve, GoldenEye, Never Say Never Again, and The Red Shoes to name a few.

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Having visited the port of Villefranche with the Marina located at one end and bustling shops and restaurants the other, we came across a brocante market with the usual vintage French finds. I never need an excuse to browse a market, especially when filled with vintage pieces to decorate your home with, a lovely selection of art, china and silver ware.

We also visited the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and it was built between 1907-1912, it is an exquisite villa by the sea, pure design inspiration and built by the Baroness. The jardin of the villa is stunning with the enclosed water gardens and the symmetrical planting of its design, but it’s the views of the bay and location, that really make it special and magical.

The winding roads to Monaco is where you catch a sight of the fantastic views of the French Riviera, many of the roads are narrow and steep. We had a driver, his name was Edouard (Edward) and drove us on our entire trip as Monaco has restrictions about being collected in the permitted zones, you have to bide by certain guidelines whilst travelling via taxis etc. Unfortunately the winding roads and steep cliffs were tragically where Princess Grace of Monaco lost her life, on her way home to the palace in Monaco, it is reported.

Although not on this particular trip, but we have previously visited the palace, St. Nicholas cathedral where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were married and though it’s small and known for its glamour and wealth Monaco is worth a visit, the principality is perched above the pristine blue waters of the Mediterranean.

We would recommend a visit for the views, sunny weather (cannot always be guaranteed) and the hospitality of our hosts – Charlotte and Fabrese.

Till next time, merci 🇫🇷🍷

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