Downtown Monte Carlo Downtown Monte Carlo While attending the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, as part of the invited press, I will be doing some sightseeing, experiencing some one-of-a-kind activities and reviewing some of southern France’s best restaurants. Come along on my visit to Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo.
First Stop Cannes
Take off is from Houston, connecting in Dulles to Zurich with the final destination Cannes. After dropping my bags off at the four-star Hotel Mondial, I will make a beeline for the Tourism Office, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes, to meet my guide for a quick overview tour of the city. After attending an official briefing about all things luxury at the Market, I will have the privilege of dining at La Palme d’Or, (2Michelin) at Hotel Martinez. In addition to this fantastic culinary delight, another night I will dine at Le Park 45, (1 Michelin) located in the Grand Hotel on La Croisette.

[caption id="attachment_7078" align="alignleft" width="300"]Colorful buildings contrasted with the bright blue sea Colorful buildings contrasted with the bright blue sea[/caption] Old Town Nice has deep and complicated roots beginning with Greek civilization and provides us with some of the best sightseeing in Nice and France. According to Wikipedia, "Nice (Nicaea) was probably founded around 350 BC by the Greeks of Massilia (Marseille), and was given the name of Νικαία ("Nikaia") in honour of a victory over the neighbouring Ligurians (Nike is the Greek goddess of victory)". A long sordid history ensued and the people of Nice were co-mingled with roots from their Greek ancestors, Italian neighbors and seafarers who landed upon their shores and never left. The port of Nice was one of the busiest in the world and thus was a target for power-thirsty conquerors throughout the ages.

My friends and I love nothing more than to sit at outdoor cafés and people watch in Paris so it came as no surprise when Gal Pal Elizabeth suggested we head out for a stroll for some shopping and perhaps a cocktail during Happy Hour France time. We had a few hours to kill before dinner and wandered down the main shopping area enjoying the remnants of the Christmas lights and glitter hanging above our heads down the pedestrian avenue rue de France. A stumble upon the Nice Côté Lounge was proof that some of our best finds happen by accident.

[caption id="attachment_5162" align="alignleft" width="300"]Me and Martine sorting through hundreds of choices! Me and Martine sorting through hundreds of choices![/caption] When in France, you must take time to stop and smell the French perfumes! I am so glad I did at Fragonard in Eze Village. The history of perfume dates back to the Mesopotamian times. As the world travelers brought the craft of creating odorous concoctions west, the Italians brought the chemical formulas to France where chemists hired by the aristocrats spent lifetimes perfecting. Yes, the French had questionable, strange hygienic practices leaving them with strong body odor that perfume was used to attempt to cover up, but now the usage is simply superfluous. Kings Louis' XV and XVI were huge consumers of perfume, as was Napoleon. Gloves were a popular way to distribute the scents to people's hands, which lasted for days, but was reportedly discontinued when evildoers began mixing poisons into the perfume to slowly poison their enemies. It was a genius way to get rid of a dreaded rival without having to "lay a glove on them."