On the Côte d’Azur, admire the vivid blue of the Mediterranean that laps the coves, islands and golden beaches. It’s an incredible natural colour chart that inspired the greatest painters of the 20th century.
The Côte d’Azur is also glittering with world-class events such as the Cannes Film Festival – and the warm hues of its villages and gardens give it an inimitable holiday atmosphere, bolstered by the famous scents of its hinterland.
Must-sees on your trip to the French Riviera
On the Côte d’Azur, you never need choose between city and beach – the two are inseparable. The cities always have a slice of sand to put your towel down and a port to moor a boat. Here are some ideas to enhance your trip to the French Riviera...
In Nice, the famous Promenade des Anglais stretches for seven kilometres along a beach that’s popular all year round. And just a stone’s throw away in the old town, the Cours Saleya’s fruit and flower market is a vibrant cultural spot.
Make your cinema in Cannes
In Cannes it’s the famous Croisette bordering the sea that catches the eye, especially during the Film Festival when movie stars grace the red carpet. But to soak up the soul of Cannes, you have to climb up the sloping alleys of Le Suquet to the remains of its medieval chateau. From the top of the square tower, enjoy a dazzling panorama across the bay.
Discover the scents of the hinterland
You can also head inland to Grasse, to smell the scents of fragrant plants prized by major perfume brands. An International Perfume Museum, unique in the world, traces the history of these prestigious fragrances of houses such as Chanel and Dior.
Stroll around Saint-Tropez
You can’t miss Saint-Tropez on a visit to the Côte d’Azur: a real picture-postcard port where yachts gleam against a pastel-coloured backdrop. There has been a party atmosphere here since the 1960s, chic and relaxed, stretching out to the beaches of Pampelonne where you can have lunch on the sand while admiring the Mediterranean.
Walk the Estérel massif
From the port of Saint-Raphaël, don comfy shoes to walk or cycle around the Esterel massif – marked trails and bike routes crisscross its 32,000 hectares, between glowing crests, coves and white sandy beaches shaded by pine trees.
Embark for the Golden Islands
From Hyères, make for the Golden Islands. Cycle around Porquerolles to immerse yourself in the Caribbean atmosphere of its beaches with turquoise waters, and discover the astonishing collection of contemporary art of the Carmignac Foundation. In Port-Cros, only pedestrians are allowed: the wildest of the Golden Islands is at the heart of a fabulous national park, where you can watch whales and dolphins. A must for your trip to the Côte d’Azur!
Soak up the sweetness of citrus fruit on the French Riviera
In Menton, you’ll discover the famous lemon. Its softer flavour and more intense aromas are championed by the greatest chefs. The lemon is celebrated every year with a colourful carnival, the Menton Lemon Festival, giving visitors an opportunity to explore the remarkable gardens of this colourful city.
Activities on the French Riviera
A holiday on the Côte d’Azur is also an active one. With 20 courses of 18 holes, golf is the star of leisure activities here. But you won’t forget to take a dip in the Calanque des Anglais, a sublime creek of red rocks on the Esterel Massif; to witness the Monaco Grand Prix; or to stroll in the exceptional local gardens, which are becoming a major player in global biodiversity.
Sunshine cuisine: a speciality of the Côte d’Azur
With so many hours of sunshine (nearly 3,000 per year), it’s no wonder the specialities of the Côte d’Azur are so fragrant! Sitting at a table with your feet in the sand, you’ll enjoy olive oil and sun-kissed vegetables in the form of ratatouille, anchoïade (anchovies, capers and garlic), pissaladière, Niçoise pizza with anchovies and pistou (pesto) soup flavoured with basil.
This is all accompanied by rosé wine, the ‘cru’ of the region, which is also drunk as an aperitif while munching bread topped with tapenade (mashed olives and capers) or panisses (chickpea patties). For dessert, locals love the Tarte Tropézienne, a decadent brioche full of cream – but you can always opt for candied fruits or a heavenly scented ice cream...