The last time I took a trip was in the summer of 2022. At that time, I was waddling. I was heavily pregnant on a family vacation with my second child, struggling to walk around comfortably and nodding off when I had the chance to sit down for more than a few minutes. It was not the carefree experience that getaways should be. A few months later I was in full baby mode, very rarely leaving my house, stuck in a cycle of being awake all night and exhausted all day. My sense of wanderlust was buried by my commitments to my brood, and I didn’t know when I’d next get the chance to travel.
I didn’t realize I needed a trip badly until an opportunity came about that involved two of my favorite things: France and luxury vehicles. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to drive all sorts of cars, and it’s quickly become a favorite hobby of mine. So when I, surprisingly, got the invite to try out the last of Jaguar’s beloved F-Type coupe and convertible (the brand is preparing to go electric by 2025 so no more V-8 sports cars), the R75 coupe, a special edition model honoring 75 years of their performance vehicles, I jumped at it (after begging the hubby to watch the kids without me). It also didn’t hurt that the testing would take place in the South of France.
The experience was the luxury I didn’t know that I needed. With my driving partner in tow, we hopped in two models of the car, a convertible in a sparkling teal (starting at $115,000), the other, a coupe in a gorgeous matte black (starting at $113,000), and drove around the Mediterranean Sea. My partner was a bit intimidated by the way the car lightly growled as you put your foot on the gas, so I took on most of the driving duties, which I was glad to do. We drove around the streets of Monaco, including where the Monaco Grand Prix takes place, passing through tunnels, going up and down winding roads alongside picturesque views. It was a thrill I missed.
Also thrilling was the luxury we experienced in regards to the sights we got to see and the places where we laid our heads. The Maybourne Riviera had a lasting impression on me. The luxury mediterranean hotel, which depending on the direction you look allows you to see Monaco and Italy, was peak luxury accommodations. From the stone egg-shaped tub I soaked in to the views of the city, the distinctly chic French decor to something as simple as the sound system I started my days and ended my evenings with by Bang & Olufsen, I was surrounded by opulence. The French toast at their in-house restaurant was fantastic, by the way.
Speaking of food, we also enjoyed rich fare. One of the most unique dining experiences I’ve had, in life, was at the Mirazur restaurant in Menton. The three Michelin star spot has been pegged as The World’s Best Restaurant (2019), and for good reason. The menu, inspired by “Nature wisdom,” had us eating luxurious dishes that featured the celtus plant. Think high-low dining. Though a common, inexpensive form of lettuce, it was plated alongside everything from caviar to tuna, with shiso and lamb, and even with our dessert of fennel and vanilla. Fancy.
Maison de Bacon in Antibes also didn’t disappoint. The views alone of the sea were enough to rope you in, but I was also taken with their offerings, including a delectable chicken dish with garden vegetables, and a pastry plate that had Madagascar vanilla ice cream as the main character.
And you can’t go to France and not play in perfume. It’s the perfume capital of the world, with the town of Grasse being its center. We had the opportunity to go to the IFF Atelier du Parfumeur in Grasse, where we learned how some of the world’s biggest fragrances are made by some of the most gifted perfumers in the business (trained at the site). We went on a tour of the space, aromas at every turn, smelling all of the scents that are components of the perfumes you love. We even watched some being made, and learned how every bottle is a literal formula that with the wrong scent or wrong amount of a scent, can turn it from a sweet aroma into something that can curl the nostrils. It was quite the experience.
But nothing beat the experience of the F-Type 75 itself. It was one of the few sport cars I felt I truly had control of as I hit corners and winding, curvy streets. That allowed me to really feel comfortable behind the wheel as my Sisterlocs blew in the wind. No, it’s not a vehicle for hitting the road with the kids or getting from point A to point B. Instead, it’s a car meant to help you have an adventure when you’re ready to have it. An opportunity to indulge in pure luxury as you sit in its leather seats (the cognac leather interior in the teal model was a sight to behold) and watch people stop and stare on the road as you cruise around the coastline of places like Monaco. From start to finish, the trip put together by Jaguar was one of luxury. After sitting on the sidelines to focus on motherhood for a while, it was nice to be tagged in to enjoy some leisure that I won’t soon forget.