èze & menton, france - cacti, rosé & sicilian food on the french riviera

There's nothing like the crayola-blue skies of the South of France in July. Throw in delicious & crisply chilled rosé, mountains of seafood pasta, and breathtakingly beautiful beaches next to pastel colored towns and you've got my heart forever.

Alex and I booked a room in Nice for the last couple days of our July trip to France, but having spent quite a bit of time in town on our last visit, we decided to hop in our little rental car and explore.

Menton, France beach
MENTON

Menton, France beach

Cote d'Azur coastline, France

Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

Towering at the tippy-top of the hillside town of Èze is a cactus garden with absolutely stunning views over the coast in both directions. This is a cheaper, less crowded, and more cactus-y (a very important metric) than the Jardin Exotique in Monaco, to which it is often compared. As a very passionate cactus lover, I was in heaven. Entry for 5.
 
Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

Jardin Exotique, Èze, France


Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

Jardin Exotique, Èze, France

French Riviera coastline, France

Menton, France beach
MENTON

I'd heard wonderful things about Menton, a pastel-colored town packed with palm trees, bordered by stunning mountains, fronted by a terrific beach, and full of delicious Italian restaurants thanks to its location on the French-Italian border. A wonderful spot for a dip, a good al fresco lunch, a walk through town to digest, and gelato.

Menton, France

Menton, France

Menton, France port

Menton, France

Menton, France

Menton, France port

Menton, France

Menton, France port

Menton, France

Menton, France beach

Menton, France

Menton, France beach

Siciliana restaurant, Menton, France
SICILIANA - 3 AVENUE DU VERDUN

We stumbled across a lovely, minimalist-modern Sicilian joint and promptly grabbed seats al fresco. For lunch, you get your pick of three (or was it four? five?) dishes from behind the glass counter, which are heated and served by the chef. Really flavorful, simple southern Italian food, great rosé, and truly top-notch selection of homemade chocolates for dessert.

Siciliana restaurant, Menton, France

Nice, France architecture

Nice, France architecture

Nice, France architecture

We stayed in an extremely cheap hotel near the train station in Nice, and this was the view out of our second-floor window. It's not always all glamor & romance when we travel!


We didn't make a dinner reservation for our last night in Nice, because it was Monday night, and we figured we'd have our pick of the top joints in town. And we were very, very wrong. Every restaurant was over-full and booked; we'd walked around for an hour and poked our noses in to five or six and been rejected before we managed to squeeze into a sushi restaurant that was about to close its kitchen. Thankfully, it was fantastic.


And that was the cap to our second annual trip to the South of France. We never did manage to get a table at LA ROSSETTISSERIE in Nice, which will remain an elusive life-long goal. But we did eat the best gelato and cone in the entire world (and I have sampled A LOT) at CESAR MILANO, three times in total on this trip. So, I'm tallying this trip up as a win.

We'll see if we make it back to the French Riviera next year, for the third year in a row!


[Previously on this trip we also visited MARSEILLE and LES CALANQUES & VERDON.]

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