The iconic French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur, is a beautiful section of France‘s Mediterranean coastline stretching from the Italian border westward via the state of Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Saint-Tropez to the port of Toulon.
Where Parisians flock to summer and celebrities come to play, Saint-Tropez epitomizes the region’s glamour dating back to the 1950s, when influential French stars like Brigitte Bardot and Coco Chanel began frequenting this charming coastal town, transforming it from a simple fishing village into a jet-setters’ paradise. Today, the peninsula of Saint-Tropez with its yacht-filled gulf is still very much the heart of the Riviera and it has retained its glittering allure.
Cannes is small city renowned for its film festival, but it keeps its glitzy charm for the rest of the year, few places more so than the palm-lined Promenade de la Croisette which is flanked by a sun lounger strewn sand beach and luxury shops, hotels and restaurants.
Nice, the largest city and capital of the region, enjoys a similarly grand seaside setting, along with glorious architecture, a charming old town and great food, but with a little more edge. A scattering of rustic villages and towns can be found along the rest of the coast and inland.
Spend your days admiring the yachts in the harbours from pretty port-side terraced cafes, lounging on dazzling beaches and lunching at chic bars. There are also some great wineries nearby, plenty of history and art to uncover, and the beautiful landscapes of Provence to the north.
When to go
If you're visiting to spend time on the beautiful beaches, then aim for June to August, but be aware that temperatures can get very hot. March and April are also great months to visit if you're not planning on spending all your time soaking up the sun, but rather exploring the countryside and experiencing French culture.
What to do
- Wander through the narrow streets of Nice's Old Town, Le Vieux Nice
- Stroll along the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes
- See the grave of actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly at Monaco Cathedral