Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Gate 1 Day 7 - French Riviera

May 2019 - French Riviera

DAY 7, Tuesday - Full Day in the French Riviera

A full day to enjoy the countless extravagant delights of the Cote d'Azur and your resort in the quintessential Mediterranean twin towns of Antibes and Juan-Les-Pins, known for their long sandy beaches and energetic nightlife. Relax on the beach, suntan at the pool, shop to your heart's content and just "people-watch" from a seaside café. 

Don't miss the optional excursion to the Picasso Museum at Chateau Grimaldi, where he painted and lived. 
Depart from your hotel in the morning to explore the town of Antibes and discover the fortification walls, explore the quaint streets, and visit the historical area. 

This was a really good tour with an excellent guide and a small group of Gate 1.

Pass Billionaire's Quay, a beautiful world-renowned harbor home to some of the world’s largest yachts! 

We didn't just pass the Quay, we did a great walking tour.

Fort Carré, often Fort Carré d'Antibes, is a 16th-century star-shaped fort of four arrow-head shaped bastions, that stands on the outskirts of Antibes. Henri de Mandon built the fort and then during the 17th century, the Marquis de Vauban redeveloped it.

During the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte was briefly imprisoned here. In July 1794, after the violent overthrow of Robespierre, General Bonaparte was detained as a Jacobin sympathizer and held in Fort Carré for ten days. His friend and political ally, Antoine Christophe Saliceti, secured his release.

Then in 1860, the fort played an important role when France annexed Nice.

Sitting in the port Vauban in Antibes is this sculpture, a creation by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, at the far edge of the rampart, a squatting giant entirely made of letters.

Walking is the easiest way to get around Antibes' narrow, cobblestone streets, since most of them are pedestrianized and all of the attractions lie within the historic city center.

Picasso stayed at the 16th century Chateau Grimaldi shortly after World War II and donated several works to the restored museum which you will also visit.
Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.

We arrive at the Picasso museum at 10, opening time.

The Musée Picasso, formerly the Château Grimaldi at Antibes, is built upon the foundations of the ancient Greek town of Antipolis.

Originally a residence for Bishops in the Middles Ages, the château became the home of the Grimaldi family in 1385 giving it its name Château Grimaldi. Over the years it was successively the residence of the King’s Governor, the Town Hall, military barracks and from 1925 a historical museum having been bought by the city of Antibes for this purpose.

From 1925 the chateau was known as the Grimaldi Museum. In 1946 it was the home for six months of the artist Pablo Picasso. Today the museum is known as the Picasso Museum, the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the artist.

There were sculptures outside overlooking the bay by various artists.

Quite the life.

Picasso’s work is displayed on the top floor, in the space that was his studio, leaving the ground and first floor for other modern artists and temporary exhibitions.

From the museum we walked down to the town square where we were given time on our own.


A glass of wine in the sunshine.

A quick ride back to the hotel and we walked to the bay for lunch on our own.

The beach area below the pinede forest and Palais de Congres plays host to a jazz festival (Jazz à Juan) held here during 10 days in the middle of July each year - the festival has been taking place for more than 50 years.

The festival is the second most important in the world in the jazz calendar and over the years has attracted almost every recognized jazz musician from Louis Armstrong and Count Basie and Duke Ellington to John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. You can see some of their hand prints preserved forever near the stage area.

AND another church...

Back to the hotel by the Palias de Congres.

Dressed up and passports in hand we are ready for our optional tour to Monte Carlo.

Tonight, see glamorous Monte Carlo's lights glisten as you travel along the magical seaside Corniche on the optional night tour.

We did a very nice drive along the Corniche in Nice. SO MUCH MONEY!

Now this is the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous!

MONEY? We all googled this "yacht". It is worth 250 MILLION US!! 

The yacht Quantum Blue was built by Lurssen Yachts and delivered to her owner in 2014. Her interior design is by Alberto Pinto Design. She is a frequent visitor of the Cote D’ Azur. Moving between France, Italy and Spain. Her home berth is Nice. 

Who is Sergey Galitsky

He is the founder of the Russian retail chain Magnit.

We made a photo stop and Laura surprised us with bottles of champagne.

Drive to the Principality of Monaco to see the route of the Grand Prix, the luxury boats in the harbour and view the Prince's Palace, atop the famed "Rock". 

Border control.

There was fencing everywhere as they got ready for the Grand Prix.

The Monaco Grand Prix  is a Formula One motor race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world and, with the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, forms the Triple Crown of Motorsport. The circuit has been called "an exceptional location of glamour and prestige".

The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, the Monaco circuit is a dangerous place to race and often involves the intervention of a safety car. Thus, it is the only Grand Prix that does not adhere to the FIA's mandated 305-kilometre (190-mile) minimum race distance for F1 races.

Stop at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino, one of the Riviera's most photographed landmarks.* Monte Carlo is the epitome of wealth and glamour; a prime destination for royalty and some of Hollywood's most famous actors and actresses. 

Because of the Grand Prix the bus couldn't let us off at the normal spot and instead we had to climb a lot of stairs to get to the casino. This was especially hard on people in our group with mobility issues.

The casino itself was a bit of a let down. You have to pay to enter, 17 euros which you can have applied to your food bill should you decide to eat there.

Let's face it, the House always wins.

The construction of Monte-Carlo Casino was heavily down to Société des Bains de Mer‘s founder, François Blanc. He had a new vision for Monaco as a world-renowned destination for gaming. The build started in 1863 and five years later, the casino was inaugurated. Charles Garnier, the architect whose work also includes the majestic Paris Opera, designed the casino – only adding to its stature on a world scale.

Café de Paris sits right opposite Monte-Carlo Casino and our choice for dinner.

Lois Vuitton's window.

John wanted a photo of part of the Grand Prix route.

*Please note that ripped or light-colored jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, tracksuits, sports clothing, shorts and beachwear, sandals and flip-flops for gentlemen, and sneakers will not be permitted.

Enjoy the lights of the dazzling Corniche road coastline as you return to your hotel.

Approximate tour duration is 6 hours.

Bank on the bus by 9 , barely even dinner time. Would I recommend this tour? Probably not unless you want to add Monaco to your list of countries visited. We started at 4, back on bus at 9, then hit some traffic snags due to Grand Prix and back at hotel at 10:30. No.

Optional: Picasso Museum Tour (AM) BOOKED
Optional: Monte Carlo by Night (PM) BOOKED
Overnight: French Riviera

Meals: Breakfast


  1. Nowhere looks overwhelmed by traffic.

  2. Great series!
    And also good they add the pic of a highway to the sign. I remember 1993 it just said "Toutes les routes" and "Autres routes" and you could just guess.
    Beautiful pics, looks like you had a very great time :-)

  3. It's been many years since I visited that area, but it's a paradise for the wealthy for sure!
    Loved the statues around the area.


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