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trish & pat’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 19 Jun 2007

Location: Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

MapCote d’ Azur a.k.a French Riviera

We have really loved our first 5 days in France. We have been staying at a small fishing village called Villefranche sur Mer which is roughly half way between Nice and Monaco. It has a more of a village atmosphere and far less tourists than the major tourist spots on the Riviera. It is a perfect base to explore this coast. The old town has tiny narrow cobbled alleyways with bars and restaurants dotted throughout. Whilst our hotel is fairly basic it enjoys a premium location fronting the harbour. We are on the top floor and have a magnificent view from our balcony (see photos).

We visited Monaco including the Palace, Harbour and the famous Monte Carlo Casino (wow!). The standout at the casino was the amount of Lamborghini’s, Ferraris etc parked out the front. We have never felt so financially poor as we did whilst strolling around Monaco. Apparently the average price of the yachts moored in the harbour is €50m – never seen so many big yachts and nothing compares to it at home, with one exception being Greg Norman’s little number which would fit in very nicely here.

We have given up on receiving our invitation to the Packer wedding in Monaco tomorrow, and have decided to move on instead.

Had a great day in Nice yesterday strolling the promenade and walking through the old city. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant famous for its moules and frites (mussels and chips). You could eat as many of each as you liked for €12. Another highlight was the ice cream shop with 96 flavours including; tomato and basil, black olive, avocado, thyme etc (yuk!!). We settled for red berry fruits and rocher (tasted just like ferraro rocher chocolates), and was delicious!

We also visited an opulent villa and gardens previously owned by the Rothschild family in St Jean Cap Ferrat. It took 5 years to build, is painted pink because it was the Mrs’ favourite colour and has 7 different gardens including fountains that dance to classical music.

Our observation so far of the French is that they are respectful, polite and definitely more law abiding on the roads than the Italians – they actually stop for you at pedestrian crossings! On the other hand, the Italian people definitely appear to be warmer.

We head off tomorrow to north western France where we meet up with Sally and John again to attend her friends wedding on Saturday, which we are looking forward to very much. We spend about a week in Chantonnay and expect to spend quite a bit of time with Virginie’s family before heading south to Spain.

ps: we have moved from Tiramisu to Crème Brulee and it is damn good!!