The French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) has a reputation for offering some of the best vacation locations on the planet. Naturally, expectations were high when we decided to film a tour of Nice and other cities along the French Mediterranean coast.
We worked with our Cannes-based film crew to narrow down some of the best places to visit. These included places in Cannes, Nice, and the Theoule-sur-Mer resort village.
We initially scheduled 2 days for filming. However, even after narrowing down the locations, we still required an additional day. Day 1 involved driving around Nice, Cannes, Antibes and ending the day at the pebble beach at Pointe de l'Aiguille.
Exploring the beautiful coastline of the French Riviera
On Day 2, we mainly focused on a yacht trip in Cannes and visiting the underwater eco-museum. We also planned a stop at Pointe de l'Aiguille via a tender ride from the yacht. Finally, we included a helicopter ride at the Cannes airport and a visit to Le Reserve restaurant in Nice.
Yes, the plan for day 2 looks overly ambitious. Pulling it off would be challenging. The restaurant had saved some time for us to film while they were closed, so meeting the schedule was important. So, how did the plan work out?
I arrived in Paris from Seattle in the morning on a Sunday. The experience at Charles de Gaulle airport was not pleasant. The automated immigration lanes were working erratically, and a lot of people were in jeopardy of missing their flights.
Issues like these make ensuring at least 2 hours of layover time critically important. I wonder if this had anything to do with the fluid situation that was brewing over France's new retirement age law. My last visit to Paris was nothing like this.
I arrived in Nice at around noon. Other members of the crew were arriving later in the day. Raquel's flight was scheduled to arrive an hour after I landed, so I arranged for transportation to match her arrival time. That way, we could share the ride to our hotels. It also made it easy for me to hand over everything she needed for filming, including instructions from our stylist.
I stayed at Le Negresco Hotel, while Raquel stayed at the Anantara Hotel. However, between meetings with crew members and hosting dinners, I ended up spending more time at the Anantara Hotel. The hotel is a wonderful place, and Raquel will likely have a lot more to say about it.
After a short nap to recover from the long flight, Alex met me at the Negresco reception. We proceeded to Anantara to meet with Raquel and finalize the plan for the next morning.
Our day started at the parking lot of Port Lympia, where we had the Ferrari Portofino delivered early in the morning. Though it was March, the weather was clement which I appreciated because I don't handle extreme weather well. Most people will scoff at my definition of extreme weather, but I'll talk about that another time.
My role during the morning filming session was mostly passive, so I had the luxury of wandering around the port. The views were amazing. There were yachts of different sizes moored at the harbor but not enough to obstruct the breathtaking view of the Mediterranean and Monument aux Morts de Rauba Capeu across the street.
We had two camera cars with interesting-looking rigs to stabilize the cameras. The cars were going to take turns leading and following the Ferrari Portofino.
Filming started in Old Nice, where we captured drives around the main landmarks. I wanted to include coastal drives in Cannes and Antibes, but Alex had convinced me Mont Boron had better views. Since we were going to spend most of day 2 in Cannes, leaving it out of day 1 was easy to agree with. However, I do regret that we didn't find a way to fit Antibes into the schedule.
Mont Boron is a high-brow neighborhood in Nice with an abundance of expansive villas and a large park, Parc Forestier du Mont Boron at its peak. It may just be Nice's best-kept secret (relatively speaking). I hitched a ride with Raquel in the Portofino on the drive up to the park. This is where you'll find the best views.
As soon as the crew started filming, I wandered around the edge of the cliff (don't judge me! You haven’t seen those views) and could not believe what I was seeing. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the most serene place I've ever visited.
The air seemed very clean, and the cliffside villas across the coastline made the place remarkably desirable. I kept telling crew members how impressed I was with the place while plotting in my head what I needed to do to retire here. If you're ever in Nice, you have to visit this place.
Visitors consider Promenade des Anglais a must-see attraction in Nice. It's a great spot, especially when you're enjoying the view from the hilltop at Le Parc de la Colline du Château. However, in my book, the views from Mont Boron are better. The absence of a crowd of tourists also earns it extra points.
After we finished with Mont Boron, we proceeded to get more shots along Promenade des Anglais. Wading through mid-day traffic in Nice was a little more challenging than expected. We lost radio and visual contact with Raquel for a bit. After some arguing between Alex and I, he restored radio communication and guided Raquel back to our location.
We lost some time while this was happening, so we had to move on to Theoule-sur-Mer promptly. We had to film at Point de I'Auille before sunset, so filming along the coast in Antibes was now out of the question. I took over driving the Portofino so Raquel could take a well-deserved break. She had been driving the car around for hours while following camera cars and taking instructions from Alex over the radio.
We stopped for lunch at La Cambuse restaurant right by the water at Port de la Rague. I didn't have much of an appetite, though. I was just eager to get the session done before dark.
The narrow roads of the resort town of Theoule-sur-Mer weren't the easiest to navigate. The main road through the town, Av. de Lerins has just one lane in each direction and an abundance of turns with blind spots.
To make matters worse, some construction work was going on that further delayed us. However, we managed to get everything done. I originally wanted us to walk down to the pebble beach at Crique de Aiguille, but the rough terrain and limited time made this impractical.
We wrapped things up for day 1 and agreed on the timing to start the journey from Nice to Cannes on day 2. It promised to be an exciting day, but I got it started with a funny and dicey situation.