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From The English Riviera to The French Riviera ...

We are quickly discovering that whilst we are blessed to have this opportunity to travel, being constantly on the move is tiring and can be overwhelming so we enjoyed two nights at the secluded mountain aire before setting off for The Cote dAzor. The French Riviera conjures up images of glamour, designer labels, yachts and the rich and famous. Our budget was slightly more frugal but the stunning roads and spectacular views are free. We drove down to the coast through The Gorges du Verdon. This dramatic mountain road is breathtaking and ever so slightly scary but with Mr. B at the wheel I felt quite safe.

Don’t look down!

The wild and dramatic Gorges du Verdon

We descended down into Canne and ignoring the no camper signs, we hugged the coast all the way to Nice. We had heard how unwelcome Motorhomes were along the coast and I’m sorry to say it’s true however, determined to flout the rules (everyone knows I detest rules!) and stop for a coffee, we found a road just ten minutes walk from the seafront with no apparent restrictions and took our chances. We were rewarded with an outstanding espresso and the sun setting over The Mediterranean!

We made it to The Cote dAzor and enjoyed our coffee on the beach despite the ban on Motorhomes!

Luckily I had already identified a free aire, above Nice, in St Paul de Vence, unluckily, as usual, our satnav took the scenic route and at the narrowest point we fitted through an archway folding back the wing mirrors with about an inch to spare. I swear both of us held our breath as we edged through! James was in desperate need of a drink to steady his nerves after we arrived and that’s how we discovered the idyllic St Paul de Vence. This picturesque village clings to the mountainside with the most incredible views and as we sat outside the local bar with our French beer watching the locals play pétanque, we both decided this was a place we definitely needed to return to one day.

An idyllic evening in St. Paul de Vence watching the sunset and smiling at this patient dad teaching his little boy petanque.

We woke up the following morning to blue skies and sunshine, perfect for our drive along The Corniche, that long winding coast road from Nice to Monaco. It has to be one of the most iconic drives in the world, we had driven it before but Ada is a considerably bigger vehicle than we had back then. We still managed to pull over and take some stunning photographs and as ever James took it all in his stride and delivered us safely.

This was to be our first European border crossing and our transition from France to Italy was seamless, leaving us both wondering what would happen next year after the transition period.

We arrived in Santo Stephano on The Ligurian Riviera in the late afternoon and pulled into the aire, just minutes away from the sea and a short walk to the town. It happened to be my 47th Birthday so naturally we cracked open a bottle of Moet!

We stayed in Santa Stephano for a couple of days, the weather was great, even reaching 16 degrees on Sunday when Mr. B took me out for a Birthday lunch but Venice was calling so off we went towards Verona.

My Birthday weekend in Santa Stephano where Mr. B even got a run in!

We made one final stop in Liguria. On our last visit over 12 years ago we had stopped at Alassio and rather sentimentally, we wanted to try and find the beachside restaurant we’d had lunch at. Parking is tricky in Italy at the best of times but finding a space big enough for Ada took some considerable time. Just as we were on the verge of giving up, James spotted a space on a road with no markings but lots of parked cars. We had absolutely no idea what or if there were restrictions but we decided to wing it anyway and thankfully after accomplishing our mission and enjoying a fabulous lunch we returned, relieved to find to no ticket and so we quickly hopped in and continued our journey.

Yes! No ticket!


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