Charming tree-lined streets. Chi-chi boutiques. The French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) is a jewel located along the Mediterranean coast, long known as a haven for the jet set. Join us in discovering the reasons to visit this popular summer destination and find out why this piece of the French coast is the most luxurious place in the world and a must-see!
The French Riviera is a destination that is undoubtedly at the top of every travel enthusiast’s bucket list. Decades ago, it became a hotspot for royalty and Hollywood alike, becoming the centre of the action during the golden age of cinema. The famous actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, dressed in over 400 metres of silk, taffeta, lace and pearls. Liz Taylor holidayed in Cannes with all her husbands. Greta Gabo and Frank Sinatra sailed on Christina O Aristotle Onassis’ luxury yacht, and Rock Hudson stayed at the exclusive Hotel du Cap Eden Rock. Today, you’ll find many famous names on the shores of the French Riviera, including Beyonce and Kylie Minogue.
Despite today’s glamour, the French Riviera’s beginnings were humble. At the end of the 18th century, the place was a quiet and unassuming fishing area, without the swaying superyachts that are so prevalent today. British aristocrats and members of the royal family fell in love with the beautiful nature and pleasant climate, and the coast quickly became their spa retreat from the miserable British winters. Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II and Napoleon III were just a few of its famous inhabitants. Development and tourism for the wealthy then boomed, resulting in the creation of the prestigious accommodation that is now one of the most sought-after.
Here are 7 must-see spots of the French Riviera:
Nice – Any trip to the Côte d’Azur should start with a stop in Nice, which will enchant you with its view of the glittering waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Baie des Anges, the Old Town, Nice’s promenade and the city’s varied and vibrant architecture are sure to leave you speechless and provide plenty of photographic inspiration.
Cannes – Long before the city became synonymous with the international film festival and gained a reputation as a playground for the world’s elite and home to excess, luxury cars and high fashion, Cannes was a glittering seaside destination for rest and relaxation. Despite the ubiquitous glamour of materialism, it also offers a remarkable cultural history. If you climb the winding staircase and pass the pastel-coloured houses in the old quarter of Le Suquet, you will reach the Musée de la Castre, an ethnographic museum housed in a medieval fortress, which will also enchant you with its view of the marina and the Croisette.
St Tropez – or the most famous resort in Europe – has been attracting artists and pleasure seekers since long before Brigitte Bardot’s time. From the end of the 19th century, they were guided here by the pointillist Paul Signac, and in the 1940s and 1950s the resort became a summer extension of Paris’s Left Bank, frequented by Juliette Greco, Boris Vian, Sartre and Picasso. Then Bardot appeared in the film “And God Created Woman”, turning local debauchery into a worldwide reputation for illicit pleasures, which is still present in the city of endless entertainment today.
Every year, the city is visited by the famous, the powerful, the famous and all those who want to scream extravagance on their yachts and fill the otherwise charming streets to the brim. Despite its somewhat negative connotations, the latter is a key component of Saint Tropez, but by no means the only one; the town also has beautiful surroundings that contribute to its reputation. The wooded and rocky peninsula of St Tropez is beautiful, and the views of the sea and the Maures are outstanding. But that’s just the gloss. It belies a multi-faceted life, from evenings in the villas with the moguls to locals taking their baskets to the market for their daily shopping.
Monaco and Monte Carlo – The tiny principality of Monaco, bordered on three sides by France, is a bastion of glitz and glamour, centred on the iconic gambling destination of Monte Carlo. Although it’s usually known as a playground for the very rich, even those who aren’t part of the elite can enjoy themselves here: trips to magnificent sights such as the Prince’s Palace, Fort Antoine and Monaco Cathedral are well worth a visit that won’t break the bank.
Èze – The medieval village of Èze, nestled in the rocky cliffs high above the sea, is a delightful step back in time – and blissfully peaceful for the Riviera. Well-preserved stone buildings, winding streets, 14th-century chapels and a dramatic Mediterranean backdrop make this small village seem like a movie set, serving as an escape from the noise, glamour and gaudy extravagance.
Menton – With more than 316 days of sunshine a year, outstanding gardens and quality Italian cuisine on the Franco-Italian border, the picturesque town of Menton is the perfect place for a day trip.
Antibes – In addition to its mega-yachts and picturesque beaches, Antibes is also attractive for its literary and artistic history. In 1926, F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed with Zelda and his daughter Scottie at the Villa Saint Louis (now the popular Hotel Belles-Rives) on the promontory of Cap d’Antibes, where he began writing his famous novel Tender is the Night.
If we’ve convinced you to make the French Riviera your home this summer, you won’t regret it. We invite you to share the excitement of discovering its charms and tag us on instagram in your holiday photos, use the hashtag #trlmag. See you there!