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The Ultimate Guide to the French Riviera

french riviera

French Riviera is one of the most popular and beautiful places to visit in Europe. Whether you’re planning your first trip to France or have been there several times before, this guide on French Riviera can help you plan your trip and make sure you don’t miss anything on your list of things to do in French Riviera!

Where is the French Riviera?

The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur (also known as French Riviera) is an area in southeastern France along its coastline that runs between Italy and Monaco. Stretching from Menton at its western end to Saint-Tropez at its eastern one, it is around 160km long. The region is considered a popular tourist destination because of its climate and wealth of attractions like Nice Old Town and Cannes. There are two main areas on either side of the peninsula; that east of Monaco and west of Saint-Raphaël, which includes towns such as Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Cannes and Nice.

What makes this place special?

The French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur, as it is also known) is an area of exceptional natural beauty—and one of Europe’s most fashionable destinations. The coast stretches southeast from Marseille, along some 200 miles of coastline, past Nice (which is its largest city), to Menton on the Italian border. The climate is typically Mediterranean—hot and dry in summer, mild with rain in winter.

Airports in French Riviera

Nice Airport, Cannes Airport, Antibes Juan-les-Pins Airport. You will probably fly into Nice Cote d’Azur Airport (NCE), located in South France on the Mediterranean coast. The second most popular airport is Cannes – Mandelieu International (Cannes) and it is commonly used for private flights. It sits only 4 miles from St.-Tropez and a few hours away from other cities like Marseille or Lyon.

Nice-Côte d’Azur International Airport (NCE)

There are several airlines offering flights from Nice airport, including Air France, easyJet and British Airways. Passengers can also fly in on a low-cost airline like Ryanair or Easyjet. The airport is located about 6 miles (10 km) west of Nice. The trip into town takes about 15 minutes by car or taxi; bus lines 2 and 98 stop at Terminal 1, while line 99 stops at Terminal 2.

Toulon-Hyères International Airport (TLN)

Toulon-Hyères International Airport is located on Hyeres Island in southern France. The airport serves as a major hub for flights between Provence and Paris, but has just two international routes, both of which connect Toulon with Algiers, Algeria. Passengers can also travel from Toulon to Nice via Marseille by bus or train.

Marseille-Provence Airport (MRS)

This airport is located only 20 miles from Marseille and has flights from most major European cities. It can be difficult to catch a taxi upon arrival, so look into a shuttle or bus service. From here, take a high-speed TGV train (about 2 hours) or ride with Eurostar (about 1 hour) to reach Nice. Alternatively, you can also drive or fly directly into Nice International Airport (NCE).

Best cities to stay in the French Riviera:

Saint-Tropez

This town is best known for its yacht-filled harbor and vibrant nightlife, but Saint-Tropez has a lot more to offer. While many simply hop over on a day trip, it’s worth spending a few days exploring. The medieval village of Gassin offers gorgeous views of Saint-Tropez and nearby islands. The village itself is home to quaint restaurants, shops, and bars that are perfect for an afternoon stroll or evening out with friends. Just north of Gassin lies St-Raphaël, which offers plenty of beautiful beaches as well as access to hiking trails through forested hillsides dotted with olive trees. And don’t forget about Cannes!

Antibes

Located at just 10 minutes away from Nice, Antibes is a major seaside resort of France that combines all things beautiful about a city and a place by the sea. The old port of Antibes has more than 1,000 years of history as well as an extraordinary charm. Walk through its narrow streets and admire its 17th-century houses and fishermen’s cottages with wooden balconies overlooking boats bobbing up and down in clear blue waters.

Nice

The historic town of Nice is an urban jewel of limestone architecture. Its medieval core, Vieux Nice, is an atmospheric warren of narrow lanes and squares filled with 16th- and 17th-century buildings. You can wander through it at your leisure on foot, or board a horse-drawn carriage for a guided tour; you’ll want to see Place du Palais and place Rossetti, as well as Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate.Nice is an amazing seaside city that has a thriving tourist industry. There are lots of things for tourists to do in Nice, including visiting museums, taking boat trips, and relaxing on its gorgeous beaches.

Beaulieu-sur-Mer- Hidden Gem

It’s considered one of Europe’s most coveted holiday destinations, so no wonder that over 25 luxury hotels were built in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The town is known for its elegant beaches and golden sand. As you walk along its main street, lined with colourful bougainvilleas and flowering trees, you may encounter some famous faces from all around the world who have been visiting Beaulieu for years.

Best Hotels in French Riviera

L’Oasis

The Oasis Hotel is situated on a tropical flower garden and has been decorated in typical South-African colors. It offers a choice of 40 bungalows with an outside bathroom, 30 rooms with en suite bathrooms, as well as 4 suites with Jacuzzi. The restaurant serves Continental cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can relax by the pool or at the bar while enjoying their drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. L’Oasis hotel also provides free Wi-Fi access throughout its premises. A shuttle service will take guests to nearby attractions including Moulin Rouge, Casino de Monte Carlo and Larvotto Beach.

Hotel Negresco:

The Negresco Hotel is a five-star resort hotel located in Nice on the Promenade des Anglais. Built by Henri Negresco, it has been rated as a five-star hotel since 1919. The hotel is famed for its Palais de la Mediterranee restaurant and its red carpet which welcomes movie stars and royalty. The Negresco also hosts one of Nicoise Riviera’s most famous annual events, Carnival de Nice. It is among few hotels that are awarded Palace status by France.

Hotel de France

The Hotel de France is a five-star hotel in Nice and is ideal for visitors planning a romantic getaway or an adventure. Guests can expect lavish rooms with luxurious amenities, delicious meals and drinks at reasonable prices, warm hospitality from staff and breathtaking views of Nice’s cityscape. The Hotel de France was established in 1869 and has been welcoming guests ever since; it’s one of Nice’s most iconic buildings, serving as a prime example of traditional Provencal architecture.

Hostellerie Jérôme

Located on Cote d’Azur in Cap-d’Ail, Hostellerie Jérôme is a great place for vacationers. Set amidst lush Mediterranean greenery and an 18th century manor house, it offers a quiet retreat amid all of France’s glitz and glamour. You may spend your time lounging by one of its infinity pools, or you can relax at its spa while enjoying aromatic scents wafting through its air.

Would you rather go camping and still make it luxury. Check out our post on the best Riviera campsites

Best Resturants in French Riviera

Getting bored of your same old dinner routine? Looking for a new spot to try with a fun and classy menu? You’ve come to right place. Come join us at Le Chef, one of our favorite resturants on St Jean Cap Ferrat. Perfect for any occasion; if you’re seeking a great dinner out with some friends or family, you won’t be dissapointed. Prices range from 25-75 euro per plate so it’s not too expensive either! We have a longer list of best St. Tropez restaurants here for you

Restaurant Le Park 45

If you’re looking for a Michelin star restaurant in Saint-Tropez, Restaurant Le Park 45 will be a good choice. It has two Michelin stars. Of course, it is an expensive one. On top of that, you will pay a supplement fee (around €10-15) if you order anything other than meat and fish dishes on its menu which means that vegetarian visitors may want to look elsewhere for dining experience in Saint-Tropez as they cannot enjoy their meals here completely at all.

Got more time? Check out our list of must visit vineyards in the Provence!

Best Local dishes in French Riviera

Aïoli and Tapenade are both a medley of Mediterranean flavors: olives, garlic, anchovies, capers and even a bit of lemon. Yet each dish is unique with its own preparation methods and variations. Both Aïoli and Tapenade can be used as simple dipping sauces or topping for grilled fish or shellfish.

aïoli garni

This sauce may be made with hard-boiled eggs, parsley, chives and garlic. The flavoring ingredients are finely minced and mixed together before being added to aioli. This sauce is popular with seafood dishes but is commonly used as a condiment in France and other countries. By adding any combination of mayonnaise, mustard or egg yolks, you can customize your own aïoli.

Bouillabaisse

A classic fish stew originating in Marseille, it can include shrimp, shellfish, scallops and squid. It’s always served with a rouille sauce (you could make your own or use store-bought) and one of several different pastes that vary by region—and they’re all thickened with either bread or flour. Traditionally, you eat bouillabaisse right out of bowls so you can sop up all those juices; there are no utensils involved.

Historical Sites in French Riveria

Iles de Lerins:

The Iles de Lerins are a set of four small islands in France, located in the commune of Saint-Tropez on Lerins Islands. The islands became famous during late nineteenth century and early twentieth century for reasons related to literature and art. A large number of people from France and internationally still visit them every year.

Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild:

This villa is an impressive oasis of tranquility and luxury, located on 1.1 acres of land in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Once a private residence for Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, it was designed by architect Edouard Niermans and purchased by David Nahmad in 2009 for $98 million from his father, David Nahmad Senior.

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