Cap d’Ail is a beautiful and charming town, nestled against Monaco on the Mediterranean Sea. Cap d’Ail is a modern and lovely town, full of character. The area has a history tied to nobility, wealthy visitors and celebrity residents. It is hard not to fall in love with the charm of Cap d’Ail once you step foot in it and take in the surroundings; the colourful and majestic Italian style architecture that was clearly built by nobility, the pretty flowers, the sounds of the crickets and birds, the rugged Alpine skyline gently blending into the sparkly blue sea. Quite frankly, you must be tougher than a bag of nails if this little town does not affect you.
I have been to Cap d’Ail before on a number of occasions. The main attractions for day trippers to Cap d’Ail are the beaches, which are pretty and well equipped. Many of the beaches are private and therefore consist of restaurants (great food!) and the necessary amenities. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for hire, so you are not expected to lug your beach mats and sun umbrellas with you. Even though sandy beaches exist, the coast line of Cap d’Ail is mostly rocky or pebbly, so reaching a beach is not necessarily the most straightforward of efforts. That being said, you will feel the effort was worth it once you set eyes on the beautiful clear water. Cap d’Ail is also good for food, as with much of the Côte d’Azur to be fair. It seems strange to me, but I have very vivid and fond memories of a particular pizza place… it must have been a great pizza, because I must have had it about ten years ago. However, the best pizza I have had this year (and possibly ever) was not in Italy, was not in New York, but Monaco. 🙂 Have I just digressed by talking about pizza? Oops!! The mind and stomach wanders…
The magnificent 3.6 km coastal path is still on my “Travel Bucket List”, as unfortunately I am yet to have completed this. Apparently I’m never in Cap d’Ail long enough to take a walk.
This visit to Cap d’Ail was unfortunately very short. I went with every intention of settling in and spending the day there. I had heard of a dog beach at Douaniers Point, and was excited to go there with my pup. We had spent our first “beach day” at the dog beach in Menton, and whilst there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, I wanted to explore the Côte and visit different places; this was after all my summer adventure. Finding the beach was not a problem. There is a good sized car park less than 10 minutes walk (along a fairly steep incline) from the beach. You cannot take the car down to the cap itself because the streets become quite narrow within this residential area.
The dog beach is very small and rocky. Weather-wise, this was the one “bad” day we had in the Côte d’Azur and the sea was choppy. I did not feel comfortable letting my little dog swim there. I did however see a German Shepherd tied to his owner’s waist, who was snorkelling – he seemed very capable! #respect
So, at this point, I knew the rain was coming and made the decision to head back to Menton in time for lunch. Before leaving Cap d’Ail, we made a small pit stop at the cute Le Cabanon for a coffee. This is a great place with a great view of Monaco, the sea and Cap d’Ail. Le Cabanon is a restaurant/bar/cafe and has a romantic outdoor setting with kitschy-cool colourful lights hanging on the low level trees. I noticed an area marked out for pétanque (boules) as well – I just love the relaxed French culture (especially when I’m on vacation). My dog befriended a chilled out cat that seemed to call this very tiny corner of France “home”.
So the weather forced us out of Cap d’Ail that day, but before I left, I was sure to take a few photos for you. Enjoy!