The French Riviera: eight Should-See Spots
Known in French as the Cote d’Azur, French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. This coastline is one of the first modern resort areas. The town started on the 18th century as a winter health resort for the British upper class. After World War II, French Riviera became a popular convention site and tourist destination. In fact, many famous celebrities have homes in the region. It is also the main yachting and cruising area with many marinas along its coast. As a tourist center, French Riviera benefits from 310 to 330 days of sunshine per year, long coastline and stunning beaches, golf courses, French Riviera home rentals, ski resorts, and restaurants. From fields of lavender to sea scenes, here are the must-see spots you can’t miss on your next trip.
La Colline du Chateau – Nice, France
Any trip to French Riviera should begin with a stop in Nice, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean. Start your tour with a climb up to Castle Hill (La Colline du Chateau) to witness what the excitement is all about. Once you reached the top, you’ll surely amaze by the stunning views of the Baie des Anges, the boardwalk of nice, Old Town, and the variety and vibrant architecture. There are few crumbling walls remains on the castle on the hill, green park that is perfect for a picnic or for relaxation after a full day of sightseeing tour.
Old Town – Nice, France
Old Town or Nice’s wonderful Vieille Ville, is a charming maze of narrow streets chock full of different shops, galleries, and eateries. Cafes are all around the many squares in the Old Town, so grab the opportunity to sit down, sip a cup of coffee, and people-watch. You can also try other restaurants such as Lou Pilha Leva and their Nicoise cuisine such as pissaladierre (onion pizza).
Another great addition to your itinerary is the medieval village of Eze, located in craggy cliffs high above the sea. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as this dramatic Mediterranean backdrop, well-preserved stone buildings, and winding alleyways make this small village looks like a set staged for a postcard. Bring also a pair of walking shoes, as steep paths within the village will bring you to the summit which is 1,400 feet above sea level.
An impressive medieval village, Grasse holds the important part of being the perfume capital of the world. There are famous perfumeries like Fragonard that offer a free tour to their factory. Enjoy the never-ending fields of lavender that covered the entire area of the hilly landscape. Grasse is located between Nice and Cannes, so you can add in your itinerary a quick stopover in this place. Pick up a few bottles of perfume or just smell the lavender.
Surround by France on three sides, Monaco is an outwork of glitz and glamour. This principality is known as the place for the mega-rich people, but for those short on cash, can still enjoy the sightseeing in places such as Fort Antione, the Cathedral of Monaco, and Prince’s Palace. You can also visit the luxurious yachts at the harbour and the Monte-Carlo casino.
Arguably the best-kept secret on the French Riviera, the town of Menton has all the glamour and beauty of the well-known coastal villages. The extraordinary beaches of Menton are all but empty in the off-season, and its boutiques are relatively free of bargain-hunting visitors. You’ll surely enjoy the town’s old world ambiance. Menton, France has over 300 days of sunshine a year, beautiful gardens, and its world-class Italian cuisine due to its location on the Franco-Italian border. You can spend your afternoon here for a great complement to your Riviera trip. If you’re traveling here in February, don’t miss out their annual Lemon Festival, the entire town goes all out to celebrate the spring and town’s colorful history, when it survived on the production of citrus. Witness the gravity-defying floats which mostly made of oranges and lemons, parading through the streets of Menton.
Promenade des Anglais – Nice, France
Enjoy the scenic seaside location of Nice, added with balmy weather, and beautiful Mediterranean character. Promenade des Anglais is the most popular street in Nice, a charming pedestrian area that follows the curve of the beaches of Baie des Anges. The promenade boasts its luxurious and tallest buildings such as the Palais de la Mediterranee Theater and the lovely Villa Massena. The Villa Massena houses a museum of history and art and is open to visitors. It is also covered by amazing landscaping including formal French gardens. Aside from strolling and sunbathing on the beaches, cycling along the promenade, or rollerblading, there are plenty of historic and cultural landmarks and attractions nearby such as the Cours Saleya, an interesting market in the traditional Provencal style. The market is open daily except for Mondays, it offers flowers and local artisan food products. Another attraction in Nice that you should include in your itinerary is the Jardin Albert I which is a walking distance of the Promenade des Anglais. This huge garden was one of the first public parks in Nice and it features towering palm trees and monumental fountains.
Saint-Tropez is an elegant seaside resort that is famous to tourist from all over the world. This town was once just a humble fishing village. It was made stylish by the popular actress Brigitte Bardot in the 1950s when she was shooting for her film. Saint-Tropez boasts its interesting old-world ambiance of cobblestone streets, cafes, and shady squares. This town is a great place to explore with a stunning beach-town vibe and many fun activities.
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