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The Eastern end of the Cote d’Azur coastline is possibly some of the most glamorous in the world. With the rocky inclines giving way to the crystal clear turquoise waters, and the steep cliffs and headlands housing celebrities and HNWIs in villas and penthouses overlooking the yachts.
Villefranche sur Mer
Heading around the Cap de Nice and Mont Boron and leaving the Nice city limits you are welcomed by one of the most stunning bays in the Mediterranean, Villefranche. The enclosed bay is one of the deepest in the Med and provides safe anchorage for large ships and as such a popular stop for cruise ships and occasionally naval vessels.
The steep hills surrounding the bay are littered with exclusive properties owned by celebrities and international glitterati who regularly frequent the medieval town centre. The waterfront has an array of restaurants and at the far end gives way to a beach and bathing area.
Bordering the eastern side of Villefranche is the headland of Cap Ferrat, which according to a 2012 survey, is the second most expensive location for real estate in the world. The Grand hotel stands at the southern tip, it was built at the turn of the 20th century and is still known as one of the top hotels in the world. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is open to the public and its gardens show offer views over both sides of the cap. The port area is the ‘village’ centre with shops and restaurants overlooking the boats.
Beaulieu sur Mer
It’s not hard to describe this town with its literal translation meaning “beautiful place”, it certainly lives up to it! The costal path from Cap Ferrat meanders beside the crystal blue waters and into the town. The Belle Époque architecture is stunning and the port is a popular destination for charter guests to explore the surrounding areas. The port is lined with ship chandlers and restaurants and at the far end there is a pleasant beach with shady palm trees.
Eze sur Mer
The coastal town to the ever popular mediaeval village 700m above. Eze sur Mer is a ‘secret’ enclave, never as busy as some of its neighbours, the private beaches offer crystal clear waters and some of the finest meals on the coast, a day at Anjuna Plage is unforgettable. For a good workout take the Chemin de la Mer, also known as the Nietzsche Trail which leads from the coast up to the village, it is a steep incline but offers exceptional views before arriving in the village, home of the hotels Château Eza and the Chevre d’Or.
The border town of Cap d’Ail is a buzzing resort with boutiques and restaurants but its most famous enclave has to be Plage Mala. A beach unlike any other on the coast it is nestled between the stone cliffs and is accessed either by the coastal path, a series of steep steps, or preferably by private boat.
The fabled principality is known as the playground of the rich and famous and that is still the case. The tiny principality has not one but two superyacht ports, helicopter port and only 5.47km of coastline.
As you enter by sea the coast is dominated by the splendid Oceanographic museum, built in a Baroque style it stands on the cliff face. A clear reminder to any visitor that this is a place like no other. To the east of Port Hercule, work started in September 2016 on a land extension programme, due to take approximately 10 years, Monaco will reclaim 15 hectares from the sea in a mammoth engineering feat costing €2billiion.
The sandy beaches in the Larvotto area are a mix of public and some very exclusive private beaches serving the wealthy Monegasque residents. Above the famous Monte Carlo Bay resort is the Monte Carlo Country Club which hosts the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters every spring. An enviable setting with dramatic coastal views from the stands.