The Côte d'Azur, or French Riviera, is the southeast corner of France, bordering on Italy, which you see on the right on the map. The following are simple travel tips, city-by-city, to enhance your stay when planning a vacation in the area.
The French Riviera starts with France's largest resort town, Nice. Just to the west of Nice center is the Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport, close to town and convenient to several compelling tourist destinations marked on the map.
- If you're flying in or out of Nice airport, it could be helpful to know to spend a day at Nice Airport.
- A small guided tour of Nice and adjacent areas is great for sight-seeing and museum-going.
- Clustered around Nice are some compelling destinations for anyone who doesn't like traveling far from an airport or train station. St. Paul de Vence is an adjacent hill town, away from the sea for anyone tired of endless beaches, with its own tours and attractions. It's also home to the amazing Maeght Foundation Modern Art Museum. Check into the rural Hôtel Marc Hely for an enjoyable and quiet stay when exploring the area around St. Paul de Vence.
- Villefranche-sur-Mer is just minutes from Nice and offers a wonderful beach and nice market. You can also get there easily by train.
- Antibes' Port Vauban is the largest yachting harbor in Europe, and it's great for boat-watching.
- Antibes also has a fantastic food scene, steeped in local Mediterranean traditions. Seafood, anyone?
- The town is also home to a legendary jazz festival, if you're of the musical persuasion. Tickets sell out quickly, so if you are going to be in town for the event, plan ahead!
- The world-famous Musée Picasso is also in Antibes and is a huge tourist attraction for art-lovers.
- Here is a list of top hotels in Antibes to further plan your stay.
- All 0.7 square miles of the tiny country of Monaco is embedded along the Côte d'Azur. You can take a picturesque Shore Excursion around town to catch some rays and see the sights.
- Monaco is synonymous with luxury in the South of France – think Beverly Hills on the Mediterranean – but you won't have to break the bank to have a good time. Here are some pictures of Monaco, as well as a few great hotels for when you stay.
- Near Monaco is the medieval hill town of Roquebrune, recommended highly as a place to spend a few days for folks interested in very old castles, great food, and interesting countryside hikes. See our Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Illustrated Travel Guide.
- Menton is near the border of Italy, and it's known primarily as a flower town, much like the Ligurian coast to the east.
- If you're craving Italian food and don't want to cross the border, you'll find it in Menton. Be sure to visit the Serre de la Madone Garden at Menton, as well as the museums outlined in our guide linked above
- Here is a list of cool hotels in Menton to research before your trip.
- Cannes, of course, is known for its famous film festival, but you'll want to check out some of the other top attractions.
- Cannes is renowned for its magnificent hotels. Here you can find a list of lodging for all price ranges.
- Another small flower town, Grasse is known for its perfumes, soaps, and other scented products. For that reason, it could be perfect for a romantic afternoon away from the main stretch of the Côte.
- St. Tropez is a popular French Riviera vacation spot made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the '50s, and has been home to the "jet set" ever since.
- Perhaps its most famous beach is Plage de Tahiti, a naturist beach where you can work on your all-over tans with the beautiful people.
- "Saint Trop'", as the locals call it, is home to many fancy hotels. If you're looking for a splurge, check out our list of hotels in St. Tropez.