Places to explore

There are many places to explore and enjoy around the Côte d’Azur in the sunny south of France. Having lived here for many years we have extensive knowledge of the area and lots of tips, hints and ideas to make your holiday memorable and hassle free. We hope you will find some of this information useful when you are planning your holiday along the French Riviera or throughout Provence.


Theoule sur Mer, a well kept secret of the French Riviera

Thoules-sur-mer Cote-d'Azur

Only the other day we found ourselves in Theoule sur Mer, a lovely little seaside village along the French Riviera, what hits you as you drive away from the hustle and bustle of Cannes with all its wealth, glitz and glamour, is that the scenery and landscape start to change, the road winds along the coast ascending and descending alongside beautiful small coves and bays with yachts and little pleasure boats bobbing about in the sunshine on the azur blue mediterranean.

The brilliant blue of the sea seems even more intense, set off by the red rocks of the Littoral.

Driving down into Theoule you can almost catch a glimpse of a time now gone by and what life and holidays here must have been like before mass tourism changed the landscape further along the coast forever.

Theoule has a little horseshoe bay (quite shallow waters) circled by a number of busy  fish restaurants and colourful cafés and bars.

The backdrop to this being the steep green hillside scattered with its belle epoque villas and palazzos of another era.

This is a captivating place which on arrival takes your breath away, as you seem to be able to take in the full beauty of it all in one sweep of the head, the boats in the bay, the sunlit crescent of the town all enclosed by the natural splendour of the hillside behind.

There are even more treats in store as you drive out of Theoule along the coastal road of the Estorel on your way to St. Raphael. At the top of the long fairly steep hill just out of the town you can look back towards Cannes and Nice across the bay, it is one of the most magnificent views you will see on the French Riviera.

Could it be that Theoule has kept its charm because it is a little inaccessible? Possibly, but like all hidden gems they are worth the effort to get there.

Easily drivable by car from our Sunhatfrance Mobile Homes at Camping Eden, Biot, we recommend that you plan a trip to Theoule sur Mer!!! You won’t be disappointed.

Biot and Antibes

Antibes old town

Antibes coastBiot, France.

Biot, undoubtedly one of the gems of the Cote d’Azur, is a village we know well as it is very close to Camping Eden where we have our Mobile Home rentals, we spent several  years living on site during the Summer months. If you are staying with us at Camping Eden you have an excellent base from which to discover the French Riviera, central Provence and the South of France, as it is well placed for visiting so many destinations through the PACA region (Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur).

A visit to Biot is to take a real tour through Provencal history. It was once a Commanderie for the Knights Templar. The quiet sun-bleached corners, winding alleyways and colourful lively squares are quintessentially Provence. All roads lead up to the Place des Arcades which is outlined on two sides by Romanesque and Gothic arches; stroll along from there back into the main square which has a great choice of places to eat and drink.

Along with many Galleries and Artisan shops there are several glass blowing studios to visit and at the foot of the village is the unmissable Glass Museum.

Antibes, a lovely French town.

Travel just 20 minutes and you reach one of our favourite towns, Antibes. It just seems to us to be perfectly proportioned. Enjoy walking around the town as a lot of the streets are pedestrianized. Even though it isn’t on the scale of Nice or Cannes it seems to have so much to offer.

Lively cafés, bustling restaurants, night markets, theatre, music – everything goes on here – and beyond the ancient city walls, stroll around its renowned harbour where many of the most spectacular yachts in the world are moored for the summer season.

Minutes from the old quarter you’ll find sandy beaches or take an evening drive around the Cap d’Antibes up to the Lighthouse (Phare) where the night view stretches all the way along from Cannes to Nice and beyond. It is truly magnificent.

 

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

Les Deux Garcons Brasserie, AixWe always try and find time to visit the French town of Aix-en-Provence in the summer months, a bustling University town full of life, music, theatre, festivals – you name it, you will find it here.

If the pace gets too much slip into the Quartier Mazarin and soak up the romance and history in the quiet leafy squares that surround the impressive 18th century mansions, take a peek through the huge iron gates into their secret gardens.

On the other side of the Cours Mirabeau, Aix’s grandest Avenue, there are shops galore including high street names alongside lots of small individual boutiques selling original designs.

If you wander through the back streets you’ll find numerous little shops selling arts and crafts next to small galleries – and there is always a café or restaurant not too far away.

If you just feel like being lazy and want to sit and watch French life going by, choose one of the many pavement cafés that line the leafy boulevard, the Cours Mirabeau, known as the most beautiful street in the South of France.

Enjoy the high theatre of the waiters in Les Deux Garçons, Aix’s legendary brasserie.

Just out of the town, the most famous son of Aix, Paul Cezanne, had his studio which is now open to the public. Kept as his working studio right down to his pots of brushes, it is well worth a visit and a must for Art lovers.

We hope you’ll have an amazing holiday in wonderful Provence!

Gorges du Verdon

Verdon Gorge

The Verdun Gorge, South of FranceJustly named ‘The Grand Canyon of Europe’, the Gorges du Verdon is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. The natural beauty of this amazing landscape of river canyons and blue-green water just takes your breath away.

Take a drive around the Gorges du Verdon, stopping off for the many photo opportunities along the way, then park up for a swim alongside the Lake of Sainte Croix (Lac de Sainte Croix). There are many uncrowded spots around the lake where you can park easily and access small beaches where you can then sit for hours at the water’s edge in total peace and tranquility.

Around the lake there is a variety of watersports on offer. The area is also very popular with walkers and ramblers, as there are lots of trails and paths through the pine forests that edge around the lake. If you are just looking for a fabulous day away from it all, this is the perfect  place for you.

The colour of the water is worth the trip alone!

St. Tropez

St. Tropez

map to beachesIt’s a long time now since Bridgit Bardot put the small fishing village of St. Tropez on the map. Now the holiday destination of the rich and famous, this little seaside town still manages to retain its own unique charm, whether you stop for a coffee on the Place des Lices or have Fruits de Mer while watching how the other half live on the super, super yachts moored in the famous harbour.

There are plenty shops to browse – the town of St. Tropez is quite small so you will soon find your way around. To find the best beaches, you need to drive back out of town to La Pampelonne, it is a long sandy strip where you can dine alfresco in one of the many beach restaurants, there are also Campsites here that access directly onto the beach.

St. Tropez is not far from the camp site and an interesting place to visit. We look forward to seeing you!

More information about SunHatFrance mobile homes on a small, friendly camping site, Eden, Biot.

Local Villages of Provence

Cotignac, Provence

CassisWhen you stay with us, you will be adjacent to the Heart of Provence, surrounded by the stunning Provencal landscape of rolling hills, cyprus trees, olive groves, vineyards and country roads that lead to the many lovely hilltop villages of this area. These villages are often built into the hillside or on top of a hill, they command wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. They usually centre around the Church or a cool mossy fountain. Wandering through the narrow streets of sun bleached stone houses, you cannot help be taken back to a slower pace of life; it often feels like time stands still here in Provence.

Enjoy a memorable lunch in a sun dappled shady square or weave through the colourful weekly markets to buy fresh local produce – everything you need for the perfect picnic.

Some of our favourites villages of Provence are:

Cotignac, built into the rock face, is said to be the most beautiful village in France. The village tumbles down to the Cour Gambetta, the hub of the village, where you find the square full of bars and restaurants plus a great market on a Tuesday morning.

Villecroze has interesting highly individual shops selling bric a brac, pottery and arts and crafts.

Cassis, drenched in sunshine, the most perfect little seaside village; sit on the harbour and enjoy a glass of its famous, delicious white wine. Whenever we go there we are sure to come home with a couple of bottles from Domaine de la Ferme Blanche.

We hope you enjoy touring the villages of Provence, and we look forward to having you stay in one of our hoilday homes.

Monaco / Monte Carlo

Casino, Monte Carlo

Casino, Monte CarloWhat makes Monaco so spectacular? The dramatic cliffs , the world famous Casino in Monte Carlo, the imposing Royal Palace with the changing of the guard, the Grand Prix circuit which threads right through the heart of the principality – or could it be just the fairytale atmosphere of this unique Riviera location?

You will be tripping over Designer shops, expensive cars and well dressed people. Enjoy a drink in one of the chic harbour cafés and wait for a helicopter to land on one of the mega-rich super yachts. How the other half lives!!!

We suggest that taking the train to Monaco is a good way to visit, no hassle with traffic or parking; the station (impressive enough for a visit in it’s own right) drops you in the centre of things.

If you are based at Camping Eden, it is only a 20 minute walk to catch the train at Biot station. Our experience of many years in this area has told us that for certain places the train is best.

Monte Carlo Casino | The Royal Palace | The Cathedral | Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium

Beaches of the Côte d’Azur

There are many wonderful beaches running along the French Riviera from Menton, near the Italian border, to Marseille. There are, of course, the famous pebble beaches that run along The Promenade des Anglais in Nice to Antibes but especially beautiful are the sandy beaches and coves (Calanques) around the Esterel region which is West of Cannes.

Be sure to visit Theoule sur Mer, a favourite of ours in this area, a tiny seaside town still with Belle Epoque Palazzos sweeping down to the timeless blue Mediterranean sea.

There are so many spectacular beaches along the Cote d’Azur where you can relax in the sun. It was here in the South of France, after all, that  the suntan was invented in the 1920s – that is to say, it became fashionable. And, of course, St. Tropez became famous as the ‘topless’ sun-bathing beach over 50 years ago.

Suntans are a trend that have not gone away – so grab your suntan lotion, and your towel … and hit the beach!!!

Vineyards of Provence

lavender and vineyard

Local VineyardProvence. A magical name, a magical place which immediately conjures up images of lavender fields, sunflowers, olive trees, and of course it’s vineyards, especially famous for it’s light fruity rosé, perfect for a warm summer’s evening.

The Provence region profits from plenty of sunshine, warm days and cool evenings, the combination of which leads to grapes bursting with flavour which of course then makes fabulous wine. Look out for these vineyards:

On the edge of Cabasse, Chateau Margilliere, where you will always receive a friendly welcome from either Rhianna or Emilie, all their wines are organic, superb quality and excellent value, well worth buying a few bottles from here to take home.

Chateau la Lieue (next door to Margilliere) owned by the same family for 5 generations, again an Organic vineyard producing excellent wines, we particularly like their white wine ‘Tradition’.

Domaine des Triennes, established wine makers from Burgundy, now well established in Nans-les-Pins, produce an excellent prize winning Burgundy-style white wine which would probably cost you 3 times as much if you were to buy it in Burgundy.

Château de Bregancon, close to Bormes les Mimosas; we have only bought a couple of bottles of red from this vineyard, both very enjoyable but what we like most is the landscape around here – the vineyards sweep right down to the sea and the quiet sandy beaches are beautiful.

As you are driving around you will come across a ‘Cave Co-operative’ in most villages, they often have a varied selection of excellent local wines at reasonable prices. Most vineyards and Cave Co-operatives are only too happy to let you taste their wine and explain their process of wine making before you buy.