If you’re planning on travelling to the South of France this summer, there are a few places you should definitely visit. It’s hard to find a ‘bad’ place on the French Riviera, as the coastline is peppered with gems. Rather than listing them all, below are some of the true highlights of this beautiful region.
Situated in the East of the Cote d’Azur, between the epic mountains of the Mercantour National Park, and the warm Mediterranean Sea, Nice has the vibrancy of Italy, and the charm of France. The city is buzzing with great little boutique restaurants, cafés and bars. The main beach in Nice is stony rather than sandy, so sunbathing there is not that comfortable. As an alternative, head around the coast to Coco Beach, you’ll find a paradise for swimming, snorkelling and jumping off rocks in to the sea.
Further to the West, you will find the busy little town of Antibes. This Mediterranean village, is now a port for many of the world’s most expensive superyachts. Navigate your way around the narrow streets and you’ll fall in love with Antibes and not want to leave. There is a small sandy beach next to the port which is well worth a visit, although it can get over crowded in the busy time of high summer. Take a wander up to Château Grimaldi which owes its name to the Grimaldi family, who ruled Antibes from 1385 to 1608. There you’ll enjoy spellbinding views over the surrounding coast and to the mountains in the distance.
In Cannes, expect luxury, glamour and glitz to ooze out of (almost) every fashion boutique, fine dining restaurant and VIP nightclub. Slightly more ‘rich’ than neighbouring Antibes and Nice, Cannes is the go-to place for a week of indulgence and pampering. Walk along the Promenade de la Croisette and down to the sandy beach where you can rent a sun lounger for the day, and work on your tan whilst being served fresh cocktails by your personal waiter. If you’re in Cannes in May, be sure to check out the lights, camera and action at the Cannes Film Festival. You’re also spoilt for choice for accommodation in Cannes, but there’s one hotel we really love.
Perhaps the most iconic of our selection, a trip to the French Riviera wouldn’t be complete without visiting St Tropez. The town is fairly small and quaint, with a lively night scene and excellent choice of high class restaurants. This is the playground for the rich and famous, so expect to be rubbing shoulders with celebrities, and mingling with the world’s super trendy. Just down the road from St Tropez, you will find the best beach on the French Riviera… Pampelonne beach. Head to one of the beach clubs (Club 55 is a good choice), for a champagne lunch and a day of rest and relaxation by the sea.
Although on the outskirts of what some classify as the ‘French Riviera’, and perhaps a town you’ve never heard of, but Cassis is truly one of the highlights of the South of France. The town itself is a small and lively fishing port which is overlooked by the impressive Cap Canaille (the highest sea cliff in France towering at 394m straight up out of the sea). The town is full of nice restaurants and plenty of quirky shops. Head down to the beach at the end of the Port for a splash around in the sea, or a drink in the beach side bar/restaurant. Cassis is the gateway to Les Calanques, an incredible series of coastal inlets where white limestone plunges into the turquoise water below. This is a haven for hikers, rock climbers, scuba divers and boating enthusiasts. Take a boat trip from Cassis into Les Calanques to get a real feel for the beauty of the area. Below is the first Calanque “Port Miou”, which you can access on foot in forty minutes from Cassis.
To tour the whole Riviera in style, consider renting a car and driver from MyDriver Azur. They’ll take your where you want to be and show you the best the Côte d’Azur has to offer.
BONUS: check out also the 21 best italian riviera towns for amazing holidays