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Côte d’Azur (French Riviera) / Corsica

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Stéphane Raimbault
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Maître de Maison of L’Oasis
My ‘prestige’ tour of the Côte d’Azur

I am from the Vendée and the Atlantic coast of France and have been running L’Oasis with my brothers Antoine and François for twenty years, yet I can assure you that I do not know a single region anything like Côte d’Azur, or one that has as much to offer as it. Where else could you, come the spring, sail down the ski slopes in the morning and go water skiing in the Mediterranean in the afternoon, after having had lunch on the terrace? The only place is right here! In La Napoule, where I am fortunate enough to work, we are close to La Croisette, Nice, Saint-Tropez as well as being close to nature, to the Var, to our hinterland. This tour is a perfect example of that.

In terms of cooking, it would be a gross understatement to say that the region is rich in produce! Olive oil, tomatoes, basil, sea food…, the earth and sea are alive with it and provide the ingredients for dishes with have a reputation for being healthy and nutritious, the famous ‘Crete diet’. That will become increasingly apparent to all of you when you make a stop at the different stages of this tour, where it will be our duty to welcome you as an individual special guest.

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a three-night stay from €756*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
Stage 1: two days, one night

Château de La Chèvre d’Or

A sumptuous romantic palace between the sea and the stars
Château de La Chèvre d’Or
Just imagine a hotel perched up on a rocky outcrop in a medieval village, overlooking the sea, between Nice and Monaco… That’s the Château de la Chèvre d’Or, a hotel of charm with stunning views of the Mediterranean and the St-Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula. The Chèvre d’Or, with its suites scattered through village houses, its four gourmet restaurants, its hanging gardens and a pool with sea views, is a memorable ‘star’ on the Côte d’Azur.

Close to the property...

The path down from the village to the sea

Eze looks down on the Mediterranean from a height of more than 400 m. Once you have enjoyed looking round the old village with its restored houses, and their stairs, alleyways and cobbled streets, why not take an unusual walk down to Eze-mer. You can take a steep path down the rocky outcrop, and then take a breath-taking and romantic walk for about one hour between pine and olive groves, during which time you will enjoy superb views out over the Deep Blue Sea. An exceptional route for those who like to reflect as they walk.

www.eze-riviera.com

On the route...

Chapelle Saint-Pierre, in Villefranche-sur-Mer - kilometer 8

Jean Cocteau was to say of Eze: ‘Nowhere else is there a place more off the beaten track, more unusual, more suspended in the void…’. A little further on, on the coast road, we find traces of the writer and cinema director, in the tiny Chapelle Saint-Pierre, in Villefranche-sur-Mer. It was entirely redecorated by Cocteau, and pays tribute to Saint Peter, the patron saint for fishermen. At one time, it even served as a store for fishing tackle; it was also the headquarters of the fishermen’s industrial tribunal.

www.villefranche-sur-mer.com

The Matisse Museum - kilometer 17

This museum pays tribute to Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), famous painter and leading light in the Fauvist school and adoptive son of Nice. It holds more than 600 of his works (paintings, drawings, sculptures and etchings) and certain documents about his life. This collection has been housed in the Villa des Arènes, a 17th century Genoese residence and pays tribute to a man who made his reputation with his use of pure, blazing colours, and who was the friend, and indeed rival, of Picasso.

www.musee-matisse-nice.org

Promenade des Anglais, in Nice - kilometer 20

This esplanade is symbolic of Nice. It stretches for 8 km, and, throughout its length, has every inch of that chic that is part of the charm of the capital of the Côte d’Azur. It was created for the tourism of the early 1820s, and follows the curves of the bay, providing a haven for walkers and joggers in their quest for relaxation. It is midway between the blue of the Mediterranean and the brightly-coloured façades of the properties on its other side, such as the Palais de la Méditerranée, Hotel Négresco and the Ruhl casino…

www.nicetourisme.com

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

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Stage 2: one day, one night

Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel

An architectural gem on the beach
Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel
Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel stands out in the galaxy of Relais & Châteaux hotels, for its resolutely contemporary style, and its clean and sophisticated lines that blend straight into the sea. It is perched at the edge of the water, a stone’s throw from the town of Antibes, made famous by Picasso. It is lucky enough to boast its own private sandy beach with views over the Lérins islands. A unique sensory experience, which has, I am sure, what it takes to delight all those who love contemporary style and inventive cuisine.

Close to the property...

Antibes Old Town and Château Grimaldi

Antibes Old Town, between Nice and Cannes, is really the place to stop any time you are down on the Côte d’Azur. Its high point is its busy market. In the morning, you can breathe in all the scents of Provence in the covered market on Cours Masséna. When you have finished strolling through the brightly-coloured streets in the centre and the harbour, what I would do is visit the Picasso museum. In Château Grimaldi, you can see some of the artist’s major works which were painted here in 1946.

www.antibesjuanlespins.com

On the route...

Vallauris - kilometer 8

Don’t hesitate to venture up the hillside to explore Vallauris, a pottery and ceramics centre. There are craft shops in the village, where you can find out about this traditional art and maybe even be inspired to buy a fine piece. The Museums of Pottery and Ceramics will give you a further introduction and you can view Picasso’s thrilling artwork ‘War and Peace’ at the Château Museum, shown along with some of the artist’s ceramics. Picasso lived in Vallauris between 1948 and 1955.

www.vallauris-golfe-juan.com
www.musee-picasso-vallauris.fr

Cannes and the Croisette - kilometer 16

It goes without saying that this town enjoys a worldwide reputation for its Film Festival. The number of stars who have trodden the red carpet in Cannes! The Croisette passes the legendary Palais and wends its opulent way along the sea line, with its string of luxury boutiques and luxury hotels. This is a delightful stroll – on the one side, the beach; on the other, the majestic façades of the Carlton, the Martinez, the Miramar… And don’t forget Forville Market, where I do my daily shopping!

www.cannes.travel

Forville Market, in Cannes

This market is where I have started every day that God has given me for the last twenty years! There is why I buy my fish – my John Dory, rascasse, gilt-head bream, sole…, from my fishermen friends. I also go there for lettuce, herbs, and when they are in season, purple asparagus. I am very proud and happy to be able to treat my guests to this fresh local produce from our terroir. You should make a point, one morning, of exploring this brightly-coloured market with all its stalls…

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

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Stage 3: one dinner

L’Oasis

Your pleasure is ours
L’Oasis
Welcome to my place! My two brothers, Antoine and François, and I have wanted to make L’Oasis the perfect place to sample Provençal and contemporary dishes. Our ambition is for you, any day of the week, to enjoy a moment’s dream, to escape for an instant, either in the dining room or in the shade of the patio. Our family spirit and shared ideas are very important to our cuisine which is made in our image. We are only a stone’s throw from Cannes, and would be delighted to treat you to our original restaurant, bistrot and cookery classes.

Close to the property...

Château de La Napoule

Henri Clews was a New York painter and sculptor. After the First World War, he discovered the Côte d’Azur and was never to leave. With his wife Marie, he restored the Château de La Napoule, and transformed this Mediterranean lookout post into a sanctuary for the art of the fantastic. I love the grotesque and whimsical statues in the garden, the Gothic dining room, the Marie Clews room and, of course, the studio, where the complete works of the artist are preserved under a fine conservatory.

www.chateau-lanapoule.com

On the route...

The coast road along the Esterel Peninsula - kilometer 15

From La Napoule to Saint-Raphaël, 32 km of spectacular road await you! This route, which is without a doubt one of the most spectacular in the whole region, wends its way between the jagged Mediterranean coast and the red, almost porphyry red, mountains of the Esterel Peninsula and passes through some remarkable wild areas. Pointe de l’Esquillon, Cap Roux, Pointe de Baumette, Cap du Dramont… – take my advice and leave yourself enough time to really appreciate this stunning coast.

www.visitvar.fr

A walk around the Pic du Cap Roux

Estérel marks the boundary between Alpes-Maritimes and Var. The hills drop down from red rocks with scattered lush green vegetation and plunge into the turquoise blue of the sea and the wild inlets. It offers a number of pleasant walks. Scrub, cork and downy oak, Aleppo and Maritime pines, lavender, rosemary, heather, false acacia… this is a way of finding out about the Mediterranean’s splendid heritage of forest, by taking a walk from L’Oasis round the Pic du Cap Roux.

Roman Fréjus - kilometer 35

After the views of the coast, I suggest you make a stop at Fréjus to explore its Roman remains and Old Town. Fréjus was formerly an ancient port, and has retained from those Roman times a fine amphitheatre, a small theatre and the remains of an aqueduct. In the town centre, there is a typically Provençal atmosphere and you will be able to explore some fine medieval remains such as the Provost’s House, the fortified towers and the bishop’s palace with its cathedral, cloisters and baptistry.

www.frejus.fr

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

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Stage 4: one day, one night

Hôtel Villa Belrose

From the terraces, the view of Saint-Tropez is heavenly
Hôtel Villa Belrose
What would you say to being able to see in a single glance the entire Saint-Tropez bay and peninsula? That is what Villa Belrose has to offer! The terraces and pool, perched up on the heights of Gassin, enjoy a magnificent view point, much appreciated by its guests who come in search of tranquillity and beautiful surroundings. Excellence also forms part of its Mediterranean cuisine, and its luxury rooms with their classical ambience. A dream location for the final stage of this tour of the ‘stars’.

Close to the property...

The village of Gassin and its panoramic views

Here is yet another village which has managed to retain its truly Provençal cachet, with its houses linked by tiny narrow streets and stairways. What I particularly like about it is the way the town dominates the entire region. Barri terrace, at an altitude of 200 m, commands glorious views on clear days. Looking from west to east, you can see, with a sweep of the eye, Hyères islands, Cavalaire Bay, the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and even the Alps. You simply mustn’t miss visiting this town with its panoramic views!

www.mairie-gassin.fr

Gassin Golf & Country Club

If you like golf, this 18-hole course, set in a domain of 110 hectares, is quite remarkable. Gassin Golf & Country Club is close to Villa Belrose, five minutes from the beaches and from Saint-Tropez, and offers golfing pleasure and sophisticated services. When you play the course, you will enjoy unique vistas of the villages, the pine forest and the vineyards, a distillation of the very best of the Provence countryside. A sporting break which may, indeed, be crowned by lunch – an event not to be missed.

www.gassingolfcc.com

Saint-Tropez, village and port

You can’t not visit Saint-Tropez! This legendary village that is the haunt both of artists and the jet set still holds a fascination for the rest of the world. It has pulled off the spectacular feat of managing to retain its authentically Provençal character while doffing an aura of international chic, and it is still the height of fashion! As you go from the village to the citadel, not to mention the harbour with its yachts, you will come to appreciate its sophisticated insouciance. Nor should you miss the Musée de l’Annonciade with its paintings by Matisse, Braque, Utrillo…

www.ot-saint-tropez.com

Domaine de la Malherbe

When you leave Gassin and Villa Belrose, keep going as far as Bormes-les-Mimosas. When you arrive, stop off at Domaine de la Malherbe, a superb vineyard tucked in between the garrigue and the sea, near Fort de Brégançon. The Ferrari family who own it produce some excellent white, red and rosé wines. The whites are attractively original with plenty of body and intensity. The red are full-bodied with very elegant tannins. You won’t be disappointed!

www.chateau-malherbe.com

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : ETOILES

Calling from another country ? Click here