Ooh la la, the Côte d'Azur! This glamorous slice of the French coastline has been a magnet for the well-heeled since the early 20th century. But today, it’s a holiday honeypot for all, with everything from glitzy restaurants, world-class museums, pebbly beaches and vibrant markets to experience.
Stretching from the port of Toulon to Menton near the Italian border, the French Riviera covers more than 150km of coastline. Meaning there are plenty of places to jet off to on your jollies.
Explore Villefranche sur Mer
Get to know one of France’s most beautiful harbour towns as you flit between beach lazing and boutique browsing. In Villefranche sur Mer, there’s a go-slow pace to life which means you can totally relax and unwind as you soak up the Mediterranean sunshine.
You’ll be perfectly placed between Nice and Monaco too, so if you’re up for a bit of sightseeing as well as sunbathing, it’s ideal. Just picture yourself strolling along the orange-hued promenade with an ice cream in hand...
Nice is always nice
The easy choice if you’re flying into Nice is to stay and discover the city itself. From the airport, it’s just a quick 9km journey to the Old Town, the charming heart of Nice. Here, you can aimlessly wander higgledy-piggledy streets, soak up medieval architecture, inhale the scent of freshly baked pastries and stop by quaint boutiques.
Afterwards, make a beeline for the waterfront – the Promenade des Anglais sweeps around the Bay of Angels in spectacular fashion. Amble its length to see belle époque façades in all their elegant glory or head onto the beach for a snooze in the sun. And if you’re after a dose of art, a bounty of museums (Musée Matisse and Musée Masséna to name just two!) await.
Say hello to Saint-Tropez
Hire a car from Nice Airport and motor along the A8 in the direction of Saint-Tropez. The glitterati have flocked here since the 1950s and its glamorous draw doesn’t show signs of stopping. To delight in the city’s heady nightlife, put the port on your radar. Yachts bob in the water and sophisticated bars hum with life.
La Ponche is where to go for a change of pace. This historic fishing quarter is teeming with oh-so-chic shops and dinky boulangeries, much quieter than that of the port.
Cannes is calling
It’s all about the high life in Cannes. While its film festival is undoubtedly the annual pinnacle, this French city retains its glamour all year round. Saunter along La Croisette, Cannes’ palm-lined promenade, and you’ll know just what we mean. Sleek designer shops rub shoulders with high-brow bars and five-star hotels.
But this city’s not one dimensional. Sandy beaches are aplenty, both public and private, so you can kick back and enjoy the sunshine. Albeit with a cocktail in hand, of course…
Check out Saint Raphael
Right this way for a taste of the high life in the south of France! Swaying palms, chic cafés and a yacht-dotted marina make up this charming coastal town. There’s a lot to explore, from quaint churches to fascinating museums, alongside a handful of hidden-away coves that are perfect for refreshing dips.
With Cannes and Saint-Tropez right on your doorstep, you’d be silly not to visit! Keep your eyes peeled for A-listers – the likes of Naomi Campbell and Leonardo DiCaprio love it here and you’ll soon see why.
All about Antibes
Spellbinding Antibes will sweep you off your feet with its ancient charm.
History is in its genes – just head to the Old Town to see what we mean. Narrow streets, centuries-old ramparts and medieval twin towers are just the start.
While wandering this part of Antibes, swing by Marché Provençal, the city’s famed local market. Stalls laden with plump fruit, wheels of cheese and freshly-cut flowers will ignite all your senses. A visit to Musée Picasso is a must too, hidden within the walls of 14th-century Château Grimaldi.
Make it Menton
You’ll feel like you’ve landed on the Neapolitan Riviera rather than the French when you rock up to Menton. With pastel-hued mansions and swaying palms embellishing the waterfront, this swoon-worthy seaside town is as beautiful as they come.
Fall into step with the genteel pace of life here. It’s all leisurely strolls among Jardin Botanique Exotique du Val Rahmeh and lazy al fresco dinners of Italian-inspired dishes among the medieval Old Town. If you’re up for a dollop of culture, pop into Musée Jean Cocteau Collection Séverin Wunderman.
Posted: 28th Mar 2023. Updated: 30th Mar 2023.