It is well-known that the Côte d’Azur is famed for its gorgeous location, stunning beaches and hills, delicious food, and eclectic art galleries. But as a longtime resident of this special place, I want to tell you about a few of my favourite things to eat, see and do on the Côte d’Azur which might not feature on the tourist map, but could really give your visit a spark, and are all easily accessible.
a perfect day on the French Riviera.
“A day on the Côte d’Azur: something a little different, steps away from Mougins”
The first stop is the Etang de Fontmerle in Mougins.
A large pond with a swath of greenery, which holds the largest colony of lotus flowers in Europe and is part of the larger Valmasque forest and park.
Take a stroll around the pond exploring the different viewing platforms, especially if you’re there between mid-July and September, to enjoy the stunning view of the lilies in full bloom.
From here, you could walk up to the Chapel Notre-Dame-de-Vie, a beautiful chapel dated to the 16th Century.
The chapel is well-known for its serenity as well as its many notable guests over the years, including the renowned artist Pablo Picasso, who spent the last years of his life in his home next door.
All this walking and admiring will have definitely stirred up an appetite, so next head back down to the Etang and get breakfast on the terrace of the Boulangerie de l'Etang, situated right next door.
I would recommend freshly squeezed orange juice, a nice coffee, with a basket (un pannier) of freshly baked croissants, pains au raisins, and croissants au chocolat, though you’ll be tempted by so many different options that it’ll be hard to resist getting them all!
(Insider Tip: their brioche au sucre are second to none!)
After this great start to the day, head to the hills of Grasse , easily accessible by bus from the bakery or by car, the world’s perfume capital.
Spend time wandering through the old town’s alleys. These are a particular favourite of mine as in the summertime, perfume is regularly sprayed down onto the streets!
You won’t be able to walk 10 m before running into a shop selling small bags of lavender, home-made soaps and the best ice-cream you’ve tasted in your life!
My favourites are rose and lavender ice-creams and raspberry sorbet. Of course, if ice-cream is not your thing, then why not try a sweet or savory crêpe from one of the many crêperies?
After this snack break, wander to the cathedral for a panoramic view of the Riviera all the way to the coast from the back of the building.
Enjoy the view!
Before moving on, try some specialty Moroccan or Tunisian sweets and (more) pastries from the many bakeries which offer them.
As well as being a center of perfume and a great place for ice-cream, Grasse is also a huge cultural mixing pot, with a large population of immigrants from North African countries amongst others. This great duality of cultures is definitely something to be appreciated in France and a very positive side of the country which is rarely showcased in the more touristy parts of the Riviera.
On that note, the next stop: Cannes!
You just can’t miss it out.
By this point, it’s probably well into the early afternoon and I recommend you stop for some lunch on any one of Cannes’ beautiful beaches along the Promenade.
You’ll definitely have a hard time choosing a restaurant, as the food will be exquisite and fresh wherever you go, and you can’t beat having lunch just steps away from the sparkling Mediterranean.
A personal favourite is the Plage du Festival. This may be based on the added bonus of tormenting my brother who works here during his summer break from college, and has to treat me like a client!
Strolling along the Croisette is a great opportunity to do some people-watching. Admire the mix of tourists, both French and foreign, locals, artists, and street performers which fill this famous street in the busy summer months. Spend as much time as you please on the beaches and streets of Cannes. Don’t forget your sunglasses and camera!
When you are all shopped out from Cannes, it is time to head back inland for something simple but classically Provencal: Valbonne’s Place des Arcades.
This beautiful village square is usually filled with lights, music and people well into the evening and is packed full of incredible restaurants.
You really can’t go wrong with food here: from fresh mozzarella-covered pizzas to a more refined selection of French seafood or charcuterie, to delicious authentic Indian food, or to the ambiance-filled Moroccan restaurant on the corner, you have your pick of good choices. Get ready for a delicious end to a spectacular day on the Côte d’Azur.
Of course, you don’t want your night to end here, so head back to Mougins to hang out at one of my favourite bars for live music and cocktails: L'Abreuvoir or Le Mas Candille to start/continue/finish the night !
I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour of a perfect day in the Côte d’Azur according to one local!
There’s a lot to fit in here, so if you would rather extend your time on the beach and spread out these visits, Mougins is the perfect place to base yourself.
Close to everything yet still nestled peacefully into the hills, Le Mas Candille will make your Côte d’Azur experience everything you’d like it to be.