Let the Cote D’Azur Show Off its Magic ....
We couldn’t let the recent Disney offering, Beauty and the Beast, pass us by without taking a look around the area within which it is set. Written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740, the fairy tale story of ‘La Belle et la Bête’ has been retold again and again over the years.
We think there are many wonders that will remind you of ‘La Belle et la Bête’ on the French Riviera, including a stroll down Nice ’s colourful Vieille Ville. As you wander the maze of narrow streets within the old town, you will find a glorious selection of eateries, shops and galleries. It is a fantastic place to people watch whilst sampling a pissaladière (an oniony tart made like a pizza).
The single rose plays a prominent role in the film. If you are visiting the region in May you need to take a trip to Grasse for the Rose Expo; this beautiful and aromatic four-day spectacle celebrates the whole spectrum of roses, from pure white to garnet red. Whilst you’re in the area we recommend a visit to Villa Fort France. This exquisite garden surrounded by rolling hills dates back to 1930, it was built by the British writer Lady Fortescue and husband.
You can even smell like the Cote d’Azur with the luxury hair brand Oribe, who have collaborated with one of France’s oldest fragrance houses, the roots of which can be traced back to the 1800s. They describe their signature scent as awakening with “citrus-soaked Italian bergamot, pink lemons, white peach, cassis and muguet (lily of the valley), balanced with Aomori apples and leafy greens.”
The Cote d’Azur, which most people call the French Riviera, is known for its grand sweeping elegance and sheer opulence. This is not only found in the well known resorts such as Cannes or Antibes, but throughout the region. From hotels to campsites, gastronomy to luxuries, every stretch of coastline, and every magical town, has the ability to make you feel like you’re being transported into your own Disney adventure.
Let’s take the medieval village of Eze, for instance; the view of the sea will take your breath away. With its bell tower reaching for the sky, it’s hard to imagine that the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix has been decorating the landscape since 1306. In complete contrast, head to the coast to sample the delights of the world famous Saint-Tropez.
As the beautiful beaches and designer shops entertain your days in this mythical village, your evenings are free to explore the luxurious yachts in port in the marina. Culture is also in abundance; you will be in a state of wonder at the collection of over 20,000 butterflies in the underwater archaeology museum, also known as ‘the butterfly house’.
Book lovers always swoon when it comes to the library in the Beast’s enchanted castle, and the libraries in this region won’t let you down. We know there is nothing better than heading to the beach with a good book, but in Nice the books come to you in the form of beach libraries with a great selection to satisfy your every whim.
No Disney tale would be complete without a French castle, and there are certainly an astonishing collection of museums, historical buildings and would-be homes for you to choose from. Everyone has their own kind of fairytale they are waiting to discover; on the Cote d’Azur, you will find a special kind of magic that will capture your heart and invite you to make it your own ‘luxury pied a terre’ in the south of France and in Europe.