A 60th birthday holiday in the French Riviera.

Where did September go? It was Jo’s birthday just the other day and somewhere between the 7th and 27th we visited Nice, Ville Franche, Eze, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Monte Carlo and Paris.

The occasion – Mom’s 60th birthday and how better to celebrate it than a holiday in the French Riviera.

Nice on the French Riviera was our base for 8 nights. The photo above was the view from our apartment. It was an absolutely stunning view. It was hot the entire time we (Jennie, Jo and myself).

Sadly you are no one unless you own a multi-million pound yacht or ship and it’s truly amazing to see so many rich people flaunting their wealth in the harbours and in sea.

While catching some rays near St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat I must have counted over one hundred ships and yachts anchored in the bay.

On a trip back from Monte Carlo we got to see some awesome looking houses.

In fact most of the homes and houses were of palace status. Quite sickening to be honest, but incredible at the same time! They have got the perfect views from the top of their cliffs. It is such a stunning part of France.

We did a lot of exploring and walking around the villages and old towns, but one village stood out above all others and that was Eze. Located on top of a small mountain, the entire village is surrounded by steep walls and equally steep cliffs.

Inside the walls there were lots of passages and walk ways going up and down and around corners, plenty of pretty gardens, quaint little shops selling their wares, art galleries, a hotel selling very expensive wine and even a church.

It was almost like something out of a Lord of the rings or a Harry Potter film.

Looking over the edge of one very steep wall one would be fooled into thinking they were looking at a zoo, with a crazy mix of animals roaming the grounds, but look a little closer and one could see that the animals were sculptured out of iron. There were elephants, crocodiles, dolphins, reindeer, giraffe etc. The photo below doesn’t do it justice, as the property went far down the top of the cliff.

Just below the walled village is a Parfumerie called Fragonard. Very famous and established in 1926.Their main factory is located in Grasse.

We did a tour of the small factory where they showed us how the make the perfume and the process of packaging.

At the end of the tour we were seated at a table and given 5 different samples of perfumes to smell. The perfume comes in different sized gold bottles ranging from 30ml to 100ml and not surprisingly cost a fortune.

Let’s just say no one in the family will be getting a box set for Xmas from the Bowens.

One of the highlights of the holiday was a day trip to Monte Carlo in Monaco. Even though the city is a buzz with tourists and cars, one can still see the F1 track in places or the red and white rumble strips on the sides of the track. We walked around the whole track and it’s amazing how close it runs alongside the docks, especially the part where the chicane is, it is literally 3m away from the waters edge, and around Tabac, Piscine, up to La Rascasse.

I got goose bumps overlooking the corner of turn 6 (hairpin bend), and it was really strange seeing normal cars and busses making their way around slowly.

Two corners down and we stood in the exact spot where Senna crashed his F1 Mclaren into the barrier all those years ago.

There are quite a few statues and models of F1 cars around Monte Carlo giving you that sense of history and excitement that goes with a historic street circuit.

Even some old racing cars can be seen. The car below is on the island just before Sainte Devote.

Below you can see Jo in a life-sized statue of Fangio standing next to a stylized version of his Mercedes-Benz W 196 racer from the 1950s. Pretty awesome!

There is tons more to tell you, but I will put it into another post later on this week. I still have over a thousand photos to sort and upload into our photo gallery.