Since the Côte d'Azur is known for all the treasures that it has to offer during the summer season, and much less for its winter wealth, we decided to let you discover another facet of this beautiful region.
Everyone knows the splendor of the famous Croisette, the lively beaches of the small seaside resort of Juans Les Pins or the small turquoise coves of the Esterel Mountains ... but few people know that the Côte d'Azur is beautiful and attractive, even during winter!
For what to do during those long winter weekends between the months of November and February, we give you the following guide:
1) Go to the Museum of the art of Mougins and have lunch:
The Museum of Classical Arts of Mougins is located in the heart of the village of Mougins. Through a lively interactive touch screen tour, you can see how the Ancient World has influenced neo-classical and contemporary art. There are sculptures, vases and antique jewels of Roman, Greek and Egyptian origins, as well as paintings and sculptures by artists that have left a strong impression locally such as the likes of Picasso, Cezanne, and Matisse. The museum is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 6pm during the winter period. Why not combine culture and gastronomy by finishing with a gourmet lunch in one of the many refined restaurants of the old village? You will be able to taste very elaborate menus starting from about thirty euros.
2) Visit the Phoenix Park and discover the fauna and flora on more than 7 hectares of biodiversity:
In the heart of Nice, the Azurean capital, why not visit this famous green area with friends or family? Phoenix Park features more than 3000 animals divided into 150 different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and corals. Labeled the "remarkable garden", you will also be able to see 2500 species of plants highlighted in a typically Mediterranean landscape. You will visit its famous pyramidal greenhouse of 7000m ², 25m high, called the green diamond. It recreates 6 tropical climates. But Phoenix Park is also a place of artistic, scientific, and educational exhibition that hosts many conferences, workshops and animations.
3) Pick wild mushrooms from the damp pine forests:
The Côte d'Azur is full of fabulous forests that get covered with large varieties of mushrooms that sprout with the autumn rains as they quench the dried-up soil from summer. Visiting one of these forests is a natural and free activity that will delight both children and adults alike. We selected a forest located 38km north of Nice, the Peira Cava Forest. Indeed, nothing like an autumn promenade of mushroom-picking in this sublime forest with its magnificent path, marked with fir, spruce, beech and maple trees; you will find multiple varieties of mushrooms.
However, children must be given instructions due to the toxicity of certain fungi such as fly agaric or caesar mushrooms- they should never ingest them! In any case, it’s necessary to fill up several baskets because the place is covered with giant parasol mushrooms. All you have to do later is toss them in an omelet, a delight for the taste buds!
4) Purchase seasonal products in small Provençal markets:
Provence would not exist without its traditional and authentic markets. During both summer and winter time, local producers offer a wide variety of quality products and sometimes even local culinary specialties. Whether in Nice Massena, or in Cannes with its renowned Forville Market, your senses will be awakened. You can also succumb to the pleasure of the delicate floral scents that emerge from the flower market of the Cours Saleya of Nice as well as in-season fruits and vegetables, cheese, olives, sausages or freshly caught fish. There’s nothing better than to be in direct contact with the producer and to take advantage of his know-how to taste the typical Provençal flavors.
Your Sundays will fly by quickly with a pleasant walk discovering the best local markets!
5) Skiing or drinking hot chocolate at the edge of one of the slopes of the Mercantour ski resorts:
For the lovers of snow sports, you will be enchanted by the impressive skiing park that represents the resorts of Mercantour. Just an hour drive from the city of Nice, charming little villages such as Valberg or Auron will allow you to taste the joys of the slopes for a weekend or a day. Savor typical mountain meals such as raclette and tartiflette, which will warm you up and give you energy to slide down the sunny slopes.
6) Going to the Lemon Festival in Menton:
In February, in order to celebrate the famous citrus fruit, the city of Menton organizes the "Lemon Festival" also called "Carnival of Menton". In 2018, the festivities will be organized around a Bollywood theme. The Tourist Office is in charge of this Carnival which will highlight the exceptional savory qualities of the local citrus fruit. Organized since 1896, this carnival is celebrated in the same manner as its cousin Niçois (Carnival of Nice): a parade of big heads, charres, jets of confetti, and a battle of flowers. This year the festivities will be held from 17 February to 4 March 2018.
7) Visit the castle hill in Nice:
Castle Hill is an exceptional place from which you can enjoy a panoramic view unto the big blue sea. Besides its unusual landscape, it was a notable historical place during the construction of the City of Nice. Without a doubt, this place was the site chosen by the Phocaea Greeks to establish their trading post and thus found the city of Nice, some millennia ago. It then became the seat of the castle, which no longer exists, and thus protected the medieval town. A garden was set up in 1829, and has not ceased to beautify the city of Nice ever since. Today, you can go for a walk or have a bite and drinks in the restaurants that have opened up there. It is easily accessible by walking up the many steps, or taking the train or bus.
8) Visit the workshops of perfumers from Grasse:
The city of Grasse is renowned as the center of French perfumery. Originally, Grasse was famous for its know-how in terms of tannery and glove. However, the process leading to the manufacture of the latter emanated various foul odors, leading to complaints from the nobles. Thus, in the 16th century, one of the manufacturers came up with the idea of breaking into the fragrance industry, with the area being conducive to the perfume trade. Hence, the perfume industry was born! Among the most widely used local aromas come from lavender, orange, cassette, and myrtle. Then new plants such as jasmine, rose and tuberose were grown locally or imported. Fast forward a few centuries later, the Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard perfumeries are known all around the world and welcome you to their workshops to help you discover different essences. Creative workshops are also organized for the pleasure of children and adults.
9) Wander in the gardens of the villa Ephrussi de Rothschild:
Winter is not always synonymous with rain on the Cote d'Azur ... So what could be more enjoyable than spending a beautiful sunny afternoon in the gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild?
Located on the splendid coast of Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, this magnificent residence will make you travel back in time: the artwork, the impressive architecture, the interior decoration of that period ... The villa Ephrussi is a place full of history and originality where it is possible to put yourself in the shoes of a 20-year old Baroness. The gardens are splendid: you will appreciate the basins and the flowered paths, without forgetting the view on the bay of our beautiful Riviera.
A brunch is offered every Sunday, from November 5th to December 10th, where you will have the chance to eat and enjoy a view overlooking the cape, for the sum of 45 euros (entrance included).
Online reservation only on this link: https://villa-ephrussi.tickeasy.com/Offres.aspx
10) Visit the Maeght Foundation and lunch in Saint Paul de Vence:
Saint Paul de Vence is a charming and picturesque hilltop village in the Maritime Alps. Like its rival, Mougins, Saint Paul de Vence is known for its beauty, its artistic exhibitions in small galleries or elegant foundations, as well as for its haute gastronomy.
The most famous foundation, the Maeght Foundation was a great inspiration for Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder and Fernand Léger. It was an ideal place of creation where the halls and gardens intersected with the most perfect harmony. To date, it brings together one of the largest artwork collections of the 20th century.