So many words and pictures rushes through my mind when thinking about my latest trip to the French riviera. Still, it’s not an easy task to describe the beauty and diversity of this region, cause Nice and Cannes offers so much more than just beaches and nightlife. After 3 days in the company of the exclusive Bed & Breakfast community Côte d’Azur Autrement, it was clear to me that Côte d’Azur is not just a holiday destination - it’s a lifestyle.
A gateway to the good life
Did you know that Nice takes up a second place in France when it comes to number of hotel beds? Well, it does. Then you can probably also imagine how many tourists who flock here every year to get a glimpse of that old-school riviera glamour, which still lingers on the Promenade des Anglais. So whilst most visitors check in at regular hotels, others find themselves brooding over a well-kept secret in the hills of Nice and Cannes. Côte d’Azur Autrement. With less than 20 B&B’s scattered around the landscape of the French riviera, this union of exquisite B&B’s remain to be a privilege of hedonists looking for both privacy and authenticity. After visiting a handful of these welcoming B&B’s - and their lovely owners - I can only urge others to do the same. Cause there’s so much more to traveling than dull routines and charmless hotels.
Côte d’Azur Autrement is a union of 16 luxury B&B’s located in the hills of Côte d’Azur - and they are all located a short ride from Nice Airport. I was set to spend 3 days in what had once been my childhood’s preferred vacation destination, and I was eager to experience it from a whole different perspective!
Upon my arrival I was picked up by Lulu and Daniel, the owners of Bastide Fleur de Pierre - an historical guest house in La Colle-sur-Loup. We drove for approximately half an hour before we arrived at their house and after a long day of traveling I was more than happy to see that my room had the most amazing view to the village - and a cosy double bed! Lulu and Daniel were extremely welcoming and had prepared an evening snack for me. So there I was - close to midnight - eating fresh, local sausage, cheese and strawberries in the most beautiful surroundings.
Bastide Fleur de Pierre is completely renovated and guests can choose between several luxurious rooms and suites. All rooms has TV, wi-fi and floor heating and the peaceful surroundings offers a garden, a swimming pool and a petanque pitch. It hardly gets more French than that.
Despite of the slightly bad weather, I truly enjoyed my time at Lulu and Daniel’s place. Warm-heartedness and elegance infuses their B&B, in which every single detail has been taken care of. After 24 hours it was time for me to move on - but not before we had lunch at the rewarded gourmet restaurant, Alain Llorca, in St Paul de Vence. This deserves a post of its own, so I’ll get back to that later.
From Bastide Fleur de Pierre to another charming B&B; Le Mas du Chanoine. Its location on top of a lush hill over-looking the town of Saint Paul de Vence, makes this guest house partly secluded - and in this case it’s a good thing! The 17th Century stone house is owned by Pascal and Yves - a couple with two children and a love for gardening. Yet again I received a very warm welcome and a tour around the property. Le Mas du Chanoine houses a Mediterranean garden full of Provencal fruit trees and a large swimming pool over-looking the valley. I instantly felt at home here and truly enjoyed the quiet morning, where I had the pool all to myself. At night my host couple served up a delicious aperitif, homemade Lemoncello followed by dinner at the fireplace. Another day had come to and end, and I just didn’t want to leave. Guests will have access to wi-fi, a TV and a mini-bar to mention a few things. But the best part? That has to be Pascal’s homemade delicacies and freshly baked croissants for breakfast!
On the third and last day of my trip to Côte d’Azur, I explored the countryside in Nice with a wine tasting at Château de Bellet. More about that - and my last night at the historical B&B La Parare - next week!
The Copenhagen Traveler was sponsored by SAS on this trip. SAS fly directly from Copenhagen to Nice several times a day. For more information click here.