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Travel Books: Guides to the Cote d'Azur

Click on any of the above books to read more about them...

We're often asked: "What travel guidebook do you recommend for our upcoming visit to the French Riviera or Côte d'Azur?"

And we usually respond: "It depends."

It isn't to annoy anyone. Really. It's just that different guides serve different purposes.

The French Côte d'Azur overflows with beautiful footpaths. Hikers and even the casual walker who enjoys savoring a region slowly and on foot will love this new hiking guide: "26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur". It covers hikes on the western side of the French Riviera (from Hyères to Cannes, including St Tropez, Frejus, St Raphael, Maures Mountains, Esterel Mountains) and includes some of the more unique sites. Complete with photos, maps, hiking length, distance & difficulty, recommendation and background info. Pretty unique and well-received guidebook.

If you're looking for a thorough guide that you'll enjoy reading, even when you're not seeking any particular information, I recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Provence and the Côte d'Azur. It's one of the heavier guides on the region (a one pounder!). That's because of the quality of the glossy paper that helps to show off the book's photos. The guide  drips with gorgeous photos that succinctly tell it all. The drawings of museums and churches are also extremely well done and useful.

If you couldn't care less about photos, but want juicy gems of information, I love Nicola Williams' Lonely Planet Guide to Provence and the Côte d'Azur. As an adopted local, I can tell that Nicola has walked the walk and done *lots* of local exploration, from cork oaks to beaches to wineries. It shows. I miss the photos (there are only a few, bunched up up front) but after all, you'll get to see the actual sites on your visit.

For a different perspective into the French Riviera, I enjoy Ted Jones' "The French Riviera, A Literary Guide for Travellers". It's an exhaustive yet very readable and lively account of 150 authors who lived and worked in the region. Anyone who enjoys the French Riviera, its literary life and a bit of eaves dropping will love the book.

While a physical guide is useful for visits, to ponder over in the car, in the train, in your room, on the trail, use online guides for time-sensitive information. Restaurants in particular change over the years. We even see them change focus or management over a season or two.

So for restaurant and hotel recommendations, TripAdvisor.com and VirtualTourist.com do a great job, based on the impressive number of participating reviewers. Millions of reviews get posted. That means the phony or revengeful posts don't weight in as much as they may on some lesser-visited sites.  For gourmet restaurants in particular, take a look at Guide Gantié for 2008. It's printed but also online, complete with videos of each selected place.

I also enjoy Igougo.com as well as BootsNAll.com for travel stories.

For more guides to the French Cote d'Azur, click on link: Guides on Cote d'Azur


Skirting the Mansions of Cap d'Antibes

Azuralive: cap d'Antibes

Cap d'Antibes may be the land of exclusive mansions, of marbled hotels with fluffy slippers and valet parking.
It may be Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich's much beloved relaxation spot.
And sure, it was the setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night.

But you don't need a 100-feet yacht, a Ferrari or a Porsche to explore the Cap d'Antibes cape. All you need is a pair of sturdy legs fitted with good hiking shoes.Azuralive: cap d'Antibes

 

In two energetic hours, you can experience the richness of Cap d'Antibes on foot, along its coastal path that winds around the cape. The Sentier du Littoral coastal path is always well-maintained here and fitted with a few bridges and ramps where creeks plunge precipitously into the sea.

It skirts by private multi-million-Euro mansions. These mansions are guarded around the clock and so walled-in that you won't have much of a chance to admire their landscaping, much less the celebrities that drop by.

More interesting is the scenery by the water: white limestone creeks nibbled by salt and water, the deep blue all around, a few sails dotting the sea, flowers in bloom (in spring especially). You're the one with the best view in town as you walk along Sentier du Littoral. And the view is free!

Azuralive: cap d'Antibes, Cap Gros

The Sentier du Littoral or Coastal Path and takes you from the Plage de la Garoupe, around Cap Gros,
by the heavily-walled Chateau de la Croé and then back inland to the streets of the cape.

Getting there: You'll be away from the old town of Antibes. From Antibes, you can drive or take the bus. Park at Plage de la Garoupe or take the friendly Envi Bus (Ligne 2 from Antibes) to Garoupe. If taking the bus, make sure to wave the driver for pick-up: I've had the experience of a bus driving by while stood by the bus stop...

More info:

For EnviBus information, look here.
For the Antibes Tourism Office, look here.

Azuralive: cap d'Antibes

Click on the below button to read our latest hiking guide to the Western Côte d'Azur, from Hyères to the Maures Mountains to the Esterel Mountains by Cannes.
Available in all Amazon.com online bookshops and in all local English-language libraries, including in Heidi's Bookshop in Antibes: 24 rue Aubernon in Antibes (daily 10am–7pm), web site.


      
                         
          What:      Cap d'Antibes Sentier du Littoral Hike

          Where:   Cap d'Antibes, begin at Plage de la Garoupe

          How Long:  The full hike is 5.3 km long and takes about 2 hours. The Sentier du Littoral is NOT a place for high heels or even flip-flops. Wear study walking shoes.
Bring plenty of water: no water fountains are available.