Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: The Riviera
Read on and learn about going ashore along the French Riviera. Even if you’re an armchair traveler, you’ll enjoy the visit. As I’ve learned, when you travel with an expert you’re going to explore and experience the best spots for food, scenery and lifestyle along the Côte d’Azur. I love every inch of the French Riviera – from the narrow medieval streets of St Paul de Vence to glitzy Nice and Cannes to the adrenaline surge of the Monaco Grand Prix.
When people ask what they absolutely must see during their shore excursion, the answer is ‘everything’. Of course this is not always practical and so my Riviera tours offers what I consider the major highlights. The Riviera is addictive – once hooked visitors invariably return to see what they missed the first time.
For your Mediterranean cruise shore excursion… Food First
France conjures up images of gourmet restaurants, boulangeries and local markets offering a breathtaking array of fresh, local produce, cheeses and regional specialties – and that’s exactly right. Since the weather’s good why not make the first stop at the market and shop for a picnic ? (Always a hit if with children). And let’s not forget a bottle of rosé wine from Provence – ‘de rigeur’ for a French picnic.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Grasse
Wake up and Smell the Roses
With appetites appeased – for now at least – the olfactory senses are in for a treat and they’ll get just that in Grasse, the Riviera’s flower capital. A tour of a perfume factory is an absolute must – and an excellent place to buy gifts. This is a really charming historic town with an 11th century cathedral, perfume museum, sandy beaches and fine dining.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Gourdon
Dreaming of Chocolate Heaven?
Visit Gourdon and those dreams will come true with a sampling at the famous chocolate factory. But leave room for artisan ice cream in floral flavors, violet, rose and jasmine… sublime. And there’s no need to worry too much about the waistline because this beautiful old fortress town is built on a high promontory with stunning views – a good way to work off the day’s excesses.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Tourrettes-sur-Loup
The ‘City of Violets’
The tiny medieval village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup perches on a rocky spur and is an all-time favourite visitors. It boasts impressive historic buildings including a 15th century church, arts and crafts boutiques, an annual violet festival and museum. Just a stone’s throw from Nice and Cannes it is definitely worth a detour.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: St. Paul de Vence
In Chagall’s Footsteps
St Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the Riviera and also known as the artist’s village – it was home to Chagall to name but one. It’s a joy to simply stroll the colourful streets full of art galleries and boutiques. Olive oil and wine tastings, and a visit to an olive oil mill can be arranged, as well as lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Monaco
Jet-setting to Monaco
The tiny principality of Monaco fits comfortably into a day trip with time to view the exquisite Palace of the Prince and the cathedral where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were married, followed by the Changing of the Guards.
And now fasten your seatbelts for a lap of the world famous Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit to reach Monte-Carlo with its famous Casino, Golden Square and the luxurious Hotel de Paris and Hotel Hermitage.
Fancy your luck ? Armed with valid ID and appropriately dressed you can join the high rollers at the famous Casino.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Éze
A Change of Pace
Visitors always fall in love with this typical medieval cliff top village of narrow lanes, stone buildings and breath taking views of the Mediterranean. Éze is in the heart of perfume country and a tour of the perfume factory can be arranged as well as a visit to its impressive botanical garden.
Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Nice
Putting on the Glitz
The city of Nice needs no introduction ! Aside from a reputation for glamour, it is steeped in history, with evidence of a settlement as far back as 350bc, and its historical centre dates back to the 13th century. Highlights of the tour include a walk along the “Promenade des Anglais” – former haunt of the British aristocracy, an unsurpassed, flower market and Michelin star restaurants.
Shore excursions by Absolutely Southern France are fully private 7 or 8 hour customized experiences with English-speaking local and professional driver/guides with a van or sedan.