S&J’s Guide to the South of France
If you keep up with our Instagram, then you definitely know about our incredible week spent in the Côte d’Azur, a.k.a. the South of France.
We’re still reminiscing about our time spent in Cannes, Nice, & Monaco and can say that without a doubt, this was our greatest travel experience thus far. We feel so lucky to have been able to travel to the South of France during the Cannes Film Festival and meet so many like-minded individuals who were similarly interested in surrounding themselves with culture, beauty, and good food.
If you haven’t checked out our Cannes trailer video yet, be sure to do so before scrolling down! It will give you the perfect visual for all of our recommendations. Our full YouTube Vlog is coming out soon and we’ll be sure to tag it here once it’s published!
Where to Stay
This is the most difficult part of planning your trip to Cannes. First, it all depends on what time of year you’re going. If you’re visiting during “Festival Season” aka during the Film Festival or Lions Advertising Festival in June-July, then you’ll be looking at hotel prices that are three times as expensive as the usual price.
The good thing about going to Cannes during off-season is that you can probably afford to stay at a luxurious hotel on La Croisette, the main street in Cannes, for a decent price. The con is that Cannes isn’t as fun if you’re not there during the summer (as per the locals – and they know best!), but hey, you win some you lose some. We recommend the following hotels:
For us, Airbnb was definitely the way to go! All of the popular hotels are along La Croisette, but those obviously weren’t in our price range. Airbnb made it easy to find a central place to stay in a better price range. As long as you’re staying no more than a 10 minute walk from Boulevard de La Croisette, then you’re in a good place. If you can find an Airbnb between Boulevard de La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes that’s gold.
Our Airbnb was located closer to the peninsula in a quieter, older part of town. This was perfect for us because we knew that it was a safe place to stay and it was still within 15 minutes walking distance of everywhere that we wanted to go. The host was very accommodating and the balcony provided for some great seflie lighting!
If you’re looking for more privacy or want to stay in a bigger resort, staying in Antibes is the way to go. Antibes is a resort town between Nice and Cannes and is a less than a 20 minute drive from Cannes. We now know that all of the A-list celebrities stay at l’Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc (our dream!). We went to check it out after dinner one day and we saw endless celebrities outside going to an event.
The Best Restaurants
We happened to stumble upon this French/Mediterranean restaurant in the what seemed like the “Little Italy” of Cannes. It’s the perfect place for a quaint dinner with amazing seafood. If you’re looking for a nice dinner (~$50 per person with drinks) this is a great spot; a group of directors had reserved the long table next to us and were celebrating some accomplishment! P.S. The bathrooms are super cool, so bring your phone with you for an Insta worthy pic!
Also known as Mamo, the name of the owner, this is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Europe – yes, Italy included! It’s so close to Italy, that it may as well count as both! This restaurant is such a hit that they opened one up in NYC and it is rumored that Beyonce and Jay Z want to bring it to LA. We dined next to some celebrities (like Bella Thorne) and the food was delicious! Between three people, we split the truffle pasta, caprese salad with burrata, margherita pizza and, to top it all off, a lemon meringue pie slice.
We never made it here, but we’ve heard great things about it! If you’re looking for authentic, French food, we hear this is the place in Cannes to go. It’s said to have an amazing atmosphere and delicious and presentable dishes.
What to Do
The number one thing to do in the South of France is to hit the beach! Be sure to do your own research on the hottest beach spots for the summer and follow our recommendations below for the ultimate vacay by the beach. You can trust us, we’re Florida girls!
L’Ecrin is a restaurant-turned-beach club that we stumbled upon one day and we’re so glad that we did! We were able to lay out on one of the lounges and ordered some rose and truffle mashed potatoes, which were TOO DIE FOR. We were also treated to some free ice cream courtesy of our awesome waiter.
Side Note: We ate a lot of truffle on this trip. We eat a lot of truffle in general. We are two of the biggest truffle-obsessed people in the world and probably incorporated it into each meal on this trip!
Tanning along La Croisette
La Croisette is the main drive along the water in Cannes. Most of the famous hotels are stationed along this road and on the opposite side, these hotels have beach chairs and/or docks set up for guests and beach-goers alike. Purchasing a lounge chair at the private beaches can get pretty pricey, so be sure to do your research beforehand depending on your budget!
We were lucky to be invited in a yacht party one day – wait, that doesn’t even sound real! Yup, an actual YACHT. PARTY. This boat was owned by “the richest man in France” (so they say) and it felt like every model in Cannes was invited to this party; we met models from Russia, Tel Aviv, Netherlands, and the U.S. There was even a bar serving rose and mojitos, a live band, and a huge buffet with lunch and dessert. Let’s just say that we both ate enough for the whole boat!
Gotha is a beach club-turned-biggest night club we’ve ever seen with huge performers each week. However, during the day, Gotha Beach is the place to be! Rihanna was said to be there literally 30 minutes before we showed up… our luck! Gotha Beach is the ultimate outdoor beach club/pool party/darty filled with hundreds of beautiful young people just loving life. We stopped by for a friend’s birthday party and had the best time!
Luc Belair Champagne Party
In Cannes, nightlife makes its way into the daytime too! We recommend finding the local parties going on daily because these change quite often! We were invited to a party at a pool house in the hills, also called the Cannet, sponsored by Luc Belair Champagne, which is sponsored by celebs like DJ Khaled. Unfortunately, DJ Khaled wasn’t there, but we still had an incredible time chilling in this beautiful pool:
We heard so much about this place that decided to just go on our first night in Cannes. As soon as we walked in, NOT UR AVG was given a table and two glasses of champagne #dayinthelife. Afterwards, we decided to make our way onto the dance floor. A few minutes later we were approached by someone who invited us to his table, which ended up being right next to Cappadonna and some of the other members of the Wu Tang Clan! We hung out with them for a good part of the night and ended up becoming great friends with he guy who had invited us to his table. He’s the same guy who had invited us to the yacht party as well!
This nightclub is a MUST. We’ve been to plenty of clubs from Miami, NYC, and Paris, but Gotha in Cannes is without a doubt the biggest night club we have ever been to. There is intense security guarding the VIP entrance and the DJ booth/stage is huge. Together, we walked into the VIP section with a friend to a table with about 50 bottles of Dom Perignon. Now, don’t get us wrong, that is our favorite champagne, but it was a little excessive. But the best part about the night was when Jasmine Sanders, a.k.a. Golden Barbie, walked up to our table! Shir claims that she became BFFs with her (not exactly, but a shot was taken together) and S&J proceeded to have a great night with her! For those wondering, she is an absolute angel and very genuine!
Where to Stay
We stayed at the hostel Villa Saint Exupery and it was definitely not a bad price for getting our own private room. Overall, it was well used (a.k.a. kinda gross) and the wifi was awful (we’re bloggers, we NEED wifi!!), but it was actually very helpful to speak to the front desk about sight seeing and we met some pretty cool people (S/O Jeran and Cerine!).
We definitely recommend going on the hostel’s free guided tour of Nice. It lasted about an hour long and we got to see the main parts of the city by a knowledgeable tour guide. Although the hostel wasn’t amazing, it was the best location in town and had some pretty amazing people staying there too. We’ve recommended it to a few friends already and they’ve all loved it!
The Best Restaurants
We literally had breakfast here every morning! Emilie’s Cookies was recommended to us by the concierge at our hostel to be a nearby cafe perfect for a quick breakfast, and it was our spot. Shir basically tried everything made with Nutella and Jamie mastered her own, personalized smoothie. If you’re looking for a place to get some work done with great wifi, this is perfect for that, too!
This was the BEST ice cream we’ve EVER had. End of story.
On the left, Jamie got lavender, stracciatella, and fruit yogurt. On the right, Shir got Biscotti, lavender, and caramel. We even considered going for breakfast on our last day, before our flight, but it wasn’t realistic. Definitely going back for the ice cream!
We happened to stumble upon this family-owned pizzeria on our first day in Nice, immediately after we dropped our belongings in the hostel – explains why we look so exhausted! The owner is such a sweetheart and he even lets you taste different flavors! It’s in a pretty touristy part of town, but this place is authentic, with two different locations.
This restaurant made the best crepes we had in all of France! Jamie got the salmon with salad and Shir got the spinach with a poached egg. Yes, spinach in France looks like that, so don’t be surprised when that’s what you are served in a restaurant after ordering spinach. This crêperie was recommended by the guy at the front desk of our hostel, and we are thrilled that he did! For dessert, Jamie got homemade raspberry and strawberry jam and Shir got lavender honey.
What to Do
During our tour of Nice, the tour guide pointed out the Modern Art Museum, which was unfortunately closed during our one free day (it was a Monday). Be sure to check the hours before your trip to make sure that you can hit this stop! It is supposed to be an amazing museum and even has some Andy Warhols – Jamie’s fave!
Our favorite part of Nice was the Old Town. It has tiny old streets like you’d imagine in movies and you could spend hours getting lost in the adorable shops lining the streets. It’s extremely picturesque, so wear a cute outfit if you’re going exploring! We wore our Brathwaite Brand tops and basically matched all day; people even asked us if we were sisters.
The hostel gave us the perfect map and set of directions to travel to Eze Village and Cap D’Ail Beach for the day. We recommend giving yourself an entire day to accomplish this! We woke up early in the morning, got a quick breakfast at Emilie’s Cookies (did you expect anything different!?) and made our way to the train, where we purchased our bus tickets as well. A couple train stops later, we were at the bus station, where we waited to board a bus to Eze Village.
Once we arrived at Eze, there is a main entrance that is easy to find. From there, you make your way up the tiny village on a hill and there are a ton of restuarants, shops, boutique hotels and gorgeous lookouts along the way. Definitely stop to peek your head into some of these luxurious hotels! We snuck our way into the patio and got the perfect photos of the spot.
After several photo ops, we were getting hungry and made our way to a restaurant for lunch. This was the view from one of the several tiny restaurants once you get to the top of the village. We will definitely never forget the unreasonably long wait, fact that they ran out of pasta conveniently when Shir was #craving some, but best of all – this incredible view!
After lunch, we exited Eze Village and took a bus halfway down the hillside. From there, we took an uber to Cap D’ail, a small – almost hidden – beachside heaven. We were absolutely in awe of what we saw! This is one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been to and is very comparable to what we saw on the Amalfi Coast.
There wasn’t as much nightlife in Nice than in Cannes, however, we went out to a few bars one night with other friends from our hostel.
A cute restaurant/bar with an lower and upstairs balcony, in addition to an indoor seating area. IT was PACKED when we had arrived, and considering we were a large group of people from the hostel, we had to sit in the only table available inside. The food and drinks are great and it’s popping with young adults! It’s more of a place to gather with a bunch of friends and grab drinks rather than dance.
This place wasn’t our favorite, but it was definitely more lively than Movida. When you enter, it’s mainly the bar area with people hanging out, but as you head towards the back, it’s a full on rave. The DJ is playing music and a bunch of people are crammed together jumping and dancing on tables, benches, and the floor. The music was great, but the drinks were pricey and it was way too cramped for our liking.
We suggest visiting Monaco as a day trip from Nice. This city-state on France’s Mediterranean coastline is gorgeous. But, if you aren’t there with thousands of dollars to spare at the famous casino, or to rent a beautiful yacht or take a ride on one of the many luxurious cars, then in our opinion, it isn’t worth spending more than a day there.
What to Do
Monaco Yacht Club
Even if you can’t find a wealthy person to sweep you off your feet and take you to their boat, it’s still beautiful to observe from afar. This place is considered “Where Billionaires Choose to Dock.” Throughout the year it costs about $4,000 a night, but during the Festival and Grand Prix season it can skyrocket to $100,000 for a 5-day stay. There are also yacht rental fees, if that’s something that interest you or your friends and family. Our newfound friend, Guillame, was one of the locals who gave us the insight and he ended up spending the whole day with us to show us around Monaco and Antibes!
We weren’t able to make it to St. Tropez, but it was highly recommended by everyone that we talked to (again, all locals – listen to them!). St. Tropez is where a lot of the rich and famous spend their time under the sun all summer and is said to have lots of yacht parties. All of the locals highly recommended that we make time to travel to Dt.Tropez to visit the beautiful town, so until #S&JTakeCannes2018!!!