Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

After two fun-filled days in Monte Carlo, Sommer and I got up bright and early to make our way to the next stop on our French Riviera tour.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

We took a half-day tour with Friend in France. They picked us up at our hotel in Monte Carlo, and dropped us off at our hotel in Nice. Our guide was Cyril, and he was amazing. He knew all the best places to take photos! As we were leaving Monte Carlo, he took us to this amazing overlook of Monaco.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

My gorgeous travel buddy for the week!

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

Cyril then took us to the hilltop town of Èze. We spent a quiet Sunday morning exploring this picturesque medieval village.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

Èze sits high on a cliff with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea all around. Cyril told us all about the city and took us to all the hidden spots. He pointed out fun things we would’ve never noticed on our own. Èze was such a lovely village to explore. If you are looking for fun tours and day trips from the French Riviera, be sure to check out Friend in France. And if you want to get the best photos, be sure to ask for Cyril!

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

After Cyril dropped us off in Nice, we made our way to the iconic Le Negresco for lunch. For over 100 years the Negresco’s signature pink dome has been a highlight of the Nice skyline overlooking the beautiful beaches of the French Riviera’s capital city.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

The Negresco Hotel is almost like a museum. It’s home to a large art collection with over 6,000 unique pieces.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

The Negresco offers 117 unique rooms — each one is decorated differently. The styles of the rooms range from the period of Louis XIII to modern day. I fell in love with this pink princess room! This room is an example of Louis XVI style. Even if you don’t stay at the Negresco, it’s fun to pop in and take a peek at all the art. I recommend taking the vintage elevator (walk past the reception area and it’s on the left) up to the top floor, then taking the stairs down. Each floor is different. Also definitely be sure to check out the bathrooms while you are there! Go past the reception area, and when you get to the big art area, take a right and turn down the hallway to the right. Take a peek in the men’s room too if it’s open. Hah!

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

After checking out the hotel, we made our way to La Rotonde for lunch.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

How amazing is this restaurant! We were in heaven!

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

How cute is this pink booth?? Since we were in Nice, I of course had to get the classic Salad Nicoise. It was incredible. And you guys will NEVER guess what I got for dessert. Check it out in the bottom right picture. Go ahead and guess.

That is a swiss chard pie with orange blossom ice cream. Yes, swiss chard. Like the vegetable. I had to get it because I just had to know what it would be like. It was actually very delicious and it did not taste like a vegetable at all! It tasted like pie. You have to trust me on this. I would totally order it again.

If you are ever in Nice, I highly recommend lunch at La Rotonde!

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

We spent the afternoon exploring the markets and cobblestone streets of Nice. Cyril and a few of our awesome readers had recommended Fenocchio for ice cream, so when we stumbled across it, we knew we had to try it.

It was at this moment that my life forever changed. That scoop you see on top is lavender ice cream.

The summer is peak season for lavender in Provence, very close to where we were in the French Riviera. Everywhere we turned in Nice there was fresh lavender. Heavenly-scented lavender satchels, culinary lavender, lavender oil, lavender soap. So when we saw lavender ice cream, I had to try.

It was honestly one of the best things I have ever had in my entire life, and I am basically obsessed with lavender ice cream now. I dream about it. Day and night.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

After a PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE AMOUNT OF TIME (and NOT 5 minutes later, I don’t care what Sommer says!!) we stumbled across another Fennochio. We looked at each other and knew we needed more. I had to get lavender again, because I basically want to marry it now, and on bottom was orange blossom. SO good. If you are ever in Nice, be SURE to go to Fennochio and get lavender and orange blossom ice cream!!

And if you aren’t going to be Nice anytime soon, I HIGHLY recommend you make Sommer’s Lavender Ice Cream Recipe. I made it as SOON as I got home from France. Literally the day I got back. Her recipe is SO easy. It doesn’t even call for eggs. But it is the smoothest, creamiest ice cream ever. I bought culinary lavender while I was in France, but you can also get it on Amazon. And guys. I may even like Sommer’s better than what I had in France. (I did leave out the chocolate because I just wanted the pure taste of lavender, like what I had there.) It is phenomenal. I ate the entire quart over the course of 2 days and did not share a single bite. I hoarded that thing. It’s literally amazing. Make some as soon as you possibly can!!

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

That night we took a sunset walk on the beach. The “beach” here is all rocks — no sand like I’m use to on the Gulf Coast. People bring mattresses instead of beach towels to lay out on the beach.

The rocks are polished smooth like sea glass, and the most amazing sound in the world is when the waves crash against the shore, and the water recedes back into the sea, dragging some of pebbles back with it. If you’d like to hear, turn on your volume and press play above.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

I could sit here and listen all night.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

Such an amazing sunset view in Nice.

Ultimate French Riviera Travel Guide. Where to eat, where to stay, day trips from Nice.

That night we were treated to another fireworks show over the water as we sat on the beach. The French Riviera knows how to do its fireworks, that is for sure. Another amazing show!

Stay tuned for our second day in Nice… :)

Until next time!! xoxo


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Monte Carlo, Part 2

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

In the short time Sommer and I were in Monte Carlo, we absolutely fell in love. Monte Carlo is the perfect mix of the excitement of city life with quiet old town charm. There’s stunning views hidden in narrow, cobblestone shopping streets, gorgeous beaches, fabulous food, gardens, spas, larger-than-life hotels, and everything in the air just seems magical. We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing last day in Monaco.

If you missed it, be sure to check out part one of our weekend in Monte Carlo! :)

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

We started the day at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, the current and official residence of the Prince of Monaco (and also where Princess Grace lived). Every day at exactly 11:55am the changing of the guard takes place here.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

We explored the narrow alleyways of Old Town Monaco, established in the middle ages, weaving their way up the hill towards to palace.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

I could’ve spent all morning shopping (and eating!) here!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The palace is set atop a rocky boulder overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

There were panoramic views everywhere we turned as we made our way back down the hill.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

As we made our way back into Monte Carlo, the buildings turned hip and modern.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The beaches of Monte Carlo are gorgeous! There was a HUGE inflatable waterslide that I was DYING to go on. It had to have been 10 stories high. Next time for sure!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

If you are in Monte Carlo, be sure to walk through the Japanese Tea Garden!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo via Sommer.

Such a peaceful garden.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

After a full morning of walking all over Monaco, we were so excited to see a Ladurée macaron shop! How beautiful is this all-white carousel?

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Loved all these fun pastries!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

My favorite Ladurée macarons are vanilla, salted caramel, and strawberry candy. If you only get a few, those are totally my recommendations. But they have TONS of fun flavors!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

That afternoon we had lunch at the Michelin-starred L’Hirondelle at the Thermes Marins spa. We started with these prawn fritters with mango, avocado, tomatoes, and ponzu dressing. We also had the Fishes “à la plancha”, with fried zucchini blossoms, wild sea bass, organic salmon, and Mediterranean prawns. Seriously amazing!!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

We could not pass up this strawberry chocolate dessert. The perfect lunch overlooking the harbor!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

After lunch we had spa treatments at Thermes Marins, Monte Carlo’s state-of-the-art spa and haven of luxury and tranquillity. It was one of the most unforgettable spa experiences I have ever had.

It started with a full body, lavender-scented, exfoliating sea salt and argan oil scrub on a water bed. That pink massage table you see is actually a water bed. The bed shapes exactly to the body, minimizing pressure and allowing the muscles to fully relax. It was like floating on a cloud.

That was followed by a citrus-scented bath and hydrotherapy massage, a detox (water weight eliminating) cocoon-like mud wrap, and finally a Mediterranean massage using *PURE GOLD FLECKED* olive oil. I’m not making this stuff up.

I left with the softest skin ever with faint sparkles of pure gold all over.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

After our spa treatments we were ready for a night in Monte Carlo. We HAD to check out the famous Monte Carlo casino! Unfortunately this is all I can show you because there are no photos allowed inside, but I can say that while it was much smaller than I imagined it to be, it is SUPER swanky.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

This is the view right across from the casino. You can actually see a reflection of the casino in the circular mirror in the middle. This round garden is the Place du Casino, the heart of Monte Carlo. Around this circle are many famous sites in Monte Carlo, like the Casino above, as well as a few other sites below…

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Like the ultra swanky Monte Carlo Shopping Promenade. This is luxury shopping at its finest. Seriously a one-of-a-kind outdoor shopping experience!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

There’s Cafe de Paris and its casino.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo via Sommer.

And the legendary Hotel de Paris.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

We checked in for the night here. They automatically transferred our luggage from the Hotel Hermitage, so we didn’t have to do a thing.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Loved this lobby!

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Our room was gorgeous.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Loved this peaceful seating area.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo via Sommer.

But we spent most of our time out here…

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

…On our balcony overlooking the Place du Casino.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

With our decadent afternoon snacks! Homemade marshmallows, strawberry Linzer cookies, and chocolate-covered candied orange peel.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Here was the view from our balcony.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

We could see all the shoppers at the Monte Carlo Shopping Promenade.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

We had a direct view of the Monte Carlo Casino and all the major sites around the Place du Casino. I could sit out here and people-watch all day! The balconies of the Hotel de Paris are the place to see and be seen in Monte Carlo.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo via Sommer.

That evening was our last night in Monte Carlo, so we had a special dinner at the Michelin-starred Blue Bay restaurant.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The weather in Monte Carlo was gorgeous all weekend, so we ate every meal outside. Such a treat. When we first sat down, they brought around a huge basket with tons of gourmet bread offerings. It was hard not to fill up on all the fabulous rolls! And how precious is this — all the restaurants we ate at in Monte Carlo brought out these cute little footstools for our purses.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

This was our view as the sun set over our last night in Monte Carlo.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Dinner was phenomenal. The chef had prepared a special tasting menu just for us. Everything was amazingly fresh, delicious, and utterly gorgeous.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

For dessert, they brought out an iPad for the menu. As we were savoring the last bites of an exception meal, the neatest thing happened.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

A truly unbelievable fireworks show started to go off over the bay. I have honestly never in my life seen a fireworks show this amazing before. So many lights and colors. Disney comes close. But this was incredible. Towards the end I just had to put my camera down and watch in amazement. The perfect ending to the perfect weekend.

Best Things to See & Do in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The next morning we got up early for our next adventure. We started the day with room service pastries on the balcony. I am still dreaming about those crispy, buttery croissants.

Stay tuned for our next adventure in the French Riviera! :)


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Monte Carlo Night!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

After Kevin and I spent a week biking through the French countryside, my sweet friend Sommer met me in France for a fun girls week on the French Riviera! I hopped on a quick flight from southern France to the Nice Côte d’Azur airport to meet her there.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

I seriously could not get over the stunning views as we were flying into Nice!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Our first stop was… Monte Carlo!! From the airport, you can get to Monte Carlo by taxi or train, but by far the most fun way is a helicopter!! It’s only a 7 minute ride, and it doesn’t cost that much more than a cab. I had never ridden in a helicopter before, so I was ALL OVER this!! :)

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

It was so fun! It wasn’t too loud, and we didn’t have to wear headphones or anything.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

The views flying into Monaco were amazing!!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

This was seriously one of the highlights of the trip, and it only went uphill from here.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco! Photo via Sommer

We stayed at the amazing Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

If you want pure luxury, the Hotel Hermitage is the place to be!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

The hotel was gorgeous. It was like a museum!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

I am so completely in love with our room. I wanted to move in!

Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo, Monaco

And the bathroom. Oh my word. Just look at that tub!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

They had two dozen long-stem white roses, bottles of water, and Ladurée macarons waiting for us.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

And how incredible is this view??

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Here’s a panoramic look at the view outside our window.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Our balcony overlooked the Monte Carlo Harbor.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Loved waking up to this view!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

We also had a special invitation waiting for us, handwritten in calligraphy.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

It was inviting us to be a part of the Monte-Carlo Shopping Promenade, celebrated with live music, luxury shopping brands, and gourmet food trucks run by Monte-Carlo SBM’s eminent chefs. That is the famous Monte Carlo Casino you see in the background!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco! Photo via Sommer

Everyone got a fun straw hat from this cute blue car!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Of course we had to check out the food trucks! Our first stop was at the Buddha-Bar truck. All the trucks represented restaurants around Monte Carlo, and were run by the executive chefs of the restaurant. Buddha-Bar had AMAZING sushi!! I guess I was not expecting to find sushi in Monaco, but it makes sense since they are on the water! It was honestly the best sushi I have ever had. I am still dreaming about this sushi! If you are ever in Monte Carlo, you HAVE to go to Buddha-Bar!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco! Photo via Sommer

Our next stop was at Le Vistamar. Le Vistamar is a restaurant inside the Hotel Hermitage. We actually had dinner reservations here later that night!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Le Vistamar had mini lobster rolls. So good!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

They also had a Strawberry Pavlova dessert. To die for.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

Next we hopped on this fun mini train to the next stop! There was live music and incredible food everywhere. Such an unforgettable night. Monte Carlo knows how to throw a party!

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

That night we had a phenomenal dinner at the Michelin-starred Le Vistamar restaurant inside the Hotel Hermitage. Fish, lobster, risotto, ravioli. Everything was incredible. And gorgeous. We ordered the bigger version of the Strawberry Pavlova we tried at the food truck, since we loved the mini version so much. We also ordered the “Signature Vistamar”, a strawberry cream cake with strawberry sorbet and violet granita. It was here we learned that if there is ever a strawberry dessert on the menu in Monte Carlo, you order it. Just don’t even ask questions.

Best things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco!

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel. The Hermitage has an impressive breakfast buffet with pastries, tons of cereal options, meats, cheeses, eggs, and sausage. They also had a crepe bar! America has omelette bars, Monte Carlo has crepe bars! Of course I had to start the day with a Nutella crepe. ;)

Stay tuned for day 2 in Monte Carlo!! :)


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