When the Victorians first started descending on the French Riviera 150 years ago during the cooler winter and spring months, it was to lift the spirits and boost their health. Dr James Henry Bennett claimed to have been cured of Tuberculosis by travelling to Menton, and so the powerful and well-informed followed; including novelist Robert Louis Stevenson and Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Leopold.
Today, spring continues to be one of the most invigorative times of the year on the Cote d’Azur. The weather picks up to pleasant temperatures, the flowers begin to proliferate, and – unlike the Victorian era – the hordes of tourists haven’t yet arrived. The atmosphere is magic.
Besides the ‘joie de vivre’, one of the best things about being a Cap d’Antibes resident is the plethora of views on your doorstep – each providing a restorative effect. Whether you are uplifted by the natural splendor of the Mediterranean Sea and the majestic mountains, or delight in the variety of villa vistas and historic surroundings, the Riviera has breathtaking scenery that springs into action this time of year.
The magnificent views from the Garoupe Lighthouse in Cap d’Antibes capture the glistening ocean as far as Nice to the East and Cannes to the West. While the 40-minute hike from Juan Les Pins to the lighthouse renders the sights all the more special, this unique spot can be reached by car. Nothing quite matches the sunset here on a balmy spring evening, whilst enjoying a picnic of local meats, cheeses and Provençal rosé.
Perched on a rocky promontory 1,401 feet above sea level, Èze is a medieval French village well-deserving of its nickname, ‘Eagle’s nest’. The spectacular views over the Mediterranean Sea, Èze bay and Cap Ferrat are best earned by climbing Nietzsche’s Path from the coastline to the village – named after the German philosopher who lived in the area during the 1880s. Once a goat path, it is said that Nietzsche climbed up the steep trail daily and that the hike provided much-needed inspiration for the third part of ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’.
It would be impossible to omit the fantastic views from Castle Hill in Nice – a maze of greenery set on the side of an 11th-century military citadel. On the one side, soak up the sweeping views over the Bay of Angels and the vibrant terracotta roofs that the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town Nice is renowned for. In the other direction you can watch the buzz of the colourful Nice harbour for hours on end. If you don’t fancy summiting via the steps you can access this view on foot from OId Nice and Place Garibaldi, in an Art-Deco lift.
For a charming view into the authentic hustle and bustle of French Riviera living, the thousand-year-old walled city of Saint-Paul-de-Vence is well-worth a visit – one of the oldest medieval towns in the region. Feel part of the community in the legendary Place du Jeu de Boules square; watch the world go by while sipping coffee on the terrace at Café de la Place; and empathise with the artistic greats like Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse who were seduced by the village’s atmosphere, landscapes and clear light.
We are proud to offer stunning private views from several of our apartments and penthouses at Parc du Cap – including sea panoramas across the bay towards Cannes and Nice, as well as the rugged Italian Alps. For all at Parc du Cap, life doesn’t get better than strolling down to the Hotel Belles Rives for an evening tipple overlooking this little slice of South of France heaven.