6 great places to visit in the French Riviera
Talk of France and people immediately think of Paris. Quite understandable, but if you’ve never thought of the South of France and particularly the French Riviera, then it’s about time you did! Our very brief guide to the top 6 places to visit in the French Riviera should pique your interest, just remember to take your USB travel adapter to keep your smartphone and camera fully charged.
So where is the French Riviera? Seems an easy question, but there is no official boundary. Generally, it means from Toulon in the west to Menton and the French Italian border in the east. It is a stunningly beautiful coastline and the playground of the rich and famous.
So in no particular order, here are 6 great places to visit on the French Riviera.
World famous for its International Film festival, Cannes is a resort long loved by the rich and famous. Stroll along the palm tree-lined Promenade de la Croisette packed with cafes, restaurants and boutiques to take in the modern and vibrant Cannes. Just off the bay, there are two small islands. Sainte Marguerite was the home of the “Man in the Iron Mask” for 11 years, while Saint Honorat is occupied by monks. You can visit both islands by boat.
After Paris, Nice has the most hotel bedroom availability and the busiest airport in France. It’s a popular place with around 4 million visitors every year. In the 18th century, the town was favoured by many notable painters, including Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall who loved the soft light and clear air. Places to visit include the Promenade des Anglais, Musee Matisse and the Musee des Beaux-Arts.
Frejus is an ancient city built in 49 B.C. and home to impressive Roman ruins that should be your visit list. Forum Julii contains an aqueduct, fortifications and an amphitheatre from the 1st century, while the Cloitre de la Cathedral de Frejus features painted ceilings and buildings dating back to the 5th century.
From huge super-yachts in the harbour to Formula One cars racing the famous circuit and the casinos, Monaco is synonymous with wealth and success. It’s the second smallest and most densely populated state in the world. Some of the grand buildings in the country worth a visit is the Salle Garnier, which is home to the Opera de Monte Carol and is part of the casino of the same name.
The Oceanographic Museum and the Napoleon Museum should also be on your list.
There has been a settlement on the site of St Tropez since around 599 B.C. and it has a long history of occupation and war. The old port is a pleasant place to relax with a drink and people-watch while admiring the mix of small fishing boats and large yachts in the picturesque harbour. The Old Town area, known as La Ponche has been partly pedestrianised and is a lovely area to explore with narrow lanes and cobbled streets. High above and over looking the port is the citadel, built to protect the village and well worth the effort to visit.
The picturesque town of Menton is located on the border with Italy and has the stunning backdrop of the Alpes Maritime Mountains. The town is famous for its gardens and the Menton variety of orange, and each February the town holds its Lemon Festival which is well worth making the effort to see. There is a beautiful Old Town and port to explore plus a 17th century basilica overlooking the port. Jean Cocteau was a resident for many years and the museum in his name is located in the town exhibiting many of his works.
There are many more beautiful towns and places to visit along the French Riviera. It’s a fantastic location with a mild Mediterranean climate, yet close to ski resorts. Make sure it is on your bucket list if you’ve not already visited and remember to pack a travel adapter into your hand luggage.