Côte d’Azur – Discover the Charm of the French Riviera
The French Riviera is a top holiday destination with a lovely climate, beautiful beaches and charming resorts lining the extensive coastline. Restaurants, bars and cafés in the world-famous towns of Nice, Cannes, Monaco and St. Tropez offer local wines and French regional specialities such as ratatouille, pissaladière and tourte de blettes (a savoury bread and a French Swiss chard tart).
And although Côte d’Azur seems to host primarily the rich and famous, there are plenty of reasonably priced apartments and holiday homes that make it possible for anyone to holiday in the same place as Hollywood stars and the international business elite.
Visitors usually come to Côte d’Azur for events such the Cannes Film Festival or the Monaco Grand Prix or for the spectacular beaches and pleasantly warm sea. Top-notch night clubs and casinos set the pace of the vibrant nightlife in the area, and places of immense natural beauty provide a relaxing counterpoint. The Verdon River Gorge, Europe’s longest and most beautiful canyon, is the place to go when you need to get away from the crowds and do some outdoor sports.
Nice – City of Lush Greenery
The striking blue colour of the sea will be the first thing you notice when you arrive in Nice, the capital of the French Riviera. Eight kilometres of perfectly maintained pebble beaches and the green pine and spruce coves dotting the Alpine hillsides invite rest and relaxation. You can take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, aptly named after the first holidaymakers. Lined with beautiful palm trees, the promenade passes most of the first-class hotels and beaches in the populous resort (500,000).
Another great way to experience the treasures of Nice is to take a stroll around Vieux Nice, the old town. Besides romantic narrow streets, you will be surprised by mysterious corners and hideaways and delighted by the innumerable fountains in public parks. On a rainy day, you can opt for some of the interesting local museums. Nice is also a good location for water sports and other outdoor pursuits, such as water skiing, surfing and paragliding. Large numbers of tourists visit the city every year for holidays, festivals, conferences and other international events.
Smart, World-Renowned Cannes
Over the last fifty years, the quiet little town of Cannes has grown into a resort that generates the second greatest income of all French cities. The location of the most famous film festival in the world naturally attracts international film stars and other film professionals and many cinema enthusiasts, all of whom see Cannes as the embodiment of French elegance. The main festival venue is the Palais des Festivals and Promenade de la Croisette Boulevard, which is lined with luxury hotels and designer boutiques all shaded by palm trees. The French version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, paved with tiles with imprints of the hands of film stars, located on the boulevard, is a popular tourist attraction.
In contrast with the ritzy suburbs, the town’s historical centre on the hilltop of Le Suquet seems simple and modest. The 17th century Church de la Castre, built in Neo-Gothic style, and a museum showing ancient artefacts from the Americas and the Himalayas are the best sights to visit. Le Suquet also has a splendid view of the whole town. The beaches in Cannes stretch for almost ten kilometres. To reach a beach open to the public, however, you need to go relatively far west from the centre. Practically the entire Boulevard de la Croisette is lined with exclusive private beaches. For a wonderful view of the coastline, go to the 11th century Tour du Mont Chevalier watch tower.
When at the French Riviera, Monaco, a symbol of luxury, is a must–see. Monaco is a microstate, which has become a tax-free home to affluent businessmen and international celebrities. The population density in the world’s second smallest state is the second highest in the world. Premier hotels, fast cars and opulent yachts characterize the skyscrapered city. The only public beach in the area is called Larvotto and is located in the eastern part of the town.
Monaco holds some of the most prestigious Formula One races such as Rallye Monte Carlo and the Monaco Grand Prix. If you are interested in sightseeing, go to Rocher (the Rock), the original quarter in the old town. There you will find the fortress, the palace, the cathedral and the Oceanographic Museum, where you can explore fascinating ocean wildlife. In the Moneghetti quarter you will be delighted by incredibly colourful gardens and in the quarter of Monte Carlo, you will be asked to dress up in order to visit the legendary casino of the same name.
St. Tropez – Hometown of a Legendary Gendarmerie
A 1960’s series of films about a police station starring Luis de Funes gained the little fishing village of St. Tropez a worldwide reputation. Although the police station where the comedies were set has been abandoned, it is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Tropez. Not unlike the other resorts in the French Riviera, the town is brimming with conveniences for the upper echelon including luxury homes and yachts.
The only place in town that has retained its original provincial charm is the old port. The octagonal fort tower from the 16th century is the best place to get a view of the sea, and the market at Place des Lices is where you go to sample aromatic cheeses. Those you can appreciate paired with French wines. To just take in the sun, go to Tahiti, Stéphano Forever, Les Clubs 55 or Key West Beach, superb sand beaches on the coast of St. Tropez. And if you need a break from sunbathing, you can go windsurfing, water skiing and diving.
Real Outdoors – Grand Canyon du Verdon
The Verdon River Gorge, the largest canyon in Europe, is located on the border of Provence and the Maritime Alps and is an approximately two-hour drive from the coast. The canyon is 21 kilometres long and the tallest walls are 700 metres high.
The valley was explored and described in the 20th century by geologist E.A. Martel, after whom the trail at the bottom of the valley has been named. The wild water and steep walls attract climbers, paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts. If the idea of rafting down the river is appealing, you can enjoy a ride on a segment of the river between the village of Castellane and Pont de Carajuan served by various river rafting companies.
Entertainment at Côte d’Azur
In Antibes, you can spend a fun day in the Marineland amusement park. You will never forget the exciting shows by dolphins, seals, sharks and killer whales and the colourful aquariums full of fish, starfish, anemones, corals, shrimps, crabs and other marine animals. The Popeye museum, however, is the most unusual attraction. Here you and your children can see models of ships, seafarer tools and other artefacts related to sailing, fishing and boats.
More to explore at Côte d’Azur:
Holiday lettings in Côte d’Azur – apartments and holiday houses with online availability and online booking:
Holiday lettings in Nice – apartments and holiday houses with online availability and online booking:
Holiday lettings in Cannes – apartments and holiday houses with online availability and online booking:
Marineland amusement park – official website: