The mind has to travel. But so does the body. It is the only way to comprehend reality. Living here and now makes you relevant but does not give you perspective. And when our own world gets too small, escapism is the only cure that we know.
We were not created to sit in one place. We have legs to move, fingers to touch, eyes to explore, ears to learn, tongues to taste and noses to smell. The body is an instrument of the mind and a foundation for imagination. At a time when the idea of travel has taken on a whole new meaning, imagination is our only salvation.
As vaccines began to circulate and travel restrictions loosened, it became possible to believe we were entering thriving times. Slowly, airports are returning to their former glory and real vacations are a thing again. It is finally time to feed our imaginations once again! But before we do that, we have prepared a hearty snack for your mind, rich in seafood, rose, fiery sunsets and turquoise-green waters.
Picture yourself in a photograph of Slim Aarons. Soak up some sun on a golden sand beach, hiding your eyes behind cat-eye sunglasses and enjoying moules frites seaside. Speedboats are racing across the azure water, and a man on a moped is driving down a sun-dappled street. Think Nice and Saint Tropez; think also colourful little villages made up of narrow, winding alleyways with laundry hanging out to dry and with a walk each morning to find breakfast.
Craving for a combination of the remote and the glamorous? Book a flight to Cote d’Azur.
In the most glamorous town on the French seaside, you’ll find extraordinary views and culture, hiding behind the international-class collection of luxury hotels and ambitious boutiques. The playground of the rich and famous offers plenty of gourmet restaurants and private beach clubs, but also museums, pastel-coated streets and hidden coves and beaches. Always start your visit on the Croisette promenade. After you appreciate the spectacle of beauty, youth and wealth, take a moment to imagine yourself as movie star while passing by the Palais des Festivals. Then, indulge in some luxury shopping before experiencing the softer side of Cannes – the old town. The rest is glitz, glamour and a bit of history.
Where to stay
Spend a few days at Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat. Rooms overlooking the sea, swimming pool flirting with the waves and enchanting garden, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat is one of the best-kept secrets of the Riviera.
What to visit
Take a day trip to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – with its pink facade, nine exceptional gardens and panoramic views, this is one of the must-see tourist sites on the Côte d’Azur.
Do not miss the Marché des Allées de la Liberté – a wonderful flower market in the centre of Cannes that takes place every morning on the weekdays.
For quality vintage shopping, visit Déclic Dépôt / Bingo Fashion. People in Cannes have been buying second-hand designer clothes here for a long time. This hidden gem offers a carefully curated selection of vintage and gently-used luxury apparel and accessories.
The French Riviera is quite luxurious, but nothing compares to Pierre Cardin’s Iconic Palais Bulles – the most extravagant and eclectic home on the Cote d'Azur. Better knowm as the "Bubble Palace", the villa is located in Théoule-sur-Mer, near Cannes. It was built between 1975 and 1989, designed by the Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, and bought by late fashion designer Pierre Cardin as a holiday home. Today, Le Palais Bulles remains a private property and cannot be visited, but it’s worth the trip just to be seen from the outside.
Marseille attracts more and more travellers each year, charmed by the indisputable beauty of its landscapes. Dotted with paradisiacal coves with breath-taking views, small fishing ports, authentic restaurants, and beautiful architecture, Marseille does not lack character. New museums, galleries, restaurants, bars and hotels sprout all the time, the culture is bursting but there is also an edge to this place typical for a big port city, and it brings rebellion and liberation, which make Marseille so seductive for the youth.
Where to stay: Le Petite Nice – a 5-star hotel with a 3-star restaurant. Do we need to say more?! An intimate, boutique accommodation overlooking the sea. It is separated in two villas –one with cool modernist décor, and another one with a more traditional feel, it also features large, leafy outdoor terrace with a swimming pool. But the most remarkable thing here is the cuisine.
What to visit: Visit the Calanque of Somiou for one of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera and then spend an hour at MAMO - le Corbusier-rooftop transformed into a contemporary art space.
SAINT-PAUL DE VENCE
Saint-Paul de Vence is one of the Côte d’Azur gems, hidden a little over an hour away from Nice. A unique mix of old-fashioned charm, history, and typically French chic, it has welcomed many artists and actors through the years, such as Picasso, Jane Fonda and Alain Delon. The village looks like a fairy tale with its narrow, cobbled streets and small shops and is ideally discovered during a walk.
Where to stay: See an authentic Matisse or a real Picasso at the famous La Colombe d’Or – one of the most glamorous hotels and restaurants on the coast.
What to do: Visit the Maeght Foundation of modern art – a private institute that collects twentieth-century sculpture, paintings and drawings, and houses works by Bonnard, Braque, Giacometti and Mirò.
Much of the focus on the Cote d'Azur tends to be on Saint Tropez, Monaco and Cannes, but it is Antibes that is well-known for being the yachting capital of the Mediterranean and home to the largest superyachts in the world. Seen its fair share of the glitz and the glamour, Antibes offers relaxed beaches, a gorgeous old town, artistic cafés and colourful markets.
Where to stay
Stay a night at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc or at least have a Bellini (https://www.byfar.com/blogs/by-far-world/the-bellini-story) in the most charmante hotel on the whole coast. It is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spent their honeymoon and where Marlene began her affair with Joseph Kennedy. The rose-coloured-villa even inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write Tender is the Night. And it is where one of the biggest red-carpet events of the year, the amfAR Gala, is held.
What to do
Visit and see the ceramics of Vallauris – the centre of pottery on the French Riviera or Musee Picasso for those more interested in modern art.
The glitzy coastal town, complemented by its spectacular surroundings, comes alive in the summer and has been since the 50s when Brigitte Bardot came along and turned it into an international tourist hotspot. Partying and shopping are the main entertainment here, along with people-watching and celebrity-spotting. But St Tropez offers so much more – a multi-layered life from villa soirées to colourful local markets, where an unforgettable experience is guaranteed for everyone.
Where to eat
Described as an ode to street food, this new café-restaurant, created in a collaboration between Jean Imbert and Pharrell Williams, is on top of our 2021 lists. Inspired by the world of pop culture, ToShare offers an innovative and playful menu, dotted with Asian and Latino accents.
What to do
An afternoon at Plage de Pampelonne is a must, and some institutions have been around for decades here like Le Club 55. The chicest private beach at Saint Tropez has been there over the last 50 years, occupied by the biggest stars and supermodels of the moment.
But there are also newcomers making a statement like the Gigi restaurant. The new It-venue at the Pampelonne is the chicest beach club to launch in Saint Tropez this summer. Embodying Italian elegance, flavours and design, it features a restaurant, Bellini Bar, Wellness centre, Gigi Circus and a boutique.
Where to stay
After a day in the sun, check into Lou Pinet for a deserved rest. The 5-star hotel offers everything you might dream of in ideal summer vacation - a giant pool with a breath-taking view, a Tata Harper spa, a Beefbar restaurant and a luxury interior.
Or choose this heaven of tranquillity, called Cheval Blanc. Cradled by century-old pine trees with its own private beach and three Michelin stars at La Vague d’Or restaurant, it is ideal for an adventure at the heart of St Tropez.