Eight most beautiful holiday destinations on the French Riviera 

The south of France has long been the destination of choice for glamorous celebrities. Everyone from Kate Moss to Elizabeth Taylor has graced the mediterranean shores. Due to the high-end clientele, it has become one of the world's most elegant holiday locations. Shop in Europe's best designer stores, taste exquisite French cuisine and, if your budget doesn't quite stretch to chartering a yacht in St Tropez, don't worry, you'll find some of the finest 5* hotels to stay instead.

The area, known as the Cote D'azure in French, stretches about 550 miles along the south coast of the country and has a population of over two million. It first became a popular destination in the mid 19th Century, when wealthy Brits travelled there for the finer climate during the winter. From then on, it was frequented by tourists from all over Europe after the introduction of a railway, making it easier to get around the area. Today, it has retained its upper class image as the rich and famous regularly frequent it.

So sit back, relax and sip your Kir Royale as we show you the most sought after spots on the French Riviera this summer.

Menton on the French Riviera

The rich and famous have long had a love affair with the French Riviera. Back in the 1950s stars such as Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn spent time in the area. These days spot celebs such as Bono, Elton John and Bill Gates, who all own villas there. The area also has a history of being a popular destination for artists and writers - Picasso, Monet, F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce created some of their most famous work there.

1. Cannes

This leads us onto our first destination - one of the region's most glamorous cities and the centre of the current artistic scene, with the world-renowned Film Festival taking place annually in Cannes. Visit during May to coincide with the influx of celebrities for the festival, although there is a high possibility of spotting the rich and famous at any time of year in this glamorous city.

  • Visit - whilst you're there, don't miss walking down the boulevard on the sea front, La Croisette, with its assortment of hotels, boutique shops and private beaches. There is also Vieux Port where you can wander and take a gander at the luxury boats, or take a day trip over to the wooded islets off the coast.
  • Eat - For high-end cuisine head to La Palme D'or at Hotel Martinez. With 2 Michelin stars and a gorgeous art-deco dining room, this is a truly special dining experience.
  • Stay - Home to some of the world's most renowned hotels, staying in the region will set you back a pretty penny. For the true celebrity experience, Hotel-Du-Cap-Eden-Roc is in a stunning location and has been visited by what seems like nearly every star under the sun (Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks & Cate Blanchett to name a few). If your budget doesn't quite stretch the £1,200/night room rate, head to the still remarkably glamorous 5* Majestic Barriere on the seafront (a snip at £500/night).Cannes

2. Nice

One of the region's other main cities - Nice - is a beautiful location to explore. This is where Elton John's villa is located on the town's Mont Boren. He has often had celebrity friends to stay including Liz Hurley, the Beckhams and Joan Collins.

  • Visit - Be sure to stroll through Nice's Old Town and get lost amongst the restaurants, old boutique shops and bars. For a great walking tour guide check out the French Riviera Blog.
  • Eat - Le Bistrot d’Antoine has some of the best classic food in the region and afterwards, go to Fenocchioone of the oldest ice-cream sellers which has been in business since 1966. Choose from 70+ flavours including olive, violet and fig!
  • Stay - For amazing sea views and just five minutes from the old town, Hotel La Perouse offers beautiful accommodation. Prices are around £200/night.


3. Grasse

The world's perfume capital, Grasse, is a trip not to be missed. The provencal town has years of medieval history to explore and produces two thirds of France's natural aromas - that's a lot of smells!

  • Visit - Take a trip to the Fragonard perfume factory for a guided tour to see how the famous scents are created. The factory dates back to 1782 and is one of the oldest factories in Grasse.
  • Eat - For some exquisite food visit L'Auberge du Vieux Chateau (Place Mirabeau, 06530 Cabris) with its gorgeous alfresco dining.
  • Stay - Hotel La Bellaudiere offers traditional accommodation in an historic converted Provencal house. Views of the landscape are picturesque and prices are more affordable than some other Riviera locations, starting at around £70/night.


4. Monaco

Monaco is both a playground for tourists and a haven for the wealthy. tourists get drawn in by the beauty of its setting and the chance to play celebrity spotting. The wealthiest by its advantageous tax regime and luxurious lifestyle.

  • Visit - Feel like James Bond and visit Monte Carlo Casino, one of the most beautiful in the world. Take a stroll through the many gardens including the Jardins Exotiques and Princesse Grace Rose garden.
  • Eat - If you enjoy fine dining you're in for a treat: Book a table at Restaurant Joel Robuchon or Alain Ducasse Le Louis XV. For a romantic dinner head for the Blue Bay. If you prefer to soak in everyday French style atmosphere, there are many reasonably priced places in town including Le Petit Bar or La Note Bleue on plage Larvatto (the public beach area in Monaco).
  • Stay - Hotel Metropole and Hotel de Paris offer pure luxury and first class service to make you feel like a superstar (with pricing to go with it however, from £259 for Metropole and from £381 for Hotel de paris per night per room). If you love contemporary style, check out Port Palace. Finally you could also save your money for more eating, dining, shopping or travelling with an Air BnB flat or studio (from around £50 per night for a studio for 3 people- price based on en enquiry made for June 2018, for 4 nights, for a non sharing accommodation in monaco Ville).

5. Menton

Described as "The French Riviera unknown corner" by The Telegraph, Menton is a beautiful holiday destination, the last stop on the train line before you reach Italy. Awashed with rich colour town houses, a maze of cobbled streets and...lemons everywhere, it's well worth a visit away from the faster lifestyle of Monaco, Cannes or Nice. 

  • Visit - The Jean Cocteau Museum is a must, alongside La Salle des Mariages (also decorated by Jean Cocteau). You could also spend a little time getting "lost" in the old town or relaxing in the Val Rahmeh Botanical Gardens. 
  • Eat - Go shop for fresh food at Les Halles (Farmers market)- Here's a great tip "The outside stalls around the walls feature local stuff and are cheaper. Inside, the atmosphere is terrific but the goods on offer are top end and pricey". There are also many restaurants to pick from for a great meal for 50 euros or less, including Les French Cocottes, Maison Martin and Le Petit Port.
  • Stay - The Royal Westminster is an imposing looking hotel of colonial proportions with rooms from £137 with breakfast included. If you like quirky and retro, try Hotel Riva. It also boasts an incredible roof top pool and bar (rooms from £127 per night).

The roof top pool at Hotel Riva in Menton

6. Sainte Maxime

Sainte Maxime is a real gem of a  holiday destination on the Cote d'Azur, helped by the fact that there are no train stations or airports to get there directly. You'll need to either catch a local bus from Saint Raphael, a cab from nice airport or Sainte Augustin train station or quite possibly hire a car which will give you the most freedom to explore Sainte Maxime and its surroundings. If you decide to hire a car, do check that your car insurance covers you for it as well as your car hire excess best options, to avoid any nasty surprise.

  • Visit - Sainte Maxime has got eleven miles of coast lines and wonderful beaches, so you might just want to soak up the sun and enjoy the "farniente" to be honest. For more active alternatives, there's plenty on offer inlcuding sailing, boat trips, scuba diving and horse trekking on the beach. Bliss.
  • Eat - Head for Restaurant Le First for a delicious meal facing the sea, beach side;  At Le Petit Zinc you'll soak in the local party like atmosphere especially at the week end, alongside platters of cheese and cold meats and fine wines- it doesn't get anymore relaxed than that. If you fancy a slightly more exotic experience, try Comptoir Le Beldi Moroccan menu.
  • Stay - Family run Hotel Les Palmiers happens to be next to Le First restaurant (very convenient after a glass of rosé wine or three). 

A meat platter from Le Petit inc in Sainte Maxime on the French Riviera

7. Eze 

A wonderful medieval village built on a hilly part of the French Riviera, Eze is simply delightful. 

  • Visit - The Botanical Gardens: Landscaped Mediterranean & continental gardens at a former medieval fortress overlooking the sea. Visit the iconic Parfumerie Fragonard. 
  • Eat - Go for breathtaking views and Michelin star food at Cap Estel and Chateau Eza; travel a few miles to Le Beaulieu bar for a bit of movie nostalgia (Beaulieu sur Mer is the town so-called "Beaumont sur Mer" in the 1988 movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).
  • Stay - Get the ultimate celebrity treatment at Le Cap Estel and La Chevre 'Or. For more modest budgets and a very romantic alternative, try La Suite du village d'Eze (book early!)

the medieval village of Eze on the French Riviera

8. Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Glamourous, beautiful and unspoilt. Located on a peninsula near Villefranche Sur Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is perhaps the most idylic destination on the French Riviera, with strong Italian influences....

  • Visit - You'll be spoilt for choice from museums to nature trail walking to a " tour en mer". Make the most of the free tours organised by the Tourism office around the most magnificent properties on the peninsula. 
  • Eat - Indulge in a beautiful Aioli; visit Nonna by Gigi, a traditional trattoria; or try Le Pirate restaurant for a discovery menu from the sea and the ground (it does sound better in French when they call it "entre Terre et Mer").
  • Stay - You really have your pick of places from 5* Le Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat to 3* Hotel And Spa Villa Cap Ferrat or the more modestly priced Ourson Hotel (2* ) Or Le Panoramic (with free parking).

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