I try to fit in a vacation at least once a year that is not affiliated with work aside from leisurely cooking. This year, I visited the South of France with six long time friends. I was lucky enough to stay at my friend’s beautiful villa in the mountains of Thoules, overlooking Cannes – want to talk about waking up in paradise everyday… this was it.

Morning started off with pain au chocolat from the local bakery. While in town, we’d also pick up roasted Bresse chicken for our daily boating excursions. On our first day there, we took the boat to St. Jean Cap Ferrat where we anchored close to the marina surrounded by the most unbelievable super yachts in the world. We swam, drank wine and ate roasted chickens on the boat – pretty much a perfect afternoon. Out of all my travels throughout the world, St. Jean Cap Ferrat might take the number 1 spot as the most beautiful and surreal place I’ve ever been.

Dinners consisted of either dining out in Cannes followed by a night of drinking, or shopping at the local markets and cooking at the house which was just as enjoyable. The local produce and fish was some of the most pristine I’ve ever seen. Just about every meal started with tomatoes that were still warm from the sun, a variety of local cheeses, and fresh baguettes.

Even if you’re not a big partier, I highly recommend one day in Saint Tropez. The party started as soon as we left the boat. We began with brunch at Nikki Beach, where the food is grossly overpriced. Let's just say this is the only time I've ever ordered a 110 euro Caprese salad. Besides being so expensive, the food was actually pretty good for what it was. As brunch was ending, their 300 (as in the movie) themed pool party was just starting. The crowd here, to say the least, was very posh – but the party here was a blast, lasting throughout the day and into the night.

While visiting this area, if a trip to Monaco is possible, I definitely say go for it. The 2 hour boat trip from Thoules to Monaco was breathtaking the entire time, not to mention that the weather is 82 degrees and perfectly sunny everyday in the summertime. Monaco being such a small, but extremely wealthy country, everything was over the top with beauty. I really enjoyed the mixture of the different architecture, from the Prince’s Palace to the modern yacht clubs. This was a perfect day trip to walk through the streets where the Grand Prix is held, while window shopping and eating ice cream.

Definitely looking forward to my next trip to the South of France. I’d love to check out Cannes during the film festival, Monaco during the Grand Prix and relive the unbelievable cuisine, wine and scenery this beautiful place has to offer.