My parents and I visited Beaulieu-sur-Mer on a spontaneous day trip after an unsuccessful trip to Eze (luckily, my revisit alone was much more successful which you can read about here!) It was the day after my birthday and the middle of my parents stay in France so we wanted to go somewhere lively yet smallish, picturesque and with a good community spirit – as it turned out, Beaulieu-sur-Mer was the perfect choice!
Located between Nice and Monaco, Beaulieu-sur-Mer is a scenic coastal village with an impressive port, beaches and home to popular tourist destination ‘Villa Kerylos’ – a building built around 1902 which is inspired by noble houses in Greece in the 2nd century BC. The first time I visited was on a Sunday and it was clear that this was the go-to place for Monaco residents to come and chill out. Bentley’s, Ferrari’s, Porshe’s all with their Monaco plates gave the place a very glamorous feel but there was also a real sense of community. My dad spent ages watching a game of boules played between the locals after getting bored of me and my mum searching every boat name in the hope of finding one named after us (the search for a boat named ‘Becky’ is still on) Here’s a summary of the many things to do at Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
I’m sure that one of the reasons why Beaulieu-sur-Mer is so popular with Monaco residents is because of the beaches. There is only one public beach in the whole of Monaco and, being just a short drive down the coast, Beaulieu-sur-Mer seems like the obvious choice for those in search of sand. Okay, so the beaches may not be a massive reason for visiting in early December but they would have definitely helped sell the appeal of the town in the summer months .There are two main beaches at Beaulieu-sur-Mer: ‘Plage de la Petite Afrique’ which is close to Beaulieu harbour and ‘Plage Port des Fourmis’ next to ‘Villa Kerylos’. It was winter when I visited and so the beaches were covered in a rather unsightly layer of palm leaves fallen from the trees but this is all cleared up before the summer sun reappears and photos I’ve seen look amazing! I’ve also read that the leaves help to protect against winter erosion which I think is pretty cool and something you can’t really complain about!
Just like the beaches, there are also two main ports in the town. ‘Port de Beaulieu-sur-Mer’ is the biggest and easily the most impressive of the two. It is well sign-posted and you can’t really miss it once you get to the coast. Here, you will find a large display of yachts as well as smaller fishing boats surrounded by a promenade where you can get right up close and personal. Without trying to bring out too much of my inner geography nerd, the rock along the coast is stunning and creates a perfect background for any boat snaps. There are also many places to eat where you can sit and admire the port (I think I chose the best one which I will talk about a bit later!) Another port at Beaulieu-sur-Mer is ‘Port de Pierre Fourmi’ which is further along the coast next to ‘Villa Kerylos’ – it’s much smaller without as many boats so I would recommend ‘Port de Beaulieu’ as your first bet.
I’ve touched on it briefly earlier but Villa Kerylos is a building built between 1902 and 1908 which is designed around the houses on the Greek island of Delos in the 2nd century BC. The interior inside is incredible and features a bathing room, water fountains and a library; just to name a few of the wonders on show! My visit made me realise that I won’t settle in life until my home includes a shower like the one in the house – it was just beautiful!! Even if you don’t have an interest in Greek history and architecture, I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of the building. Reduced entrance prices are available for students, teenagers and large groups (thank you to the uni days app on my phone saving me dollar yet again) and there is also a tour of the villa available at 11am and 3pm.
There are a few cafés in the main town but I would recommend heading down to ‘Port de Beaulieu-sur-Mer’ for a great choice of food right in front of a stunning view. We ate in ‘Le Pourquoi Pas’ which attracted us due to its busy atmosphere, fresh food and reasonable prices – ‘why not’ visit there! (that’s one for you French speakers out there) All of the restaurants looked lovely but a few seemed a bit too pretentious and expensive for our liking; for us, this one was deffo a good choice. I had a Carbonara (€13) my dad had a sardine salad (€15) and mum had the ‘Printaniere Salad’ (€17) which looked amazing – I’m not gonna lie, her platter of parma ham, avocado, mozzarella, tomato, egg and salad did give me slight food envy but my pasta made up for it. My dad always has a coffee to finish his meal but spotted that the ‘Café Gourmand’ on the menu gave him this coffee aswell as a small tiramisu, chocolate mousse and raspberries for just €7.50. The café was buzzing and very popular with the locals – we were also very happy sitting outside as we were able to watch all of the designer cars skrrt past on a quiet road opposite the restaurant.
HOW TO GET THERE
Beaulieu-sur-Mer is easily accessible due to the train station linking all popular coastal spots on the Côte d’Azur. Lignes d’Azur bus #81 or #100 both take you to the village from Nice – #81 runs roughly every 30 minutes and #100 runs every 15 mins so it all just depends really on where in Nice you want to get on. Both buses have stops all around the village at ‘Villa Kerylos’ and ‘Le Port’ which makes it an easy and cheap option.
Our unplanned trip to Beaulieu-sur-Mer turned into a very enjoyable day so if you’re in search of a picturesque and slightly more relaxed day out in comparison to the likes of Monaco and Nice, then look no further than here!