JetSet Destinations: The French Riviera

I have been to France 4 times, yet this past visit in December was my first trip to the Riviera. Going to Cannes for a travel trade show, I had planned a pre-trip to Bordeaux. Unfortunately (and now fortunately), my flight was overbooked from Chicago to Bordeaux, forcing me into Cannes two days earlier than expected.

Seeing this as glass-half-full-scenario, I truly immersed myself into the Riviera culture. I walked along the boardwalk full of restaurants, joggers, bikers, and French tourists in town for their holiday shopping. I stopped at the local Cannes market for fresh cheese and grapes, stood in line for 20 minutes at the best bakery in town for my white baguette (totally worth it!), bought sparkling water and an espresso, and headed to the port to catch the ferry for Ile Sainte-Marguerite Island about a half a mile off shore. The island only has about 20 residents and miles and miles of beautiful wide path trails. Trees line the trails like fans at a marathon, comforting you and chanting you on along your way to the sea for the sunset.

The following day, Julia and I decided to hire a driver to venture out along the beautiful, ever-so-changing coast of the French Riviera. I truly had no idea the change that occurs within an hour and a half drive. The picturesque cliffs jetting up in the sky tower over the sea creating magnificent beauty. We drove through Antibes first, a bustling seaside town, continuing through Nice, the gateway to the Riveria, and finally turning the corner to the dramatic hills full of houses with views of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. We had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat. Even the view from the outdoor gym was nothing less than gorgeous. If we had more time a trip up to the beautiful town of Eze for lunch would have capped the experience. Lying inland, don’t forget about Grasse, the birthplace of perfume, to mix up your own scent to bring home a little bit of the French Riviera.

For more information about creating your Riviera experience, contact Melissa Pugh at