If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll have gathered that I am a big fan of architecture and in particular of the opulent, elegant and historical variety. Whether its intricate details on the cathedral of Gloucester or enormous chandeliers in the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, there is something about old-world extravagance that captures my imagination.
My partner Laura and I love to travel, we sometimes differ when it comes to activities as she loves nothing more than lazing around in a tropical location with a bit of sightseeing thrown in, whereas I like to see and do as much as I can. However when it comes to history, culture and food we are unified, so when it came to planning her 30th birthday surprise, I knew I wanted to create a trip that captured all three.
Beyond Paris, I have never really visited France but I have always been really attracted to its varied history, chic lifestyle and delicious food. Laura, on the other hand, has visited the French Riviera for work which involved Cannes Film Festival and has always gushed over how much she loves it, which made it an easy choice for the trip.
I started planning back in November, going to a short-haul destination (from the UK) meant that I could spend a bit more on accommodation and make it really special. I started searching for the best hotels in the French Riviera and things to see and do and settled on Nice as our central spot. I chose Nice because many of the highlights were here such as Vielle Ville (Old Town) and the beautiful Promenade des Anglais, it is also really easy to get to Monaco, Cannes, Cote D’ Azur and Eze from here.
Finding fantastic accommodation wasn’t hard, but choosing which one to stay in was. There were a recurring three in the Riviera which top all of the lists, but in the end I chose the Negresco, mainly for my love of architecture but also its cultural significance.
The Negresco sits on the famous Promenade des Anglais and is known as the last independent palace hotel in the Rivera and hosts an eclectic range of authentic antique furniture, art and artefacts. It is also home to a chandelier commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II – the twin of which sits in the Kremlin in Moscow.
Now it is just over a week or so before we depart on our surprise trip to France, although not such a surprise anymore because I couldn’t help but tell her. I have done some research and found so many things to see and do that I am not sure whether five days will be nearly enough.
Have you been to The French Rivera? Share your recommendations below!
Disclaimer: I had to download a photo of Nice from a free image library for this article as I have not been yet!