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A guide to the French Riviera - sun, sea and glamour

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Glitz, glamour and some of the most beautiful people in the world: these are a few things that probably come to mind when you first hear of the French Riviera. Although we usually think of Nice, Cannes and Monaco when imagining the French Riviera, it actually stretches from Toulon in the west, to the towns which straddle the French-Italian border. 

James Bellamy

My Destination local expert on

French Riviera

Events

 

Perhaps some of France's best-known events take place each year in the Riviera. The Cannes Film Festival attracts glittering A-List movie stars every year in a festival which showcases some of the most important films of the year. And if Hollywood celebs aren't your thing, Monaco is host to the Grand Prix every year, with one of the trickiest race courses in the whole of the Formula one event.

 

What to see and do

 

The French Riviera is a clash of modern glitz contrasted by old terracotta roofed homes perched above the sapphire blue of the Mediterranean. The Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is a great example of this, and set next door to Monaco it boasts narrow winding streets and medieval fortresses alongside pads of the rich and famous. Elsewhere, in Nice and Cannes you'll find high-class shops and unique boutiques and markets as well as ports where you can take a day trip on a boat or a yacht and feel like you're part of the celebrity elite.

 

Short breaks

 

Taking a trip to the French Riviera is perfect for a short break. Notoriously popular in summer, traveling to the south of France takes just over an hour by plane, with lots of low cost airlines offering cheap fares in the off-season. For even more flexibility, you can link up with the Eurostar and catch a train from Paris, which takes approximately two hours to get to the coast. Along the way you'll get to see some of France's beautiful scenery and won't have to deal with the hassle of going through the airport!

 

Where to stay

 

Whether you want a luxury hotel, a cozy villa or a simple bed and breakfast, the towns of the French Riviera have it all. Staying in Nice, the hotspot for tourism, you'll be exposed to a good mix of accommodation, activities and attractions. For something a bit more off the beaten track, Grasse, just north of Cannes has a pretty hillside outlook over the Riviera and cozy chateaus and historic castles to stay at.

 

Travel tips

 

Visiting the French Riviera can be expensive and overwhelming. If you want a quieter break, stay away from the bustling resorts of Nice, Cannes and St Tropez and opt for a holiday away from the coast in towns like Mougins and Saint-Paul de Vence, where you can easily access the coast by car. High tourist season is in the summer months, which is when the coast is at its liveliest, with both French and international visitors. Great if you want to access every amenity, but shy away from this period if you want a quiet peaceful break.