Friday, 30 September 2011

Still walking the Cote d Azur

Tour du Cap d'Ail

The Tour du Cap d'Ail walk if you complete it in it's entirety, (walking to Plage Mala and then back all the way to the Port de Cap'Ail), is quite a bit longer than the Carnoles to Roquebrune Cap Martin walk, but equally as gorgeous.

Once again taking the train from Nice Ville get off at Cap d'Ail station (18 minutes from Nice and only a couple of kilometres from Monaco), and walk down towards the sea, its a 2 minute walk to the coastal  path.


© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Restaurant 2 minutes from Cap d'Ail train station at the start of the coastal path

At the beginning of the path, there is a cool restaurant / bar with a magnificent view of the sea,  you can stop for a drink or lunch before you start the walk or maybe dinner after, (your choice)!  If you have packed your own food, there is a picnic spot ready and waiting for you just next door to the restaurant (photo below)

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Picnic area

I'm sorry to say I have no idea of the name of this Restaurant / Bar, having not jotted it down at the time (the blog was not yet in mind)!

When you get to this restaurant area turn right onto the coastal path and you will be heading in the direction of the gorgeous Plage Mala (Mala Beach).

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The scenery walking to Plage Mala from Cap d'Ail

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Rock terrace out on the sea

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Approaching Plage Mala

On this beach you will find two great restaurants / bars with their own beach facilities, Eden (website here) and La Reserve (website here).

You can sit and relax for hours here in couch seating on beach decking and eat and drink at any time of the day or night, or take a beach lounge and umbrella, or even have a massage, its all here. There are kayaks, boats, rubber tyres, snorkeling, in short, every water activity that exist, its a fun, relaxing, less hectic and beautiful part of the coast.

© Copyright Susan Blair 2011
Comfortable seating at Eden on Plage Mala - Photo Susan Blair

There is also the public area of the beach if you are not wanting the creature comforts, but  I have to admit to loving the private beaches and everything that comes with them! (Maybe they are to be avoided on weekends in high season though, but that applies to the public areas as well).

© Copyright Susan Blair 2011
Pizza and Rosé for us......and it was one of the best pizzas I have ever tasted! Photo Susan Blair

After the beach, you can make your way back to Cap d'Ail station by heading upwards and out onto the streets of Cap d'Ail where you could spend hours just marveling at the magnificent villas in the area. Or you could take the same path back and this time continue on passing the Restaurant just down from the train station and heading towards Monaco, passing gorgeous Belle Epoque villas including 'The Rock' where Greta Garbo liked to spend some of her spare time.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Path heading towards Monaco

You will walk along the Chemin des Douaniers where these villas are situated and at the pointe des Douaniers or Cap Fleuri there is rocky plateau where you can again stop for lunch or dinner at Le Cabanon, I didn't, but it certainly looks like somewhere I would like to eat for the location alone.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
These stairs carved into the rock can be found all along the coastline

All along the path are panels of information detailing the flora and fauna that is found in this area and very much adds to the interest of the whole experience.

I did not walk all the way to Monaco, but you can..... let me know what its like!!!


These photos are copyright, please do not download, thank you :-)
©copyright Millie Brown 2011

Winner of MB Images Boxed Notecards

Thank you to those who subscribed to the blog 'Travel Notecards'.  I will be contacting the winner tomorrow (well in this case winners as I drew out two names) for the prize of one box of MB Images Boxed Notecards.

Cheers Millie

Friday, 23 September 2011

Walking the coast of the Cote d Azur

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
With time on my side and a little book called 'La Cote d'Azur à pied' (The Cote d Azur on foot) I set off to discover some of the magical coastal walks you can do between Nice and the Italian border.

If you love the sea, beaches, walking, eating well, and you don't mind the odd glass of refreshing rosé, during, before, or after your walks you will definitely enjoy these heavenly paths.  Its all very civilised!

I will take it one post / walk at a time

Carnolès to Roquebrun - Cap-Martin Walk
Lets start off in Nice. Take the train from Nice Ville (the website for the SNCF train timetable is here to Carnolès situated in the Bay of Menton (which is east of Nice towards the Italian border), its about a half hour journey.

(The local trains are frequent and efficient, and I find this mode of  transport to be one of the easiest and least stressful ways of moving along the coast).

Note: You could also take the train from Nice to Roquebrune-Cap Martin (which is a 20 minute train ride and walk east to Carnolès).

From the train station head down to the beach (5 minute walk) and turn right.

The couple of times I have done this walk I have taken the time to enjoy the beach atmosphere here in Carnolès  with a croissant and coffee in one of their many beach cafés before setting out.

Head west and you will pass Le Pirate Restaurant (below)

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Le Pirate restaurant, just along from Carnolès

If you are after a rather bizarre and fun dining experience, try Le Pirate, I first ate here 20 years ago and it was all of the above (and more)! The night included a lot of plate throwing, some pirates, a donkey, some very strange spray (and a rather large bill)!

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Another comfortable stop along the walk

After about 5 to 10 minutes you will reach the coastal path and as you continue along you will take in some of the most gorgeous mediterranean scenery, past villas and lush vegetation until you reach one of the most peaceful little beaches on the Cote d'Azur the Plage du Buse.

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One of the many beautiful sights from the coastal path

My little book told me the journey to Plage du Buse and back to Carnolès was 2 hours 20 minutes, but If I remember correctly I am pretty sure  I arrived at the beach in 30 to 40 minutes (one way only though and this was at a leisurely pace). 

Walking down to the beach you will pass the famous Swiss born architect Le Corbusier's little wooded cabin.  The path leading down to the beach is named after him and on a sad note, Le Corbusier  died here while swimming in 1965.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Plage du Buse at dusk

Don't despair if you haven't packed your picnic, there is a very casual little cafe right on the sand in the western corner of the beach (where you can also hire chairs and umbrellas).  However, there is probably no need for the umbrella as there is a magnificent and huge tree hanging over the garden wall of the imposing villa situated behind the beach, and this provides ample shade for those that need it.  

The first time I did this walk I arrived at dusk and spent a relaxed and peaceful hour leaning against a big rock, reading and enjoying the whole beach to myself. 

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Taken from my cosy spot on my 'private' beach

If you dont want to take the same walk back to Carnolès just walk up the hill to the train station at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (it's 5 minutes away).

More walks to come :-)

Millie xx

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Win MB Images Boxed Notecards



One of the card images from the box 'An Italian Journey'



As well as being in the draw to win two boxes the following will also apply for orders of over one box.

ALL ORDERS OF TWO OR MORE BOXES WILL RECEIVE A 20% DISCOUNT ON ANY ORDER AMOUNT AFTER THAT (This discount only applies to orders made before September 30th  and applies to both Australian and international orders).


Cheers Millie 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Markets In Paris...where food shopping is never JUST food shopping.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
As anyone who has spent any amount of time in Paris knows, there are so many incredible experiences to be had, and I made food shopping one of mine.  However, its never just food shopping, it's a glimpse into Parisian life.

Every sunday morning when I was living in the Marais, I would head out with my trolley to the outdoor market at the Bastille on Boulevard Richard Lenoir. The choice of produce at this market is endless and while the quality varies from stall to stall most of it is very good. Some of the produce available includes, all kinds of seafood, every cheese imaginable and more, mushrooms you never knew existed and a wonderful selection of meats, the list goes on.  

You don't have to have a kitchen or be living in Paris to enjoy this market, if you love a picnic, take a basket and fill it with baguettes, cheese, wine and a roast chicken and enjoy it on the magnificent lawns of the Place des Vosges in the Marais, only a five minute walk away.

Tip: Go early, before 9 am so you can enjoy the atmosphere without the crowds (Thursdays and Sundays) Boulevard Richard Lenoir

Covered food market Enfants Rouges

A little bit further along in the 3rd is the oldest covered market in Paris, Enfants Rouges, look up the interesting history of this market. I love it because its not too big, although it can get very busy especially on weekends. Sit on a communal bench and enjoy the many different foods that are available to eat here. 39 rue Bretagne (Tuesdays to Sundays)

I love pedestrian market streets, and here are a couple that I always love to visit.

Rue Cler in the 7th arrondisement, is a very parisian experience, and here you can shop with the locals for anything fresh your heart desires, pastries, chocolates, baguettes, cheese, fish, pasta, fruit and vegetables, and again, even if you don't have a fridge to fill come here anyway and enjoy the atmosphere.  For a good coffee and an even better croissant on rue Cler I love the café Le Petit Cler.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
It's not just food on rue Cler, here is the local bookshop opposite Tribeca café

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

Rue Montorgueil

Until five years ago I had never visited this street and it was not until I rented an apartment here that I first discovered it.  I fell in love with rue Montorgueil and the area from the moment I stepped out from the taxi and made my first Parisian 'home' in a very sweet but VERY small studio apartment here.

In my opinion it is definitely one of the most vibrant and lively streets in Paris, and like rue Cler the food shopping is wonderful. Even after I had moved out of the area to another I still returned regularly for the ambience, the fruit and veg at Palais du Fruitand quite naturally to grab a pastry or two at Patisserie Stohrer (apparently this is the oldest patisserie in Paris, and dates back to 1725). The window display alone is a visual treat

Tip: Don't go on a Monday as most of the food specialty stores are closed

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Patisserie Stohrer on rue Montorgueil

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Taken from my apartment looking down onto the lively rue Montorgueil

One other market street I love to visit;

rue des Martyrs in the 9th. Love, love, love this street. Visit it on your way up to Montmartre.

Other Open Air Markets that I enjoy

Marché Saxe -Breteuil in Avenue de Ségur in the 7th (Thursdays and Saturdays)
Marché d'Aligre, rue d'Aligre in the 12th (and not far from the Bastille market - Tuesdays to Sundays)

Dont miss

La Grand Epicerie (part of Le Bon Marché store in the 7th)
You don't have to buy anything to appreciate the glory of this store, it is a feast for the eyes (and the taste buds if you so choose)

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

© copyright Millie Brown 2011

Enjoy every moment, I know I always do!

Millie x
These photos are copyright, please do not download, thank you :-)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Bonnieux, A village in the Luberon, Provence

An area of France that I have visited numerous times over many years is the Luberon in Provence.

Known for its natural beauty and historic hilltop villages, I am drawn to the area over and over again.

Bonnieux, is one of these villages, and is one of my personal favourites. (Voted one of the most beautiful villages in France).

If you ever do find yourself in the region make sure you make the
 climb up to Bonnieux, and when there, you should definitely call in to see Vincent Gils at his shop, ‘Antiquités Gils'.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Besides being a treasure trove of hard to resist french brocante, the space the shop occupies is itself unique and has a fascinating history.

Some of the foundations date back to the 4th century and in a part of the old wall is a cross carved out of the stone marking where the old ‘oratoire’ or little chapel was situated and where the mountain people came to prayer all those hundreds of years ago. 

If you get chatting to Vincent he is more than happy to relate the extraordinary history of this special space room by room.

As well as running his business, Vincent is the town’s bell ringer and he was generous and kind enough to invite me to climb to the roof of the village’s oldest church (set at the highest point of the village amongst the ruins of the medieval chateau) for my very own private bell ringing moment.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

Not only did I get to climb to the ‘top of the world’ (to the roof of the church), something that is normally forbidden, but I got to witness the skill and strength that is required to make the special and beautiful sounds that come from these quite magnificent bells.  Antiquités Gils 25 rue Voltaire Bonnieux

Peaceful bay of Kalami, Corfu

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

A more pristine part of the Corfu coastline can be found in the North East of the island and also where you will find the sweet and peaceful bay of 'kalami'. 

Sitting on the water’s edge in this bay is The White House as it is called (photo attached). It is a wonderful villa with various types of apartment accommodation for rent and is famous for having had as its residents the British writers Gerald and Lawrence Durrell. 

If you like armchair travel and would like to ‘spend some time’ on Corfu pick up Gerald Durrell's book My Family and other Animals, it is a witty and enchanting autobiographical account of Gerald's childhood on Corfu.

Millie xx

Working donkeys on Corfu

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

One of the most beautiful parts of the island of Corfu is inland, the green hills bursting with olive trees, interrupted by tiny authentic villages set far away from the tourist trodden coastline. 

This photo reminds of my travels through these hills and the characters and people I met along the way.
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