It’s hard not to have a love affair with the South of France, the scenery, the food, the language – it’s all so romantic and classy at the same time. I found the perfect spot which combines the glitz and glamour of Cannes, with old village charm – La Napoule.
I had never actually heard of La Napoule before I booked it. I wanted to go back to the South of France but was looking for an a little French village, that offered a certain “je ne sais quois”? Don’t get me wrong, I love the bigger towns of Cannes and Nice, but with the busy build up to Christmas, La Napoule seemed like the perfect place to relax and unwind.
I chose the newly renovated Mimozas Resort. Owned by Irishman Ray Byrne (owner of Wineport Lodge) it offers everything you could possibly want for a family holiday. The apartments are spacious and superbly well equipped. Microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, hairdryer, DVD player are all supplied, as well as the all important free wifi! Although not all facilities were open in Winter, I took a tour of the complex with some of staff, who were very knowledgeable and informed, to see what will be on offer for Summer guests. The facilities on site are excellent and almost all included in the price of your stay. There is a mini club for kids with an animation program, plenty of sports facilities for both adults and children including various aerobics classes and zumba. There is also a wellness centre (extra charge) if you fancy unwinding after a long days sightseeing. The apartments offer views of the on site lake or of the adjacent golf course, and the hotel offers discounted rates to guests. A car is advisable, although if you don’t mind the short twenty minute walk to the centre of the village or are not planning to explore further along the coast, then you could probably do without one.
I loved the village of La Napoule, there are plenty of good restaurants and bars but it still retains lots of old world charm. You can pick up freshly baked baguettes in the local boulangerie and some amazing pastries at the patisserie. There is a castle on the waters edge that offers guided tours, but it is equally as impressive to walk around the coast and see it from the sandy beach. The port area has lots of modern restaurants over looking the marina. We had superb pizzas here in L’annexe and enjoyed stunning views without breaking the bank. We also ate in the more traditional Bellini restaurant. We enjoyed classic home cooked food in a cosy atmosphere. My husband, Cormac had the popular choice, the plat du jour – penne al salmone. It was full of flavour and a really generous portion, which was handy, as we all kept eating it! It was fantastic value at only €11.
If you fancy a livelier scene you can take a trip to nearby Cannes, only a ten minute drive. A stroll along the Croisette just has to be done. Take the obligatory photo on the steps where the movie stars stand for the Cannes Film Festival. Ogle at the hundreds of designer shops, each one more expensive than the next! It’s ok to look though – right? There are however, plenty of reasonably priced shops behind the main Croisette if you have time to explore. Likewise there are plenty of restaurants to suit all budgets, from pizza places to Michelin star restaurants – Cannes caters for everyone. We ate in Au mal assis and the food was excellent. The kids loved seeing the fresh fish on display and I had linguine with lobster which was superb. The total cost of €130 for four included a bottle of nice wine – not bad for a good seafood restaurant over looking the sea in Cannes!
If you have the time, Monaco is less than an hour away. You can take a city tour which will take in the Castle, Casino Square, the formula one track and the famous port, laden down with super yachts. We had lunch at the very trendy Beefbar which as the name denotes serves only beef! It has jam packed. As most places were quiet, we decided to see what all the fuss was about. There was a great choice of all things beef and while the steaks were great, the burgers were a little disappointing! They don’t do kids menus so my two kids both had adult burgers and at €20 for a burger I have to say I was a tad disappointed. They were nice but nothing special at all, certainly not the ‘gourmet burgers’ that were advertised on the menu.
You should explore the stunning old town of Antibes (one of my favourite places) which is only 20 minutes drive away. There also plenty of other places to see, Nice, St Tropez, Cap Ferrat. Or why not pop into Italy for your lunch? San Remo on the Italian Riviera is only I hour 15 minutes away. Most of the above options are accessible by train from La Napoule station. When you have done enough sightseeing you can always take the kids to Marineland, that never disappoints! Incidentally Mimozas resort will offer discounts on most of the attractions along the coast.
How to get there:
Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly to Nice five times each week in the Winter and daily in the Summer months. Transfer time is short to La Napoule, so you can be relaxing by the pool in less than 30 minutes. Mimozas resort offers studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments, so for more details and reservations click here.