The French Riviera or “Côte d’Azur” as they call it in French, is a beautiful region of France situated on the Mediterranean coastline in the southeast corner of the country.
Here are some of the beautiful and charming cities and towns of the sunny region that I’ve visited.
Nice is the capital of The French Riviera and serves as a great jumping-off point to all the other cities and villages. It has the perfect mix of modern infrastructure and historical buildings and has a lively and bustling atmosphere.
Visit the market at the Cours Saleya, which runs from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and featuring vendors from all over the region selling their local produce and just about everything under the sun.
Ahhh…. the playground of the rich and famous. The most densely populated independent city-state in the world, Monaco is the place to be when you want to see and be seen. Rub shoulders with millionaires and celebrities at the Grand Casino, witness the premier race in the world with the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and simply sip a cup of coffee in any of the cafes and become enchanted with the beautiful women, the fast cars, and simply enjoy the grandiosity of the most luxurious city in the world.
Menton is known as the “Pearl of France,” simply due to its charming beauty. This is the place where you can find the most beautiful gardens in the world such as the Fontana Rosa and the Serre de la Madone. Visit Menton between the months of February and March and get to experience the annual Lemon Festival for the liveliest time of the year in this beautiful harbor town. Although I was not able to experience the festival, I have planned to go back to witness it myself.
- Saint Paul
A hilltop village, this is the place to be for artists and writers. Filled with art galleries everywhere you look, sidewalk cafes, boutiques, winding streets and elegant fountains, this is the place to find inspiration. The best place to explore this village is by foot to be able to enjoy its marvelous beauty and charm in all its glory.
Located between Cannes and Nice, this sea-facing town is home to the Picasso Museum. Contained inside the Grimaldi Castle, where Picasso himself once had a studio, the Museum contains 50 of the late painter’s works, as well as that of other artists such as Max Ernst and Joan Miro.
But there’s more to this town than Picasso. Head down to the harbor and witness a wide range of superyachts docked on the port, or take a warm swim among the countless public and private beaches.
This medieval village will bring you back in time. An old medieval church sits on top of this hillside village, where everything can only be reached by foot. You will need to park at the foot of the hill and hike your way up to the old buildings that have been turned into cafes, shops, and hotels. Don’t miss the cactus garden on top of the village where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean, mountain, and the city below it.
Cannes is obviously most famous for holding the second-largest annual film event in the world, which is the Cannes Film Festival. Every year, Hollywood’s most popular actors, actresses, and celebrities gather donned in the most exquisite gowns and suits to celebrate the art of filmmaking. If you want to see some international celebrities, visit Cannes during the festival.
The Perfume Capital of the World, Grasse used to be the center of leather tanners in France but has become known as the topmost producer of perfumes in the world. Visit the International Museum of Perfume to discover the town’s rich history and its significant place in the world. If you fancy a stroll, head down to the Old Town where pastel orange-colored narrow houses will make for the picture-perfect introduction to France’s beautiful architecture.
- Baie des Anges
Translated in English as “Bay of Angels,” this is the bay where the city of Nice is situated in. Called such due to the abundance of angel sharks that existed in the waters until the 19th century, the bay is the most recognizable and most revered image of The French Riviera.
Featuring a horseshoe-shaped harbor amidst tall buildings, tourists and locals alike can spend hours on end basking in the sun on the lovely beaches of the shoreline.
- Beaulieu Sur Mer
And lastly, but definitely not the least is Beaulieu Sur Mer, where the world’s richest enjoy some downtime. A picturesque seafront village, it used to be frequented by royalty and aristocrats but has now become a luxurious seaside village packed with exclusive boutiques, luxurious properties, and high-class casinos.
The French Riviera sure was a place I could not shake off from my memory. If you imagine places that provide the perfect image of France, then these towns and cities will surely satisfy your every French fantasy.