Tour of St Cézaire-sur-Siagne
Walk into the village for lunch or a coffee, looking out on the way for some of its notable features: two chapels that are now private houses, sundials mounted high on the walls, and the town hall housed in a former chateau. Leave time to take in the panorama from the Viewpoint. In the vicinity you will also find the ancient wells called Puits de la Vierge, prehistoric caves and megalithic sites.
The nearby hilltop villages of Callian, Fayence, Seillans and Mons make a pretty circuit for a leisurely afternoon's drive. The road up to Mons is not for the faint-hearted but is well worth the amazing view from the top!
Perfumeries at Grasse
Grasse's two established perfumeries, Fragonard and Molinard, both offer fascinating guided tours of their premises, to learn about the methodology and history of making perfume as well as the chance to test and buy their products of course.
Follow the Siagne
As well as exploring the attractive village of St Cézaire on your doorstep, you could follow the river Siagne downstream to Auribeau, another pretty village which clings to the hillside. The Siagne meets the Mediterranean ocean at Mandelieu-la-Napoule, with its beach and marina, and a 14th century fortified castle which was renovated in the 1920s by an eccentric American couple - the sculptor husband renovated the interior whilst the architect wife applied her talents to the gardens. The castle and gardens are open for view every day, as well as hosting regular music and arts events.
Lac de Saint-Cassien
Lying just south of St Cézaire, this claw-shaped lake is a joy to drive around with opportunities to stop off for a meal in a waterside restaurant, or the more energetic may decide to hire kayaks or pedaloes and spend a couple of hours on the water.
The Cote d'Azur is a treasure trove for art lovers...
Nice has a large number of galleries and museums, and you could easily spend a whole day exploring there. However the rest of the coast has much to offer as well... for example, St Paul de Vence has the Matisse Chapel and the Maeght Foundation art gallery, Mougins has an interesting Photography museum, and there are also museums dedicated to Fragonard in Grasse, Picasso in Antibes and Renoir in Cagnes-sur-Mer.
The beaches, marinas and chic boutiques of the French Riviera are easily accessible, around half an hour's drive away, with the nearest resort being Cannes-Mandelieu. The breaktaking scenic drive along the beautiful Estérel coastline is also a must-do.
The place to be seen on the French riviera is the waterfront avenue La Croisette in Cannes, which hosts the highly regarded Film Festival in May each year. Whilst luxury yachts, designer boutiques and classy wine bars have become the order of the day, the old town La Suquet and the 19th century villas of the Quartier des Anglais hark back to a different era. If you enjoy a spot of retail therapy whilst on holiday, Cannes can certainly deliver!
Take cookery lessons
at Les Apprentis Gourmets in Cannes. Learn to cook authentic cuisine française!
Day out in Nice
Explore one of the oldest human settlements in Europe taking in the sights of the old quarter, Place Rossetti, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Place Massena which is the main square of the city. Held in the Cours Saleya, the daily morning Marché des Fleurs is a riot of colour and fragrances. Head up to castle hill for a superb view of the sweeping Baie des Anges and the Promenade des Anglais, and later reward yourself with a refreshing 'glace' on the beach!
Enjoy getting lost in the little streets of the old town, and stop for a bite in one of the many restaurants. The oldest quarter sits south of the Old Port, and is also home to the Cathedral and the Picasso Museum. This museum looks out over the sea and it contains not only paintings but ceramics and drawings by Picasso which were donated by the artist himself.
For film buffs...
...take a trip down to Cannes for the annual highly regarded Cannes Film Festival which honours the best of film-making.
Les Grottes de St Cézaire
Take a tour of the caves in the village, and marvel at features including draperies, stalactites and stalagmites, many with a lovely rose colour. At the bottom you'll reach the 'Gouffre Béant' (the yawning chasm!) where a underground river flows past. A good choice of excursion for on a hot day!
There are tennis courts and horse riding in the village of St Cézaire.
The Côte d’Azur has some excellent golf courses, with several in easy striking distance from the house. The nearest is the Golf du Claux-Amic to the north of Grasse. It is an 18 hole course, par 72, 5896m.
Take a hike up the mountains
The Esterel Hills are a great place for mountain biking and walking. Take in the view of the stark red hills creating a striking contrast with the deep blue Mediterranean.
The Verdon Gorge
Head northwest into the Var region to see the spectacular gorge, 25km long and 700 metres deep, formed by the Verdon river whose mineral deposits turn it a startling turquoise. Take a day to drive around the hairpin bends above the canyon, go walking or climbing in the National Park, or even hire kayaks to explore the waterways.
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