It’s no secret the French Riveria is one of the most spectacular regions on Earth. Fortunately, one of the few cons attributed to this fabulous status is choosing from the limitless array of picture-perfect spots to explore. With sweeping ocean views and captivating landscapes, it’s obvious why the Mediterranean coast pulled icons like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Grace Kelly.
Also known as Côte d’Azur, the region harbours the famously charming beach resorts of Saint-Tropez and Nice, as well as the playground of the rich and famous – Monaco. Whether it’s the Monte Carlo casinos, historic coastal villages, beautiful beaches or the red carpet of Cannes, these are the hottest places to visit on the French Riveria.
Well-known around the world as the rich and famous playground, the sovereign city-state of Monaco is alive with glitz, glamour and gambling. While the casinos of Monte Carlo are a must-visit the two-square-kilometre principality is also home to stately sights like the Prince’s Palace, Fort Antoine, and Monaco Cathedral. There’s also a brilliant marine museum, the Monaco Yacht Show and one of the world’s most prestigious car races – the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in May.
While it’s most famous for celebrities gracing the red carpet at the annual Cannes Film Festival, the French Riveria resort is a charming spot to soak up the sun. Cannes is scattered with pristine waters and sandy beaches including the main beachfront boardwalk of La Croisette. Stepping off the white sands, there’s an abundance of restaurants and cafes to appease the tastebuds. The museum, Musee de la Castre, and the cathedral, Eglise Notre Dame d’Esperance, offer a great historical experience or take a short ferry ride to explore the two islands of Iles de Lerins.
From humble fishing village beginnings to billionaire bohemian – the beautiful, crystal-blue basin of St Tropez, has some of the regions most remarkable scenes, wonderful shores and extravagance attractions. Walk the sandy shoreline of Pampelonne beach, explore the stunning architecture of Citadel of Saint-Tropez or delve into the world-class art scene. If it isn’t any one of these exceptional sites attracting the crowds, then it must be the string of Michelin-starred restaurants. The modern Mediterranean landscape presents the perfect backdrop for the magnificent village charm.
One of the most commanding cultural appeals in the French Riveria is Antibes – a sixteenth-century town between Cannes and Nice. The charming spot overlooks the sea surrounded by fortified walls. The cultural drawcard is steeped in art and architectural history. The must-see sights include; the Château Grimaldi (the Pablo Picasso Museum), Fort Carré, where Napoleon Bonaparte was once held prisoner, and the Provencal food market.
A visit to the French Riveria wouldn’t be complete without a stop its unofficial cosmopolitan capital, Nice. The region’s largest city is the sun-splashed paradise of idyllic coastline and vibrant nightlife. By day stroll down the Promenade des Anglais and explore the area’s heritage, head up to Castle Hill for impressive city views or peruse the outdoor markets along the Cours Saleya. At night time the city comes alive with the strips of boutiques, cafés and bars offering the perfect sunset cocktail or dazzling dinner.
Menton is a shining seaside city on the backdrop of the Maritime Alps mountain range. A meeting of two worlds, the stunning waterfronts mingle ancient sights steeped in history and culture. The 13th-century old town centre mostly still stands and the 17th-century Parish Church of Saint Michel and the Jesuit Chapel of the Conception are must-visits. The elegant spot is also famous for its stunning gardens including the Jardin d’agrumes du Palais Carnolès – a remarkable public garden of citrus trees. In late February, early March the town is also home to the famous La Fête du Citron, or lemon festival.
If you’re a fan of the French Riveria, then you’ll also enjoy reading about the glitz and glamour of the casinos of Monaco and the Monaco Yacht Show.
This article originally appeared on Fancy