THE FRANCE TRIPTYCH
SECTION I: 6 DAYS THE FRENCH RIVERIA
Nice / Antibes / Vence
To stay: Le Méridien Nice
Bespokcracy tries not to push big brand name hotels but this one at the most famous address in Nice seems too good to miss. Sunset drinks on La Terrasse is breathtaking, seeing the sun melting all over the Med.
1 Promenade des Anglais | +33 4 97 03 44 44 | website | 295€ for a classic room
Must-see: MAMAC with a glimpse of La Tête Carrée at Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra
This representative arts institution is Nice's pride for its stellar collection of French and American art from the 1960s and represents all the major art movements from then, including pop art and the French avant-garde. Next door check out the unmissable monument called La Tête Carrée by Marseille-born sculptor Sacha Sosno, which is an actual working office building.
Promenade des Arts | +33 4 9713 4201 | website
Must-eat: Voyageur Nissart
When in Nice, will try Niçois cuisine so we opted for this really traditional and widely popular family-run restaurant, popular since 1908. The provençal warmth is easily palpable through its service who readily explains each cuisine just so long you ask. Makes for a lovely evening out with the outdoor seating with a lively buzz.
19 Rue Alsace Lorraine | +33 4 93 82 19 60 | website
ANTIBES / VENCE
Away from the dizzying glamour and flurry of Cannes and Nice, we find a nice counterpoint in the smaller, laid-back towns of Antibes and Vence, although the former attracts the rich by the droves but more confined to the Cap d'Antibes area. Both are short drives from Nice.
In Antibes, the home of the bishops in the Middle Ages, we visited the Musée Picasso (Place Mariejol | +33 4 92 90 54 20 | website) which is dramatically set in the former Chateau Grimaldi and bought by the city of Antibes in 1925. The works presented here are not as impressive as its sister museum in Paris but the building itself is worth a good look-around. Otherwise we went to the marina area to have a nice Niçois crêpe.
In Vence, the hilly landscape makes for a good workout walking around. We went straight to the Chapelle du Rosaire (466 ave Henri Matisse | +33 4 93 58 03 26), which Matisse designed entirely to repay the favour for the Dominican sisters there who nursed him back to health during WWII. He proclaimed it to be his best masterpiece which is absolutely befitting when you see it for yourself.
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