By Sue Lancaster
For our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband, Tom, and I decided to treat ourselves to the ultimate gift: two nights away child-free. Our celebratory getaway was, of course, only made possible by my in-laws, who very kindly agreed to look after our girls, Tabitha and Polly, for us. It was the first time we had ever left them for any length of time and, needless to say, I was a mixture of both excitement and nervousness in the lead up to our departure day.
We chose to fly to Nice in the south of France, mainly because this is where we had spent part of our honeymoon, but also because the flight from Heathrow is so quick and convenient for us. We live near Richmond in South West London, so the taxi journey to the airport was just 20 minutes (admittedly we did set off at 5:30am), and with a flight time of just over an hour and a half, we were in the south of France well before lunchtime.
Having done some online research before we left, we used Uber for our taxi transfer from Nice to Antibes, and the journey cost us almost half the price quoted by the taxis waiting at the airport. We continued to use Uber throughout our break and the drivers almost always turned up within a few minutes of booking. I’d definitely recommend it for a cheap and convenient taxi service while abroad.
Our late-May trip coincided with both the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, so we found booking a hotel room rather limiting, with many insisting on a minimum of four nights, as well as an increased room rate. However, Tom managed to find us a lovely place halfway between Juan-les-Pins and Cap d’Antibes called La Villa Fabulite. The hotel has just 13 rooms, most with a private terrace set around beautiful gardens, and a swimming pool with sunbeds. It’s the perfect setting for a peaceful and romantic stay, which is exactly what we were after (we also found out while there that one of their rooms is a family room with two sleeping spaces, so we are already considering returning next year with Tabitha and Polly!).
Soon after we’d checked in, we took the 20-minute walk to the main resort of Juan-les-Pins. The coastline is a series of rocky coves with small beaches, each one filled with families sunbathing and swimming in the sunshine. The view out to sea was dominated by huge private yachts—some bigger than houses—a sure sign that there was a film festival in town (although I doubt there’s ever a time without at least some boats out there). In contrast, by the shoreline there is so much evidence of the area’s ancient history, with various Roman ruins crumbling into the sea.
We ate lunch on the beach with the sand between our toes and a glass of Provence rosé between our fingers, and for the remainder of our stay we did little more than lie by the pool, swim, eat delicious food and drink fine wine. It was just what we needed to recharge our batteries and it was such a memorable way to mark five years of marriage. Unsurprisingly, the south of France is an expensive place to holiday, but if you’re only there for a few days like we were, it’s definitely worth it.
Sadly, the day we were due to depart was also the day British Airways’ systems decided to crash and our flight back to Heathrow got cancelled. Rather than the swift journey home to our girls that I’d envisaged, we spent over ten hours at Nice airport and only just secured seats on the final easyJet flight to Gatwick.
Despite this, we both had a wonderful, restful time and although I missed my girls loads, it was so nice to have some adult-only time for a change. However, I was very pleased to be reunited with Tabitha and Polly for some big cuddles and of course it goes without saying that within a matter of hours it felt like we’d never been away!