Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Monday, 10 October 2016

Exploring Old Antibes

Choopy's Coffee Shop for the best coffee in town!

Exploring Vieil Antibes was first on my to do list in the South of France. More than the seaside part of Antibes, I was more keen on taking a long leisurely stroll through its narrow, cobbled streets filled with pastel coloured buildings and the cutest window shutters. The husband and I are not too hyper about sight seeing. We always pick really historic spots in a city with interesting architecture and just walk around aimlessly or sit and sip on cappuccinos in small coffee shops and people watch.

If you liked the photos above, and want to know how to get there, then read on! Whether you're staying in Nice or Cannes, Antibes is relatively easy to get to and is just a 30 minute drive from either cities. We didn't visit the sea side part of the old town, but more towards the inside of the city. If you're driving, then you need to think of parking. The good thing about all these cities is that they have huge public parking spaces with a name so it's easy to find on your GPS. The closest one a friend told us to park was Parking LACAN 2 and we got to it without any issues. Once you've parked and paid, you can just keep walking till your heart desires. Inside one of the lanes, we discovered this amazing shop selling dried lavender, essential oils and soaps. The French Riviera is known for it's enormous lavender fields and I was in dire need to restock all my dried lavender that little Rania pretty much destroyed. So I grabbed a whole bunch of those gorgeous, fragrant, dried blooms to take back home along with soaps that were handmade in Marseille. If visiting cute little villages is your thing, then Antibes is a must see in this region.

Finally, I'm going to talk about my outfit. Holiday dressing has to be fuss free, but stylish at the same time. I've been wearing my Gucci Princetown slides non stop since I got them because they instantly change the look of any outfit and are also so comfortable at the same time. I've realised, nothing is more effortless on a vacation than a jumpsuit. I bought this white in Dubai a few weeks ago and thought it was really cute with it's playful straps and the raw looking drawstring. I paired it with a pale tank top and threw on an old denim jacket (which we all have in our closets) just in case it got a little nippy. I kept the accessories light so nothing felt too heavy on me and I was free to explore in ease.

A holiday handbag is also of equal importance. It has to meet all my requirements. Not too big in size, easy to carry (shoulder strap is a must), fit my wallet, sunglasses case and a little make up, and of course has to be FABULOUS! The Diorever in red grained leather fit the bill in every possible way and looked amazing with all my outfits. It's been one of my favourites since I reviewed it a few months ago. The best feature is the front flap which can be folded to the back and basically it stays in place because of the magnetic buttons on both sides making it so convenient for me to dig into it whenever I need to.  Read the old review here.

There you have it, an effortless chic holiday outfit inspiration.

Jumpsuit - Mango (Click here to purchase)
Shoes - Gucci
Sunglasses & Bag - Dior
Location - Antibes, Côte d'Azur

French Riviera - Getting There & Some FYI

I had been wanting to come to the French Riviera with the husband for a while, however for some reason, in all the nearly six years we have been together, it never worked out. This time, somehow, everything fell into place and we were on our way.

The main airport in the South of France is Nice and there are very few direct international flights to Nice. The only option for us was to either take Emirates from Dubai or do what everyone else does, fly to a European destination first and then take a flight to Nice. Off late, I have been a little turned off with Emirates as their pricing just doesn't make any sense to me anymore. Their fare from Delhi to Nice and flying out from Paris back to Delhi was about 130,00 INR for Business class, which we weren't in the mood to pay for so we ruled out that option. We ended up getting a fantastic deal (INR 83,000 for business class per person) with Qatar airways to Paris with a very short layover in Doha and then bought separate Air France tickets for the inland travel for the same day.

Flying Qatar Airways was quite an experience. I always research the airline before flying to see if the price I'm paying is worth the money. We got the Dreamliner aircraft to Doha and an Airbus A-380 to Paris. After being used to the Emirates lounges at Dubai airport, I wasn't sure what to expect from the lounge in Doha. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It was just stunning. Located on level 3 of Hamad International Airport, the lounge boasts four different eating areas and even has its own map! Upon entering, a large decorative pool welcomes you which was pretty funky and right next to it is a staircase leading up to one of the restaurants. The decor is extremely contemporary which I can't complain about because I thought it looked cool. However, I do feel they could do with a bigger smoking area. The smoking room could get extremely claustrophobic if you're there for more than two minutes!

Soon after exploring the lounge, we boarded their A-380 aircraft to Paris which I have to add was phenomenal and even better than the Emirates one and so was their lounge on board.  To check out detailed information of your seats, check out Furthermore, it won business class of the year award so naturally, the service was exceptional.

Moving on, a little FYI on packing. Always bear in mind, when flying between European cities, the tickets DON'T include a big suitcase. With a basic fare, you're entitled to a single carry on suitcase so before purchasing your tickets, make sure you pay in advance for a checked in suitcase. You get that option to buy luggage allowance before paying for your airfare. With Air France, you can pay for a single suitcase per ticket that weighs up to 23 kilos. This way you can pack sensibly too. I made sure both our suitcases were within the luggage allowance to avoid any hassles at the airport.

It ended up being a really exhausting journey but thankfully the full flat beds in Qatar airways made life a little easier. The husband suggested we spend a night at an airport hotel in Paris and fly out the next day but I thought it was better to suck it up and just get there so I could be fresh and ready to drive to Cannes the next day. By the time we checked in to the airport hotel in Nice, we had travelled for almost 24 hours! Anyways, after a good night's rest, everything was just fine. We stayed the night at the IBIS right next to the hotel. Although a budget hotel is far from what I'm normally used to, it didn't make any sense to stay at a five star just to spend the night. Plus, we had to pick up our car rental the next day from the airport which was walking distance from the IBIS, so it was just convenient.

Whilst you can take a bus or train to Cannes, the husband and I prefer driving around at our own pace. Furthermore, we had plans of exploring nearby villages which just makes it easier if you have your own mode of transport. Renting a car is pretty cheap in Europe and if you happen to have a manual driver's license, then you can get some great deals on luxury cars too. We rented an Audi A4 for just 60 Euros a day. Smaller cars are even cheaper. Which brings me to my next point, parking. Before you finalise a hotel, always check their parking fee. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez in Cannes, and never bothered checking what their charges were. At check out, we realised it was 40 Euros a day! Almost as much as the rental fee.

I hope this information will be of some help to you. In my other two posts, I will talk about two of the villages we visited and a little bit on how to get there, where to park, etc.