Nestling in the heart of the French Riviera (between Nice and Monaco), Villefranche Sur Mer welcomes you in its haven of peace. The village has kept its picturesque charm with the passing centuries: the warm colors of the Mediterranean facades, the small steeped streets and its medieval citadel. This is a busy town in a busy part of the Côte d'Azur. A couple of features that make it attractive are the seaside, with long sandy beaches, terrace cafés and restaurants, and the very nice old town.
This is where we stayed, at the Hotel La Darsel. After 10 days of touring and wine drinking I think we are all looking forward to the quite relaxed pace of the coast. After unloading our luggage, catching our breath, and checking out each other's rooms, we met for a nice leisurely walk along the boardwalk. I felt like we were the only people walking around which is one of the benefits of traveling with RS. You get to stay at small hotels and more remote locations. There are no hordes of tourists. It's just us and the sea air. (Until the cruise ship comes in...)
L' Oursin Bleu April, Mom and I enjoyed a very peaceful dining experience together. Perched along the promande we got to people watch and listen to the waves in the background. I am starting to feel sad that this is almost over. I have really enjoyed hanging out with my new friends.
I can't remember everything from this meal but I do know that I had oysters for the very first time and surprisingly, they weren't bad. Mom and I also enjoyed the tempura vegetable appetizer. I think April liked her dessert because she didn't tell us how good it was until it was all gone!
Later that evening a few of us met in Matt and Alena's room to enjoy the view and attempt to finish off some of the wine bottles that people had been collecting. It's been a really, really good group. At this point I know that I would love to travel with these people again.
Free Day Mom, Me, Alena and Donald were the only ones wanting to go to Monaco for the day. So off to the train station we go.
Our day in Monaco was so nice. I had been there with Contiki in 2006, but only got to look at everything really quickly and at night.
This time I got to do so much more. We walked from the train station up the hill to Monte Carlo, lost about 50 euros on the slots, taxied over to the Palace, watched the changing of the guards, toured the Palace and Napoleon's treasures, had lunch, toured the church where Princess Grace is buried, and then finally walked down the hill to the train station. Action packed day!
I think Mom really enjoyed seeing the Palace. She has been a fan of all the Royal families her whole life. At one point we had to wait because someone was leaving the Palace. We were like the paparazzi ready with our cameras, but everyone only got a car with a blurred person inside...it could have been the Prince!
I really enjoyed the view of the port - so busy and modern. What a difference from our little village not so far away.
Prince's Palace of Monaco
Our Last Group Meal Again, William goes above and beyond to ensure that we have another wonderful meal filled with new flavors. I can't believe the variety of tastes that we have experienced throughout France. William surprised us with champagne on the waterfront, and taught us how to 'kiss kiss'. I am so glad to have gone on this tour and so sad to say good-bye to my new friends. Mom and I are staying in Nice for 2 days to relax but everyone else is heading on. It's the people that make these tours so worthwhile.
But, we are not done yet. One last chance to finish off the wine bottles, have some laughs and say..."I hope to see you again". I always cry when I have to say good-bye and that happened when Ted, Ann and April dropped us off in Nice.