France, Monaco and Italy in winter time

Kids: 
10 years
Babies: 
8 months
Author: 
Parent
Date: 
2009-02-22 to 2009-02-27
Description: 

It's so common that people during winter go skiing, but we made another decision and departed for sunnier places. Our final destination on this voyage was in Cannes, France, since my husband had some business obligations there, so we decided to go together and visit Verona and Pisa in Italy during the outbound and inbound trip with our car. It was first longer voyage that we made with our 8-months old son, and our 10-years old daughter traveled around the world already. For all of us, except my husband, it was a first voyage to this cities in Italy and first time ever visit to France.

DAY 1 (Verona)

We've traveled by car. Since we had more than 1000 kilometers ahead, we had to adjust our voyage to the needs of our small son, because he had a need to be fed in his precise time, we had to change his diapers and to stretch from time to time. So the first decision was to cut the both outbound and inbound trips in halves. Our first destination was Verona in northern Italy, somewhere around half a distance to Cannes. Even with small baby, we visited the Juliet balcony and went around in crowded streets with other Romeo and Juliet fans. The squares and streets in Verona are very picturesque and interesting because of old, colored buildings and lot of tourists. We really loved the Anfiteatro and we really would like to visit it during one of the operas or concerts during the summer time. We believe that that would be quite an experience.

We overslept in a small hotel near Verona and in the morning continued our voyage toward France.

DAY 2 (Cannes)

We've arrived in Cannes during the afternoon and nice sunny weather has greeted us. For kilometers long beach stretches from both side of Cannes, and our hotel was on one of the ends, some 2 kilometers away from the center. The center could be reached by the car, but there was also long promenade by the beach. We really enjoyed the seaside air and beautiful look on the Mediterranean Sea. Although it was February there were some brave swimmers that were swimming in the cold sea. I was especially impressed by the sculptures made of sand, and I had the opportunity to watch them how they grow from noting. Real work of art.

Our hotel was quite new and designed in very modern fashion, and we were happy to see that our room was adapted to small babies. Content for happy arrival and nice weather we were looking forward for the next day.

DAY 3 (Cannes + Monte Carlo)

We spent morning around the Cannes without my husband who had some business activities. We've visited the promenade of famous film personalities and the Palais de Festival where the famous movie festival is held. Since it was the wrong part of the year, there were no red carpets or celebrities :) . Even without them the city was really nice, it had a nice promenade along the sea, and that was exactly what we needed at the moment. We also learned one thing: it is somewhat difficult to find open restaurants around 1 PM when we usually eat, because most of them open in the late afternoon and in the evening hours. Since we were used to eat earlier, we had to find out other ways of eating :(

In the afternoon my husband has returned and we went to visit Monte Carlo in Monaco which is around 50 kilometers away so it would be pity to miss the opportunity for visit. We walked around in T-shirts (remember, it was February) and were astonished with all the yachts in the city marina. This was really different world from ours :( We also were astonished to see open skating rink just few meters from the sea. Very unusual sight. Since we were her we also went to see some of the Casinos. On the other side on the hill is positioned the royal palace, where we haven't gone since we didn't had much time - maybe some other time. Finally we found a cozy restaurant and went back to Cannes.

DAY 4 (Saint Raphael, Saint Tropez) 

Although my husband had some more business thing to attend in the morning, we were waiting for him to visit some other places around the Cannes, since the weather conditions were still very pleasant. We took the old road along the seaside toward the Saint Tropez, and enjoyed the view of the red rocks along the coast, so we stopped often to enjoy the sight.

In the city of the Saint Raphael we've visited the old part of the town, remains of city walls, neobizantine church of Dame de la Victorie de Lepante, and enjoyed the promenade along the seaside. It was so nice that we remained there for much more time that we have planned.The local people in the restaurants and shops speak fluent English so we haven't really had any issues with understanding each others.

We continued toward the Saint Tropez. I am not sure what I did expected form that famous tourist destination, but we were disappointed a little, since there was not much to see there except the colored buildings in the old town. And in the old harbor there were lot of large expensive yachts it resembled the sight from the Monte Carlo. There were also lot of painters selling their works and taking the portraits on the spot. All in all we are still not sure if the visit was worth it.

 

DAY 5 (Cannes, Antibes)

We spent morning by visiting interesting castle near our hotel called Chateau de la Napoule. When we bought tickets our daughter got a map for the treasure hunt on the castle grounds, what actually kept her focus for entire stay here. I can admit that the small visitors were given special attention, and we do recognize and welcome this type of ideas. With so little can be done so much for the kids. Since it was morning, there were almost no other visitors, so our daughter could really wonder freely around and discovering her treasures, and on the other hand we had plenty of time for us to explore castle gardens. I must admit that I am not aware what was much prettier: rich and well kept gardens, or the caste itself or the seaview from other side of the castle. When our daughter found all of her treasures and marked them on the map, she got some candies for successful pursuit.

In the afternoon we've time to visit a nice little town in the northwest of Cannes called Antibes, a very picturesque town on the rock by the sea (at least theold part). Lot of artists have left their arts in the town, like Picasso whose replicas you can see while walking around the city walls. We've visited the entire old town and really enjoyed the sights of this small town.

DAY 6 (Pisa)

It was the last day at he Cote d' Azur, or French Riviera in English and we left back toward Italy. It was pity that we haven't had time to visit Nice, the largest town around, maybe some other time. Since we wanted again to break our voyage home in halves because of our small baby, we were looking for the town somewhere in the middle, and we decided to go to Pisa, even if it is not really on our way and not really in the middle. But, since nobody has made a visit yet, this was the great opportunity to visit the Leaning tower of Pisa. The tower itself is a free standing bell tower of the Cathedral of Pisa, and a third oldest building on the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo), after the Cathedral and Baptistery. The tower itself is quite impressive! It is not only because of its famous tilt, but it's also because it is a work of art. We didn't visit the tower itself, because we were not sure if this would be possible with our small son. So we decided to just wonder around with other tourists and take photos with the tower in different positions :) We went for a dinner in a nearby pizzeria and tasted some great pizza there, then we left for our hotel which was in really close vicinity of the tower.

DAY 7 (going home)

Our last day on the voyage was just driving 600+ kilometers back home, that went very well. All in all our small son has gone thorough entire voyage without any issues, and I believe that for all of us few sunny days when there is still lot of snow back home was a great thing to do.

Gallery: 
Julias Balcony, Verona
Verona
Anfiteatro di Verona
Verona
Swimmers in February, Cannes
Sand Art, Cannes
Skating in Monte Carlo near the sea, Monaco
Orange Tree, Monaco
View from our hotel, Cannes
Beach, Cannes
Red Rocks on the road to St. Tropez
St. Raphael Promenade
St. Raphael Promenade
Saint Tropez Harbor
Chateau de la Napoule, Cannes
Main street in Antibes
City Walls Detail, Antibes
Picasso Reproduction, Antibes
Cathedral of Pisa, Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
White Pidgin, Pisa
Places: 
Article Type: 
In-Person Impressions

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