The French Riviera: What to See in Nice and Cannes

The Promenade di Anglais in Nice

During our time in Europe, we wanted to experience the French Riviera. September was a perfect time to go. Summer weather is still in full force, but the huge crowds have dissipated (though there were plenty of people there). The French Riviera (aka Côte d’Azur in French) is the Mediterranean coastline of southeastern France, including the small country of Monaco. We stayed in Nice, but we explored well beyond it, finding a lot of incredible sites to see in Nice and Cannes, as well as Eze and Monaco.

Site-Seeing in Nice

As we made our way to the Old Town from our hotel, we came across a lively market selling fruits, vegetables, spices, soaps, paintings, and anything else a local or a tourist might need. We picked up some Herbs de Provence and some other spices that would be fun to cook with.

After browsing the market, we spent our time in the Old Town (Vieux Nice), walking through the old pedestrian passageways and alleys. We made our way to Parc du Chateau, a hilltop park with great views over Old Nice and the beachfront. We also came across an old Jewish cemetery next to the park. 

The water seemed to be calling out to us as we made our way back towards the seaside. We soon realized why so many people were wearing crocs or other water shoes. The beach was not sandy as it had appeared, but was made of medium sized stones that weren’t comfortable on our bare feet. Nevertheless, we took a swim in the clear water and hopefully maintained our subtlety when we caught glimpses of bare chested women on the beach.

Fame in Cannes

After our swim, we got in the car and headed towards Cannes. Cannes is mainly known for its celebrity film festival that occurs during two weeks in May. But this town attracts tourists year round, as people hope to get a piece of the glitz that the celebrities leave behind.

Jon and I aren’t into the whole celebrity and high-end shopping scene, but felt we should get the experience. We looked at the festival theater and walked along a path where celebrities imprinted their hands into concrete. Next, we ate a spectacular lunch on the waterfront consisting of our favorite French sandwich (Croque Madam) with some white wine. We also went to Cannes’ historic quarter, and took in some nice views from the top of the hill. 

We had a ball exploring all there is to see in Nice and Cannes. But, there’s still more fun ahead of us on the French Riviera! Next up: Eze and Monaco!