Another beautiful morning in Menton, we grabbed our tripods and went to the port for photos of us. It was Bastille Day and the locals already up and hang out at the beach. We walked to this big pedestrian area where it has almost no one there except a few joggers here and there.
Then, we walked out to the port for the postcard view of Menton.
I didn’t go “rock climbing” to get to the perfect location so Jason grabbed the camera and went. The sky had a lot more clouds than the day before and it was early in the morning that the sun hit on the colorful houses. Which one do you prefer? I much preferred the early after for light and more pastel colors.
After the quick photos, we headed back to get our car and started the day trip to visit the nearby French Riviera villages. The first one was St Paul de Vence, located up on a hill and famous for its art galleries. The 50 minutes drive cost €4.80 in tolls! Just before the entrance to the village, there are a few parking lots and it cost €5.50 for two hours of parking. We got there at around 11 AM and it was already filled with tourists.
The small village has one main street and doesn’t take long to walk from one end to another but it’s filled with art galleries. Not that we are art people nor able to afford those masterpieces, it was fun to just window shop.
Like other medieval towns, the primary color of the houses are yellow but the art galleries added a lot of colors to the village. When we ventured into the side street, it was quieter but no cute houses or anything like that.
Back to the main street where there are many fashion boutiques as well.
At the end of the main street, once you got out of the “gate”, there is a city-wall like that you can walk up to. From there, has some views of the area surrounding the hilltop village and the cemetry.
A small portion of the wall that you walk on but it was not that interesting.
We walked back to the village to check out the other side street where there are mostly restaurants.
Right in the middle, there’s a water fountain with a musician performing.
More art galleries:
Narrow side streets:
The back road of the village with almost no tourists.
Street name craved on rock!
The village is small enough to explore within an hour but we stayed there for lunch; I found a Thai restaurant called Mister Chef so we gave it a try. It was located on the back street next to the church but the owner there said their kitchen will open in 15 minutes so we walked around.
Interior of the church:
It was time and we got seated right on the square. I ordered a stir-fried noodle with tofu and chicken, I asked for no bean-sprout. Of course, the owner doesn’t really know (they translated it differently in France) so I showed him a photo just to confirm as raw sprouts are a big no-no during pregnancy.
Jason ordered the seafood fried-rice.
The food was okay, of course not as good as the Thai food at home, but better than spaghetti every day; we needed a change 😉
The quick lunch was €37.50 and they take cash only. We used the bathroom before we left, it is located in the basement of the restaurant where I saw the chef who’s a Thai lady; the wife of the owner.
On the way to the parking lot, I took some more photos of the houses.
We found a platform near the parking lot that has a view of the hill-town village.
Next, we drove to the famous Eze village, another hilltop village; I managed to snap a photo as we were approaching. The 45 minutes journey cost another €3.40 in tolls sighhhh. It was a little bit of a challenge to find parking in Eze as it was Bastille Day and they have some local markets going on that occupied most of the parking lot. Luckily, we found a spot and it cost €6 for two hours of parking.
From the parking lot, it was a lot of stairs to get up to the village! Eze is one of the most famous villages and therefore a lot more tourists. We saw more tourists here than Menton! The village itself is beautiful; the streets are more picturesque than St Paul de Vence but it took a lot of time to wait for people to get out of the way…if they ever will…sometimes we gave up!
Eze also has a lot of art galleries and more jewelry and souvenir shops.
I saw this beautiful street lamp and took a photo of it.
The houses here are much cuter than the ones in St Paul de Vence…but it required some time to get a good photo without or with less people.
In the village, there are upscale hotels like this one; it’s definitely a lot more expensive to stay here than Menton.
Eze is not huge and the streets looped around to the top where Le Jardin Exotique (The Exotic Garden) is located. The admission fee is €6 and we asked our friend, Sokunna, who was there a week prior to our visit, she said it was not worth the price. thus, we didn’t go in. We walked the loop around the village and it took a little more than 1 hour mostly due to the wait for people to move out to take the photos.
On our drive back to Menton, we chose the coastal route which is more scenic and no tolls but there were no pullover spots to stop and take photos. A few times when we saw a scenic spot, we had to turn back to find someplace to stop safety for photos. Those were the ones we were able to get:
Once we got back to the hotel, we took a break to rest while I packed our bags as we’ll be leaving the next day to Siena, Italy! I did research that Siena center is located on top of the hill and with restricted access to cars, we had to park down the hill so I need to repack to only the carry-on luggage for the next few days.
I totally forgot that I took some pics of our small room…..it barely fit our check-in luggage! This is Hôtel De Londres which we paid $342 for 3 nights….you paid what you get 🙁
Time for dinner, we went back to La Trattoria again for the 3rd night in a row; that was how good the food was 😉 We made a reservation the night before as we know today is a holiday so the restaurant was fully booked. We were seated on another section of the restaurant and by now the waiters and waitresses know us LOL. Surprisingly, after we were seated and ordered the food, the couple who sat next to us yesterday arrived and they were seated right next to us AGAIN! This time, they brought friends along with them. For 3 nights in a row, we saw this couple and 2 nights we were seating next to each other, what a coincidence!
We didn’t order the yummy mussels today as I don’t want to have too many mussels, not sure if it’s bad for the baby so just be cautious. The special of the day is the same as yesterday – seafood spaghetti for two people. We were hoping they have something different but it was okay. Jason tried their crab risotto but it didn’t have a crab like his crab spaghetti, it was just crab meat. The flavor was good but not as good as the seafood risotto we had in Sicily.
I can’t have crab so I ordered the seafood spaghetti again. Since we had something different during lunch, I don’t mind to have the seafood spaghetti again for the third night in a row 😉 We didn’t order as much food as the two other nights so our dinner was only €48.50. The seafood in Menton is so good and we’ll be heading back to Italy inland so we might not have fresh seafood like this for a while!