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My road book

Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau

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08 June 2020
Preserved heritage, old stone facades, fountains and wash houses, arts and crafts, narrow and steep streets, old oil mills, chapels, panoramic views of the sea or the mountains, authentic gastronomy... Discover these old villages that have retained their charm of yesteryear!

You will appreciate particularly in this itinerary :

• The authentic villages
• The panoramas
• The preserved environment
• Proximity to the coast
• Rural and religious heritage
• Local gastronomy with the "cuisine nissarde" label

You will discover the towns and villages of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Vence, Saint-Jeannet, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, Carros, Gilette, Bonson, La Roquette-sur-Var, Tourrette-Levens, Castagniers, Falicon

Day 1

Haut de Cagnes

Discover the beautiful villages of the Nice Côte d'Azur metropolitan area. Start with the medieval village of Haut-de-Cagnes (17 kilometres from Nice) whose Grimaldi castle-museum proudly dominates the city. Its fortress-like silhouette contrasts with the refined interiors resulting from the embellishments of the Baroque period. The Château-Musée Grimaldi houses the Olive Tree Museum, the Solidor donation and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

This area of Cagnes-sur-Mer, classified as a historic site, has managed to preserve the mystery of Provence's strongholds. With its remarkable views of the Mediterranean and the Mercantour Massif, it is not surprising that the painters Soutine, Renoir, Modigliani or Ziem fell in love with it... It's your turn! Guided tours are available all year round. Go to the Tourist Office for more information.

 

Then take the direction of Vence...
Vence

Surrounded by ramparts built in the 16th century, the old town centre has changed little over the centuries.

You will discover narrow streets, medieval and Renaissance houses, welcoming squares and squares where it is good to sit, as well as the Sian d'Acqui restaurant which offers authentic Nice dishes: fillet of sea bream with Provencal vegetables, pissaladière, small stuffed vegetables... Everything is homemade, with fresh, organic and local products, the owners are happy to specify the origin.

Don't hesitate to also push the door of shops and galleries where you can admire the work of many artists. On the Place du Grand Frêne, in the Château de Villeneuve, discover the Musée de Vence-Fondation Emile Hugues which presents works by artists who lived or stayed in Vence (including Matisse).


If you wish to combine a visit with an activity, you can then, from Vence, go horse-riding, walking or cycling and discover the surrounding preserved nature.

Go to the Tourist Office on the Place du Grand Jardin for more information on the possibilities of activities.

Saint Jeannet

 

Would you prefer to stroll in another charming village? Go a little higher and continue on your way for 8 kilometres. Nestled at the foot of an immense Baou - an impressive cliff - the village of Saint-Jeannet will seduce you with its houses tightly packed together forming a rampart around the church. The village is still dominated by a fortified castle and the ruins of a dungeon. Offering a breathtaking panorama, the medieval village is also a real little paradise for lovers of climbing and hiking.

You will also find restaurants here where you can treat your taste buds to dinner.

You can also go back to the seaside and walk along the Promenade des Flots Bleus and the lively port of Saint-Laurent-du-Var where many restaurants offer a varied cuisine. Have a nice evening!

Day 2

Carros

Continue the discovery of the typical villages of the middle country of Nice by going to Carros, (25 kilometres from Nice).

At an altitude of 400 metres, between sea and mountains, this village, listed in the inventory of picturesque sites of the Alpes-Maritimes department, is organized around its 12th century castle and has kept all its traditional medieval architecture. Today, the castle is home to an international centre for contemporary art, an opportunity for a singular encounter between historical heritage and artistic creation.

Don't miss a visit to the Tourist Office. In the heart of the magnificent and curious Florentine villa Barbary, let yourself be told the secrets and architectural treasures of the village.

Before arriving in Gilette, another charming village, make a stop at the private museum of the trades of yesteryear "Lou Ferouil". From the road, even before entering the site, you will be intrigued by the old yellow and black jalopy that sits on the hillside and by the biplane that seems to be preparing for a new flight. You will see extraordinary things, witnesses of a past era...

Are you a little hungry? See you at the Lou Countea restaurant! The chef offers an authentic cuisine, rooted in the traditions of the region. The olive oil, pressed at the village mill, comes from his three-hundred-year-old olive grove. Taste his specialities: potato gnocchi, spinach chard platters, sweet chard tart and his pissaladière. The know-how of a culinary heritage of yesteryear is perpetuated here and it's worth the detour as it's so delicious.

Gilette
Bonson
La Roquette-sur-Var

Then wander through the peaceful and colourful alleys of Gilette. Climb up to the ruins of the castle, a listed site. There too, you will be entitled to a superb panorama of the village, the Estéron river and the rest of the valley.

9 kilometres further north, you will reach the village of Bonson, at an altitude of 480m. Built in length, like a vertiginous belvedere, the village has preserved part of its medieval architectural heritage. Its southern slope is made up of terraces planted with olive trees. It has a church and several chapels, one of which has a blue-painted facade and has been transformed into a cultural centre. Every summer, Bonson organizes the Festival du Peu, an event dedicated to contemporary art. This festival takes on a festive atmosphere with its exhibitions in the streets of the village, concerts, evening shows and open-air meals.

On the way down to the seaside, make a stop at La Roquette-sur-Var, overlooking the Var Valley. You will appreciate the view. With a bit of luck, you will attend a lively game of petanque on the main square, an opportunity to chat with the Roquettans.

Finish your evening in one of the many restaurants in Vieux-Nice. In this unmissable area, we recommend the following restaurants with the "Cuisine Nissarde" label:

Day 3

Today, we suggest you start the day with a visit to Tourrette-Levens.
Tourrette-Levens

Climb to the top of the old village of Tourrette-Levens, up to the magnificent esplanade of the castle. Enjoy this exceptional view of the sea and the mountains and take a deep breath of the fresh morning air. The serenity and magic of this place will surely fill you with joy.

Then enter the tower of the castle. Inside, the free museum of butterflies and insects will certainly amuse your children. On your way down, stop at the André Carles Museum of Traditional Crafts. This private collection invites you on a journey back in time. You will discover some 7,000 authentic tools used between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Surprising and fascinating! (Cover photo, Tourrette-levens)

Don't miss a visit to the boutique atelier of the first emblematic blue chairs of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

Chez Michel

Head now for Castagniers. The village is made up of residential hamlets in a quiet hinterland and the old village, the central square of which has a Saint-Michel parish church and contemporary works of art.

Time for lunch? The place is simply perfect for tasting authentic Niçoise cuisine at the Chez Michel restaurant. Taste the delicious local dishes such as daube niçoise, stuffed vegetables, ravioli, pissaladière, zucchini flower fritters but also grilled garnished meats or cannelloni with daube sauce.

Are you full now? Continue your taste discovery at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de la Paix where Cistercian sisters welcome you for a visit of their chocolate shop. Taste the milk-caramel chocolate. Made by hand by the workshop founded in 1950 in the abbey, it is also one of the references of the "chocolate sisters"!

Falicon

To finish your day of discoveries, make a visit to Falicon. With its surrounding countryside planted with olive trees, this medieval village has retained all the charm of the perched villages of yesteryear. Behind the walls of its rampart, still pierced with fortified gates, small narrow and tortuous alleys and colourful flower-bedecked squares, Falicon will know how to charm you.

It is now dinner time at the restaurant "Au thé de la Reine" where you will be served excellent traditional Niçoise cuisine. Enjoy your meal!

In only 8 kilometers, you will be back in Nice. Casinos, moonlight strolls on the Promenade des Anglais, cinemas, piano bars or pubs are possible components to end your evening and your stay in beauty. But there are many others...

You got it. The hinterland of Nice is full of cultural and culinary treasures. Enough to satisfy all your senses!

 
 
 

This itinerary is brought to you by Joelle from the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

Photo crédits: OTM NCA/ JM/  SJ / Cagnes-sur-Mer / Vence / Métropole NCA / C.Alfonsi / Ville de Nice /