Romancing on the French Riviera

Old Apr 29th, 2002, 06:42 AM
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Debbie
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Romancing on the French Riviera

For Mike and others interested in our French Riviera trip...

My husband and I took a wonderful nine day trip to the French Riviera in May of 98. We were then living in Germany, and our daylong drive down through the majestic Alps of Switzerland then through a portion of the Italian Riviera was spectacular. We enjoyed the whole scenic day with lunch consisting of rusticellos and cappucinos in Italy along the way. We arrived the first evening at our stay for seven nights, the historic and charming Hotel Welcome in Villefranche-sur-mer. Our black iron, balconied room overlooked the water below. It was a perfect Cote d' Azur view taking in the fishermen with their nets, the old citadel to the right and the winding train along the rocks to our far left and finally the mouth of the bay far out in front to the beyond. (I must post these beautiful pictures sometime!)

Continued below…



 
Old Apr 29th, 2002, 06:44 AM
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Debbie
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Continued French Riviera Trip...Anyway, as far as our activities, days were easily filled with some of the following: sightseeing historic Villefranche and neighboring St. Jean Cap Ferrat by little tourist train (fun way to get us acclimated), and dinning in the fine restaurants of each for lunch and dinner. The next day we took the big train for a full day of sightseeing in Monaco. There we saw the changing of the guards at the palace (saw Prince Ranier by chance), visited Princess Grace's resting place at the cathedral (not planned but happened upon), took a tour around the whole principality, gambled at the Monte Carlo casino, watched some of the set up for the big Monte Carlo Grand Prix and hung out in some of the pretty public gardens overlooking the yachts below. Also visited Beaulieu-sur-mer and dined at the African Queen (great). Another day drove up to tour the wonderful St. Paul de Vence then Vence just beyond. I rummaged through the outdoor market in Vence and bargained for some great small antiques (that luckily fit into the back of our sports car). The same afternoon we intended on driving the Napoleon’s Route to Grasse but were turned back due to an accident. Instead we shifted gears and drove on down to Cannes for a peek (as the Cannes Film Festival had just begun), then stopped in Cagnes-sur-mer to tour the museum home and grounds of painter Renoir (very relaxing). That same evening we returned to Vence to partake in one of the highlights of our trip: dining at Auberge de Seigneurs. This is an awesome experience for any traveler who has the time. We were there for hours as we were catered to with what seemed liked endless courses to our meal while our main course of chicken roasted on an old rotisserie over an open fire. Very rustic and romantic setting for a couple. The madame owner ended the evening by giving each lady a red rose and everyone a shot of liquor consisting of vodka marinated with orange blossoms. When I chokingly asked what it was, she humorously said "French Coca-Cola." Another day was spent entirely at the Cannes Film Festival, star gazing and staying for the red carpet intro that evening (touristy fun, yes, but we got the t-shirt. One full day was spent taking the bus directly to the harbor of Nice, antique shopping, walking the famous Promenade des Anglais, touring the Mattise Museum, and taking boating excursions along the French Riviera.


 
Old Apr 29th, 2002, 06:47 AM
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Last leg of French Riviera trip...

We ended our week with a leisurely drive northward, stopping in Arles for sightseeing and winding down into the forgotten land of the Valley of the Tarn. The weekend was spent in the amazingly affordable 1492 Chateau de la Caze. My husband asked, "How do you find these places?" It was a perfect, cobblestoned castle with moat and four poster beds situated directly along a roaring river that literally lulled you to sleep in this never-never land. The drive back to Germany was also perfect through the back roads of rural France. These are really the areas many Americans picture as "true France." I hope this gives you some insight to our most memorable experiences of our French Riviera trip. Our simple advice: Pick and choose from other travelers’ experiences along with guide book suggestions, and you can't go wrong on the romantic French Riviera! In the final words of a true southerner, “It’s all good.” Happy travels.
 
Old Apr 30th, 2002, 07:57 AM
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Old Apr 30th, 2002, 08:58 AM
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interested
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Great report!

Thanks.
 
Old May 1st, 2002, 02:32 PM
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Old May 1st, 2002, 02:54 PM
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Babs
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I'm going to be there soon - May end. Would you mind giving the info about the Chateau in Arles like the website or email. Do you remember the rate?

Thanks a lot.
 
Old May 2nd, 2002, 10:55 AM
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Babs, the Chateau de la Caze is in the Tarn valley north of Arles. It is not close to Arles. We only did some sightseeing in Arles, sorry. We actually took the scenic route through the canyon to reach the Chateau de la Caze. It is a daring drive to say the least, especially for those who are afraid of heights such as I. It was beautiful though and worth it. It is the most perfect medieval looking castle with luxurious amenities that I have ever seen. The only place in France also where we dinned where those silver covers arrived over the food as well. Very elegant, and we dinned at quite a few nice places. They served us on the restaurant terrace with a "Voil-la" as it is not spelled but sounds. Also our room had a canopy four poster barley twist bed with terrace overlooking the rushing river below. the doors to the room were heavy wooden with old iron work, the floors wooden and our bathroom was romantically in the tower. Each room had its own name and the best part about our stay was the wonderful surprising breakfast served on our terrace balcony each morning. They knocked at our door and told us that our breakfast was awaiting outside. They must have used another entrance to get it out there but it was wonderful with flowers and French yogurt served in glass jars, croissants, strong French coffee, juice, etc. Per-r-r-fect. I've seen Chateau de la Caze featured in Karen Brown's travel books but the first time found it on the web myself. A word of help when wanting to book a "romantic" room with any hotel overseas, email them and tell them exactly what you want. Actually use the word "romantic". They will usually email or fax in return with a description of what they have available. They spoke only some English at this chateau but were most accommodating for our requests. Lovely people and gorgeous area. I told the owners I would certainly write about our stay one day and wouldn't be a bit surprised if celebrities arrived there frequently by helicopter. Our room was around $120 but you can stay there for under $100 also--what an amazing deal! Here is their website but honestly, the pictures on the website do not do justice to just how beautiful this castle is. Hope you can visit and happy travels. http://www.ila-chateau.com/caze/index.htm
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 10:47 AM
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Old May 3rd, 2002, 01:52 PM
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Babs
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Thanks Debbie. I checked it out and sent them an email. Hopefuly, we can stay there.

 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 02:02 PM
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Debbie
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Good deal. Hope it all works out for you.
 
Old May 8th, 2002, 06:44 AM
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Old May 20th, 2002, 03:35 AM
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