Walking the Promenade Maurice Rouvier on the Côte d’Azur in France
Every now and then life tosses you a sort of “three-for-one” deal. I always enjoy those and this post is that kind of gift. Yep, I’m going to cover three excursions!
- Promenade Maurice Rouvier
- Dinner in Beaulieu
And it’s all in one long, fun, walk-able loop. You can make a day of it by taking a bathing suit and some fresh water with you. Or, if you don’t wish to get wet, make it an afternoon excursion. I don’t like getting wet so you know what my vote was, right?
There is nothing like a civilized stroll along the sea, Dear Reader, and in the Côte D’Azur, this is a common thing. After all, you can’t blame a person for wanting to take in the sun, the sea breeze, and the sound of the crashing waves all the while marveling at the different shades of Bougainvillea and imagining what the interiors of the big and luxurious homes must look like. All that and no sand in your sandals. That’s a bonus I’m told.
I recommend starting the loop at the beach in Beaulieu, known as “la plage des fourmis” – the ants’ beach. I don’t know why it’s called that, but it didn’t fill me with an intense desire to wander on the beach. Rather, I started my walk on the paved pathway along the water’s edge – the promenade Maurice Rouvier. Oh, the wonder of it all! There I was, happily off leash, sniffing the wind while trying to stop it from blowing my fluffy butt up. (A guy has his pride, you know.) I encountered other dogs, all on leash and well behaved, but no one cared that I was off-leash. I only got a lot of smiles.
I discovered a lovely dog bar about 25 minutes into our walk. Yes, a watering spot just for we canines. How neat is that?
We kept walking, admiring the stunning homes. We also saw little places where you could climb down to a large rock that served as a natural dock to a swimming hole just for you and thine. It was windy that day and not as warm as you’d expect, so we didn’t see many people take advantage of this. But our hosts informed us that in the heat of summer, the rocks are covered with bathers drying off in the sun.
The walk is long. Bring water and take your time. The stunning views are worth your time. And Mom and I really liked the art that dotted the promenade near St. Jean.
We then stopped in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for lunch. Finding something that was affordable was tricky but we did in the end. A simple terrace belonging to a restaurant called The Seaside Cafe (4 Avenue Denis Semeria). We had our Niçoise salads and other light fair before heading back out.
All the patios in St. Jean were pet friendly! Every. Single. One. No exceptions. Sweeeeet!
We enjoyed a little walk among the small docked sailboats. No mega yachts there. I get the feeling the boats are more for recreational use. We had a good laugh with our hosts at the benches in the area shaped like whale tails.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a peninsula, so the area is, in and of itself, a walk you can do as a big loop. And yes, there is a path that goes all the way around. Beaches, parks, and spectacular views are your reward.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has probably some of the most expensive real estate in the world and continues to attract the elite. Current famous residents include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in “Villa Maryland,” and theatrical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. But the bipeds liked this modern little two bedroom jutting out over a beach. Totally our style!
Next time I visit (See what I did there? I am going to return!), I really want to visit two places. The first is an estate built at the beginning of the 20th century by King Léopold II of Belgium. Known as Villa des Cèdres, it has been owned since 1924 by Marnier-Lapostolle (the founder of Grand Marnier). The attraction is not the villa but the attached botanical garden, Jardin botanique “Les Cèdres.” The second thing I want to visit is the Tuscan-style palazzo built in 1905 for Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild. Now a museum known as Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, I am told it’s something to see. It, too, includes a stellar French-style garden. Assuming I can go in to see either, I will have to report back!
There’s also a lighthouse on the peninsula, built in 1862 under the orders of Napoleon III. (I had to look that up. I had no idea there had been more than one Napoleon. My education fails me, Dear Reader. *hanging my head in shame*) Napoleon III wanted to equip the French shores with a semaphore line – a system of sending messages from a tower, using pivoting shutters in the tower to form the signals or semaphores. Semaphore messages provided a means to monitor navigation, transmit messages to the ships, organize help in the event of maritime disasters, and transmit maritime meteorological observations. (We canines send messages with our own semaphore: tail up or down, front paw lifted, rolling on our backs, and more. Okay, okay, it’s not transmitting messages of national importance but still!)
After wandering about Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, we loop-de-looped and made our way back to where we started. By then, we had walked a great deal, sat in the sun, and chatted for hours. Frankly, a real dinner was in order. Our hosts introduced us to some of their friends – two expats living in Beaulieu – who have a wonderful roof top terrace. The bipeds had something called an “aperitif” and I hung out with a canine friend named Daisy.
As the sun finally set, we went to dinner. Our hosts’ sister and another friend joined us.
I have rarely seen the bipeds so jolly! There was live music, and conversation was abundant, as was the red wine. I settled on Mom’s lap as the music got a little loud. But I was not complaining; I was with the bipeds inside a restaurant and no one said boo about it. I also really enjoyed the magret de canard (duck breast) that the bipeds ordered. It was cooked in a delicious mushroom and pepper sauce. It’s a favourite dish of Mom’s and she orders it almost every time she has the chance. It was particularly well prepared with great care not to overcook it. I was so hungry at that point that, I will admit, I even accidentally nipped Mom’s finger when she fed me. Oops.
It was a wonderful end to a lovely day. If you are in the area with your canine companion, do stop in at Cafe Le Beaulieu for dinner and tell the owner Arnaud I sent you. It is worth the visit. It’s mostly locals who hang out there, giving you a good feeling for the residents and expats rather than the tourists.
In review: Promenade Maurice Rouvier is one of several promenades in the area. I hope to discover the others. This one is certainly a gem. Beaulieu and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – and Cap Ferrat proper – are all areas (villages now amalgamated into Nice) worth exploring on their own and in more depth. I’m glad I had a chance, at least, to gloss over these while enjoying an aristocratic-feeling kind of walk.