Hello moms and dads! Happy Saturday, especially if your vacations are over and trying to recover from that back-to-routine blues. A shoppaholic afternoon off alone or dating your partner for dinner while kids are with their nanny can do much. In particular, having nanny back can do much! Still, the very solution to the end of a trip, as we all know, is some travel planning for the winter break or next year. Last week, we talked about how relaxing was for us to be on the Western part of the Italian Riviera, as you can enjoy many facilities for the little ones and happily finish a mojito without chasing them in the street. It’s now time to cross the border and explore why the French
Riviera Rivierà is considered so glamourous. And if so, is it reasonable to vacation there with kids? Spoiler: you definitely can enjoy great vacations in Cote d’Azur with babies and kids! Amazing landscapes, turquoise sea and nice towns: kids will love it. The good news is that, as it is not only about going to the beach, you can enjoy the mild Niçoise winter there during your break. Plus, you can reach Nice airport from everywhere in Europe and, if you are travelling a long haul, you have several connections with Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Renting a car is easy once in Nice, still, we strongly recommend to consider the trains: they efficiently serve all the touristic centers and you can easily take a trip to Italy, which few miles away. Let’s see what are the must-dos for a family.
Principality of Monaco. The indipendent State between France and Italy is well-known for night life, rallies, glamour … That’s what everyone knows. Still, it is a must-see for a family. This small Country, indeed, happens to have one of the most beautiful and ancient museum of marine sciences in the World. The Musée Océanographique is an awesome, entertaining experience for kids and adults, plus, it features several hands-on activities that you can book with some advance. Together with Genoa Aquarium , this is the best activity you can do with kids on Italian and French Riviera. The museum is located on the rock, where the Princes palace is. As it is very complicated and expensive to park in Monaco, I recommend to go to Musee Océanographique by train (options are available from Menton, Nice, Cannes and even from Genoa or Sanremo): if you travel with the local trains (Ter Sncf) you even get a discount on the entrance tickets. The train station is well connected to the Museum by local buses.
Menton. This is a nice small town, between Italy and the Principality of Monaco. In the summer, you can enjoy some pubblic beaches which are calmer than Nice and Cannes. It also has a nice promenade (du Soleil) and a historic center, with the typical warm colours of this part of the World. The border between Liguria and Cote d’Azur is, indeed, very fluffy: you can hardly say where one finishes and the other begins. This is a perfect day trip from Sanremo or Nice, both by car and (even more) by train.
Nice. I’m in love with this city since forever and overtime it has improved dramatically. This is the main city on the French Riviera and France’s fifth biggest. It was once the winter sunny spots of Nothern Europe’s queens, kings and intellectuals. In Cimiez, a hill of Nice, you can still admire a liberty hotel, called Regina, built to host queen Victoria. It’s not by chance that the French Riviera was so popular among the wealthy European class. Indeed, you have plenty of possibilities to enjoy this place in every season and -good news for parents – plenty of things to do in Nice with kids.
First of all: don’t miss the historic center. Le vieux Nice is a charming set of narrow streets that offer a lovely architecture and picturesque shops. The best place to try the socca a chickpeas specialty of Nice and Liguria (farinata, on the Italian side). I strongly recommend to go on a Friday, when the flower and fruits&vegs market takes place in the morning. A colourful moment that you will appreciate and the perfect place to by some Provence lavander to bring home. All of this sounds too much with kids? I know: you need to promise something in return in order to have them walk through the city. No problem, this is basically the reason why the Promenade des Anglais exists (among others)! This is the place to be for a family. You can dedicate to the beach in the summer: it is crowded, but you are gonna find a spot for you. Alternatively, you can let your kids have a bike, scooter or rollerblade ride on the very long promenade. I told you I’m in love with Nice since forever. “Forever” started decades ago when little me was skating here with her parents. I’m looking forward to having Princess on her baby roller with me. Don’t worry, you don’t need to bring anything from home. You can hire whatever you like right there! Jeee, I still need to wait two/three years to give Princess her first pair of skates! If it’s too hot to go to Promenade des Anglais and you don’t know how to calm your kids, you can head to Place Massena. This is a very beautiful spot of Nice and it has a garden in the middle where you can find some fresh air under a tree and… a nice playground with water for the little ones!
Les corniches. You must have realized by now that I’m not a fan of taking the car. Baby Princess happens to be one of the few children that go mad on the car (you’d expect her to sleep…pretty much the contrary), still, if I had to recommend one day of car rental (only one!) it’s on the French Riviera, and in particular, to move from the Italian border to Nice. This very short strip of land hosts probably the most beautiful cliff roads of the Mediterranean. And I’ve been doing pretty many. The “trois corniches” (la Grande, la Moyenne and la inférieure) connect Menton to Nice, passing through some spectacular coastline spots and perched small towns like Eze. I love, in particular, the Grande Corniche, which offers an amazing view on Cap Ferrat when travelling from Menton to Nice. Suggestion 1: you should toss up to decide who’s driving because nobody wants to drive with such a panorama! Suggestion 2: try to plan a moment when your kids are likely to take a nap on their car seats to take full advantage of this beauty.
Another plus of this trips for you, moms, is that you can ask your partners to baby sit the kids a couple of hours and go French shopping. Some ideas? Facial creams by French pharmaceutical companies are excellent and they have decent prices, especially in France. You can find them at every chemist’s. In Nice, you can go to Galeries Lafayette in Place Masséna or look for lavander in the old town. You, dads, no worries: kids will be just fine on the beach or skating. And remember: you can find a crèpe au Nutella of last resort at every corner. Both for your kids AND for yourself!