Sospel village near Monte Carlo is a small town situated about 15km inland from the coastal resort of Menton & close to the French border with Italy. We were based in Breil Sur Roya just a short drive through the mountains.
Briel Sur Roya to Sospel & Monte Carlo
A short drive to the coast.
This small medieval town feels almost Italian in character, maybe because it was part of Italy until 1860.
Relaxing in the town square
Sospel became prosperous in the 13th century when an important salt trading route between Nice and Turin passed through the town and those using the route paid tolls to use the bridge across the Bévéra river.
Houses along the riverbanks
The streets of the old town contain numerous attractive medieval houses, many with decorative painted facades.
The tower in the centre of the fortified bridge was originally the toll gate for the mules using the trade route. A bridge has stood here since at least the 13th century, although it is likely the original version was built of wood. In 1522 the wooden bridge was replaced by a stone version, much as we see it today.
Viaduct beside the village
You can spend many days exploring the beautiful part of France.
Coffee with Deborah
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French village Breil Sur Roya is known for trout fishing. The Roya river runs through town and is open to trout anglers from March to September. Part of the trout run is reserved for fly-fishing. Trout anglers share the river with white water rafters, another popular local sport.
Beside the Roya river
Take a stroll along the river front to better appreciate the town and the surrounding landscape which is very impressive with forested hills rising steeply on all sides of the town.
South of Breil
A few miles south of Breil is the beautiful Italian town of Airole where I think there is a better choice of good restaurants. Train or car only takes about 17 minutes.
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Breil Sur Roya
French and Italian rail lines run through Breil so it is very easy to travel anywhere. There is a great market every Friday at Ventimiglia on the border 30 minutes drive or 20 minutes by train from Breil.
Arriving from the south
Entering Breil from the south.
French village Breil Sur Roya has very narrow lanes
Behind the squares running parallel to the river the narrow streets of the old town are very interesting, with many of the buildings painted in attractive pastel colours.
Our apartment in French village Breil Sur Roya
Here are my friends Deborah Holliday and Jodie ONiell my friends from the Gold Coast in Australia who were travelling with me.
Our road rocket
Check out the YouTube video below.
View from our apartment
Another beautiful in the mountains.
In front of our apartment in French village Breil Sur Roya
Controlling the flow of the river which would be fairly wild with the melting Autumn snow.
Le Flavie This was certainly the best restaurant in Breil Sur Roya
Deb, David & Jodie
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Riny Doyle’s home in Breil Sur Roya.
A beautiful setting foe a memorable lunch.
Lunch with Riny & Susan
Many thanks to Riny & Susan for their wonderful hospitality.
Riny’s B & B at Breil Sur Roya.
This is the great outdoor kitchen at one of Riny Doyle’s B & Bs on top of the mountain in Breil Sur Roya.
The French and Italian rail lines run through Breil so it is very easy to travel anywhere. There is a great market every Friday at Ventimiglia on the border 30 minutes drive or 20 minutes by train from Breil. The lovely French village of Breil-sur-Roya is particularly known for trout fishing. The Roya river runs through town and is open to trout anglers from March to September. Part of the trout run is reserved for fly-fishing. Trout anglers share the river with white water rafters, another popular local sport. The streets are narrow and many of the old houses are nicely restored or truly ancient. On the main square you’ll find many buildings painted with trompe-l’oeil scenes. The heart of the town is the narrow old streets parallel to the river, lined with high buildings, and the even narrower connecting streets (ruelles) that pass as tunnels through the buildings.
Lunch with Riny
Riny was a great host, an Aussie who has lived in Europe for many years.
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La Brigue ancient French village north of Menton was originally part of Italy, the village was annexed to France as part of the Treaty of Paris in 1947.
The village is both pretty and interesting, with colourful buildings, ancient churches, arcades, vaulted passages, streets to explore, and the pleasure of a fast-flowing river that’s joined by a mountain stream in the centre. The stream is called “Rio Sec”, or dry river, but was full of spring water when we were there. Many of the buildings are of natural stone and many are nicely renovated with pastel facades and green doorways and steps. The 14th-c medieval Chateau des Lascaris perched above the village is in ruins, with only some walls and a tall, round donjon tower remaining. Partial reconstruction, however, has been started, and the castle is used for medieval festival weekends. Reconstruction will be followed by archaeological digs on the site.
Medieval stone structures
La Brigue is very attractive with steep rocky hills rising either side, also there are several important monuments.
Saorge beautiful French village was classed as one of the “40 most beautiful villages of France”. The main village streets traverse narrowly between the buildings at very different levels, with smaller streets and steps leading up and down between them. The view from anywhere in the village is spectacular, looking outward to snow-capped mountains in the middle distance (into May and June) and the deep gorge and rushing white-water river below.
Road to Saorge
The region belonged to the old County of Nice. From 1388 to 1860 Saorge was part of Sardinia-Piedmont when it was ceded to France. In June 1793 the armies of the First French Republic and Sardinia clashed here. In the Battle of Saorgio on 24–28 April 1794, the French wrested the town from the Piedmontese. The town was returned to Sardinia-Piedmont after the overthrow of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Saorge beautiful French village
Saorge is 11 km north of Breil Sur Roya where we were based. There are so many interesting French & Italian villages in this particular area, you can spend weeks exploring these fabulous part of Europe.
Bath house or wash house?
Whichever one it is or was I can guarantee it is old, very old. 🙂
The tall solid stone houses date from the 15th-17th centuries and line the narrow steep cobbled street that climb up through the village.
Narrow streets & Alleys
Exploring the village is straightforward as the village mostly follows one long street that climbs the hill through Saorge, with lots of smaller alleys climbing the hill to either side.
My travel buddies
Deborah Holliday and Jodie ONiell from the Gold Coast in Australia spent a couple of weeks with me exploring the French & Italian villages, French Riviera & the Cinque Terre. My best travel tip for this area is to base yourself in the central village of Breil Sur Roya, from here you can easily reach all the wonderful surrounding villages similar to Saorge.
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Menton French Italian border is certainly one of my favourite towns on the French Riviera, in fact I intend to make it my base the next time I visit this wonderful part of the world.
Side-walk restaurants & galleries
Menton is certainly overlooked by many tourists & travellers, to me it is much nicer than many of the more popular Riviera locations.
So many interesting shops & restaurants in Menton.
Beautiful restaurant setting
Of course one of the main pastimes in France is food and there are many good restaurants to choose from here.
While we are on the subject of food
Wonderful French Oysters, even though I now live in Thailand I often enjoy these succulent molluscs which are regularly imported fresh from France.
What a magnificent combination of colours in this seafood pasta
It tasted every bit as good as it looks. 🙂
Creme Brulee to finish
Now that’s what I call a perfect lunch.
So many restaurants & so little time
This is where I enjoyed the wonderful food you see above.
The restaurant was next door to Le Nautic
It’s very easy to get around Menton by car.
Jean Cocteau, painter and poet, became involved in the restoration and decoration of the Bastion, a small fort of the XVII century, in order to convert it into an exhibition place for his work.
One of the many beaches
One of the most popular coastlines in the world.
Comfortable on the rocks?
Probably not too comfortable, however I would be very happy lying beside her, I would gladly put up with the pain from the pebbles.
High density living
On the left is the Basilique Saint Michel.
A great view overlooking the harbour and beach.
Some of the thousands of boats on the French Riviera.
Sun, sand & boats, however many of the Riviera beaches have pebbles instead of sand.
It seems to be shaped like a large anchor.
The old cemetery
The previous photos have been taken from the Old Cemetery which is worth a visit. Great view of the old city and harbour.
Old Cemetery overlooking Menton
Some very ancient grave stones here.
The old border checkpoint Menton French Italian border
Italy is just round the corner from the French Riviera… In fact, if you are in Menton, you can just walk across the border! The Italian town of Ventimiglia is located at the terminus of the coastal railway line that runs between Niceand Monaco.
Antibes Mediterranean resort is on the Côte d’Azur between Cannes and Nice. I enjoyed a nice Spanish Paella for lunch followed by a few hours exploring this delightful seaside resort town.
After the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, various barbarian tribes seized Antibes. This resulted in destruction and a long period of instability. In the 10th century, Antibes found a protector in Seigneur Rodoart, who built extensive fortified walls around the town and a castle in which to live. For the next 200 years, the town experienced a period of renewal. Prosperity was short-lived, as the whole region fell into disarray for several centuries. The inhabitants of Antibes stayed behind their strong city walls as a succession of wars and epidemics ravaged the countryside. In the 1244, Antibes’s bishop moved his see to Grasse.By the end of the 15th century, the region was under the protection and control of King Louis XI of France. Relative stability returned, but the small port of Antibes fell into obscurity.
From around the middle of the 19th century the Antibes area regained its popularity, as wealthy people from around Europe discovered its natural beauty and built many luxurious homes here.
Stones instead of sand
Like the majority of Mediterranean beaches you have to tolerate rocks instead of sand unless you are somewhere like Nice where they import sand for some of the private beach areas where you have to pay for the luxury.
This does not look comfortable
However I would be very happy lying beside her, I would gladly put up with the pain from the pebbles.
Warm sun & calm cool water
No sandcastles here. 🙂
Toys for the boys.
There are so many beautiful boats on the Riviera all along the coast from St Tropez to Menton. There is only one problem facing many of the owners, no matter how big your boat is soon somebody will arrive with a bigger one, see below. 🙂
The Sultan arrives, chopper on-board of course. 🙂
Some of the wealth on display is astonishing.
An Aussie in Antibes
Good name for a boat. 🙂
Antibes Mediterranean resort there is No Compromise
All you need is money, a lot of money. 🙂
Fort Carré d’Antibes
The Romans probably built the first fortifications at Antibes. In 1553, a tower called la tour Saint-Florent was built around a preexisting chapel. Henry III had four bastions added in 1565, whereupon it became Fort Carré (the squared fort).
Spanish Coast Ibiza Madrid was a shock to me when I returned after 36 years since my last visit. I couldn’t believe the number of condominiums along the Costa Brava.
Please forgive the photo quality, my 1.2 mega pixel Canon was my first ancient digital camera.
It was the off season in April so the people were few and far between, consequently I thought Ibiza was fairly overrated.
This trip was part of an around the world journey starting in Bangkok before moving to Spain then on to Venezuela, Cuba and Los Angeles.
David herd in Valencia
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain.
Benidorm, we hated it. 🙂
I think the average age of the English and German tourists was mid 70s, there were walking frames everywhere. We went to a couple of bars and restaurants that were copies of similar places in Blackpool.
Cold beers in Benidorm
I was travelling with Les who was a friend from the Gold Coast.
El Campella near Alicante
Revisiting this seaside village was full of nostalgia for me. I had great memories from way back in the late 60s when I was travelling around Europe in a VW Kombi with 2 Kiwi guys. Campella was one of our favourite places where we ate Paellas and washed them down with gallons of Sangria. In those days the men would go fishing off the African coast and the women would sit on the beach making and repairing the huge fishing nets. It was a different world then.
So here I am again 36 years later eating Paella and drinking red wine, the more things change the more they stay the same.
We stayed one night in La Manga, who knows why? Certainly nothing to write about here.
On to Madrid for a little history
It was nice to leave behind the walking frames and pommies (Englishmen) drinking pints and singing songs from WW2.
I really need to visit Madrid again one day.
Thanks for visiting my very ordinary post on Spanish Coast Ibiza Madrid with poor quality photos, please have a look at some better efforts in the section below.
Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings. I borrowed this photo from Wikipedia, there was no blue sky when I was there. 🙂
At the Prague railway station I was approached by a well dressed elderly man asking if I had accommodation. He took me to his home where he and his wife rented a couple of rooms. It was a lucky break for me, the room was comfortable and cheap ($23 aud) with an excellent breakfast. Vaclev was a university professor and told me a lot about the history of Prague. On his day off he kindly gave me a tour of this wonderful city which was extremely kind of him.
Here is where I stayed about 3 stations from the centre of Prague.
Cold night in Prague
Freezing actually. 🙂
Crossing the Charles Bridge
The historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century.
Lunch with Oliver
Oliver is a good friend of Andre Buzek (the crazy dentist) who was also from Prague. We spent some time together drinking beer and discussing Andre’s crazy antics. 🙂
Here’s cheers Oliver, nice to meet you.
Sadly our friend Andre lost his life in a car accident in Cub a, RIP.
Prague capital Czech Republic
Prague 1993 and McDonald’s had already arrived.
A lasting memory
It was quite late one evening and I was the only one in the Old Town square. Suddenly I was hearing trumpets playing in the deserted snow covered square in the heart of Prague. It was a fantastic mystical moment I will never forget. I borrowed the above photo from Wikipedia.
In the fourteenth century the city built around the Prague Castle expanded to the right bank. The history of the square goes back even further: as early as in 1091 a market existed at the site of the Old Town Square.
I hope to visit again one day.
My apologies for the quality of the photos, they will certainly improve on my next visit.
Wealthy Play Sexy St Tropez, a place for sheer opulence, people watching, & great restaurants and bars. Please remember to take your money with you. 🙂
Boules-type games are traditional and popular in France, Italy and Croatia, and are also popular in some former French colonies. In those countries, boules games are often played in open spaces (town squares and parks) in villages and towns. Dedicated playing areas for boules-type games are typically large, level, rectangular courts made of flattened earth, gravel, or crushed stone, enclosed in wooden rails or back boards.
The huge place des Lices Market is a kaleidoscope of everything from fruit and veg to antique mirrors and slippers. It’s truly legendary and It is studded with plane trees, cafés and (when the market’s not on) pétanque players.
Saturday is market day in St Tropez
The seaside resort town Saint Tropez is still very popular with the tourists, although the jetset and the in-crowd have long since left it behind. Set on the lovely blue water of the Bay of Saint-Tropez, this modern version of a medieval town is most popular for the line of yachts along the quay, and the facing line of terrace cafés, divided by a parade of strolling tourists.
Look at me, look at me. 🙂
Naturally all the chairs face the footpath so customers can ogle & gawk at the people passing, while pretending not too. 🙂
Mt travelling companions Deb and Jodie heading for a night out, some guys bought them drinks and Deb in return shouted a round, 110 Euros later, some smelling salts were required for her to recover and fight another day.
There is always someone with a bigger boat.
Imagine the cost of filling this east up with fuel. 🙂
You can really smell the money here. 🙂
Wealthy Play Sexy St Tropez”.
Certainly not the prettiest boat in the harbour.
If you can’t afford a boat, get a bike.
Not much traffic here so a bike would be a safe way to see the city.
Canon Camera Love Travelling. When you grow up in Australia you soon realise that every other country in the world is beyond the sea. Somewhere in my teenage years I was bitten by the travel bug, I have been to 46 countries and 460 cities. Here is a collection of my favourite travel photos in no particular order, however the one above just happens to be my number one favourite.
Perhaps the worlds best beach for people watching. Since my first trip there in January 1999, I returned another 7 times, with the last time being October 2010.
Future super models in Rio
As soon as I raised my camera they struck a pose, did not have to be asked to do it, the spirit of Rio
My boulevard of broken dreams.
W48th st & 8th ave Manhattan there is a nice French bistro, Pigalle. New York is my favorite city, it seems like six different cities moulded together, there is such an exciting diversified collection of people and places make sure you give yourself enough time to soak up the atmosphere.
Canon Camera Love Travelling Lisbon is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. It is one of the major economic centers on the continent, with a growing financial sector and the largest/second largest container port on Europe’s Atlantic coast.
Koh Chang Thailand.
Koh Chang is the 2nd largest Thai island after Phuket. Stay in a bungalow on the beach and enjoy the terrific Thai food. In many ways Koh Chang reminds me of Koh Samui 15 years ago. I used to love Koh Samuiin the 90′s but the more it developed the more the attraction faded.
Valparaiso is by the sea in Chile about 100 kilometres from Santiago. I bet this fantastic house has been photographed millions of times, perched on the edge of a sheer drop you would not want to be a sleep walker. This is one of the escalators (Ascensores) connecting the harbor area to the hills, and the building is the restaurant Las Brujas.
Sanctuary Cove on Australia’s Gold Coast
The Gold Coast has many world class golf courses, it was the home of Adam Scott who is currently number 2 in the world.
The fabulous art deco towers are unique examples of this form of architecture, they along the eight and a half mile stretch of Beach. All told there are twenty five towers guarding those who use the beach. At once functional and decorative, they contribute beautifully to the overall aesthetic of this Floridian resort city.
Beautiful faces in Rio De Janeiro
Carnival in Rio is awesome, it is really the greatest show on Earth. I was at the Sambadrome in 1999 and 2005, then I celebrated Carnival at a Bloco in Ipanema in 2008. I was way up in the bleachers in 1999 so in 2005 I paid about $500 to have a front row seat. Therefore I have been fortunate enough to have experienced Carnival from 3 different aspects.
I went to Nha Trang twice in 2004 and hope to return July 2014.
Take us to your leader.
Once a year, when the greatRio De Janeiro carnival takes place, the coastal townParaty which is located 250 km south west to Rio, holds a unique carnival. In Paraty’s Mud Carnival – (Portuguese: Bloco da lama) the costumes that its participants wear is black sticky mud which is smeared on their bodies.
The carnival preserves the ancient local tradition when the Indians smeared their bodies with black mud for medical reasons, and held ritual ceremonies in order to bring cure to the ill. In contrary to Rio carnival where the participants wear marvellous coloured costumes, in Paraty carnival the fiesta is based mostly on the simplicity of the junction between men and nature.
Fantastic seafood in Salzburg.
So much wonderful seafood on sale at a city nowhere near the ocean.
Salzburgis the fourth largest city in Austria and the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. Salzburg’s “Old Town” has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps.
HCMC or Saigon is a truly wonderful experience, I was there in 2015 and millions of $$$$ are being spent to transform this amazing metropolis.
From as early as 1980 I knew I would Have Camera Love Travelling around the world & often to Thailand, but I never thought I would live there permanently. However in October 2011 I left Australia and moved to Thailand. This is probably the final stage in my wonderful life.
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