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The french riviera: 15 must-visit vacation spots.

Enjoy captivating vistas, ancient villages and sparkling Mediterranean waters.

French Riviera vacation

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Experience memorable views of the Mediterranean and scenic coastal towns in the Cote d'Azur.

French Riviera vacation in Nice


French Riviera vacation in Saint-Paul de Vence

Saint-Paul de Vence

French Riviera vacation in Gourdon

Port Grimaud

French Riviera vacation in Menton


French Riviera vacation in Frejus

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Top Things to Do on the French Riviera

Things to Do in Nice

Things to Do in Antibes

Things to Do in St. Tropez

Things to Do in Cannes

Things to Do in Monaco

Best French Riviera Beaches

Shopping in the French Riviera

Food to Try

Best Restaurants

Nightlife Guide

Best Time to Visit

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French Riviera Airports

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Best Hotels

Getting Around

One-Week Itinerary

One Week in the French Riviera: The Ultimate Itinerary

10 best places to visit in french riviera

Elisabeth Pollaert Smith /Photographer's Choice/Getty Images Plus 

If you've got a week to explore the French Riviera, you'll have ample time to see the famed Mediterranean stretch of coastline in the south of France, and get a good sense of its highlights. You should also take some time to move inland, where a number of medieval villages perched high in the hills offer different perspectives on a region best-known for its beaches and high-end lifestyle. But how much time to spend in each place, and how to get from one point to the next? This guide takes the guesswork out of the equation, allowing you to make the most of your trip.

Your week in the French Riviera begins in Nice and Monaco, then moves westward to famous resort towns and beaches including Cannes, Antibes, and St-Tropez. Along the way, you'll also visit a couple of the region's most stunning "perched villages." We finish off the week at the west end of the Riviera, with a visit to the postcard-pretty town of Cassis and the natural wonders of Calanques National Park.

A note about getting around: We recommend renting a car to make travel between each point on the itinerary as smooth and convenient as possible, but with careful planning it's also feasible to get around by train and taxis.

Day 1: Nice

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Welcome to the Riviera! Your seven-day adventure starts in Nice, arguably the region's most beautiful major city and home to numerous cultural and historic treasures . After arriving at the local airport (or train station) and getting to the city center, check in to your hotel and leave your bags at reception if need be. You might want to grab a simple breakfast or early lunch from one of Nice's best bakeries.

Before venturing out for your first day, make sure you have a good map or map app on your phone, and figure out how you plan to get around the city, whether by bus, tram, or on foot.

Your adventure begins with a walk along the famous Promenade des Anglais, a 2.5-mile waterside boardwalk that offers stunning views over the Mediterranean, beaches, and the ornate facades of iconic buildings such as the Hotel Negresco. Weather permitting, take a dip in the water, or to relax and people-watch on the sand.

In the late afternoon, spend some time exploring Vieux Nice (Old Town), admiring its warm, Italian-style buildings, narrow streets, Cours Saleya and its bustling market square, and sites such as the former residence of French painter Henri Matisse. This is also a good time to browse boutiques for souvenirs or local products such as olive oils and lavender-scented soaps.

Next, ideally just before sunset, take the stairs or elevator at the end of the Quai des Etats-Unis to Colline de la Chateau (Castle Hill) , whose greenery-filled lanes and panoramic views regularly draw crowds. Once the site of Nice Castle and citadel, only the ground on which they stood remains-- but this remains a remarkable spot for sweeping views over the city, port, and Baie des Anges (Angel Bay).

Cap off your day in Nice with dinner at one of the city's restaurants, taking to the terrace if conditions are warm and clear. Make sure to reserve ahead during high season.

Day 2: Monaco and Menton

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Day two is already here! It's time to take advantage of Nice's proximity to other beautiful spots on the eastern Riviera.

Begin your day by heading the independent principality of Monaco , famed for its glamorous port, casino, gardens, and royal family. You'll then take an afternoon jaunt to nearby Menton, a picturesque town at the edge of the Italian border.

Drive or take the train from Nice to Monte Carlo (heading out early in the morning to allow for a full day of exploration). Stroll around the world-famous Port, with its superyachts and remarkable sea views—ones you may recognize from James Bond films and other movies. If desired, take a peek inside the iconic Casino, a palatial 19th-century building that also houses the Monaco Opera and Ballet.

Next, drive or take the bus to the Prince's Palace of Monaco, the former Genoese fortress that has been home to the Grimaldi royal family since the 13th century. You can visit the former, lavish quarters of Serene Highness Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly; Albert II, the current-day Prince, still resides in the Palace.

Stop for lunch in the bustling central district as the La Condamine area. If time allows, visit the Place d'Armes, the principality's historic market square, before strolling through the Monaco Exotic Garden, boasting hundreds of species of succulents planted on hilly plots overlooking the sea.

In the afternoon, it's time to head east (around 30 minutes) to the photogenic town of Menton. For centuries, it was ruled by the monarchy of Monaco, and during part of the medieval period it was Genoan. The border town is thus rich in diverse cultural and historic influences, including Italian.

Spend the late afternoon exploring Menton's Old Town, endowed with handsome, pastel-colored mansions, an ornate Basilica, lush gardens, and a museum dedicated French film director Jean Cocteau. The Old Port and beaches are pleasant spots for a dip and late-afternoon aperitif as you watch the sun set over the water.

For dinner, either book a table in Menton, which is home to several noteworthy restaurants , or back in Monaco, where a glamorous nightcap at places like the Bar Americain at the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo will ensure you end day two in style.

Day 3: Peillon and Eze

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On day three, you'll move inland to see two of the Riviera's stunning villages perchés (perched villages)—towns both built into precipitous hills and cliffsides during the medieval period, and now prized for their local art, culture, and architecture.

From Monaco or Menton, head northwest up sharply winding, steep roads to Peillon (around 50 minutes by car or taxi), a fortified medieval town that appears to have been built straight into the rocky hills.

Dating back to likely around the 10th century, the town looms dramatically above a deep valley, and offers some memorable vantage points over the surrounding landscapes. Spend the morning wandering through its snaking, narrow little streets and lanes, exploring boutiques and admiring the centuries-old houses. Stop for lunch at the Auberge de la Madone , a restaurant whose fine French cooking has landed it in the Michelin guide.

After lunch, it's time to head southeast to the perched village of Èze, situated in the foothills close to the coast between Monaco and Nice. Perched on a rocky bluff overlooking the sea, the medieval town is a joy to explore. Start by wandering through the meandering, narrow streets, admiring its stone facades and warm orange tile rooftops.

Step into the town's many shops, galleries, and churches, before visiting the ruins of the former castle. From the exotic gardens there, you'll enjoy sweeping perspectives of the countryside and sea below. Papaya Beach, located just below the perched village in Èze Mer, is a charming spot for a dip or dinner on the water.

Consider staying overnight in Èze at one of its romantic, quiet hotels (some with pool and/or spa), or drive back to Nice for the night.

Day 4: Cannes and Antibes

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It's time to head back to the coast with an excursion to the city famous for its glamorous annual film festival and luxurious lifestyle: Cannes . You'll also hop over to arty Antibes , whose architecture and richly endowed museum collections offer plenty of culture for those who find Cannes a bit too heavy on the "glitz" factor and light on substance.

Since launching in the late 1930s, the Cannes Film Festival has brought global film stars and directors to red carpets, exclusive movie screenings, and offshore parties on yachts. It turned what was once a rather sleepy fishing village into an international destination for the wealthy and famous.

But the town has plenty to offer for those of us who don't hold VIP tickets to the festival. Arriving early in the morning from Èze or Nice (the trip takes around 70 minutes), start by taking a long stroll along La Croisette , the long boardwalk area flanked by sandy beaches, cafés and restaurants, and glamorous hotels.

Follow the Croisette eastward to the Old Port (Vieux Port), where you can admire its many jaw-dropping yachts and boats and enjoy beautiful perspectives over the sea and waterfront area. Pick a restaurant and, weather permitting, sit outside for an al-fresco lunch.

After lunch, take an hour or so to see the town center in Cannes, coveted for its high-end boutiques, restaurants, and hotels. Then hop in the car or take the bus to Antibes, located just 6 miles east. The centuries-old walled city has Greek and Phoenician origins, and occupies a site that was once called "Antopolis".

Spend the afternoon wandering through the cobbled, narrow streets and alleyways of Antibe's Old Town , and admire views over the water from various points. Visit the celebrated Picasso Museum , whose collections are housed in the Grimaldi Castle, a former defensive fortress belonging to Monaco's royal family. The museum also includes additional works of modern and contemporary art.

Next, visit one or more of the town's traditional markets, selling everything from flowers and olive oils to produce, cheeses, and local crafts, for a taste of local culture in Antibes.

In the evening, around sunset, descend down to  Port Vauban , the largest marina in the Riviera, to take in dusky colors and picturesque scenery. For dinner, head back up to the town above and choose a restaurant with dramatic views over the old city and Mediterranean sea beyond.

Day 5: St-Tropez

Tripsavvy / Ivey Redding

Day five brings you to another of the Riviera's most-famous waterfronts, and the sandy, wide beaches of St-Tropez. Long associated with sunbathing and tanning, it's still a prized destination by travelers even though many will now sit under umbrellas and slather on plenty of sunscreen.

The formerly quiet fishing village became a popular destination for tourists after French film star Brigitte Bardot starred in a 1956 movie shot in the town, "And God Created Woman." Since then, it's been a favorite among visitors looking for a slice of iconic Riviera style. Yet there's more to the town than the sunscreen bottles and movies suggest—it's rich in history, culture, and quiet beauty, especially during off-season.

Start your day in St-Tropez with a walk around the Vieux Port (Old Port), dotted with impressive yachts and restaurants ideal for people-watching. Stroll along the coastal path and head over to admire the remnants of the old fisherman's district, La Ponche, whose warm facades, tiny beach, and cobblestone-paved streets offer a glimpse at what the town was like before it became a tourist hotspot.

Head up to the Place des Lices for lunch, the traditional central square where Provencal-style buildings glow in the sun, and pétanque players throw metallic balls down sandy pitches while sipping pastis liqueur . On market days, this is one of the best spots for observing local life. If time allows, visit the St-Tropez Citadel, a 16th-century fortress that attests to the town's historical role as a defensive spot along the coast. The Maritime museum in the former dungeon is also worth visiting.

In the afternoon, as temperatures warm up, head to the beaches for swimming, sunbathing, or a longer coastal walk. Be aware that most of the best ones are a few minutes' away by car or bus from the center of town, along the Pampelonne Bay (in the adjoining municipality of Ramatuelle).

Pampelonne Beach is the most iconic, with its some 3 miles of white sands, turquoise waters, glamorous private clubs and restaurants. This is the place to see and be seen, but conditions are often quite crowded, so you might prefer quieter beaches on the bay or closer to St-Tropez's town center.

In the early evening, around sunset, head back to town to watch the sun set over the Port, and grab dinner out on a terrace. If you're after a nightcap, the town is famous for its lively bars and clubs, too.

Day 6: Hyères

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It's day six, and time to venture over to the far western side of the Riviera, an area that tends to be overlooked by international tourists (and prized by French travelers for its relative quiet). From Saint-Tropez, head to Hyères , considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and varied areas on the Côte d'Azur. With its medieval town nestled in the hills above the sea, wide, sandy beaches, protected islands rich with wildlife, and diverse cultural treasures, Hyères should not be missed.

Plan to arrive town in the early morning to make the most of your day there. Start with a walk around Old Town , a Provencal-style village whose fortified medieval walls, colorful market, winding, quiet streets, shops and restaurants are full of photogenic appeal. Pay a visit to the Villa Noailles , a 1920-era modernist house that once hosted the likes of painter Salvador Dali and photographer Man Ray. The sprawling house now holds a small museum dedicated to the history Hyères as well as a gallery that shows various exhibits throughout the year.

Have lunch down by the harbor or the beach, taking in the views over the water and the many boats bobbing in the Marina.

In the afternoon, consider hopping on a ferry to the nearby Port-Cros National Park and the "Golden Islands" offshore from Hyères (including the Porquerolles Islands). Clear waters, pristine sandy beaches, lush greenery, and abundant species of birds and fish await in the national park. Hiking, snorkeling, deep-sea diving, and swimming off of intimate, protected beaches are all possibilities, but make sure you come equipped for whichever activities you choose.

In the evening, head back to the mainland for dinner on the water, or enjoy a meal on the island of Port Cros .

Day 7: Cassis and the Calanques National Park

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

The last leg of your week on the French Riviera takes you further west to the pretty fishing village of Cassis , near the ancient port city of Marseille. While the latter is, oddly enough, not generally considered part of the Riviera, feel free to eke out some time to explore it, if you so choose-- or add an extra day to your itinerary if you can.

Nestled between Cap Canaille and the Calanques National Park, Cassis is simply one of the most beautiful villages along the western stretch of the "Côte d'Azur." Arriving from Hyères (around 60 minutes), start your visit of Cassis by heading directly down to the historic harbor area. Its picturesque boats, clear-blue water, and waterside restaurants are all familiar postcard images.

Next, spend a bit of time exploring the town itself, with its quiet streets and alleys, Provencal-style squares lined with warmly hued facades, and traditional shops.

After taking in the sights of the port and town, grab a table for lunch on the marina at restaurants such as La Villa Madie or Le Grand Bleu.

Around 2 p.m. (or even earlier during late fall and winter to seize more daylight hours), take a car or taxi to the nearby Calanques National Park, a stunning protected area of natural beauty. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes with good grip for hiking, a bottle of water, and bring a swimsuit for swimming and water sports in warm-weather months.

The park boasts dramatic cliff sides punctuated by meandering sea "creeks" (calanques in French), as well as protected coves and beaches ideal for swimming, snorkeling, boating, and other activities. Numerous species of wild birds and fish thrive at the reserve, which became a national park in 2012.

For dinner, head back to Cassis, or if you wish, to nearby Marseille, where you can choose from among the many decent restaurants on the historic Vieux Port (Old Port).

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The French Riviera: 8 Must-See Spots on the Côte d'Azur

By Oneika Raymond and Lindsey Tramuta

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The French Riviera is known the world over for its glamour and beauty—but these spots take it to a whole new level. From the see-and-be-seen beaches and boardwalks of Cannes and Monaco to the lavender fields of Grasse and the medieval villages of Èze, there's a whole host of places to explore throughout the summer and beyond. Keep reading for the eight must-see destinations to add to your next trip.

This gallery was originally published in November 2014. It has been updated with new information.

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The town of Menton has all the beauty of the better-known coastal villages, but a fraction of the crowds. Its half-dozen beaches are all but empty in the off-season, and boutique-filled alleyways are relatively free of bargain-hunting tourists. With over 316 days of sunshine a year, exceptional gardens, and quality Italian cuisine due to its position on the Franco-Italian border, it's an ideal spot for a day trip. (For an unparalleled Provençal gastronomic experience, however, head to Mirazur , chef Mauro Colagreco's triple Michelin-starred spot that earned the number one title in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2019.) Pro tip: In February, the town goes all out with its Lemon Festival , a celebration of spring and a throwback to the town's past, when it survived principally on citrus production.

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Beyond the megayachts and picture-perfect beaches, Antibes is a draw for its literary and artistic history. It was at the Villa Saint Louis (now the popular hotel Belles-Rives) on the Cap d’Antibes that F. Scott Fitzgerald took up summer residence with Zelda and his daughter Scottie in 1926 and began his work on Tender is the Night. The enclosed mansions and dramatic villas lining the shore that once fascinated Fitzgerald are still very much a part of the landscape, but there’s local charm to be found, too. Stroll around old Antibes, through the Cours Masséna, a Provençal food market, and up to the Musée Picasso , the first museum dedicated to the artist. Formerly the Château Grimaldi, the stronghold was Picasso’s home and workshop in 1946 and remains one of the commanding cultural draws in the resort town.

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La Colline du Chateau, Nice

Any trip to the Côte d'Azur should begin with a stop in Nice, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean. Start with a climb up to La Colline du Château (Castle Hill) to see what the the fuss is about: Once you get to the top, panoramic views of the Baie des Anges, Old Town, Nice's boardwalk, and the city's varied and vibrant architecture abound. And while a few crumbling walls are all that remain of the namesake castle on the hill, there is a verdant park that's perfect for a picnic after a full day of sightseeing.

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Old Town, Nice

Nice’s colorful Vieille Ville, or Old Town, is a delightful maze of narrow streets full of lively restaurants, galleries, and shops. There are cafés dotted all around the Old Town's many squares, so take the opportunity to sit down, coffee in hand, and people-watch the day away. For a more active visit, spend some time strolling along the near-mile Promenade du Paillon, the city's public park and botanical garden that links the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (also worth visiting) and the Promenade des Anglais.

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Long before it was synonymous with the International Film Festival and earned its reputation as a playground for the world’s dizzyingly well-heeled (and home to excess in everything from luxury cars to haute couture fashions), Cannes was a shimmering, seaside destination made for resting and people-watching—something that remains true. But it also offers extraordinary views and culture. Climb the winding staircases and pass the pastel-coated homes in Le Suquet, the city’s old quarter, and you’ll end up at the Musée de la Castre , a home for ethnographic art in a medieval fortress overlooking the marina and the Croisette. For restorative beaches and landscapes free of crowds, take a 15-minute ferry ride to two of the Lérins islands off the coast: Ile St. Honorat, known for its working monastery and forest groves, and Ile Ste-Marguerite, the spot for hidden coves and beaches.

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In craggy cliffs high above the sea, the medieval village of Èze is a delightful step back in time—and blissfully calm for the Riviera. The well-preserved stone buildings, winding alleyways, 14th-century chapels, and dramatic Mediterranean backdrop make this tiny village seem like a movie set. The dramatic views are best earned by taking one of the many hiking trails, like the famous Nietzsche path, that connect the the town and the summit, which sits 1,400 feet above sea level. At the top, you'll discover the town's medieval fortress, which you may recognize from Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief , surrounded by the Jardin Exotique , a desert garden brimming with succulents and exotic florals.

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Grasse is a quiet, pretty medieval village that also holds the distinction of being the world’s perfume capital. While famous perfumeries like Fragonard offer free tours of their factories, the real reason to come here is to take in the near-endless fields of lavender that dominate the area’s hilly landscape. Come August, the town plays host to the Jasmine Festival , a three-day celebration of jasmine, one of the two flowers to have dominated local perfume production (the other is Damascus rose). Expect homes to be draped in garlands, people dancing in the streets, parades, and jasmine petals everywhere. Grasse is conveniently located between Cannes and Nice, so a quick stop here is worth your while, if only to pick up a few bottles of perfume and stop to smell the lavender.

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Bordered by France on three sides, the petite principality of Monaco is a bastion of glitz and glamour. While it’s typically known as a playground for the ultra rich, those short on cash can still enjoy themselves here: excursions to stately sights like the Prince’s Palace, Fort Antoine, and Monaco Cathedral are all worthwhile and won’t break the bank. Take some time to observe the luxurious yachts at the harbor (or, even better, make friends with someone who owns one), and wrap up your trip with a spin at the Monte Carlo casino.


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Côte d'Azur Exclusives – Curated Experiences for the Discerning Explorer

  • Beaulieu-sur-Mer
  • French Riviera
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Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

What are the best things to do on the Côte d’Azur? What are the must-see sites to visit on the one we also call the French Riviera? Our 25 ideas for visiting the French Riviera!

To visit the French Riviera is to discover a magnificent French destination that stretches from Menton to Marseille. Even if it does not really have a clear and indisputable delimitation, the one we call the French Riviera includes many cities on the coast, 14 natural parks, Roman ruins, medieval villages and exceptional seabed. Don’t think of the French Riviera as just a place to spend your summer vacations either. Of course, the cities of the French Riviera are sunny during the summer months, while tourists stroll along the promenades and beaches, but winter on the French Riviera is one of France’s best kept secrets, with the first ski resorts only two hours drive from the coast.

In this comprehensive and regularly updated article, our editorial team lists the best things to do in this beautiful region: how to visit the French Riviera and make the most of your stay in the South of France!

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Capital of the French Riviera, Nice is one of the most recognized and lively cities on the French Riviera. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and spend some time strolling through Old Nice, then head to the Castle Hill to admire impressive views of the city, the port and the mountains. Art lovers will enjoy the Chagall and Matisse museums and, of course, luxury shopping, nightlife and world-class restaurants will have no secrets for you.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

A stone’s throw from Nice, the perched village of Èze is a must see on the French Riviera. This picturesque and paved village is perched on a cliff 430 meters above the Mediterranean Sea, offering a panoramic view of the Cap-Ferrat coast. Visit the Jardin exotique d’Èze, which is located in an ancient medieval fortress, to discover incredible panoramas of the French Riviera. For an unforgettable dinner with a view, book a table at Château Eza.

Afterwards, stay at the historic Gîte La Chèvre d’Or, where the balconies of the rooms seem to hang over the Mediterranean Sea. Just steps away is the Fragonard Perfume Museum, open to the public for guided tours. For those who love walking and hiking in nature, a panoramic path starts near the Fragonard Museum, goes down the hillside and leads to the beach. The village also has a beautiful 12th century church with an elegant neo-classical façade from the 18th century.

3. Saint-Tropez

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

A prestigious and emblematic seaside resort on the French Riviera that attracts tourists from all over the world, Saint-Tropez was once a modest fishing village. The city was made famous by the actress Brigitte Bardot in the 1950s while she was filming there. The town atmosphere of Saint-Tropez and its lush Mediterranean landscapes easily seduce its visitors. The historic village offers an atmosphere of yesteryear with its cobblestone streets, outdoor cafés and pleasant shady squares, while the picturesque port is filled with luxury yachts that delight the jet-set.

Yet, despite the chic restaurants and fashion boutiques, the Provencal atmosphere remains authentic in Saint-Tropez. You will see old people playing pétanque, families strolling around in the evening and local artists selling their paintings in the markets and along the port. Saint-Tropez is a pleasant place to explore with a relaxing seaside atmosphere where you can do many fun tourist activities.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Made famous by its annual Cannes Film Festival, this chic destination is synonymous with splendor and wealth. If you come to visit Cannes during your stay on the French Riviera, take a stroll along the Croisette, a promenade where you can soak up the local life and admire the scenery and the spectacular view of the sea. Then take the Rue d’Antibes a block north for an afternoon of shopping in the city’s many boutiques. Cannes is also the perfect place to sip champagne and have lunch in an outdoor café.

While Cannes is appreciated for its exclusive character and high-end private beaches, there are also very affordable municipal beaches (Macé and Zamenhof beaches, sandy beaches with shallow waters) as well as public beaches with free entrance: The Gazagnaire beach, which is great for swimming, the Casino Beach with a long and wide stretch of fine golden sand, the La Bocca beach, which is not very crowded, and the Moure Rouge beach, which is one of the locals’ favorite beaches.

5. Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

The colorful port of this picturesque village, with its coral-colored buildings, is one of the most beautiful fishing villages on the French Riviera. Villefranche is located on a hill and the buildings of the town seem to flow towards the port. Stroll through the narrow streets and cobbled stairs of the old center of the village (dating back to 130 BC) before visiting the 16th century Citadelle Saint-Elme, which offers a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

The sunny city of Menton enjoys a sensational location: it is the closest city to Italy to visit on the French Riviera, with a mild climate all year round. The warm weather allows the beautiful local flowers and citrus fruits to grow here. In this lush Mediterranean environment, the old town of Menton has a special Italian influence. You can start by taking the rue des Logettes and the narrow rue Longue, passing the old fortifications of the city. A staircase (Rampes de Saint Michel) leads to the terrace of the Place de la Conception with a breathtaking view of the sea. On the left stands the 17th century Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel, with an altar created by Antoine Manchello in 1569.

Higher up is the Conception Chapel, built in 1685 in the Italian Jesuit style. For those seeking relaxation by the sea, the beach at Les Sablettes is ideal for sunbathing or swimming in the calm, temperate waters. The village also has two must-see museums: the Museum of Fine Arts with works by Chagall, Dali, Dufy and Picasso among others, and the Jean Cocteau Museum (in the port of Menton), which exhibits hundreds of paintings by Jean Cocteau who created many remarkable works there during the 1950s.

Another place of interest in Menton is its splendid gardens, including the Biovès Gardens, filled with sculptures, fountains, exotic trees and flowers, and the Serre de la Madone, famous for its shimmering pools and terraces adorned with exotic plants. The Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden is also home to a wide variety of palm trees and tropical plants, including avocado, banana and papaya trees.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Recognized for its prestigious sailing race and its sublime natural landscapes, Monaco enjoys a special status on the French Riviera. This small coastal town is its own principality with a princely family, which embodies the glamour of the French Riviera. The Princely Palace of Monaco is located on what is affectionately called the “Rock of Monaco”, which houses a fortress built by the Genoese in 1215.

You can visit the Prince’s Palace to discover its treasures: a monumental staircase made of Carrara marble, precious 15th century frescoes depicting mythological scenes, the Mazarin Room, covered with ornate woodwork, and the Throne Room, with its majestic Renaissance fireplace. The Cathedral, the Chapel of the Visitation, which houses a museum of religious art, and the Oceanographic Museum with an exceptional aquarium, are other cultural curiosities of Monaco.

In an exceptional panorama of the Mediterranean Sea, the Exotic Garden seduces its visitors with its impressive landscaping and breathtaking views. Other breathtaking panoramas can be found along the Corniche. This spectacular cliffside road follows a winding path, with magnificent views of the Mediterranean at every turn. The emblematic port of Monaco, filled with luxury yachts, is an attraction not to be missed if you come to visit the French Riviera. The port is also the starting point for the Bateau Bus (water cab), which allows locals and tourists to travel around the port of Monaco.

8. Île de Porquerolles

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

With its peaceful turquoise waters and sandy shores, the island of Porquerolles has something paradisiacal and tropical about it. Although it is only 10 minutes by boat from the French Riviera coast, Porquerolles Island gives the impression of being much further away from the South of France. The north side of the island is lined with fantastic beaches, while the south side has steep cliffs and hiking trails along the creeks.

Among the popular activities during the summer, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving are things to try around the island. Nestled in the center of the island is the small village of Porquerolles, with a wide choice of hotels and restaurants. To get to the island of Porquerolles, you have to take a shuttle boat from Hyères (about an hour drive from Saint-Tropez or less than 30 minutes from Toulon).

9. Saint-Paul de Vence

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

This picturesque medieval fortified village is situated on the top of a rocky hill, offering a breathtaking view of the French Pre-Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. Its reputation as a haven of peace has allowed this French Riviera village to attract several famous painters, including Marc Chagall, who is buried in the village’s historic cemetery. You will want to stroll through the narrow streets of Saint-Paul de Vence and stop at one of the many workshops and art galleries in the village, or shop for Provencal specialties. For a unique gastronomic experience overlooking the valley, try the Scandinavian cuisine of La Brouette.

10. Antibes

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

A must on the French Riviera, this famous seaside resort, located between Nice and Cannes, is surrounded by fortified ramparts overlooking the sea. You can stroll through the streets of the historic old town, and then browse the Provencal Market of Antibes open every day. You will find fresh seasonal products, meats, seafood, olives and cheeses, and you will linger at the craft market which is distinguished by its clothing, handicrafts and other art objects. Antibes was also the home of Napoleon Bonaparte (he was briefly imprisoned there during the French Revolution at Fort Carré).

The beaches of Antibes, both public and private, can be found in two main areas along the coast: the peninsula of Cap d’Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. The beaches of Antibes are renowned for their authenticity and beauty. The coastline also offers picturesque paths, such as the Chemin des Douaniers, which are perfect for hiking or walking. Juan-les-Pins owes its name to the pine groves that flourish in this region. For those who appreciate excellent French cuisine, the Antibes and Juan-les-Pins region has many gastronomic establishments and chic bistros with outdoor terraces.

11. Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Cap-Ferrat

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Between Nice and Monaco, Cap-Ferrat is a narrow peninsula with peaceful seaside landscapes. The coast is dotted with luxury villas and vacation homes, although tourists rarely get a chance to see beyond the gates. One remarkable villa that is nevertheless open to the public is the Villa Rothschild built for Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, daughter of the wealthy banker Baron Alphonse de Rothschild. Inheriting her father’s immense fortune in 1095, Béatrice created an incomparable residence in a sublime setting at the tip of Cap-Ferrat. The villa was designed in the style of an Italian palace, with a facade of delicate pastel pink. Beatrice’s exceptional taste is revealed throughout the interior and especially in the Grand Salon with its Louis XVI furniture and its sumptuous floral decoration.

After visiting the interior of the villa, you can take the opportunity to explore the gardens. Strolling through the villa’s beautiful gardens is one of the most fabulous things to do if you are spending your vacation in this part of the French Riviera. The nine gardens consist of a French garden with musical fountains, a Spanish garden with trellis patios, a rose garden with dozens of floral varieties and a Japanese garden with a traditional pavilion, a wooden bridge and a fish pond.

12. Gourdon

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

To get to Gourdon, the tour begins with a panoramic walk in the hills above the French Riviera, through the winding roads of the Gorges du Loup, lined with granite cliffs. Then stop for a break at the Saut du Loup waterfalls. The road alone is worth the detour, but also a visit to the impressively perched fortified village of Gourdon. You can stroll through its hilly streets, which feature beautifully preserved medieval white-stone buildings, and visit the feudal castle with its carved gardens. Afterwards, relax on the terrace of the Taverne Provençale to enjoy an extraordinary view of the French Riviera.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Charming city surrounded by ancient ramparts, Vence is located north of Cagnes-sur-Mer. Here you can explore the historic streets and visit the Cathedral of the Nativité-de-Marie. The church dates from the fourth century and houses a mosaic by the renowned artist Marc Chagall.

14. Ramatuelle

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

This small town built in the hills and surrounded by ramparts overlooks the bay of Pampelonne. Located only 15 minutes from Saint-Tropez, it is the ideal place to stay near the famous city of the French Riviera. The medieval village is a collection of old spiral buildings, with winding cobbled streets leading to beautiful squares. The characteristic Mediterranean architecture of the village is distinguished by its beige facades and brightly colored shutters. Scented jasmine, honeysuckle flowers and bougainvillea bloom throughout the village.

In the center of the town, the 16th century parish church, the Church of Our Lady, has a 14th century bell tower and an interior beautifully decorated with gold leaf statuettes. If you want to discover the atmosphere and the local culture of Ramatuelle, do not hesitate to visit the traditional Provencal market held on the Place de l’Ormeau on Thursday and Sunday mornings. Take the time to visit Château Volterra and taste the AOC Côtes de Provence wines in its vineyards.

15. Port Grimaud

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Another charming Provençal town nearby is Port-Grimaud (about eight kilometers from Saint-Tropez). This seaside resort, which can only be visited on foot (even motorcycles are not allowed), is reminiscent of Venice, with its promenades and footbridges (parking lots are located outside the center of the resort). Most of the colorful houses along the canals have their own mooring place outside their front door. It is possible to rent motor boats to explore the canals. You can easily visit Ramatuelle and Port-Grimaud as well as other Provencal villages on a day trip.

16. Sainte-Maxime

Sainte-Maxime is a favorite vacation spot for families, protected from the winds by the Massif des Maures, creating a most pleasant atmosphere on the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. The town is renowned for its beautiful Mediterranean beaches and its many water sports activities, including scuba diving (there are at least 60 spots to explore), jet skiing and parasailing. To take your adventure to the next level, visit the Pelagos Sanctuary to learn more about initiatives to preserve local mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Founded by Julius Caesar in 49 BC, this ancient city located between Sainte-Maxine and Cannes is a must on the French Riviera for its impressive Roman ruins. Your first stop will be the Forum Julii, a site of Roman ruins that conceals the remains of an aqueduct, fortifications and an amphitheater dating back to the end of the first century. Fréjus is also home to the Cloister of the Cathedral of St. Leonce de Fréjus, a medieval structure built between the 5th and 14th centuries with painted ceilings and unique wooden beams.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Perfume and beauty lovers should make Grasse an obligatory stop on their visit to the French Riviera and Provence. This medieval village, at the foot of the Alpes Maritimes, near the Loup valley, is surrounded by fields of lavender, mimosa, roses and jasmine flowers which are used to make perfumes. Grasse has several renowned perfume shops, such as Fragonard and Galimard, which are open to the public for guided tours. For those who love the gentle Provencal way of life, the old town revels in its romantic cobbled streets, quiet and shady courtyards and outdoor cafés. On sunny days, the city’s spectacular gardens inspire quiet walks. Some of the parks offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

19. Corniche de l’Esterel

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Also known as the Corniche d’Or, it is a section of the N98 about twenty kilometers long that stretches from Fréjus to La Napoule through the French Riviera. The Corniche de l’Esterel is not only an exhilarating road with many hairpin bends, it is also a very panoramic road that offers a breathtaking view of the rocky coast and the brick-red Esterel mountains. Because of its spectacular views, the Corniche de l’Esterel is considered by some to be one of the busiest roads in Europe.

20. Mougins

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Here you will see some celebrities on vacation and many wealthy Parisians who have chosen to buy a pied-à-terre on the French Riviera. Wherever they go, famous chefs follow them, and Mougins is now a must in gourmet and gourmet circles. If you don’t come here especially for gastronomy, Mougins also has many galleries and a handful of posh cafés with pleasant terraces.

21. Mandelieu-la-Napoule

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

La Napoule is the small old-fashioned port village, Mandelieu the big fishing town that devoured it. Mandelieu is a city that abounds in sports facilities and hosts many sporting events: sailing regattas, windsurfing competitions, golf championships (there are two large golf courses in Mandelieu in the city center, and on the seaside), etc… A crowded marina is located in the shadow of some luxury hotels. La Napoule, for its part, offers the necessary quietness, ideal for a walk on the port side, a relaxed meal, a nap on the beach or a visit to its very special castle. Unless you are here for sun and surf, these two twin cities will be the perfect base for your outings to Cannes, Antibes and the Esterel. Indeed, Mandelieu’s easternmost beach coincides with the first and most fashionable beaches of Cannes, its glamorous neighbor.

22. Le Lavandou

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

In a magnificent setting at the foot of the Massif des Maures on a wide bay, Le Lavandou benefits from a sumptuous seaside setting. The lavender fields bloom here in season. Le Lavandou is located about 40 kilometers east of Toulon. This former fishing village is now a popular summer vacation spot. Its port is full of yachts and ferries leaving from here for the Hyères Islands. Along the Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny, lined with palm trees, there are wide sandy beaches with a breathtaking view of the sea and the Hyères Islands. South of Le Lavandou, the wooded peninsula of Cap Bénat stretches into the sea with a lighthouse at its end. The N559 road, which runs east from Le Lavandou, leads to sandier beaches interspersed with rocky stretches.

23. Bormes-les-Mimosas

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

The charming medieval village of Bormes-les-Mimosas is only two kilometers from Le Lavandou. In a picturesque rural setting, the village runs along the slopes of a hill and enjoys an exceptional view (especially from the terrace near the ruins of the castle). The village has a beautiful 16th century church, the Chapelle Saint-François-de-Paule, on the Place de la Liberté. A statue commemorates the beneficent actions of Saint Francis of Paula during the plague of 1481. Also worth seeing are the bell tower of the Clock Tower and the church of Saint-Trophime, both dating from the 18th century. Beneath the church is the oldest part of the village, with steep streets known as “rompi-cuou”, a common feature of Provencal hilltop towns. Bormes-les-Mimosas is also famous for its flowers, especially the fragrant mimosa flowers that bloom throughout the village.

24. Parc national du Mercantour

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Created in 1979, this vast national park encompasses seven alpine valleys and a total area of 685 km². Surrounded by deep valleys and dotted with jagged peaks, dominated by the Cime du Gélas (3143m), the third highest mountain in the Alpes-Maritimes, the Mercantour National Park is a paradise for outdoor activities: skiing and snowboarding in winter, hiking and biking in summer, but also many other experiences.

The Mercantour is also famous for its flora and fauna, including rare species such as the ibex, mouflon, golden eagle and wild grey wolf, which can be observed in the excellent Alpha wolf park near the village of St-Martin-Vésubie. The park is currently at the forefront of the debate on the return of the wild wolf to France: after more than a century of absence, the number of wolves is constantly increasing – a cause for rejoicing for conservationists, and deep anger for local breeders.

25. Les Gorges du Verdon

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

For a breathtaking spectacle, few sites in France can match the epic Gorges du Verdon. Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of Europe”, the Gorges du Verdon extend 25 km across the limestone plateau of Haute-Provence to the foothills of the Alps. Established for millions of years on the banks of the Verdon, the gorges have been the centerpiece of the Verdon Regional Natural Park since 1997. With their steep, plunging cliffs – in some places 700 m high, twice the height of the Eiffel Tower – the gorges are a sanctuary for birds, including a colony of reintroduced griffon vultures.

The main gorge begins at Rougon, near the confluence of the Verdon and Jabron rivers. The most interesting starting points are Moustiers Ste-Marie, to the west, and Castellane, to the east.

When is the best time to visit the French Riviera?

The French Riviera is protected by hills to the west and the Mercantour National Park to the northeast, which means a mild Mediterranean climate all year round. Expect almost 300 days of sunshine, with showers around March and April, as well as in October and November. June and September are among the best months to visit the area, while July and August are the high season. Tourists crowd the beaches during the summer months, making it difficult to spread out your towel on the beach and to book a restaurant in the evenings.

Winter is far from being a good time to swim, but temperatures rarely reach 0°C. The big cities and some villages on the French Riviera organize traditional Christmas markets with local specialties and mulled wines. The 15 ski resorts in the region are open in season in December, the nearest ones (Auron, Isola 2000 and Valberg) being a little over two hours by bus from Nice train station or airport (1.50€ for a one-way ticket).

In February, Nice hosts one of the main winter events of the French Riviera, the Nice Carnival, during 15 days, with 16 floats parading on the Massena square. In Menton, the city organizes the Lemon Festival, a three-week festival featuring floats filled with more than 140 tons of local oranges and lemons.

Visit the French Riviera: the 25 best things to do

Visit The French Riviera

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The Most Charming Towns

Whether you are looking for a day that starts (and ends) with rosé at a celeb-filled beach club or prefer a more secluded seaside or historic village escape, Iconic Riviera will fill you in on the very best places to find whatever you’re looking for.

The French Riviera is dotted with hidden gems steeped in local history, excellent cuisine, and artist’s hideaways. Head inland from the waterfront bustle to explore towns immersed in rich Mediterranean culture, where pristine vineyards hug hillside contours and an array of artisan activity provides endless appeal.

Dramatic, diverse, and picturesque, this area is home to numerous ‘villages perchés’; ancient hillside towns packed with thriving communities, where secluded luxury blends with history. Such unique enclaves of inspiration indeed project an inimitable pull, ready to enchant and beguile the senses of those who come to explore.

Read on to find out why the French Riviera towns attract so many artists, celebrities, sun-seekers, and jet-setters:

Seaside Cities on the French Riviera

Henri Matisse summed up the appeal of Nice thus: ‘Do you remember the light through the shutters?’ he said. ‘It came from below, as if from theater footlights. Everything was fake, absurd, amazing, delicious.’ But Nice isn’t the only absurdly glamorous city on the French Riviera. The following are the list of the main French Riviera cities along with links to travel guides:

The Most Charming Towns - monaco travel guide french riviera

This small, independent, and very international Principality on the French Riviera is known for its luxurious and extravagant lifestyle. Monaco is so wealthy and full of billionaires that it doesn’t even measure poverty rates — there are no homeless or poor people. In fact, to live comfortably in Monaco, you’ll either need a hefty trust fund or an income of at least €250,000 per adult.

Monte Carlo, Monaco’s glitziest and most famous district, is filled with five-star uber-luxury hotels, exotic supercars , high-end designer boutiques , and the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo.

See our Monaco travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - Nice travel guide french riviera 1

Nice is a love-it-or-hate-it city. To some, it’s a true Mediterranean jewel and the unofficial capital of the French Riviera, and to others it doesn’t hold a candle to its far more luxurious and glamorous sister, Cannes. If you’re looking for luxury, you won’t find it here (especially if you’re used to 5-star hotels), but if you want to experience real-life grit in the South of France, then Nice is the place to do that.

Nice is rich in history, heritage, gastronomy , and culture. With its famous promenade along the coast, iconic pebbled beaches, seaside restaurants, and outstanding and versatile outdoor market (arguably the best market in the South of France ).

A town once favored by glamorous aristocrats, a must-see is the magnificent 17th century mansion of Musée Matisse . Home to the master himself, several of his major works are on display – both art lovers and the uninitiated alike will be captivated. Another surprise is the beautiful 16th century Franciscan monastery , filled with hundreds of items of art, a small museum and immaculate gardens.

See our Nice travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - cannes travel guide

We all know this “timeless” city in southern France for its links to celebrities and billionaires. Basking in the sun, this is a city that the rich and famous have been coming to for over 150 years. It simply sparkles with glamour, whilst the grandeur of the postcard-perfect coastline promenade of La Croisette and the Belle Epoque buildings reflect its aristocratic history. 

Cannes is full of luxurious hotels and restaurants, and the annual Cannes Film Festival is an unmissable event. But there’s more to Cannes than the red carpets and celebrities that attract many to this cosmopolitan place in France. Cannes mixes tradition and modernity to mesmerize many, from sheiks to the nouveau-riche, to come and see its beauty.

Today, Cannes is still home to the internationally wealthy who provide a ready and willing clientèle to the city’s numerous designer boutiques, swanky bars and lavish hotels. Cannes has plenty of gourmet restaurants with terraces spilling onto the street and swanky beach clubs serving delicious cocktails under the sun. In the summer, your can charter a yacht to the nearby Lérins Islands . No wonder Cannes has become the playground of the rich and famous.

See our Cannes travel guide .

Antibes & Juan-les-Pins

The Most Charming Towns - antibes travel guide france

Antibes is a popular seaside town in the French Riviera, with beaches and natural bays. It’s known for its old town enclosed by 16th-century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré which overlooks luxury yachts moored at the Port Vauban marina. With landmarks full of historicity and modern combined with the upbeat nightclubs, beaches, and casinos, this resort town is must-see on the Côte d’Azur.

The forested Cap d’Antibes peninsula, dotted with grand villas, separates Antibes from Juan-les-Pins, a chic resort town with buzzing nightlife and the Jazz à Juan music festival .

See our Antibes & Juan-les-Pins travel guide .

The French Islands

The French Riviera isn’t well-known for its islands, yet just a stone’s throw from the glitz and glamour of Cannes and Saint Tropez lie tranquil archipelagos of exceptional Mediterranean beauty, where you can stroll through pine forests and rolling vineyards, explore ancient forts and monasteries, and sunbathe on soft-sand beaches in clear turquoise coves.

The Most Charming Towns - corsica travel guide 1

Corsica is a wild island, in every sense of the word. The ancient Greeks sailed into Corsica’s dazzling turquoise bays and declared the island ‘Kalliste’: the Most Beautiful. Henri Matisse found it to be a “marvelous land,” where “all is color, all is light.”

Blessed with seaside cliffs and grottoes, jagged mountains, sublime gorges, and sun-baked white beaches, the island bursts with landscapes that could melt a photographer’s lens. Corsica is an island of many micro-regions, and over the course of a half-day you can travel from lush and forested mountains, to rocky gorges, to coves of sparkling sea and soft sand. It can be your Alps, your Adirondacks and your Aruba. 

See our Corsica travel guide .

The Lerins Islands

The Most Charming Towns - lerins islands travel guide 1

The beautiful and unspoiled Lerins Islands (Îles de Lérins) combine leisure and relaxation to pull many tourists out of Cannes and other major towns of French Riviera. Stepping ashore on the Lerins islands, you cannot help but feel like you’ve travelled back to a simpler time when the area was still a sleepy place inhabited by monks and fishermen, ruled by the rhythms of sunny days and the summertime buzz of cicadas.

They are rich with a unique history matched with historical sites, beautiful panoramas, and natural features. Only a 15-minute ferry ride, but seemingly another world away from the hustle and bustle of the partyish French Riviera towns, this pair of islands is a perfect tourist escape. No cars are allowed on the islands and there are few inhabitants, so if you’ve ever wondered what the Cote d’Azur was like before the grand hotels and apartment blocks sprung up along the coast, you simply must visit the enchanting islands of the French Riviera.

See our Lerins Islands travel guide .

Small Seaside Resort Towns

The coast of the French Riviera glimmers with wonderful resort towns that boast tempting beaches and picturesque landscapes. Below are the resort towns of the French Riviera and their corresponding links for travel guides:


The Most Charming Towns - st tropez travel guide2

Saint-Tropez is a small town that, at first glance, seems quite traditional. However, this town is famous worldwide for being one of the most glamorous centers of luxury, gigantic yachts and lavish sports cars worldwide. It owes much of its success to Brigitte Bardot and the movie ‘And God Created Woman’, filmed in Saint-Tropez and released in 1957, which made Bardot a sex symbol for a whole generation. Travel to this jet-setters’ and artists’ favorite to experience a fashionable French Riviera escapade.

In Saint-Tropez, two very different lifestyles coexist at the same time. On the one hand, fame, wealth and ostentation are concentrated in the port area, where large ships, Ferraris, legendary nightclubs, and luxury stores predominate. On the other, the town also has a quaint, quiet area, where a a more tranquil lifestyle reigns. They are the neighborhoods where the locals live.

See our St Tropez travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - menton france travel guide

Last stop on the Côte d’Azur before Italy, the seaside town of Menton offers a glimpse of what the high life in big cities on the Riviera must have been like before the developers moved in. With its pastel mansions and lovely old port, it’s one of the most photogenic towns on the entire coast.

Famous for its year-round 355 days of sunshine and flowering vegetation, many say that Menton is the most Italian of all the towns in the French Riviera. Given its proximity to the Italian border, we can see why. In fact, Menton is said to be the warmest town on the French Riviera, which was the reason for its popularity during the Belle Époque when British visitors and Russian princes flocked to the town and luxury hotels and villas were built in a magical setting.

See our Menton travel guide.


The Most Charming Towns - jean cocteau villefranche2

With its colorful buildings, seaside restaurants, and excellent location between Nice and Monaco , Villefranche-Sur-Mer is unmissable to in-the-know tourists. It is close to everything, yet quiet and charming. Perhaps that’s why rock-and-roll royalty such as Keith Richards and Tina Turner own villas here.

From dreamy scenery, exquisite dining places, heritage sites, and even local village peculiarities, this idyllic town retains an authentic Mediterranean feel typical of the Riviera — but it is more of an Italian vibe than French to many. Most of its buildings date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, and the houses are painted with bright Provençal colors. Flowers beautify the balconies and facades that cascade down the hill to the sea into the waterfront quay.

See our Villefranche-Sur-Mer travel guide .


The Most Charming Towns - beaulieu sur mer beach 1

Beaulieu-sur-Mer means “beautiful place on the sea” in French. An accurate description. A not-so-hidden-hideaway with a Belle Époque touch and lovely seafront gardens, many royals and personalities have frequented this place of understated glamour. Walking around will transport you back to its illustrious past as you admire its historic and luxurious structures. Flowers with bright colors perfume the air and graceful palms line the seafront gardens. Magnolia trees, parasol pines, and cypresses grow abundantly. The three main streets are sprawling with citrus trees bearing ripe fruits.

See our Beaulieu-sur-Mer travel guide .

Perched Historic Villages

While it’s true that the coastal French Riviera is still a show-off’s paradise, a place of dazzling spectacle and bravura performance, the inland region is also home to quieter, more authentic pleasures.

As soon as temperatures rise, residents head for the hills, to walk through cool forests of truffle oaks, swim in waterfalls and sip  rosé en piscine  (with ice cubes) on a shady village square. They jump on a ferry to Ile Saint-Honorat for a lunch of fresh, grilled scallops, or go to Théoule-sur-Mer for a swim at one of the tiny inlets along the craggy coastline.

Medieval towers, ramparts, and castles are the main attractions of the perched villages on the Cote d’Azur. But that’s not all there is. You’ll find the true essence of the French Riviera in the breaths between cities.

Clifftop roads bring you through rolling hills coated with lavender fields, vineyards, and olive groves all to the backdrop of that brilliant blue. Visits to these villages are the ideal suffix to a day spent between the beach and larger cities. While stone dolmens mark the French Riviera’s prehistory, its Roman colonization endures in a collection of remarkable sites.

Below is a list of the best perched villages in the French Riviera, and the links to their respective travel guides for you to discover:

St Paul de Vence

The Most Charming Towns - vence france travel guide 1

Its reputation as a famous artist haven is as lofty as its walls. The cobbled stones, ancient ramparts, numerous art galleries, and brick houses are merely facades for the surprises the town harbors within.

Not just limited to simply visual delights, a reputation for culinary ingenuity sees visitors flock to the French Riviera to sample a variety of mouth-watering and colorful cuisine, further enhanced by the accompaniment of award-winning wines and local cheeses. An appreciation for food and fine dining runs in the veins of every French man and woman, with outstanding regional ingredients cultivated with pride; it is no wonder many illustrious chefs hail from this epicurean center, their gastronomy revered the world over.

See our St Paul de Vence travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - eze village travel guide21

Found 425 meters above the azure sea, countryside charm exudes from ancient Èze. Centered around the ruins of a 12th century castle, an intricate labyrinth of medieval streets bursts with craft boutiques and art exhibitions. Overlooking magnificent villas festooned with bright bougainvillea, the Jardin Exotique is a haven of tranquility, not to mention a horticulturalists’ dream, packed with a multitude of cacti, citrus trees and tropical plants.

Locals call Èze a village-museé (museum village) and village d’art et de gastronomie (village of art and gastronomie). Its medieval structures blend well with shops, art galleries, hotels, and restaurants. A gastronomic heaven, the stunning Chateau Eza hotel, a secluded 400-year-old property and former residence of a Swedish Prince, offers a one-star Michelin gourmet experience on the elegant terrace, high above the sparkling Med. For uber-gastronomic dining, the two-Michelin-star La Chevre d’Or is world-famous.

See our Èze travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - mougins france travel guide2 1

Mougins has become the favorite culinary and culture getaway for Brits and consequently has a large English-speaking population. Mougins, offering spectacular views over Cannes and Grasse, rises in a corkscrew of enchanting cobbled streets. A highly attractive aspect in the village are the trees that grow through restaurant terraces in the main square, creating their very own artistic imprint.

The historic center is awash with quaint alleyways adorned with fountains and statues, while artists’ studios blend into a backdrop of lush gardens. Mougins has been frequented and inhabited by many artists and celebrities such as Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Man Ray and Winston Churchill, and now showcases 30 art galleries and museums. It’s most famous resident, Pablo Picasso, spent the last 12 years of his life living here.

Having become known as a center of gastronomy, Mougins is home to a myriad of magnificent restaurants, including those with Michelin stars, where great chefs such as Roger Vergé and Alain Ducasse managed restaurants.

See our Mougins travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - cagnes sur mer travel guide

“The Town of Arts and Crafts,” the lemon city, and one of the favorite scenes of artists and painters, this pleasant ancient hilltop town invites you to a leisurely visit. Over the last 100 years or so a long list of artists like Modigliani, Renoir and Soutine have fallen in love with Cagnes, and the many ateliers in the old town point to a creative community.

The oldest part of town (and the only part worth visiting) is on the hilltop, a 10-minute drive from the sea. It is a hidden gem: a less-touristy and less-busy alternative to other medieval towns along the French Riviera, yet just as charming.

See our Cagnes travel guide .

The Most Charming Towns - Cap Martin Roquebrune travel guide3

The old town of Roquebrune and the seaside area of Cap Martin are basically the suburbs of Monaco. Cap-Martin is a perfect hideaway from the urban glitz of Monaco (in fact, Karl Lagerfeld had a vacation estate in Cap Martin). The town is charming and the cap has a lovely nature walk along the seaside.

As one of the medieval perched-villages, Roquebrune rises up to 300 meters in altitude. The historical architecture and monuments are pleasant treats for history lovers. There are medieval, and even a prehistorical, attractions, with magnificent villas and avant-garde structures to balance the experience of every visitor.

See our Roquebrune & Cap Martin travel guide .

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The Ultimate Guide to the French Riviera (including the Best French Riviera Cities!)

The Ultimate Guide to the French Riviera (including the Best French Riviera Cities!)

Planning a trip to France? The French Riviera is one of the most beautiful places in the country! This guide includes all the best places to visit in the Cote d’Azur (including the French Riviera cities you won’t want to miss) and the top things to do in the French Riviera.

Do you want to see an example of what the word “breathtaking” truly looks like? Go to the French Riviera, or should I say Cote d’Azur! With its Mediterranean weather, stunning scenery, absolutely astounding beaches, rich history, and magnificent cobblestone towns, it’s pretty easy to see why the French Riviera is one of the most sought-after destinations in France.

I spent part of my childhood growing up in Mougins and the French Riviera will always be near and dear to me. Now, I try to go back and visit whenever I can… It truly is a special place .

Here’s the ultimate guide to the French Riviera!

How Many Days Do You Need to Visit the French Riviera?

How to Get to the French Riviera

By Plane: The French Riviera’s primary transport hub is the Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur. With daily flights from New York (JFK), Delta is the only airline that flies directly from the United States to Nice. There are numerous daily flights from major cities like London and Paris to Nice on airlines like British Airways and Air France.

By Train: The French Riviera can be reached from other parts of France and the major cities of Europe by train. With the high-speed TGV train, the journey from Paris to Nice takes about five and a half hours.

By Car: The motorway known as “la Provençale” (A8) links Nice to Aix-en-Provence in the west as well as the Italian border in the east. Driving the 950 km (590 miles) between Paris and Nice takes about eight hours.

The Best Time to Visit the French Riviera

The Best Time to Visit the French Riviera

There’s never a bad time to visit French Riviera cities, and they won’t disappoint you at any time of year you are planning to visit. There’s always something happening with plenty of things to do in the French Riviera.

However, if you want a traditional resort experience, spring and summer are better times to visit. Throughout the spring and summer, the weather is perfect for going to the beach. However, this season is the busiest with many locals and tourists enjoying the beaches and charming towns.

On the other hand, fall is a more sedate and rainy season, but it is still possible to take a plunge in the Mediterranean in the early months. The winters are mild on the French Riviera, and there aren’t many people around—except for during the busy holiday and carnival times.

How to Get to the French Riviera

How Many Days Do You Need to Visit the French Riviera?

When planning a trip to the French Riviera, set aside at least 3 days and choose a few of the French Riviera’s cities to visit. You could base yourself in either Nice or Cannes to explore the town and maybe plan a day trip or two.

A week would be ideal to see the major highlights from Monaco to St Tropez and take in some of the contemporary metropolises, medieval hilltop towns, and countryside escapes. This amount of time would really allow you to relax and soak in the south of France.

But no matter how much time you spend here, it will never be enough as it will only whet your appetite for more… at least that’s what I’ve found!

Menton Marina | How to Get Around the French Riviera

How to Get Around the French Riviera

It is very simple to get around the French Riviera by either car or public transportation. There are excellent rail connections between all of the French Riviera cities, and train tickets are, on the whole, not too expensive. Once you arrive at your desired location, the best way to discover it is on foot. You should be able to get a map at any of the tourist information offices that are typically situated within walking distance of the railway station.

Beach Club in Cannes, France

Top Things to do in the French Riviera

Looking for the best things to do on the Cote d’Azur? Here are some of the best French Riviera cities and charming towns that you won’t want to miss on your trip to the south of France!

Nice, France | The Best French Riviera CIties

Nice is a picture-perfect paradise located on the French Riviera that provides its visitors with all they could possibly want during their time away. The city, which is the fifth biggest in France, draws in visitors from all over the globe for a variety of reasons. In the summer, it transforms into a bustling seaside city, and in the winter, it transforms into a peaceful destination for a break in France.

Villefranche-Sur-Mer,, France | The Best Places to Visit in the French Riviera


The town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is one that seems like it was ripped straight out of a painting. It is full of vibrant colors and sits on a picturesque harbor with a pebble and sand beach. This picturesque coastal town is breathtaking in every nook and cranny, from the historic district to the azure waters of the ocean to the verdant hills in the background.

Best French Riviera Cities | Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco has a well-deserved reputation for being the playground of the rich and famous. This historical principality is known for its luxurious casino, fancy shopping complexes, lavish bars and clubs, and a man-made beach, all of which draw famous celebrities and tourists throughout the year. The backdrop also has an alluring charm to it, with its turquoise waters, beautiful palm trees, and colorful flowers.

St Paul de Vence, France | The Best Places to Visit in the French Riviera

St Paul de Vence

The charming town of St Paul de Vence is perched high above a hill and is home to a number of museums and galleries showcasing modern art. The village boasts breathtaking vistas that extend across the surrounding hills and vegetation all the way to the coast. Walking about the town is a really pleasurable experience since the little cobblestone streets are so charming and life seems to move at a more leisurely pace.

Eze, France | The Best Places to Visit in the French Riviera

Taking a day trip to Eze is one of the best things to do in the Cote d’Azur. Eze is a picturesque hilltop medieval town in the south of France that is well-known for its outstanding architecture, breathtaking vistas, and remarkable geographical position above the French Riviera.

The Best French Riviera Cities | Menton


The town of Menton, France, is often referred to as the “Pearl of France” because of its picturesque setting between the mountains and the sea. This area is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, along with picture-perfect towns and a wealth of unspoiled natural beauty. Menton is located so close to Italy that it often has an atmosphere that is more Italian than French. This is apparent in everything from the culture and architecture to the delectable cuisine.

The Best French Riviera Cities | Cannes

The beautiful Croisette, the pristine beaches, and the excellent restaurants along the water’s edge are what bring most visitors to Cannes. It is a year-round destination located on the French Riviera that is adored by the affluent and famous for its luxurious hotels, gourmet eating, and beach culture. Perhaps the city is most well-known for being the site of the glittering Cannes Film Festival.

→ Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to Cannes, France

Antibes, France | The Best Places to Visit in the French Riviera

If you are already taking in the magnificence of the French Riviera, a trip to Antibes is certainly something you should consider doing. If you want to satisfy your artistic cravings, you may visit the town that has become famed for its arts scene and offers must-see museums and attractions. This historic town of Antibes is comprised of stunning streets that are paved with cobblestone and adorned with flowers. The streets are also packed with local markets, cafes, bistros, taverns, and art galleries.

Best French Riviera Cities | La Reserve in Mougins

If you’re planning a trip to the French Riviera, Mougins should be on the top of your list of must-see destinations. The village of Mougins is perched on top of a hill and is surrounded by pine trees, olive trees, and Cyprus trees. The moment you set foot in this magnificent town, you will be captivated by the enchantment of the winding pathways, which are decorated with vibrant flowers and lead to magnificent old homes on each side.

→ Read Next: Mougins, France: Guide to the French Riviera’s Most Charming Town

Grasse France

If you have a taste for fragrances, a trip to Grasse, which is located on the French Riviera and is known as the “Perfume Capital of the World,” might be an aromatic adventure. The city is home to a worldwide museum dedicated to the art of perfume production, as well as three perfumeries that visitors may explore. If all those aren’t enough, you can also visit the fields where fragrant flowers are grown specifically for use in perfumes.

St Tropez | The Best French Riviera CIties

St Tropez is renowned for having some of the liveliest and most exciting nightlife in all of Europe. It is a place that is known for its glitz and glamour, celebrity spotting, extravagant parties, enormous yachts, and breathtaking landscapes. But St Tropez is more than just private beach clubs and upscale restaurants. The enchanting town is also home to quaint olive orchards, a colorful village, beautiful marina, and stunning coastline.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera

Where to Stay in the French Riviera

You can stay in any of the French Riviera cities that you visit, or you could make one city your home base and then take day trips from there. When planning your itinerary, it’s usually easiest to decide what to do in the French Riviera and where to go on French Riviera, then choose your lodging from there!

From ultra-luxurious resorts to charming apartments, the French Riviera has a wide range of accommodations — here are some of the best options.

  • Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat : This landmark hotel is an iconic of the French Riviera and has hosted famous guests like Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill. The five star resort boasts an outdoor pool overlooking the sea with views from Nice to Monaco. (Cap-Ferrat)
  • Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa : An elegant and breathtaking hotel perched in the hills of Vence, only 15 minutes from Nice. This hotel is the perfect place to unwind — especially with its fabulous pool and panoramic hilltop views. (Vence)
  • Hotel Martinez : Known for its’ Art Deco glamour, this recently renovated hotel is located directly on the beach in Cannes and boasts a two-star Michelin restaurant, a beach club, and a fantastic spa. (Cannes)
  • Le Grand Hotel Cannes : This luxurious hotel offers a retro look with fantastic sea views, a bustling beach club, and a Michelin-starred restaurant on site. (Cannes)
  • Le Negresco : This iconic spot is one of the top hotels in Nice and features sea views for days! (Nice)
  • Hotel Belles Rives : The former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, Hotel Belles Rives sits on a stunning beach near Antibes. The rooms are charming and feature sea views. (Juans-les-Pins)
  • Hotel Verlain e: This hotel is located in the heart of Cannes and is only a few steps from Rue d’Antibes.  You won’t be disappointed once you step into the vibrant interior! (Cannes)
  • Hotel Barriere Le Gray d’Albion : This central Cannes hotel channels Art Deco style for the contemporary era, and the rooms have recently been renovated, with new balconies and better views. (Cannes)
  • Hotel Apollinaire Nice : A beautifully designed hotel located in Nice’s city center and only 9 minutes walk to the beach. (Nice)
  • Hotel Le G : Located in the heart of Nice, this hotel is close to the trams, train station and airport — and features a playful, fun design. (Nice)
  • OKKO Hotels Nice Aéroport : Featuring modern, clean rooms with a trendy atmosphere, this is a great option in Nice near the airport. (Nice)
  • Villa Claudia Hotel Cannes : A former 19th-century home is now an 18-room hotel in a convenient location in Cannes just a short walk from Rue d’Antibes. (Cannes)
  • Villa Pruly Hotel Cannes Centre : This fashionable hotel is a converted mansion conveniently located between Rue d’Antibes and the Cannes train station. (Cannes)
  • Hotel Alexandre III : Another fantastic hotel in a historical building, Hotel Alexandre III, is less than 1000 feet from the beach and features air-conditioned rooms, a private garden, a terrace, and free wifi. (Cannes)
  • Hotel les Vergers de Saint Paul : This quaint hotel features and outdoor swimming pool and a delicious breakfast spread. (Saint Paul de Vence)

Beach Club in Cannes, France

It’s quite hard to think of a more idyllic place than the Côte d’Azur in southern France. With its picture-perfect villages, year-round sunshine, and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea, there is no better place to enjoy the summer! Let me know in the comments; which is your favorite of the French Riviera cities?

The Ultimate Guide to Cannes, France

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12 Best Cities and Towns on the French Riviera to Visit in 2024

Looking for the best cities and towns on the French Riviera? The Côte d’Azur is jam-packed with unrivaled beauty, charm, history, and not to mention luxury.

I’ve always loved the French Riviera even though I’m less of a luxury traveler than most visitors to this glittering French coastline.

It’s got a charm and so many different layers to uncover. Strolling through old Medieval streets, snapping pictures of colorful buildings, and going on refreshing boat trips in the deep blue Mediterranean are just some of the things you can expect from this startling destination.

It can be hard to decide where to go, which is why I’ll focus this post on the best French Riviera towns and cities so that you can find the ones that resonate with you the most.

Read on to uncover the best of French Riviera cities and towns!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

best places in the French Riviera


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Table of Contents

Best towns on the French Riviera

By Jo of World Wild Schooling

Cassis  is a cozy, charming French Riviera town near Marseille. To start your journey, fly into Marseille Provence Airport and rent a car to explore freely and at your own pace. You can reach Cassis by train and bus, but it’s more accessible by car.

Once in Cassis, stroll along the quaint port, enjoying the view of soft-colored houses, and wander through the picturesque old town with its cobblestone streets and adorable buildings.

Next, the Calanques – tall, dramatic limestone cliffs beside the sparkling blue sea – are something you can’t miss!

You can explore them by taking a boat tour, or if you’re up for a bit of adventure, hike the scenic trails to experience them up close. You can also swim in the crystal-clear waters.

Dive into local life by visiting the Cassis markets to buy fresh food and handmade items. The markets in Southern France are such a great way to experience the culture.

And remember to try the famous Cassis white wine by visiting a local family-run winery – or the Cassis wine festival if you are there around mid-May.

Where to stay: Hôtel Les Roches Blanches Cassis

French Riviera Towns - Cassis

By Taylor of Taytrum Travels

Becoming increasingly popular as a colorful, seaside town, Menton offers a variety of leisure activities. You can spend the day on the beach or explore the old town where there are many restaurants to choose from. 

The old town offers lots of photo opportunities as most buildings are painted in pastels that glow against the Mediterranean sun.

Seeing the Basilica de Michael Archangel and its 53-meter bell tower is a popular first stop. This lemon-yellow structure is hard to miss and has a striking zig-zag staircase.

You might not be able to go inside as it is only open on select days and at narrow time windows, but exploring the cobblestone streets around it is worth the short walk from the waterfront. 

In addition, Menton was historically a top lemon producer in Europe. You can taste various citrus treats such as lemonade or desserts throughout the city. In February, the city hosts a zesty lemon festival to celebrate this heritage.

In about 30 minutes by car or train, you can reach Menton quickly from Nice, France. This makes Menton an easy day trip from Nice.

Ultimately, Menton is a unique and tranquil destination for travelers and beachgoers visiting the towns on the French Riviera.

Where to stay: Hotel Riva Art & Spa

Best towns in French Riviera - Menton

By Izzy of The Gap Decaders

A pretty Provençal town, St. Tropez on the Cote d’Azur was once a humble fishing village. Today, St. Tropez is a must-visit on any South of France road trip , with a maze of an old town, some fabulous beaches, two ports, and a castle watching over it all.

Saint-Tropez, as it’s styled in France, is perfect for meandering and small enough for you to be able to hit all the highlights on foot. 

Start in the elegant 19th-century Place de Lices before wandering the atmospheric and oh-so-Instagrammable old town, where honey-colored buildings dripping in colorful blooms line the cobbled streets.

The old town is located behind the Vieux Port, where you can grab a coffee and admire the super yachts berthed here.

Next, head up through fragrant wooded hills to the 17th-century Citadel for spectacular views of St Tropez Bay and the French Riviera, and the excellent Musée de l’Histoire Maritime where you can learn the history of Provençal seafarers.

Now you can relax on Pampelonne Beach, the most glamorous of all St Tropez’s beaches, or if you want to explore a little further afield, head up to the gorgeous hilltop village of Gassin. There, you’ll find charming streets, pretty houses, and fabulous restaurants. 

There is no doubt, St. Tropez is one of the best towns in French Riviera and truly a gem.

Where to stay: Hôtel de Paris Saint-Tropez

best French Riviera towns - st Tropez

By Megan of Megan Starr

Eze is a renowned medieval village located around 8.5 km outside of Nice (and even closer to Monaco). The village has just over 2,000 inhabitants and offers some of the best views over the French Riviera.

The narrow, cobbled streets will take you through the historic Old Town (which is nearly the entire town) from shops to cafes to restaurants. 

One of the  best things to do in Eze  is to visit the Exotic Botanical Garden. It is a multi-tiered garden that has a diverse array of plants, specifically succulents and cacti… all overlooking the azure Mediterranean coast.

A can’t-miss place to grab food is at Le Nid d’Aigle, a place offering fine French and International cuisine.

In the village, there is also a well-known place for fragrance lovers called the Fragonard Perfume Factory. You can venture in and grab a souvenir, or simply take a guided tour to learn more about the history of Fragonard in France.

If you’re looking to be active during your time in Eze, head to Mont Bastide – a trail and hike that takes you past an abandoned village while overlooking the coast. You can also opt for the Nietzsche Path, which connects Eze Village to Eze Beach.

Where to stay: La Perle d’Eze

french Riviera Town - Eze


By Bronwyn of Bronwyn Townsend

A kaleidoscope of color explodes in the sleepy seaside resort town of Villefranche-sur-Mer . Boats bob in the harbor as bougainvillea frames balconies and doorways, the clinking of glasses full of blush-pink rose ring out, and revelers make the most of summer on the French Riveria.

One of the  best day trips from Nice , Villefranche-sur-Mer is just a quick 7-minute train ride from Nice making it one of the best places in the French Riviera for exploring for the day.

Perched in a sheltered bay between Cap Ferrat and Cap de Nice, this is the ideal place for a beach day. Plage des Marinieres is a long, sweeping bay with crystal clear waters and a stunning view of the colorful village. 

Wandering the streets and lanes of Villefranche-sur-Mer is the best way to get to know this idyllic town. The shutters and doors are painted in contrasted rainbow hues on many of the town’s 12th and 13th-century buildings, where flower boxes and potted plants line the streets.

Strolling through the passageways and stone steps is one of the best things to do. On Wednesday and Saturday, the village market is held at Jardin Francois Binon where merchants tout local produce, flowers, and ceramics. 

If you’re looking to stay the night, there’s no better place than the Welcome Hotel which offers sensational sea views and a delightful terrace serving the best regional wines and expertly crafted cocktails.

Where to stay: Welcome Hotel

towns in French Riviera - villefranche-sur-mer

By Kylie of Life in Rural France

Grasse is the perfume capital of the world, but despite that, it’s still only a small town sat up in the hills to the North of Cannes. While it’s located by bustling the French Riviera, it’s still considered a hidden gem in France .

At one time, back in the 18th century, the industry & commerce was very different. Instead of perfume, it was leather and tanneries it was known for, which weren’t quite so fragrant.

The three biggest perfumeries, Fragonard, Molinard, and Galimard, are well worth a visit if you want to learn about the process of creating scents.

Gallimard, the oldest of the three, used to provide fragrances to the court of Louis XV. You can do a guided tour of the perfumery and take a workshop for under €30 per person.

Grasse has so much more to it than just perfume. The streets are full of quintessential French architecture, with hidden nooks and crannies around every corner.

Exploring each street to see what you can find is a must, and you’ll find plenty of lovely little boutiques and restaurants to enjoy. It feels like you’ve stepped into a scene from a movie set .

Remember to leave enough time to visit the 12th-century cathedral, Notre Dame De Puy, and the Jean-Honoré Fragonard museum, named after the artist who inspired the name of the perfumery.

To get to Grasse take the train from Cannes or Nice, a short and scenic ride. Alternatively, if you’re driving, it’s about a 30-minute journey from Cannes, and if you’re flying, the nearest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport. 

Where to stay: Le Mas Candille

Best of French Riviera - Grasse Notre Dame De Puy Interior

St. Paul de Vence

By Noel of Visit Spain and Mediterranean

If you’re on the hunt for a fantastic spot in the French Riviera that’s brimming with artistic inspiration, St. Paul de Vence should be at the top of your list.

Located in the hills above Nice, this artsy town, whose name translates to Saint Paul of Vence, is historically one of France’s oldest medieval towns.

It’s essentially a haven for artists and a fun escape from the crowded atmosphere of the other French Riviera towns. The best part of visiting this village? It’s just a short 45-minute bus ride from Nice.

As you explore this artistic commune, you’ll discover a beautiful village filled with trendy shops, art galleries, and studios where creativity and design are everywhere in town.

Not to mention the plethora of delicious restaurants that promise an unforgettable culinary journey with local foods to try from the region.

Walking around the village, you discover some breathtaking views that unfold below, offering a unique perspective of the French Riviera region.

Getting to St. Paul de Vence is a breeze – simply hop on a local bus 655 from Nice and exit at the main town entrance.

From there, you can leisurely wander through the narrow streets of this small but enchanting village, making it a perfect day trip.

With plenty of delectable dining options and intriguing attractions, St. Paul de Vence is a must-visit destination, offering a fresh and distinct outlook on the Alpes-Maritimes region of France.

Where to stay: Ideal BnB

towns on french Riviera

By Imee of Journey To France

Antibes is one of the most charming towns on French Riviera, known for its picturesque old town and stunning coastline. In fact, it’s considered one of the most visited towns in French Riviera.

There are so many  things to do and must-see while in Antibes . Wander around the Old Town of Antibes (Vieil Antibes), explore the narrow cobblestones, admire the colorful buildings, and visit the historic quarter and the boutiques.

Antibes also boasts beautiful and pristine beaches where you can soak and relax under the sun.

Take advantage of the beautiful Port Vauban. This stunning marina is one of the largest in the Mediterranean.

You can stroll along the harbor,  admire the fascinating and luxurious yachts, and enjoy the maritime ambiance.

There are many ways to get to Antibes. From the nearest airport ( Nice Côte d’Azur Airport ), you can take either a taxi, shuttle, or train to go to Antibes or by boat, and there are yachts and sailing vessels visiting Antibes where you can experience a memorable Mediterranean journey.

Where to stay: Hotel La Place

towns on the French Riviera - Antibes

Best cities on the French Riviera

By Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones

Nice is one of the best cities in French Riviera. It has even been granted a UNESCO World Heritage site designation for its history as a winter resort town on the French Riviera. It’s not hard to tell that Nice is one of the most popular places to stay in the French Riviera .

The beaches of Nice are one of the city’s big draws. With 7 kilometers of beaches along the gorgeous Mediterranean coast, you’re sure to find a great place to soak up the sun. 

One of the  top attractions in Nice  is the famous Promenade des Anglais. This iconic boulevard is perfect for strolling, cycling, or people-watching.

Admire the beautiful beaches to the south and check out the glamorous hotels, restaurants, and casinos to the north. Relax and enjoy a cocktail at the elegant Negresco Bar.

Nice has several fantastic museums to suit any interest. Enjoy classical fine art at the Musée des Beaux Arts Jules Chéret, enjoy Matisse’s bold style at the Matisse Museum, or dig deeper into history at Nice’s Archaeological Museum.

Savor fresh foods and fabulous flowers at the Cours Saleya Marché Aux Fleurs in Vieux Nice. Be sure to sample socca, a thin chickpea pancake that is a favorite snack food in Nice!

Fly into the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, only a few kilometers from the city’s main attractions.

Where to stay: Hôtel Beau Rivage

French Riviera cities - Nice

By Constance of A Well-Read Wanderer

Marseille is one of the bustling port cities on the French Riviera, and one worth a stop on your trip to the Cote d’Azur.

Here, you will find bustling markets, centuries-old churches, great museums, and opportunities to enjoy the beautiful coast and Mediterranean Sea. 

Head to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations for items of archaeological interest and the Musée des Beaux-Arts for beautiful paintings and sculptures. 

For some of the best views over Marseille, you’ll have to journey outside the historic city center.

For one, climb the hill to the famous Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde overlooking the city. For water views, hop on a boat.

After all, no trip to Marseille is complete without a ferry ride to  visit the Chateau d’If , the real-life island prison made famous in  The Count of Monte Cristo . It’s a gorgeous boat ride and an unforgettable visit. 

If you have more time in Marseille and love the outdoors, you can visit the nearby Calanques National Park. The white limestone cliffs against the turquoise water of the Mediterranean make for some unforgettable hiking and swimming. 

Marseille is actually the largest of the French Riviera cities and the second-largest city in all of France. It is easily accessible, with an international airport in Marseille and ICE trains connecting the city to Paris in only 3-4 hours.

Where to stay: Hôtel la Résidence du Vieux Port

cities on the French Riviera - Marseille

By Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

Ever wanted to experience the life of the top 1%? Look no further than Monaco. This tiny principality is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the South of France.

With its stunning coastal views,  the abundance of dreamy luxury hotels , and flashy cars, Monaco is a place everyone should visit at least once.

With regards to things to do in the area, there’s plenty to do. For example, strolling around the Prince’s Palace of Monaco is one of the easiest ways to understand the illustrious and sometimes grim history of Monaco.

Afterward, you can enjoy the gorgeous views of the harbors filled with multi-million dollar yachts.

And of course, be sure to stop by Place du Casino. This is easily the most recognizable spot in Monaco as it’s where you’ll find the famed Monte Carlo Casino.

Whether you want to play some games inside or just take in the grand architecture, be sure to stop by. 

To reach Monaco, your best option is to arrive at Nice International Airport and then catch a regional train heading to Monaco. Just be aware that you’ll have to transfer trains at Nice-Ville station.

Where to stay: Hôtel de Paris

cities in French Riviera - Monaco

By April of Dreaming in French Blog

In favor of its glitzier French Riviera neighbors, Toulon is often overlooked. Toulon, however, more than justifies your attention with its coastal setting, fascinating old town district, a wealth of cultural attractions, and some of France’s best markets.

There are so many  things to do in Toulon , there is something for everyone.

The Bay of Toulon can be seen in its entirety from Mount Furon, which is reachable by cable car. By taking one of the numerous boat tours to nearby Porquerolles Island, you can explore the Bay itself.

You can take advantage of the fantastic French cuisine the Cours Lafayette Market has to offer before spending the afternoon cheering on the wildly popular Toulon Rugby team at Stade Muyol.

The mouthwatering restaurants there make for the perfect post-game celebration, and the stadium is only a few meters from the port area.

Toulon enjoys convenient air, rail, and road connections to Paris and other major cities throughout France.

There are a few low-cost flights from Paris that go to Toulon Hyères Airport and take less than 1.5 hours.

By high-speed, direct train, you may also get to Toulon very quickly, with frequent services to Gare du Toulon provided by the Marseille-Ventimiglia train line. By car, Toulon is also easily reached by the A50 and is about 60 kilometers east of Marseille.

There are many great hotels in Toulon, but one of my favorites, especially for location, is The Originals Boutique, which is in the center of the city and is located next to the train and bus stations.

Where to stay: The Originals Boutique

Best cities in French Riviera - Toulon

Reflections on cities and towns on French Riviera

Summing up the best places on the French Riviera, I’m sure you found more than one favorite. From the cities in French Riviera boasting high-scale shopping, exquisite French and international cuisine, and an array of fun activities, to the colorful towns on the French Riviera where you can soak in history and culture interrupted by days on sea.

This corner of France is a true paradise and even though it’s quite hyped up, I always enjoy it just as much.

Happy travels!


Visit French Riviera: Top 25 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

Things to do in french riviera: the 25 best places to visit.

You’re planning to visit the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur, in French), and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

Renowned for its world-famous seaside cities such as Nice, Monaco and Cannes , and its small picturesque villages in the hinterland , it’s the perfect destination in France to enjoy the sun.

In order to help you plan your stay, I have written this guide of the 25 best things to do in French Riviera , with all must-see attractions and points of interest.

In addition to the best places to visit, I will also give you  my selection of the best hotels depending on your budget and all my best tips to make the most of your stay.

So, what are the best things to do in French Riviera? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

2. Villefranche-sur-Mer

3. saint-jean-cap-ferrat – villa ephrussi de rothschild, 6. eze village, 9. the lérins islands, 10. mandelieu-la-napoule, 11. saint-paul de vence, 12. grasse – the perfume capital, 13. l’esterel and the corniche d’or, 14. saint tropez, 15. the hyères islands (porquerolles, port cros, île du levant), 16. calanques of cassis, 17. the best boat trips on the french riviera, 18. the most beautiful beaches of the french riviera, 19. the most beautiful villages of the french riviera, 20. water activities to do on the french riviera, 21. sports activities on the french riviera, 22. what are the thing to do on the french riviera if it rains, 23. mercantour national park, 24. the verdon gorges, 25. marseille, where to stay when visiting the french riviera, visit the french riviera by car, visit the french riviera by train, french riviera: tourist map, you’re traveling in france these articles will help you, visit the french riviera (côte d’azur): 25 must-see attractions.

Before starting this list of the top things to see on the French Riviera , I want to discuss the “Côte d’Azur France Pass”.

This pass gives you access to 3 or 5 essential activities, to choose from a list of more than 100 sites. For example, you can:

  • Take the boat to the Lérins islands from Cannes
  • Take a guided boat ride from Nice in the harbour of Villefranche
  • Visit the Monaco Oceanographic Museum
  • Choose guided tours: Old Nice, Old Antibes , Grasse, Saint-Paul de Vence
  • Spend a day at the Antibes water park or visit Marineland
  • Go snorkelling in Fréjus
  • Take the hop-on hop-off buses or small trains from Nice, Monaco, Antibes or Cannes.

To buy your Côte d’Azur France Pass, you just have to click on the green button below:

You can start this list of the top places to visit on the French Riviera with one of the must-see cities : Nice. 

And since I was born there and spent more than 20 years of my life there, I know this city very well, considered to be one of the prettiest cities to see on the French Riviera.  It can be visited in 2 days, during a  weekend in PACA.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais . The most interesting part is the one from from Old Nice to the Negresco hotel, passing via the Albert 1 park and the Palais de la Méditerranée . This part can be traversed on foot, bicycle, scooter, roller-skates or even by Segway (book here!) .
  • Visit Old Nice with its charming houses with colourful façades and louvred shutters.
  • Visit the Cours Saleya market to stock up on local products.
  • Go up to the castle hill to admire a panoramic view of the whole city.

For more info about the best places to visit, you should read my dedicated article: The 17 best things do in Nice .

In addition to discovering this beautiful city, Nice is the perfect place to try watersports and activities such as parasailing or jet skiing.

place Massena Nice

This pretty little town , located just next to Nice on the way to Monaco, is not necessarily one of the most famous sights of the French Riviera . Tourists prefer the neighbouring, better-known towns.

And yet, the Old Town, the most typical part, is really very pleasant to walk around with its cobbled streets and traditional houses.

Guests can also visit the Saint-Elme Citadel, listed as a historical monument, with beautiful views of Villefranche harbour.

If you like to walk, you must go from Nice to Villefranche on foot on the coastal path. Starting from Coco Beach, you can walk along the sea to the Darse de Villefranche in about 90 minutes to 2 hours.

You can then visit Villefranche and return to Nice by bus.

To have a clear panoramic view of the whole Villefranche-sur-Mer harbour and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, go to the Fort du Mont Alban, which is located at Mont Boron.

To reach there from Villefranche, take the Escalier de Verre passage, located on the Boulevard Princesse Grâce in Monaco.

Sentier du littoral de Nice

Just after Villefranche-sur-Mer, you will arrive at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

The peninsula is known for being home to sumptuous villas belonging to billionaires , including an unmissable spot on the French Riviera: the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

Built in 1907 following the decision of Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild , who fell in love with the place during her visit to Cap-Ferrat, this Renaissance -style villa has magnificent gardens.

You can explore the French garden, the Spanish garden, the Japanese garden, the exotic garden or the rose garden.

Inside the villa you can also visit:

  • The reception areas with: the patio, the Grand Salon and its Louis XV style furniture, the Petit Salon decorated with tapestries woven by the Gobelins Manufactory of Paris.
  • The apartments of Beatrice: her bedroom, boudoir, and even her bathroom.
  • The dining room and the porcelain salon have one of the most magnificent porcelain collections in France
  • The salons on the first floor, including the guest rooms, the tapestries room and the monkey room, where you will find this animal everywhere, on the woodwork and the porcelain objects.

All information to visit Villa Ephrussi during your tour on the French Riviera can be found on the official website.

After your visit, you must walk around Cap-Ferrat to discover sublime creeks with crystal-clear water where you can swim.

To get a glimpse of Villefranche and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, you can also choose to take a mini cruise .

From Nice , you will follow the coast before passing through the harbour of Villefranche and around the peninsula.

To book this boat trip on the French Riviera , click on the button below:

rade de villefranche

A holiday on the French Riviera cannot be complete without a visit to Monaco!

If you ask people what to visit on a trip to the French Riviera , I’m pretty sure that Monaco will be in the top three of cities with Nice and Cannes .

Here are some of the unmissable places in Monaco:

  • The Rocher de Monaco, which includes the old town and the Prince’s Palace where Prince Albert II lives. Visits to the palace are organised between April and October.
  • Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the wedding place of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly
  • The Oceanographic Museum (tickets available here! ) which includes an aquarium and a gallery with several whale and dolphin skeletons
  • The Monte-Carlo district, home to the Casino, the Café de Paris , the Hôtel de Paris and the luxury boutiques
  • The exotic garden of Monaco for its view of the principality.

I have prepared my list of all things to see in Monaco in my other article: The 25 best things do in Monaco .

Rocher Monaco

I’ll continue my guide of the French Riviera with the pretty town of Menton.

By train , it’s only 10 minutes away from Monaco, and marks the end of this side of the French Riviera, as it is the last city before the Italian border.

The old town of Menton is worth a visit for the Basilica of Saint Michael and the Chapel of the Penitents.

Don’t miss the Place aux Herbes, where you can sit on one of the terraces for lunch and explore the 5 remarkable gardens : the Serre de la Madone (exotic garden), the Fontana Rosa (Valencian garden of the 20s), the garden of the villa Maria-Serena , the tropical garden of Val Rahmeh or even the olive tree garden in Pian park.

For lovers of cultural tourism on the French Riviera, head to the Jean Cocteau museum, which houses nearly 2,000 works by this French poet, cartoonist, playwright and filmmaker.

If you’re wondering what to do on the French Riviera in winter , you must attend the Menton lemon festival, which takes place every February and lasts for 3 weeks.

During this festival, which coincides with the Menton carnival, you can attend a parade of tanks covered with citrus fruit and whose theme changes every year: Bollywood, Around the World in 80 days, the regions of France…

If you decide to visit the French Riviera in winter , know that with the Nice Carnival, this is the second most tourist-oriented event of the season.


Eze Village is located on the mountains, equidistant from Nice and Monaco.

Perched on top of a cliff , its elevated position makes it one of the most beautiful places on the French Riviera to admire the view.

You must particularly visit the exotic garden of Eze , which, in addition to having dozens of succulent plants and cacti , offers a clear panorama of the Mediterranean Sea up to l’Esterel and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez.

Eze Village also has the Fragornard perfume factory, which you can explore and which also has a shop selling its flagship perfumes.  If you book this activity in advance by clicking here , you can even create your own perfume!

One clarification: do not confuse Eze-Village with Eze-sur-Mer, which, as its name suggests, is located on the seafront and below Eze Village. If you arrive by train, the station is located on the seafront and you will then have to make the ascent.

A trail, Nietzsche’s path, connects the 2 (30 minutes downhill from Eze-Village or 1 hour uphill from the seaside) and allows you to enjoy beautiful views.

In Eze-Village, you can stay in one of the most beautiful 5* hotels on the French Riviera : “La Chèvre d’Or”.

Overlooking the village, it offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. Not to mention that its restaurant has been awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Guide.

To book your stay on the French Riviera, at the Hôtel de la Chèvre d’Or, just click on the button below:

hotel Chèvre d'Or Eze

After showing you all the places of interest on the French Riviera located between Nice and the Italian border, let’s continue with all the visits to make on the other side , between Nice and the city of Cassis.

And the first unmissable city on the French Riviera after Nice is Antibes.

Overview of the things to do in Antibes:

  • A walk in the old town and the fortified area
  • The Vauban port, considered the largest marina in Europe and with a dock specially designed to accommodate 19 of the largest yachts in the world
  • The guided tour of Fort Carré, a military fort dating back to the 16th century
  • The Picasso museum, located where Picasso painted for 2 months. He left twenty of his paintings and drawings to the city.
  • Enjoy the beaches and water activities: jet skiing , parasailing , flyboarding …
  • Walk around the Cap d’Antibes (a 2 hour walk) and discover its beautiful mansions and small coves. A  kayak trip around the Cap or a boat trip with a snorkelling stop are also on offer.

If you have decided to visit the French Riviera with your family , you can take your children to Marineland in Antibes. They can see killer whales, dolphins, polar bears and sharks.

This type of park is often subject to controversy, but this one being the most visited tourist site in the PACA region, it is difficult not to mention it in this list of the top “Things to do on the French Riviera?”.

To visit Marineland in Antibes, you must book your tickets in advance: there’s a special offer for online reservations right now!

You can buy official tickets online at the best price by clicking on the button below:


Along with Nice and Monaco, Cannes is clearly the unmissable destination of the French Riviera in summer.

Here’s my selection of places to see in Cannes:

  • La Croisette, definitely one of the most famous walks on the French Riviera. On the seafront, it is bordered by beaches, luxury boutiques and mythical luxury hotels like the Majestic Barrière hotel or the Martinez hotel.
  • The Palais des Festivals in Cannes, to walk up the steps and the red carpet, symbol of the world’s largest film festival.
  • The chemin des Etoiles, where celebrities have their handprints on slabs just like the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles
  • The Suquet district, the oldest in Cannes
  • The tour of the painted walls, several frescoes paying homage to the seventh art and spread throughout the city.

You can read my article dedicated to Cannes by clicking here: The 20 best things do in Cannes.

And for those who are spending 2 or 3 days in Cannes , please read my article: A weekend in Cannes.

If you would like to organise a short stay to visit several towns on the French Riviera (Nice, Antibes, Cannes, etc.), you should really read my article: One-week itinerary on the French Riviera.

La Croisette, à Cannes

What if you made the most of your holiday on the French Riviera by visiting the Lérins Islands?

They are just opposite Cannes , a 20-minute boat ride away. You can choose to dock on one of the 2 islands (it’ss not possible to do both because there is no shuttle connecting them):

  • The larger island, Sainte-Marguerite.

Expect a minimum of 3 hours to walk around, but if you count the swimming breaks, photos, or lunch, you can spend an entire day there . 

For a family visit to the French Riviera, you can also add a visit to the Sea Museum, located in Fort Royal , and which housed a very famous prisoner: the man in the iron mask.

  • Saint-Honorat island is home to an abbey still occupied by Cistercian monks.

They organise tours and also produce an excellent wine sold at the shop.

You need to book your trip to the Lérins Islands in advance as there’s always a crowd of people at the ticket office and this is the only way to make sure you have a seat at the time of your choice:

And for those who have chosen to stay in Nice to visit the French Riviera , you can also take a sea shuttle to go to the Lérins islands. You need to book it here:

Cruises and kayaking trips around the Lérins islands are also available. Simply click on the orange links to view prices and book:

  • A catamaran cruise with lunch and a swimming stop around the Lérins islands
  • The catamaran cruise is also available without lunch, click here to book! 
  • Kayak rental on Lérins islands.

Iles de Lérins

This name certainly doesn’t mean anything to you, and it’s not surprising because this port village is often overlooked in favour of its famous neighbour, Cannes.

However, if you go there, you must visit the Mandelieu castle (listed as a historical monument) and its park , classified as a remarkable garden.

This ancient mediaeval fortress, restored in 1918 by a couple of American art lovers, is now used to promote the arts.

The castle hosts various exhibitions and has a collection of sculptures by Henry Clews, the husband.

For only €6, the guided tour of the castle is also very interesting. You can visit the gardens for free.

Mandelieu la Napoule

During your trip to the French Riviera , you must visit Saint-Paul de Vence.

This mediaeval village is located between Nice and Antibes but in the Cagnois hinterland.

In addition to being picturesque and charming , it hosts many designers and artists. You will find a lot of art galleries, small unique shops and you can also visit the Maeght Foundation there.

This museum of modern and contemporary art displays a collection of paintings , sculptures and ceramics. The place is really beautiful due to its architecture and the highlighted works of art.

Information is available on the official website.

Saint-Paul de Vence

Not far from Saint-Paul de Vence, still in the hinterland, there’s another famous place to see on the French Riviera: Grasse.

And what made Grasse famous is its perfume industry. So much so, that the city became the Perfume capital of the world.

Not only can you visit the International Perfume Museum with its 3,000-year history, but you can also visit one of the 3 historical perfumeries known all over the world: Fragornard, Galimard and Molinard.

The guided tours are free and allow you to discover all the secrets of making a perfume , from collecting flowers, distillation and bottling.

You can even book a workshop session to create and bring a small vial of your own perfume. However, this activity is not free and can be booked using the button below:

For lunch in Grasse, you must try the local culinary specialty: fried zucchini flowers. 


For me, the Esterel massif is one of the most beautiful spots of the French Riviera.

With its red volcanic rocks and its creeks with turquoise waters, it is one of the symbolic images of the region.

To explore this place from the sea , you can opt for a kayak trip, a snorkelling trip or a boat trip.

Over land , l’Esterel is the ideal destination to go on the French Riviera for hiking. There are many trails to explore the cliff on foot:

  • Hiking at the pic de l’Ours : a beautiful 90 minute walk to enjoy splendid views
  • The balcons du Cap Roux, a rather difficult hike lasting about four and a half hours but worth the effort for its magnificent landscapes
  • The rocher de Saint-Barthélémy, a 1h walk with a beautiful view of the sea.

More information on hiking trips at l’Estérel is available on the official website.

And if you are visiting the French Riviera by car, you must take the the Corniche d’Or or Corniche de l’Estérel road.

Connecting Cannes to Saint-Raphaël, it takes you along the seafront, bordered by red rocks and calanques. There are several car parks all along where you can stop and click great photos for your Instagram account.

It’s not for nothing that the Corniche d’Or is considered one of the most beautiful roads on the French Riviera!

If you are staying in Cannes, you can explore the calanques de l’Estérel via a boat trip with a small group.

The trip takes place onboard a zodiac boat and includes a swimming break and exploring several coves only accessible by boat.

Click here to book:

Esterel Corniche d'Or Ile d'Or

You just cannot make a tour guide of the French Riviera without mentioning Saint-Tropez.

Every summer, this small coastal town welcomes international celebrities and glitterati, who come to enjoy its lively nightlife, do some luxury shopping and go to the Pampelonne beach.

This is clearly the most trendy destination to go to the French Riviera in summer.

If you want to visit Saint-Tropez in 1 day and to avoid frequent traffic jams on the region’s roads, you can book a round-trip by boat from Nice or Cannes:

  • Boat from Nice to Saint-Tropez.
  • Round-trip cruise to St Tropez from Cannes.


With the Lérins islands, the Hyères islands are the only islands on the French Riviera.

They are located towards Toulon, opposite the town of Hyères. Also known as the Golden Islands , there are 3 of them:

  • The island of Port Cros is the smallest and also the wildest. There, the entire visit must be done on foot along one of the 3 marked paths on the island. They also provide access to several beaches. 
  • The île du Levant, which is a bit special, as it is mainly reserved for naturists! You can keep your clothes on at the port and the village square, but naturism is obligatory on the seafront or on the beach. At least you’ll be able to travel light!

And you can end with the île de Porquerolles , which is the most famous and most touristy of the Hyères islands.

On the agenda are sandy beaches with translucent waters, accessible on foot or by mountain bike located in the North of the island, and the small coves, which are a bit hidden, towards the South.


Still wondering what to see on the French Riviera ?

Why not take the visit a little further and make the most of it to discover the beautiful calanques of Cassis .

Set off on a cruise in the exceptional setting of the calanques National Park , which stretches between Cassis and Marseille .

You can choose from several circuits: 3, 5, 8 or 9 calanques passing through the Port Miou creek , Port Pin , the l’En Vau or Sugiton.

The duration of a trip varies from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes and tickets are sold directly on the port every day of the year (except bad weather).

To visit the Calanques of Cassis , you can also opt for the more sporty version. You can choose between (click on the orange links for details):

  • A hike with a guide that goes through 3 calanques
  • Explore the calanques by electric mountain bike to enjoy superb views
  • A sea kayaking trip in the national park
  • A stand up paddle trip with a guide.

Cassis Calanques

A boat ride is really an unmissable experience on the French Riviera.

You can peacefully and comfortably discover the most beautiful natural landscapes of the French Riviera coastline and even stop for swims. 

From the main towns of the region, you will be spoilt for choice in terms of the tours offered . You can even take a shuttle boat ride between 2 cities to avoid getting stuck in traffic, a common occurrence in this part of France.

Here is a small selection of the best boat trips on the French Riviera (click on the orange links for details and to book):

1) From Nice

  • A 1 hour cruise to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
  • A boat trip from Nice to St Tropez
  • A trip from Nice to the Lérins Islands
  • A boat trip from Nice to Monaco
  • A fishing trip at sea

2) From Monaco

  • A 2 hour private cruise 
  • A sunset cruise
  • A 4 hour private cruise

3) From Antibes

  • A one-day cruise with snorkelling around Cap d’Antibes

4) From Cannes

  • Boat trip to the Lérins Islands
  • Catamaran cruise to the Lérins islands , with lunch included – Trip also available without meal here!
  • A zodiac-boat trip in the calanques de l’Esterel + swimming stop
  • Boat trip from Cannes to St Tropez.

And for a VIP experience without the crowd , you must book a private boat trip.

From many coastal towns on the French Riviera, you can choose a boat trip with a captain who will take you to discover the most beautiful places on the French Riviera.

And the great thing is that you will have a choice of different types of boats depending on your budget: zodiac boat , sailboat, catamaran, motor boat or even a yacht!

You must rent your boat with captain as early as possible, as you can imagine that this type of VIP day at sea is very much in demand, and it would be a shame if none are available!

You’ll find all the offers for a sea-trip with a captain by clicking on the button below:

And if you have a boat license, you can rent a boat for a great day at sea:

excursion bateau rade de Villefranche

Where to go on the French Riviera to spend a day at the beach?

Here’s my list of the most beautiful beaches and coves of the French Riviera:

  • The Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat coves + the Paloma beach and the Passable beach
  • La Mala beach at Cap d’Ail
  • The Buse beach in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (between Monaco and Menton)
  • Sablettes beach in Menton
  • The Cap d’Antibes coves + the Garoupe beach via the path
  • The beaches and coves at Sainte-Marguerite island
  • The coves of the l’Estérel massif below the Corniche d’Or
  • The Estagnol beach and its view of Porquerolles
  • Porquerolles and Port Cros beaches
  • The Calanques in Cassis.

paloma beach Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

I have already mentioned some beautiful villages in my list of places to visit on the French Riviera like Eze or Saint-Paul de Vence.

Here are other villages that also deserve their place in the list of the most beautiful villages of the French Riviera:

  • Gourdon, a hilltop village at an altitude of 700 metres, classified among the most beautiful villages in France for its castle, medieval houses and views
  • Peillon, another hilltop village just 13 km from Nice
  • Tourrettes-sur-Loup is famous for growing violets
  • Sainte-Agnès is the highest seaside village in Europe. Located above Menton, it offers impressive views of the coastline.
  • Mougins, overlooking the bay of Cannes and the Lérins islands
  • Saorge, a medieval village on the mountainside
  • Coaraze, also classified among the most beautiful villages in France, is nicknamed the village of the sun
  • Gassin for its view of the bay of St Tropez.

To discover all these villages, it’s better to visit the French Riviera by car , as they are not necessarily easily accessible by public transport.

Tourettes sur Loup

A seaside holiday means water activities!

Here’s my selection of the best water activities on the French Riviera :

1) In Nice and its surroundings, I have already prepared a very detailed article containing all the activities. You can read it here: The 23 best activities in Nice.

You will find, for example: parasailing , jet skiing , flyboarding , scuba diving, snorkelling or paddle-boating.

2) In Monaco and its surroundings, there is:

  • A jet ski tour with an instructor or a jet ski rental to go wherever you want
  • A flyboard session 
  • A freediving day with Pierre Frolla, quadruple world-record holder of the discipline

3) In Antibes:

  • An introduction to jet skiing (just next to Marineland), from 15 minutes to 1 hour
  • A 2 hours and 30 minute jet ski ride with 2 courses to choose from:
  • Para-sailing at 40 metres above water
  • Flyboarding
  • A kite-surfing training course – Duration: 1/2 day or 1 full day
  • A diving experience to discover the Mediterranean seabed
  • Exploratory   diving – Requires level 1 diving certification
  • An introduction to freediving.
  • A kayak trip to Cap d’Antibes.

Parachute ascensionnel à Nice

4) In Cannes:

  • A wakeboard session 
  • Wakesurfing, a new trendy activity involving surfing on a wave created by a boat
  • Flyboarding  
  • A jet ski ride lasting from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

On the French Riviera in general, you can also practice all river descent activities, canyoning, rafting, or river sledding.

  • Cramassouri   Canyon – Beginner level
  • Riolan Canyon, known as one of the most beautiful in the Alpes-Maritimes!
  • Riou de la Bollène canyon,  a superb course that passes through the conifer forest and has large slides and a 10 metre long rappel
  • Gorges du Loup Canyon – Ideal for a first canyoning experience with rappelling and and easy descents
  • Imberguet Canyon – a descent lasting 3 hours and 30 minutes, with waterfalls and jumps up to 7 metres
  • A canoe-kayaking descent of the Var with a guide
  • A canoe-raft or inflatable boat descent of the Gorges de la Roya, one of the best places to practise white-water sports
  • A river-sledding descent, also in the vallée de la Roya
  • A rafting descent of the Roya .

jet ski Nice

Don’t want to get wet but still want to do some activities , discover the best outdoor and sports activities on the French Riviera!

1) In Nice, you can find them all here: The 23 best activities in Nice.

There is a Segway tour , driving a Ferrari or even the Via Ferrata.

You must also go for the paragliding experience to have breath-taking views! Click here to book:

2) In Monaco, you can choose from:

  • A Ferrari tour
  • A Lamborghini tour
  • A helicopter flight over the Principality

3) And in Cannes:

  • Paragliding
  • A Segway tour lasting 1 or 2 hours 
  • An electric bike tour
  • A flight over Cannes by private plane or helicopter
  • An introductory flight, learning to fly a helicopter

conduire ferrari Nice

Unfortunately, if it rains during your stay on the French Riviera, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of stuff to keep you busy!

In addition to the classic activities to do when it rains , such as going to the cinema , bowling or visiting the museums , here are some unique ideas for indoor activities.

Here’s my list of the best indoor activities on the French Riviera:

  • Spa day as a couple or solo:  seaweed wrap, massage, access to the swimming pool and the sauna
  • A perfume workshop : a one-hour workshop to create your own perfume guided by an expert.
  • A perfume workshop for children
  • An Escape room
  • A fighter aircraft simulator

Thai massage

3 Best things to do around the French Riviera

You now know where to go and what to do on the French Riviera ! But if you’ve decided to spend some time in the area, you’ll probably have time to explore the surroundings a little more.

So here’s my list of the best things to do around the French Riviera.

Less than a 2-hour drive from Nice, the Mercantour National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the surroundings of the French Riviera.

To discover all the natural riches of the park and its landscapes, the best way is to go hiking. There is an extensive network of signposted trails for all levels and durations.

For example, you can discover the glacial lakes of Vens , the lofty Vallée de la Gordolasque , the Vallée des Merveilles or the col de Tende.

And if you have chosen to visit the French Riviera in winter , you should know that the park is home to several ski resorts like Isola 2000, Auron, Valbgerg or the small Boréon resort, close to Saint-Martin de Vésubie.

You can therefore go downhill and go hiking in snowshoes or cross-country skiing.

parc national du Mercantour

Another very beautiful place to see close to the French Riviera: the Gorges du Verdon.

You can drive to the village of Castellane in 90 minutes from Nice. 

You will discover the largest canyon in Europe , an incredible natural site that offers truly superb landscapes.

You must particularly drive around the right and left banks of the Verdon to admire the beautiful views.

And of course, you can rent a canoe, a paddle boat or a small boat to reach the bottom of the Gorges or the lakes of Verdon.

Kayak Gorges du Verdon

Bordering the French Riviera, Marseille is just a 40-minute drive from Cassis.

What are the things to see in Marseille:

  • The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde (Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard) and its 360° panorama of the city
  • The Panier district, the oldest in the town
  • The Old Port 
  • The MuCEM: Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean
  • The calanques during a boat trip or hiking in the national park
  • The Frioul Islands and château d’If.

To know more about the main places of interest in Marseille, read my article: The 33 best things to do in Marseille

Notre-Dame de la Garde à Marseille

To discover the places of interest on the French Riviera that I just mentioned, there isn’t really a single place that will allow you to see everything.

But the most practical way to visit the majority of the places I talk about in this article is to stay in Nice . It is the most central city to visit the whole area of the French Riviera from Menton to Cannes.

Here is my selection of the best hotels to stay in Nice:

  • Hôtel Ozz by Happyculture : Located about 15 minutes from the beach on foot. Nice place, very friendly staff, great location and comfortable beds. Only 20€ per night in dormitory. Double room at 55€. This is the best hostel for a budget stay in Nice!
  • Hôtel Brice Garden : Located in the hear of Nice, 5 minutes walk from the beach and Promenade des Anglais. Very well furnished and clean room from 80€ per night. Excellent value for money. Friendly and welcoming staff. The best value hotel if you want to stay in the city center! Needs to be booked as soon as possible, lots of demand.
  • Hôtel le Saint Paul : Located 50 meters from the Nice harbor, in a quiet area, with an amazing sea view. Large bright room from 95€ per night, buffet breakfast for 12€. Plus: free private parking. My favorite in Nice!
  • Hôtel Le Royal Promenade des Anglais : Located right on the Promenade des Anglais in a historic building. Prestigious room decorated in a classic style, very bright, from 135€ per night, breakfast at 15€.
  • Hôtel Negresco: Located on the Promenade des Anglais, this exceptional hotel is simply the best in Nice. The rooms are magnificent, the view is stunning, the staff is amazing and the restaurant is one of the best in town. It’s the best choice for a luxury stay in Nice!

Of course, you can also choose to stay in another major city on the French Riviera , such as Monaco or Cannes.  You can view my selection of hotels by clicking on the following links:

  • Where to stay in Monaco?
  • Where to stay in Cannes?
  • Where to stay in Antibes?

If you prefer to discover the part of the French Riviera between Cannes and Cassis , you can also stay at:

  • Fréjus/Saint-Raphaël
  • Saint-Tropez
  • Hyères/ Toulon

If these hotels are not suitable for you, you will find a wider selection of accommodation in these articles:

  • The 13 best 5 star hotels in Nice and on the French Riviera
  • The 17 best 4 star hotels in Nice
  • The 25 best inexpensive hotels in Nice

How to visit the French Riviera

The best way to see the most things, is to visit the French Riviera by car. As I told you, some villages or places are not accessible by public transport so without a vehicle, you won’t be able to go there.

If you have decided to visit the French Riviera by train or bus, and you do not have your own vehicle, you must rent a car. 

You can compare all car rental rates on the French Riviera (Nice, Monaco, Cannes etc) on the website .

Modifications and cancellations are free.

If you only plan to visit the seaside towns of the French Riviera, you can also get around by train.

For example, Cannes is just 35 minutes away by train from Nice and Monaco is only 30 minutes away.

You must check train schedules and fares and book tickets here:

If you are planning a short stay to visit several towns on the French Riviera (Nice, Antibes, Cannes, etc.), you must also read my article: One-week itinerary on the French Riviera.

The itinerary is adapted to travelling using public transport or car.

To help you visualise the region a bit better, I made you a tourist map of the French Riviera, listing all the best places to visit that I talk about in this guide of the French Riviera.

You can display the map legend by clicking the button at the top left, the one with a small arrow.

If you need help planning your stay on the French Riviera, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below.

France travel Guides

  • Buy the Lonely Planet France guide on or on
  • Buy the Rick Steves France guide on or on

Discover all our articles about France: All Voyage Tips articles about France are listed here.

French Riviera

  • French Riviera: Top 25 best places to visit and activities
  • Itinerary: 1 Week in French Riviera – the definitive guide for your 7-8 days trip
  • Antibes: Top 20 best places to visit
  • Cannes: The 20 best things to do and activities
  • Monaco: 25 Best places to visit
  • Nice: 15 things you must do and see

Other French Cities

  • Annecy: 12 things to do and see
  • Honfleur: Top 15 things to discover
  • La Rochelle: Top 15 things to do and must-see attractions
  • Lyon: 21 Best things to do
  • Marseille: Top 33 best things to do and see
  • Nantes: The 15 best things to do
  • Reims: Top 15 things to do and see
  • Rennes: The 15 things you must do!
  • Strasbourg: The 25 must-see attractions

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16 Best Things To Do in French Riviera | Must-See Destinations

Planning a trip to France and looking for the best things to do in French Riviera?

Well, look no further because I’ve put together the ultimate list of things to do, places to visit, and wonderful must-see French Riviera attractions. They’re all so spectacular they’ll have you wishing you could stay on the majestic southern coast of France!

The French Riviera stretches along the Mediterranean coast for nearly 600 miles, and it’s become one of the classiest, most elegant, and beautiful destinations to travel to in all of Europe.

From gambling at the world-famous Monte Carlo to devouring as much seafood as possible in Nice, you’re in for a real treat. And who knows, you may even be able to visit one or two of the top music festivals in France during your exploration of the French Riviera.

Things to do in the French Riviera

Things to Know Before Enjoying the Top French Riviera Activities

Not only is it situated in Southern France, but it never actually gets too cold. During winter, this semi-arid region provides moderate temperatures between 10°C and 15°C (50°F – 60°F), making it a popular destination for a winter escape.

The Riviera is also nicknamed Cote d’Azur or the Blue Coast. This explains why many of the things to do on the French Riviera consist of exploring the region’s pristine beaches.

And this destination authentically lives up to the name because it is adorned with countless blue-flag-labeled beaches. As a matter of fact, in 2017, the area was awarded 82 different blue-flag beaches.

PS: With so many must-see French Riviera activities and glorious weather to boot, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best places in Europe to visit in April .

So without further ado, let’s journey to the beautiful French Riviera and learn all about the amazing things to do!

1) Visit The World’s Second-Smallest Country 

Monaco - Things to do in French Riviera

The principality micro-country that is Monaco shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s home to some of Europe’s finest beach resorts and white-sand beaches, all within an area of just over 200 hectares!

It’s situated between the Alps and the Mediterranean Ocean and is a dominating French Riviera attraction. There are many sites in this small country, but a highlight includes the world-famous Oceanographic Museum .

The museum took 11 years to build and is perched almost 100 meters above sea level. It’s also one of the world’s oldest aquariums and is often synonymous with Monaco. There are roughly 6000 underwater species here. Who said you have to visit Mauritius to experience a stunning underwater world?

Given that it is less than 2 miles in length, the country is easily walkable. Monaco City should obviously be your first stop in this miniature country.

The country is packed with glamorous palaces and striking cathedrals, but a particular one you simply have to visit is the Prince’s Palace of Monaco (Monaco-Ville). This is where the Prince of Monaco resides, and the architecture is worth admiring.

And once you’re done exploring Monaco-Ville, how about heading over to the Casino Monte Carlo for a gambling extravaganza? The casino itself is worth visiting, let alone the high-stakes poker opportunities.

Top Tip: If you’re coming from Nice, consider joining this Monaco by night tour to see the beautiful Mediterranean Sea lit up by the country’s nightlights.

Watch this awesome video below, and read through this article on the Best Things To Do in Monaco for more information on this exotic destination!

Monaco - The secrets of a true luxury stay - LUXE.TV

2) Get High up at Les Baux de Provence

Things to do in the French Riviera

Castle Les Baux de-Provence, Provence, France on warm sunny day.

The French Riviera is mostly admired for its pristine coastline and lush greenery. However, the area comes with a significant history and culture. This is visible in the landlocked, medieval village of Les Baux de Provence .

Of the hilltop villages in the French Riviera, it easily has the most picturesque setting in Alpilles National Park. The French word ‘ Baux’ translates to a steep cliff, which is very apt as the village sits at an elevation of almost 220 meters and extends over a hillside.

You’ll quickly be transported to the bygone era as you walk through the cobble-stoned streets and ancient courtyards of this quaint village.

You can expect lots of rocky highlands as it’s located within range of the Alpines Mountain Range. A popular landmark of the village is the Chateau-Fortress area. It’s a ridge area that provides some pretty fascinating views that can reach as far as Marseille (54 miles away).

If you’re looking to learn more about this destination and have a hassle-free experience, join this full-day tour of Provence .

Les Baux-de-Provence, France part 1 the village

3) Feel the Glitz and Grass at Saint Tropez 

St. Tropez - Things to do in the French Riviera

Lighthouse of St. Tropez. beautiful mediterranean landscape. french riviera, Cote d’ Azur, France

There’s a reason why this coastline is so sought-after. The coastal town of Saint Tropez is a testament to this, as it features in prominent movies such as The Transporter . The town is positioned at the edge of a peninsula, which explains the chain of crystal-blue, white-sand spots like Pampelonne Beach.

Tourism brings about most of the city’s income as it is home to picture-perfect beaches and an array of museums. And to think that it was only a historic fishing village way back when.

The nightlife here is also worth a visit, with its chic and elite party scene and the fancy cruise ships. France certainly offers some of Europe’s best parties , and Saint Tropez is the epitome of a festive French destination.

While this town may be extravagant, its natural landscape is worth admiring. The mild ocean waters accompany rolling green shrub hills and sandy beaches. Its natural beauty is best explored at the Ramatuelle Reserve on an epic kayaking experience .

And don’t forget the olive groves at Chateau Léoube , my oh my, are they drop-dead gorgeous!

24 LEGENDARY hours in Saint-Tropez

4) Discover the Riviera’s Best-Kept Secret at Gigaro

Gigaro - Things to do in the French riviera

Cigaro, Plage de Gigaro, Cote d’Azur, Provence, Südfrankreich

Most people who travel to St. Tropez are unaware that only a 25-minute drive away lies a stunning yet quiet beach area. Gigaro contains the start of a walking trail along the Mediterranean, so expect sweeping views. 

It’s a resort area that may not boast the high-end aspects of St. Tropez but certainly does present visitors with untouched natural beauty. The 6 miles of pine forests and rocky coastal inlets make for the perfect day trip that should be on all French Riviera itineraries.

You’ll also find some fantastic beach restaurants serving only the freshest seafood. And these beach restaurants aren’t falsely advertising. Marius a la Plage is quite literally on the beach and only a few feet away from the water. The views from this restaurant are unbeatable.

Gigaro - Presqu'ile de St Tropez

5) Get Some Venice Style Pics at Port Grimaud 

Things to do in the French Riviera

Street canals in Port Grimaud, France

You don’t need to travel to the border for a slice of Italy. When you’re asking what to do on the French Riviera with Venetian flare, then popping over to Port Grimaud should be at the top of your list. The French version of Venice is fairly new, as Port Grimaud was only developed in the 1960s.

It should not be confused with Grimaud, a medieval village that is part of the same commune as Port Grimaud. This seaside town is another viable option for a day trip from St. Tropez as it is only 4 miles west.

Rather than mimicking Venetian architecture, Port Grimaud’s chain of canals is bounded by Provencal-style buildings. These buildings are architectural wonders, with each having a distinct color and design.

If you’ve been to Venice and found yourself wishing for some natural elements, too, then Port Grimaud is your best alternative. It combines the multi-color spectacle of Venice with the backdrop of lush, rolling green hills. You can find incredible beaches perfect for swimming, a luxury you won’t be afforded when in Venice.

Port Grimaud - the Magic of Port Grimaud

6) Unwind in the Lerins Islands

Things to do in the French Riviera

some yachts anchored in the Frioul Canal, in the Lerins Islands, in the French Riviera, with the Ile Sainte-Marguerite in the background

Just off the coast of Cannes lies an archipelago of four islands, two of which are untouched. The islands are only a 20-minute boat ride from Cannes and offer a break from the city. The two main islands tourists visit are located just under one mile from each other.

Forget about any form of transportation on these islands because you’ll only be able to walk. This means the islands are the ideal destination for those seeking active and unique things to do in the French Riviera.

The two islands available for the public are the Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat . The former island is the biggest of the two and is an absolute must-see. It contains almost 14 miles of natural hiking trails and has strong cultural aspects worth discovering.

This includes the Cistercian monks that live on the island and work in its vineyards. Although they lead a simple life, they produce elaborate wines that have won many awards at the Monasterio de Lerins. Be sure to taste some of these wines when you’re on the island.

Suggested Tour: Why not make your visit special on a Lerins Islands sunset cruise ?


7) Get Star-Studded at Cannes 

Cannes - French Riviera Things To Do

You’ve surely heard of the famed Cannes Film Festival, but what more do you actually know about things to do in Cannes? Over and above the chic lifestyle and film industry, this town is Cote d’Azur economic hub — and is informally regarded as the ‘Sister City of Beverly Hills.’

It’s also a culinary utopia for visitors, with extensive food markets that promote traditional French cuisine. A top pick is Cannes’ Marché Forville.

Any trip to Cannes wouldn’t suffice without a visit to one of France’s most established and popular streets, La Croisette. This street is a promenade that stretches for one mile, with lovely views of the gleaming Mediterranean waters. And did I mention that Cannes is a popular cruise destination that offers majestic views of Promenade de la Croisette?

While you can lead a very cosmopolitan lifestyle in the city, the outskirts, and surroundings offer some of the most uncompromised nature experiences you could wish for.

PS: If you take a short 45-minute drive out of town, Saint Paul de Vence is a hilltop commune that offers majestic Alpine views. You can experience this stunning place on a half-day tour with wine tastings.

CANNES Top Attractions, France | Côte d'Azur

8) Leave the Ocean Behind at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse Village

Things to do in the French Riviera

Village Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in Provence France

This small commune is within the French Department of Vaucluse. It’s another inland destination that is often neglected when visiting the French Riviera. Yet, this little commune is home to a magnificent natural spring from a 755-foot cliff. It’s actually France’s largest spring and the 5th-most powerful in the world. Pretty crazy, right?

This flowing water is super powerful, surging 630-700 million cubic meters of water annually. It is one of the more unique options for French Riviera things to do.

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is even more spectacular as all the water sources eventually flow into a shaded, still, and calm basin. The locals revere the spring and view it as a sacred site.

The commune is interspersed with quaint waterways that meander through the buildings and are set against rocky outcrops. The sparkling emerald-green waters of the canals and surrounding rivers mean you’ll never be short of a refreshing (and Instagram-worthy) swim. 

Christian Löffler live @ Fontaine de Vaucluse in France for Cercle

9) Enjoy all of the Riviera’s Characteristics in Théoule-sur-Mer

Théoule-sur-Mer - Things to do in the French Riviera

Aerial view of the French Riviera

This charismatic village has compressed all the features of a large city into one breathtaking location. You can admire red rock formations, four ports, a castle, and a palace, all within a 1050-hectare radius. And you’ll never feel separation anxiety from the crisp, salty air and blue waters here because the village occupies over eight miles of beachfront.

The red rock formations are a marvel and form part of the Esterel Mountain Range. These rock formations give rise to the Calanques of Esterel , coves that are great for explorations. Over and above being simply a beaching destination, this village is the perfect gateway to some of the Riviera’s finest hiking opportunities.

Two of the top things to do in French Riviera’s Théoule-sur-Mer are to visit the Pointe de L’Aiguille and the Notre-Dame d’Afrique. These two sites authentically display the essence of Cote D’Azur — gorgeous ocean and lush mountains.

The Pointe de L’Aiguille is a departmental area that provides visitors with many scenic hiking routes along the rugged coastline. Here you’ll have direct access to the coves. You should also venture out to the Notre-Dame d’Afrique in the mountains. Here, you’ll find a mountain-top statue that almost reaches 15 meters.

Théoule-sur-Mer : Plage de la Pointe de l'Aiguille

10) Get Some More Nice Pics!

Nice, France - Best things to do in the French Riviera

Tourists usually associate things to do in France with Paris, the capital city . Yet, the French Riviera has its own capital city, which is a little ‘nicer.’ The most synonymous destination to the French Riviera is Nice, as it’s the region’s largest city.

It’s the capital of the French Riviera as it presents visitors with the quintessential Côte D’Azur experience. In other words, along with the pebble-stoned (and golden-sanded), transparent-water beaches, it’s a crucial culture and historic part of the region.

It’s famed for its long-stretching Promenade des Anglais, which snakes along the ocean for four miles. Not only is this a French Riviera must-see destination for the rich and famous, but it has also lured many artists over the past centuries. This means that the quality of art compositions here is unrivaled, and you’ll find a Chagall and Matisse Museum that proves a great experience.

You’ll also notice the strong Italian resemblance of the city, as it was only part of the French empire from the late 1900s. You should also include a visit to the city’s expansive green spaces in your things to do in Nice itinerary.

PS: Nice also bursts with color in mid-May as they host the Rose and Plant Festival.

If you want great city vistas, Parc de la Colline du Château is well worth popping by and even has a waterfall. And for something a little more special, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a magnificent destination on the city outskirts.

Suggested Tour: Explore Nice’s Old Town and Castle Hill on this guided walking tour .

TRAVEL GUIDE: Top Things to Do in Nice, France

11) Have Intimate Nature Experiences on Bendor Island

The mainland of the French Riviera is often more touristy. But, the region consists of numerous secluded islands that are easy to reach. Bendor Island is a prime example, as it’s an island near the coastal town of Bandol.

This is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on the French Riviera if you wish to escape from the inland crowds. The island is attached to a complicated ownership history as it has been entitled to many different owners and has even been deserted at times.

Presently, it is under the provision of Paul Ricard’s son. This is why the island is sometimes called ‘Paul Ricard Island.’ A true humanist and classic French figure, Ricard converted the island in the 1960s into a colorful spectacle.

It’s even home to an art garden scattered with intriguing sculptures. But other than Provence-style buildings, the island is largely untouched and offers top-notch hiking opportunities along the rugged terrain and coastline.

Aerial video of Bendor island, Bandol, France

12) Enjoy the French Riviera’s Eze Lifestyle

Eze - Things to do in the French Riviera

Eze is a coastal village that is only eight miles away from Nice. It’s positioned along a mountainous landscape with a charming medieval flair, thanks to its narrow, bumpy rock avenue. Much of the village maintains its original architectural beauty and sits 430 meters above sea level.

Another highlight of the historic village is its award-winning Jardin Exotique d’Èze or the botanical gardens. This isn’t any ordinary botanical garden, as it sits atop a steep mountain.

A particular favorite trail among locals is the Nietzsche path that snakes along the steep terrain. You’ll be afforded some of the most scenic inland and oceanic views of Cote D’Azur. Eze is also home to some pretty splendid beaches and stays true to its Southern-France position.

The medieval village of Eze, France - French Riviera

13) Venture to Europe’s Highest Coastal Village

Sainte Agnes - Best Places to visit in the French Riviera

Also known as Sainte Agnes, this probably isn’t the typical image that comes to mind when thinking of the French Riviera. Sainte Agnes is a village positioned high up on the mountain, way above the city of Menton.

It offers some of the best panoramic vistas of any urban space in Cote D’Azur. It’s not a well-known site as it is often overshadowed by Menton, even though it quite literally overshadows Menton. The medieval village is perched 800 meters above sea level, and given its proximity to the border, stunning views of Italy are also in order.

If you’re fed up with medieval facades from the 1400s that have been revitalized, then Sainte Agnes also functions as the gateway to some steep and impressive hiking trails. You can reach as far as the Baudon summit, which forms part of the Southern Alps, and has an altitude of almost 1270 meters above sea level.


14) Admire Blossoms at Tourrettes sur Loup

Things to do in the French Riviera

Mountain village Tourrettes-sur-Loup on sunset, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Another underrated village sandwiched between Cannes and Nice is the charming Tourrettes sur Loup. While it may not be as elevated as Sainte Agnes, it still sits on a rocky highland. The village claimed the nickname of the ‘Violet Village,’ which will be evident upon first gaze – as these Victoria flowers can be seen throughout the village.

If you find yourself looking for what to do in the French Riviera in March, this village hosts a flower festival dedicated to Victoria Violets. And like many other Cote D’Azur settlements, Tourrettes sur Loup is a utopia for artists.

In its medieval city center (Grand Rue), various forms of artistic expression combine to offer visitors and locals a range of local products to buy. The major cities such as Nice and Cannes are infamous for their expensive artifacts that are often tourist traps. So if you want traditional French artifacts, support these local artists too.

France Tourrettes Sur Loup, Medieval Village, My Round the World Trip, 12

15) Spot Cetaceans in the Pelagos Sanctuary 

A Cetacean is a category of aquatic mammal species that comprises dolphins and whales, among others. In total, there are 89 species of Cetacea. When contemplating what to see in the French Riviera, marine life hardly ever gets a second thought, so this is bound to be a unique activity. 

So get ready to admire these species in a protected and conserved Pelagos Sanctuary, which spans 875 000-hectares. The sanctuary evolved from a consensus between Italy, France, and Monaco (the territories it runs through) to preserve the region’s oceanic life.

It’s a maritime site that attracts many aquatic species, but you’ll have a high chance of having some stellar whale and dolphin sightings during summer. The significance of this sanctuary is unrivaled because of the ongoing destruction of coral reefs and ocean pollution.

So, do your part in supporting this important conservation initiative. At the sanctuary, you can choose between half-day tours , a whale-watching cruise , or partaking in a research boat trip. There are extremely high concentrations of Cetaceans in these waters due to them being rich in food sources, so get ready to be amazed.

Note: Most tours and excursions leave from Genoa, so you may need to cross the border.

PELAGOS Sanctuary

16) Breathe in the Fresh Air of Menton

Things to do in the French Riviera

Colorful old town and beach in Menton on french Riviera in a beautiful summer day, France

You’ve already read about Sainte Agnes, which sits above Menton. But you should adjust your French Riviera itinerary to visit both destinations. Menton is a coastal city offering spacious tropical gardens and scenic beaches. It’s also close to the French-Italian border.

One of the city’s more popular gardens, Serre de la Madone, exhibits less common plant species, making it well worth the visit. The area is a well-liked resort destination with lengthy promenades, high-end hotels, and infamous casinos.

Yet Menton also has historical appeal; some of its facades are rooted in medieval Baroque architecture. A guided walking tour along the Promenade du Soleil will showcase the multi-colored houses of uneven heights, which are all connected at the sides.

But the buildings aren’t the only uneven things in Menton. So too is the landscape. The city’s Eastern section is hilly and adorned with a 1700s historic Bell-Tower that is definitely worth a visit.

One day in Menton, France, French Riviera [4K] (

Am I Missing Any of the Best Things to do in the French Riviera?

It’s been a few years since I’ve traveled to the French Riviera, so I’d love to hear what you guys love about this gorgeous destination! There really is so much to do along the entire southern coast of France, as it’s filled with beautiful beaches, glamorous destinations, and is guaranteed to be a trip you’ll never forget! 

FRENCH RIVIERA ROAD TRIP! Cute villages in the South of France

Final Thoughts on the Top Things to Do in French Riviera

So, next time you visit this haven, remember that there are inland destinations beyond the French Riviera’s eight major towns. The best things to do in French Riviera are not limited to the major towns as the small villages and coastal towns are worth admiring too.

Often, you’ll find less touristy and more intimate cultural experiences on the outskirts of major towns. With a semi-arid climate gifted by the Mediterranean sun, you can certainly withdraw from Northern Europe’s (and even France’s) frosty winter climates.

What are you waiting for? It’s an all-year-round destination, so book your favorite French Riviera destination now! Or, all of them.

Things to do in the French Riviera 2020

Planning a Trip to France & Europe?

My travel blog has tons of helpful articles and travel itineraries that can serve as a great resource! Take a read through some of my favorites below, and feel free to reach out with any questions you have! I’m always happy to help in any way I can!

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The World Was Here First

The Ultimate 5 to 7 Days in the French Riviera Itinerary

Last Updated on January 30, 2024

by Neota Langley

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

10 best places to visit in french riviera

In this 5 to 7 days in the French Riviera itinerary, you’ll discover the capital of the area, Nice, as well as explore hidden gems nestled in the hillsides, uninhabited islands and the breathtaking cliffs of the Calanques National Park.

Located in the south of France , the French Riviera is a long stretch of coast along the Mediterranean Sea. Also referred to as the Côte d’Azur, this popular destination is famed for its glamorous cities, mediaeval hilltop towns, rich culture and pristine beaches that lead into the glistening azure sea.

Table of Contents

How Many Days in the French Riviera?

While it’s entirely possible to explore a small portion of the French Riviera by spending 2-3 days in Nice , to make the most of the entire region without feeling rushed, 5-7 days is the sweet spot. Allowing yourself the additional time will give you the freedom to discover the off-the-beaten-path locations between the main hotspots. 

With 5 days in the French Riviera, you’ll be able to enjoy the glitz and glamour of Monaco and  Cannes, the rich culture of Nice, soak in the sun in St Tropez and visit some of the picturesque hilltop towns and villages in between. 

Ideally, 7 days are the perfect amount of time to do this beautiful region justice. An entire week gives you plenty of time to head out of the cities to discover the lesser-known gems of the Côte d’Azur and soak in the authentic local culture.    

Pampelonne Beach in Saint Tropez

Getting To & Around the French Riviera

Nice is the 5th largest city in France, perched on the eastern side of the French Riviera, it makes the perfect starting point for this Côte d’Azur itinerary. Luckily, Nice is also incredibly accessible, whether you are arriving by plane, train or bus.

If you’re arriving by train, the station Gare de Nice-Ville is conveniently located just a short walk away from the city centre. The trains are a reliable and affordable way to access Nice from a variety of major cities across France and even a handful of Italian cities. You can view schedules here.

The Nice Côte d’Azur airport is the only major international airport along the French Riviera. This is a bustling airport with flights arriving from across the world. Access to the city from the airport is quick and easy with a regular free tram service covering the short 30-minute journey.

For the most cost-effective way to reach the French Riviera, you’ll find comfortable buses that connect Nice to a variety of cities and towns across France and Italy. You can view schedules here.

When planning your route, you may be wondering how to get from one location to the next.

While the buses and trains between cities are very good, to really make the most of your time and explore the hidden gems along the way, it would be advisable to hire a car. You can browse options here to compare options amongst several car hire companies.

A French Riviera road trip itinerary is the perfect way to embrace the region at your own pace and discover your own slice of paradise with hidden coves and quintessentially French hilltop villages not on any bus or train route.

If you are unable to rent a car for any reason then the trains and buses are an affordable and reliable way to make your way along the Mediterranean Coast, just bear in mind there may be a few spots that these primary routes don’t cover.

An excellent way to supplement this is with guided tours, these tours are more likely to visit the spots not served by regular buses or trains such as the Verdon Gorge or the Esterel National Park . 

If you are relying on public transport, pick up a French Riviera Pass with travel. This pass will allow you to travel freely on the Lignes d’Azur bus services and the city trams in Nice as well as providing free access to a variety of museums and activities. 

View of Nice at dusk

5 to 7-Day French Riviera Itinerary

Starting from east to west, this route covers the major hotspots as well as the hidden gems along the coast. If you only have 5 days to explore, you can follow the daily suggestions or mix and match depending on your ideal holiday. The proximity of the destinations means it is easy to curate this guide to suit your needs. 

Day 1 – Nice

The capital of the French Riviera, Nice, is the perfect place to start our itinerary. Not only is it the most accessible city along the coast but it also boasts a rich culture, delicious regional cuisine and a charming old town. Dating back to 350 BCE, Nice (previously known as Nike and Nizza) is easily one of the most cultural cities in France. 

On your first morning, make your way along the world-renowned Promenade Des Anglais. A 7 km long boulevard providing uninterrupted coastal views of the Mediterranean Sea, this is the perfect place to get a feel for the French Riviera. Grab a coffee and a fresh, buttery croissant from one of the many bakeries along the seafront along the way. 

From the Promenade Des Anglais, head into the old town (Vieux Nice). Meander along the narrow cobbled streets until you reach the Cours Saleya, a bustling market home to stands offering fresh fruit and vegetables, local flowers, handmade crafts and souvenirs. You can also  organise a walking tour  or  food tour  here.

The atmosphere is electric, the aromas exciting the senses as you make your way along the street. I would highly recommend purchasing a range of local produce to put together a picnic for the upcoming days – you won’t find anything quite as fresh and delicious in any supermarkets.

Next, visit one of the city’s many museums. Musée Matisse sits atop Cimiez Hill, in a 17th-century villa that was also once Matisse’s home. Here you can find an impressive collection of original paintings, drawings and sculptures.

The museum itself is surrounded by beautiful gardens and ancient olive groves. Cimiez Hill is also home to an archaeological museum, built on the site of the remains of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum, which is definitely worth the visit if you are in the area. If you have purchased a French Riviera Pass, access to the museum is free.

Head back into the old town to discover some local Nicoise cuisine for dinner. You may have heard of the famous ‘Nicoise salad’, tuna, fresh vegetables and hard-boiled eggs but there are plenty of other regional delights to explore.

Try ‘Daube’, a hearty beef stew, ‘Ratatouille’, a rich vegetable stew originating in Nice or for a grab-and-go dinner try a ‘Socca’ at one of the street food vendors, a chickpea pancake served with a variety of toppings.  

Flea Market of Cours Saleya

Where to Stay in Nice

Nice Garden Hotel – Perfect for mid-range travellers, this 3-star hotel is ideal for those looking for a central place to stay in Nice. They have a number of lovely rooms available along with an unbeatable location for exploring all this coastal French city has to offer.

Palais Saleya Boutique hôtel – If you’re staying in the French Riviera on a bit of a higher budget, then this luxury hotel in the centre of Nice is an excellent option. They have a range of lovely rooms on offer along with countless other wonderful amenities.

Aparthotel AMMI Vieux Nice – This aparthotel has a number of fully furnished flats on offer for those who’d rather have their own space while visiting Nice. They have a central location along with breakfast available daily and an airport shuttle on offer.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Nice hotels!

Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Nice

Day 2 – Monaco Day Trip

No trip to the French Riviera would be complete without a day trip into the world’s second-smallest country, Monaco . Just 30 minutes away from Nice by train or car, Monaco offers a unique perspective of the Côte d’Azur. Famed for its riches, yachts, Monte Carlo and hosting the famous inner city Grand Prix, Monaco is a micro country overflowing with luxury. 

The best way to reach Monaco from Nice is by train. There are regular, affordable trains between the two cities throughout the day. 

If you have a car, there are several multi-storey car parks around the city so parking is convenient although perhaps the more expensive option.

There are two routes from Nice to Monaco, along the coast or up through the hills – both offer spectacular views across the Mediterranean Sea. When you’re driving, you also have the option to stop in the charming village of Eze along the way.

If you want to go on a guided tour to Monaco from Nice there are plenty of options such as this full-day tour .

Saying Monaco is expensive is an understatement, so make sure to pack a picnic with some of the local produce you picked up from the Cours Saleya.

If budget is no option, you’ll have plenty to do in Monaco, from luxurious yachts to helicopter rides and casinos. But don’t worry, Monaco is more diverse than it may first appear with a historical old town, botanical gardens and museums. 

After walking along the marina staring up at the super-yachts, head out of the city centre to Jardin De Exotique. You can reach the gardens on foot or by using the free public escalators that whisk you up the cliffside.

A stunning oasis perched above the city, this botanical garden is home to over 1000 species of cacti and succulents from across the world. Some of these plants are over a century old, towering cacti frame the panoramic view across the Port of Monaco extending as far as Italy.

Access to the gardens includes a visit to a cave set back in the cliff, full of stalactites and stalagmites. 

Head back down into the city to visit the Oceanography Museum. A cross between an aquarium and a natural history museum, this grand baroque building is home to an impressive collection of marine life and oceanographic artefacts.

Before you make the trip back to Nice, make sure you visit the old town, Monaco Ville (also known as The Rock). Much smaller than the old town in Nice, Monaco Ville still has the typical picturesque winding streets and colourful buildings.

Most visitors to Monaco focus on the marina and the city centre so even in the high season, this slice of history is fairly quiet and provides a nice, shady break from the city centre. 

30 minutes along the coast and we are back in Nice. For the best view of the sunset, take a walk up Castle Hill. A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, you can take in panoramic views across the city and along the coast as the sun sets. The perfect way to end the day. 

Casino of Monte Carlo.

Day 3 – St Paul de Vence, Antibes & Cannes

Next, we wave goodbye to Nice as we continue our journey west along the French Riviera. Start your day by heading inland to the hilltop village of St Paul de Vence. A perfectly intact, Medieval village renowned for its art. Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and Renoir all spent time here, and today the narrow lanes are full of art galleries and artisan studios. 

Take a stroll through the historic streets, sculptures and vine-covered buildings around every corner. Alongside the many galleries that line the cobbled streets, you can find gift shops and chic cafes. 

Moving along the coast to Antibes, a 16th-century walled city. A popular day trip from Nice, it’s not hard to see why Antibes has captured the hearts of many artists over the centuries. 

Perhaps one of the world’s most famous artists, Picasso, lived in Antibes for a time and now has a museum dedicated to his life and works, the Musee Picasso. Entry is free for French Riviera Pass holders. 

Take the time to explore and stroll around the Cap d’Antibes, away from the hustle and bustle, this quiet peninsula is the perfect place to discover a hidden cove for a dip in the azure sea to cool off or simply take one of the hiking trails to embrace yourself in nature.

We end day 3 in Cannes , known for its glitz and glamour and, of course, the Cannes Film Festival -which is held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès annually. This city is the perfect place to spend the evening.

As the sun sets, take a stroll along the Croisette, a world-renowned boulevard stretching 3 km along the Mediterranean Sea. Here you will find a wide range of beach clubs offering fresh seafood and regional wines. 

Cannes is a hot spot for nightlife on the French Riviera so if the mood takes you, after dinner, check out one of the chic rooftop bars or head to a nightclub to dance the night away. 

Beautiful Cannes

Where to Stay in Cannes

Villa Claudia Hotel Cannes – This lovely, mid-range hotel is perfect for your average visitor to Cannes. they have a range of wonderful rooms to choose from, a fantastic location, breakfast on offer each morning and a lovely garden for guests to enjoy.

Hotel Splendid – This opulent hotel is perfect for luxury visitors to Cannes. Ideal if you want your French Riviera trip to be as splendid as possible, with gorgeous rooms and amenities like a bar, breakfast, room service and a lovely terrace.

La Bastide de l’Oliveraie – If you’re looking for a large suite instead of a traditional hotel room, then this sophisticated hotel in the centre of Cannes is a great option. There are several different rooms, a spa, a rooftop swimming pool and hot tub and a great breakfast served daily.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Cannes hotels!

Notre-Dame de l'Esperance Church in Cannes

Day 4 – Cannes

The next morning, take the ferry from Cannes to Sainte Marguerite – one of four Lerins Islands, just off the coast of Cannes. Spend the morning exploring the unspoilt island via the pine and eucalyptus-lined walking trails. You can pre-book tickets here.

At just 3 km long, you can easily reach hidden corners of the island on foot, perfect for a picnic. Don’t forget to stop in at the Museum of the Sea to visit the prison cell of the Man in the Iron Mask before heading back to the mainland. 

After soaking in the natural oasis of Sainte Marguerite, it’s time to make the most of Cannes’ wide range of watersports on offer. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie looking to parasail along the Mediterranean coast or simply want to take the afternoon to relax on a paddleboard or kayak.

The best way to see the coast is from the water, a unique perspective on the city and the hidden coves along the shore. Activities along the start of the Croisette tend to be more expensive than those towards the end so take a stroll along the boulevard to save yourself some pennies. 

After spending the day on the azure sea, head inland for dinner. Cannes’ old town may be smaller than Vieux Nice but it is just as charming. Cannes offers a wide range of restaurants, from Michelin-starred to rustic and homely. Restaurants line the streets of the old town so take your pick and settle in to enjoy some of the region’s finest food. 

Fort Royal on Sainte-Marguerite Island

Day 5 – St Tropez

It’s time to move further along the coast to our next destination, St Tropez . If you have your own vehicle, the drive takes just over an hour but there is a more picturesque way to travel between the two cities.

The ferry leaves Cannes at 10:15, cruising through the Mediterranean Sea to arrive in St Tropez at 11:30. You can pre-book tickets here.

The journey is truly invigorating, fresh sea spray, colourful parasol-filled beaches, hidden coves, and ancient seaside towns appearing around every corner. This is the perfect way to indulge in a boat trip without breaking the bank.

Long associated with sunbathing, beach parasols and deck chairs – St Tropez is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the region. Many of the towns and cities we have visited so far offer pebble beaches along their shores but not St Tropez. Here you will find wide stretches of golden sands, glistening turquoise waters and undulating dunes. 

St Tropez used to be a quiet fishing village, however, it rose to popularity when the 1956 film And God Created Woman starring Brigitte Bardot was shot here. Since then it has been a popular destination to soak in that Riviera style. 

Take the morning to stroll along the old port (Vieux Port). Once you pass the rows of luxurious, modern super yachts, you will come to a footpath that leads around the old fisherman’s district, La Poche.

The tiny beach and cobbled streets give you a glimpse into what St Tropez may have been like before it became a tourist destination. 

After building up an appetite, head into the traditional square, Place Des Lices to discover the charming restaurants offering regional cuisine. If you are lucky enough to be visiting on market day (Tuesday and Saturday) you will find a bustling market, sprawling across the plaza.

Locals come to the market to get their groceries from local farmers and bakers and to grab great deals on everything from antiques to spices, vinyl records to homeware.

St Tropez is much more than sunbathing on the beach but our next stop embraces the activity this city is known for. If glitz and glamour are your thing, head to the world-famous Pampelonne Beach. A 5 km scenic stretch of golden sand, clear blue sea and exclusive beach clubs.

If you want to soak in the St Tropez beach scene without dealing with crowds, you may want to head further along the coast to Canoubiers beach, a quieter spot where you will find locals taking a dip in the ocean and enjoying the natural shade of the umbrella pines. 

If you only have 5 days in French Riviera, this will be your final day. After returning to Cannes on the 16:30 ferry the options for onward travel are endless. Whether you are hoping on a flight from the Nice Cote d’Azur airport or taking your car across to explore neighbouring Italy.

However, if you’re taking a week to explore the French Riviera, then consider either basing yourself in St Tropex for the night or heading all the way to Hyères, the next stop on our itinerary, in order to avoid backtracking.

Village of Saint Tropez

Day 6 – Hyères

On day six of this itinerary through the French Riviera, it’s time to head a bit off the beaten tourist path and visit the Western part of the Côte d’Azur. Often overlooked by tourists, this area is favoured by French travellers for being much quieter than the likes of Nice or Cannes . 

The charming mediaeval town of Hyères is our next stop. Take the morning to explore the city and wander through the narrow streets of the old town before bursting out to the open sandy beaches.  

Hyères is an unmissable destination but we are not here for the city itself. Just off the coast of Hyères, you will find the ‘Golden Islands’ a collection of 3 islands all offering beautiful vistas, sandy beaches, lush greenery and diverse wildlife but each providing visitors with something different. Shuttle boats run regularly from the port of Hyères.

Our destination is Port Cros National Park, a protected oasis of nature and tranquillity, this island is the wildest of the three. Providing 3 excellent hiking trails where you can fully immerse yourself in the natural and cultural wonders that you can find in Southern France.

The area is world-renowned for spectacular diving with crystal clear waters and an abundance of protected sea life. There is a dive centre along the harbour where you can book full-day beginner scuba courses or simply rent snorkel equipment. There are 15 incredible scuba diving locations around Hyères and the Golden Islands including a shipwreck off the coast.

There are several restaurants and accommodation options on the Port Cros island if you truly wish to immerse yourself in this beautiful Mediterranean island if you don’t plan to hop on the shuttle boat back to Hyères.

Pointe de la Badine beach in Hyeres

Where to Stay in Hyères

Hôtel Le Méditerranée – This cosy hotel located right on the beach in Hyères is ideal of those visiting this town on a mid-range budget. They have many clean, comfortable and bright rooms to choose from, a great location and breakfast available each morning.

Hôtel Lido Beach – This is another charming (and pet-friendly) hotel located on the beach in Hyères. There are countless lovely amenities for guests to enjoy, a number of delightful rooms to choose from and an excellent location for enjoying all the region has to offer.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Hyères hotels!

Day 7 – Cassis

The final bit of your French Riviera trip takes you even further west along the coast to the picturesque fishing village of Cassis. Nestled between the dramatic Cap Canaille (the highest sea cliff in France) and the Calanques National Park, Cassis is easily one of the most beautiful villages on the Cote d’Azur.

The port is the beating heart of this small town, still in use today, if you arrive early enough you will catch the fish market where local fishermen sell their catch of the day to locals and restaurants along the shore. 

The streets of the town are largely car-free so make a great place to wander around, discovering pastel buildings with colourful shutters and vines snaking over the balconies.

You can discover more about the history of Cassis in the Musée d’Art et Traditions Populaires, housing permanent collections of archaeological artefacts and fine art alongside temporary exhibitions from the Provence region. 

Pack a picnic and head out to the Calanques National Park, a stunning area of natural beauty. The park is home to 26 Calanques, which are narrow, steep-walled inlets that form in limestone rocks, resembling fjords. You can also take a bike tour here or enjoy some standup paddleboarding.

These breathtaking natural formations combined with the pale rocks, lush pine trees, sandy coves, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, make up this strikingly picturesque landscape.

The area offers some of the finest hiking in the region, whether you want to go on a full-day hike or just meander through the beautiful scenery for an hour or so.

It is possible to walk all the way from Cassis to Les Goudes which is located on the outskirts of Marseille, however, the majority of people who visit from Cassis tend to concentrate on the three closest Calanques: Port-Miou, Port-Pin and En-Vau. There are organised groups that can be joined to hike here.

Head back to Cassis for dinner on the port side. Enjoy the catch of the day at Le Grand Bleu or sample a local speciality bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew along the back streets at Le Bonaparte.

Port of Cassis

Have More Time?

If you have more than a week on the French Riviera and want to explore more of this stunning coastline, Cassis is centrally located in the south of France making it the ideal starting point to either continue west or head inland.

For those visiting who have the use of a vehicle, there are several national parks throughout the French Riviera that are well worth the road trip. 

Verdon Gorge is a stunning, high-sided gorge with crystal-clear turquoise waters. Hire a kayak or a pedalo from below the bridge to meander up the river through the towering cliffs.

If you are visiting in the summer be aware the water levels can get quite low towards the top end of the gorge so you may not be able to make it all the way through the ravine. 

Those who have a bit more time could also add a few more of the Riviera’s picture-perfect villages to their itinerary. For instance, Menton is a popular option as is Villefranche-sur-Mer.

You could also opt to road trip through the lavender fields of Provence. There are multiple lavender farms spread out along Provence so the best way to see them is by road trip. If you can only visit one, head to Notre-Dame de Senanque. There are also many towns to visit in this region such as Avignon and Aix-en-Provence.

This 12-century abbey is surrounded by countless rows of beautiful lavender fields. Because of how iconic this stop can be (it’s featured on many postcards), it does get very busy in peak season. It’s worth it to arrive as soon as they open in order to avoid large crowns.

Although not technically part of the French Riviera, Marseille is a large port city that is worth a visit if you have more than 7 days in the French Riviera. With a bustling city centre, there is plenty to do in the 3rd largest city in France. 

Palais du Pharo

The French Riviera is one of the most beautiful regions in France. With ancient cities, rich culture, stunning sea views around every corner and sleepy hilltop villages. With this itinerary, you will be able to cover the main destinations along with some of the local secrets and hidden gems along the way.

Are you planning to visit the French Riviera? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

10 best places to visit in french riviera

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Neota Langley

About Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

Thank you for the wonderful information. We head out to St. Paul de Vence for two weeks at the end of April. I’ve made lots of notes out of your suggestions. We decided to rent a car and look forward to seeing much of the riveria!

So happy you’ve found this helpful!

I loved reading your travel info. Having been there years ago we plan a week in Cannes and have a car, Well done Thank you

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She Wanders Abroad

The Ultimate 10 Day French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary

Beautiful yachts in Port Hercules in Monaco

Summoning the French Riviera mind brings images of sun-kissed beaches and glitzy harbor towns where fresh fish is always the dish of the day and the sun is always beaming. That really is exactly what you’re going to get when you travel to the dreamiest part of Southern France!

Taking a French Riviera road trip is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and culture that each of these towns and villages offers. Read on to learn how to see the best of the French Riviera in 10 days as part of a road trip.

* Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. *

No time to read now? Pin it for later!

The Ultimate French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary for 10 Days

Table of Contents

Useful Info for Your French Riviera Road Trip

How to get to the french riviera .

You can start your 10 days in the French Riviera by flying to either Nice or Marseille. As the two largest cities each with an international airport, these are the easiest to access from within France, other European cities, and global destinations. 

Nice is served by Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) while Marseille is served by Marseille Provence Airport (MRS). Low-cost carriers connect to either so you can weigh up which is most convenient for you.

Best time to visit the French Riviera 

The French Riviera benefits from a balmy Mediterranean climate which means that it’s a pleasant destination whatever time you plan your French Riviera trip. 

July and August is the high season in the French Riviera which does mean crowded cities and attractions and baking hot temperatures, with highs of 30℃ (86℉).

This isn’t ideal for everyone so do consider booking your trip during the shoulder season of either mid-April to mid-May or September-October for fewer crowds but pleasant temperatures still upwards of 20°C (68F).

If you want to see the French Riviera in 10 days during winter then you will benefit from agreeable temperatures that seldom drop to single figures. The only thing to bear in mind is that the water temperature isn’t as comfortable for swimming during the cooler months of November-March.

That being said, the French Riviera is still one of the best winter sun destinations in Europe !

Where to stay in the French Riviera 

In terms of where to stay during your French Riviera road trip, you will only need to book accommodation in two cities. While you could technically stay in another town or city each night, I wouldn’t recommend this.

Most places on this French Riviera road trip are easily accessible from either Nice or Marseille as day trips so I suggest choosing these 2 cities as your base. If you follow this French Riviera itinerary, you’ll need to book 6 nights in Nice and 4 nights in Marseille.

Save time and book one of these top-rated hotels in the French Riviera!

Where to stay in Marseille

Hotel C2

LUXURY – Hotel C2

This 5-star luxury hotel is housed within a converted 19th-century private mansion and contains a spa with a small indoor pool. The most decadent rooms include a private terrace and a view of the basilica.

Hôtel Maison Saint Louis - Vieux Port

MID-RANGE – Hôtel Maison Saint Louis – Vieux Port

Set in a peaceful street in the district of Noailles, the hotel is tastefully decorated in a contemporary style. Superior rooms are equipped with charming balconies that provide a city view. 

Hôtel Hermès

BUDGET – Hôtel Hermès

Located a hop, a skip, and a jump from Vieux Port, this hotel boasts a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the harbor and the city. Modern rooms are equipped with a private bathroom and all the essential amenities. 

Where to stay in Nice

Hotel Le Negresco

LUXURY – Hotel Le Negresco

The famous Hotel Negresco, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, overlooks the beach and the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. From Louis XIII style to modern art, 5 centuries of history are exhibited throughout the hotel. Free Wifi access is provided and there is an on-site fitness center.

NH Nice


Featuring a seasonal rooftop swimming pool, sauna, and terrace, NH Nice is a hotel located a 10-minute walk from Nice’s Old Town and the Port. It offers free WiFi and is next to Nice Acropolis. Rooms at NH Nice are contemporary in style and offer a flat-screen TV and a mini-bar.

easyHotel Nice Palais des Congrès – Old Town

BUDGET – easyHotel Nice Palais des Congrès – Old Town

EasyHotel Nice Palais des Congrès – Old Town is a budget hotel located beside the Acropolis Palais des Congrès. Featuring parquet flooring, the air-conditioned rooms all have free WiFi, an LCD TV, and a desk. The private bathrooms include free toiletries.

Tips for driving in the French Riviera

When planning your French Riviera road trip, don’t forget to check the local driving rules. Here are some quick tips to help you prepare:

  • If you’re coming from overseas, you will need to carry your driving license from your home country as well as an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) while driving in the French Riviera. If your driving license was issued by one of the member states of the European Economic Area, you will not need the IDP as your license is valid in France.
  • If you do visit during the peak season (or a festival), the roads will be busier and parking less available. Plan to leave as early as possible on these days to beat the traffic and nab a parking spot. 
  • When driving in the French Riviera you need to prepare for narrow roads that wind their way along cliff sides. If you are a less confident driver you should always drive in daylight, take it slowly and avoid overtaking other vehicles.
  • When booking accommodation make sure that the hotel provides parking and check whether you need to reserve it in advance or pay extra to secure a spot. Parking in the French Riviera is hard to come by, especially in the peak season.

Cute street in Nice, France

Overview of Your French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary 

You can book 6 nights of accommodation in Nice from where you will take day trips to Monaco, Menton, Èze and Villefranche-sur-Mer (split over a morning and afternoon), and Cannes.

On the 7th day, you will check out of your Nice hotel and pop into Saint-Tropez on your way to Marseille. Once in Marseille, you can check into your second hotel for the final 4 nights. 

Breakdown for how to see the French Riviera in 10 days

  • Nice : 2 days
  • Monaco : 1 day
  • Menton : 1 day
  • Éze : Half day
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer : Half day
  • Cannes : 1 day
  • St. Tropez : 1 day
  • Cassis : 1 day
  • Marseille : 2 days

You can choose whether you start in Nice and end in Marseille or go in reverse. This French Riviera itinerary works either way!

Map for your French Riviera road trip

Below you can find a customized map that includes all the locations you’re going to visit on this French Riviera road trip itinerary. I marked the different parts of the road trip with different colors so you can easily see which places you’re going to visit each day.

If you open up this post on your phone and you click on the bracket in the upper right corner of the map, it will automatically save this map to your Google Maps app so you can always have it with you. Super convenient, right?

The Ultimate French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary for 10 Days

Nice (2 days).

Nice is both the capital of the French Riviera and one of the most popular cities in the region. The seaside resort is located in the southwest of France and is known for its pastel-hued 19th-century architecture, leafy boulevards, and ocean views.

The year-round sunshine means that whenever you visit, the streets will swarm with energy and the beaches will always appeal. You can easily spend your 2 days wandering around and admiring the city, but here are some essentials for your Nice itinerary .

Panoramic view of Nice, France

Best things to do in Nice

The Old Town of Nice is a rabbit warren of narrow cobblestone streets where you can wander at will. Notable sights include Nice Cathedral, Place Garibaldi, and Cours Saleya where you will see fresh flowers and local produce on sale.

Discover the neighborhood as you like or join a walking tour if you want to learn more about the history.

Colorful buildings in the Old Town of Nice, France

Nice Castle

The castle that once stood here is long gone but you can still climb up to the top of the hill for one of the best viewpoints in Nice. There is a refreshing waterfall which you’ll appreciate on a hot day and the views are out of this world.

Musée Matisse

A palatial villa devoted to showcasing the worlds of Henri Mattise. From 1917 onwards, Matisse spent most of his winters living in Nice and many of the paintings exhibited were painted in the city. 

Beaches of Nice

Nice is flanked by a number of beaches that work their way from Old Nice westwards along the Promenade des Anglais. Take some time during your French Riviera trip to go for a dip, catch some rays and enjoy a beachside cocktail. 

The famous white-blue parasols at Ruhl Plage in Nice, France

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

The largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe, this majestic cathedral is the property of the Russian Federation. It was constructed out of Tsar Alexander II’s love of the French Riviera and meant as a place of worship for the Russian community of Nice.  

Place Masséna

The largest public square in Nice impresses with its mid-19th-century buildings and the stylish tiled pavement. This might be the most beautiful part of the city. 

Place Massena in Nice, France

Promenade des Anglais

Providing 7 km (4.3 miles) of sea views, this promenade connects the airport with Nice Castle. It’s a lovely walk, especially first thing or around dusk when it’s a little cooler. 

Promenade des Anglais is a must visit when spending one day in Nice, France

Where to eat in Nice

  • Ruhl Plage : Food, drinks, and service are exemplary as are the ocean views at this swanky beachside restaurant and bar. 
  • Bistrot d’Antoine : A refined menu of French cuisine with an expansive wine list in the beating heart of Old Nice.
  • Néron Glacier Patissier : All that walking around Old Nice calls for a sugar fix in the form of artisanal ice cream and freshly baked pastries. 
  • HOBO Coffee : As cute as a button, this is an appealing spot to grab an iced coffee. They also offer nut milks which are tricky to come by in France. 

Breakfast at Ruhl Plage in Nice, France

Monaco (1 Day)

Driving time: 45-60 minutes (21 km/13 miles) from Nice to Monaco

Synonymous with glamour, Monaco is one of the most affluent places you will encounter on your French Riviera trip. Headed by the Prince of Monaco, the principality isn’t technically part of France but rather it’s the second smallest country in the world, second only to Vatican City.

Although its flamboyant facade attracts the rich and the famous, beneath it all Monaco is still a unique place to explore. Due to its tiny size, one day in Monaco is truly all you need to discover this luxurious country!

Panoramic view from Tete de Chien

Best things to do in Monaco

Port hercule.

Grab an ice cream and cruise Port Hercule on foot for the chance to gawp at mega yachts. If you’re on a relaxed budget, you might even want to book a private boat cruise to get a slice of the high life. 

Port Hercules in Monaco

Palais du Prince

When the prince is out of town, the Palais du Prince lowers the flag and opens its doors to tourists. A former 13th-century fortress, the palace contains art galleries, a chapel, and an elaborate Throne Room.

Monte Carlo Casino

The Beaux-Arts-style casino was constructed in the late 19th century and has since risen to fame as a movie location for James Bond and Ocean’s Twelve. Even if you don’t fancy risking your French Riviera road trip budget, it’s worth taking a visit to experience its architectural beauty. 

The famous Monte Carlo Casino that you can't miss when spending one day in Monaco

Jardin Exotique de Monaco

This cliffside garden provides splendid coastal views and is a lush oasis of botanics and cacti. There is also a cave to explore that contains stalactites and stalagmites.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

This alabaster white cathedral was erected in the 19th century and serves as a place of worship as well as a mausoleum to the previous princes of Monaco.

St. Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco

Musée Océanographique de Monaco

For a small place, Monaco is packed with museums. If you can make space for one museum in your French Riviera itinerary, make it this one. It’s an aquarium with a natural history museum and planetarium, housing over 6,000 marine species.

Where to eat in Monaco

  • Huit & Demi : Dine on fresh seafood or a fusion of French and Italian plates at this al fresco eatery near the harbor. 
  • Chez Edgar : An affordable menu that provides light breakfasts and pastries through to hearty mains. 
  • Eola : Eola stands for ‘Eat Organic Live Active’, and as the name suggests, you can find all kinds of healthy dishes here like smoothie bowls, green juices and avocado toasts.

Breakfast at Eola in Monaco

Menton (1 Day)

Driving time: 1 hour (31 km/20 miles) from Nice to Menton

Menton is the final major city in the Côte d’Azur before you reach the Italian border. As one of the most beautiful towns in France , it’s a delight to simply wander the streets admiring the architecture and soaking up the laid-back atmosphere and coastal views.

It has a more languid vibe than Nice and Monaco, which is exactly what you need on the 4th day of your French Riviera road trip.

The other thing that Menton is known for is its world-class production of lemons. Shops sell everything from lemon-scented soaps to lemon preserves and lemon liqueurs.

Menton is quite small so you can easily discover it in only one day, which makes it one of the best day trips from Nice .

Yachts on the water in the harbor of Menton

Best things to do in Menton

The Old Town of Menton is located right next to the port. Sights to check out include the Basilica of Saint Michael Archangel and the Musée du Bastion from which you get a phenomenal view.

Colorful houses in Menton, France

Jean Cocteau Museum (Only The Bastion Jean Cocteau museum is open)

A startling juxtaposition against the Old Town, this contemporary museum houses the works of Jean Cocteau, a French poet, artist, writer, and filmmaker. Most of what you see exhibited are from the collection of the businessman, Séverin Wunderman. 

Promenade du Soleil

Soak up the natural vitamin D by wandering the 2 km (1.2 miles) of the Promenade du Soleil. Along the way, you can stop to admire the other sights on this list or take a dip in the bathtub warm water. 

White sandy beach in Menton, France

Maison Herbin

In a town noted for its lemon produce, Maison Herbin is fully stocked with lemon jams and preserves which will be perfect souvenirs from your 10 days in the French Riviera.

Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden

Showcasing plants from Asia and South America as well as tropical fruit trees, this 19th-century botanical garden brings an offbeat touch of paradise to the beautiful French Riviera. 

Jardins Biovès

If you plan your French Riviera trip during February then you might experience the annual Fête du Citron which transforms Menton into a party town!

The manicured Jardins Biovès is the setting for some creative sculptures using lemons during this time. If you visit at another time of year, the gardens are still a joy to explore. 

Colorful houses in Menton, France

Russian Orthodox Church

Located on the outskirts of Menton, you can stop at the Russian Orthodox as you approach the city. It features an iconic cobalt blue dome while the interiors house an iconostasis made of Carrara marble. 

Where to eat in Menton

  • Le Petit Port : Famed for its seafood, this portside restaurant also excels in meat dishes and dessert. 
  • Fleur de Sel : This cozy creperie provides a wide selection of savory and sweet crepes ranging from seafood to Nutella and ice cream.
  • Cote Sud : Located right by the sea, this top-rated restaurant offers a traditional cuisine with a strong Mediterranean inspiration and French references. I’m still dreaming about their spaghetti with burrata!

Spagetti with burrata at Cote Sud in Menton, France

Èze (Half Day)

Driving time: 30 minutes (12.5 km/8 miles) from Nice to Èze

Èze is a hilltop village that provides views of the Mediterranean Sea that will make your heart sing. Dating back to the Middle Ages, you can lose yourself among the cobblestone streets and stone houses.

I recommend spending only half a day of your French Riviera road trip in Èze because that’s all you need to see this pocket-size gem of a village.

Eze Village on the hill, France

Best things to do in Èze

Nietzsche path.

To make the most of the enchanting views that Èze offers, you can park in the hilltop village then tackle the Nietzsche Path (Le Chemin de Nietzsche). This 2 km (1.2 miles) hike connects the highest point in the village with the beach.

It’s fairly rugged and steep in places so remember to pack sturdy footwear for your French Riviera trip and bring plenty of water. Of course, you could always have a taxi return you to your car if you prefer. 

Le Jardin Exotique

The botanical gardens of Èze are located at the top of the hill and are your reward once you’ve tackled the hike. Lush green foliage, shrubs, plants, and cacti tumble down the cliffs and provide astounding views, it’s definitely a moment for photographers to shine. 

Èze Beach

Cool off by dipping a toe in the water of Èze Beach before weaving your way back up to the hilltop village where your car will be waiting for you.

Stairway leading down to the beach at Eze, France

Where to eat in Éze

  • Deli : Tucked away beneath the rampant vines, Deli offers shade and super fresh salads and sandwiches. They specialize in olive oils which are a cool memento from your 10 days in the French Riviera. 
  • Le Chevre d’Or : This Michelin starred restaurant is connected to the luxury hilltop hotel. On the same complex, you can find a more casual garden cafe as well as a bar. All offer sensational views.

Villefranche-sur-Mer (Half Day)

Driving time: 25-30 minutes (11.5 km/7 miles) from Èze to Villefranche-sur-Mer

Villefranche is a quaint harbor town that’s known for its tangerine-colored buildings with their teal window shutters. This town is larger and more spread out than Èze so you’ll be in and out of your car to see the sights listed below, the first of which are located on the Cap-Ferrat peninsula.

Aerial view of Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Best things to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer 

Villa ephrussi de rothschild.

This salmon-pink seaside villa set within a series of themed gardens is located just outside of Villefranche. Both the gardens and interiors are open to the public so you can peek into how the upper classes lived in the 20th century. If you skipped lunch, there is also a splendid tea room on site.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Paloma Beach

This peninsular beach is a short drive from the villa and provides a sweeping view across the bay towards Èze and Monaca. It’s fairly pricey to rent a sun lounger and as time is short, consider this a quick stop for the view. 

Plage Villefranche-sur-Mer

Another viewpoint, this is the main beach of Villefranche which is situated across the bay from the town and provides a fantastic view of the town. The water is perfect for swimming so you might want to enjoy a quick dip before you drive into the town itself.

Villefranche Old Town

Following a theme here, a roam around the Old Town of Villefranche is the main thing you’ll want to do once in town. Among the rainbow of pastel buildings, you’ll find a couple of churches that you can pop into. Head towards Chapelle Sainte-Elisabeth for a panorama of the town.

Waterfront at Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Rue Obscure

Add something a tad darker to your French Riviera road trip with this hidden underground passageway that dates back to medieval times. Originally it was constructed for military purposes but it was also used as a wine cellar. 

Citadelle Saint Elme

Formerly a 16th-century fortress, this citadel has since been repurposed as the Town Hall and cultural space. You can explore the premises and gardens for free and get wonderful views.  

St. Elme Citadel in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Where to eat in Villefranche-sur-Mer 

  • Abacaxi Glacier : Pick up an afternoon treat in the form of ice cream, waffles or pancakes and enjoy the view. 
  • Mayssa Beach : This luxurious restaurant is positioned to take full advantage of the scenery while you tuck into seafood and Mediterranean bites. 
  • Le Mékong : Take a break from European cuisine and treat your tastebuds to some authentic Vietnamese. Affordable prices and there’s a variety of vegetarian options available. 

Cannes (1 Day)

Driving time: 40 minutes (34 km/21 miles) from Nice to Cannes

Movie stars, movie festivals, and movie set-worthy sites, Cannes is preceded by its glitzy reputation. Once a year, usually during the spring, the city lays out the red carpet and hosts the Cannes Film Festival which celebrates independent filmmaking from around the globe.

September sees the crowds descend again, this time for the Cannes Yachting Festival. This city is a magnet for major events and the elite! Cannes also features gorgeous historic architecture, golden sandy beaches, and luminous water which makes it an unmissable part of any French Riviera itinerary.

Aerial city view of Cannes, France

Best things to do in Cannes

Boulevard de la croisette.

This 2 km (1.2 miles) promenade spans the coastline of Cannes and is sprinkled with eateries, bars, and boutiques. Walk the entire life of it to get the lay of the land and find your bearings in this upscale resort town.

Beach in Cannes, France

Palais des Festival

The convention center that hosts the film festival is positioned on the western end of the Boulevard de la Croisette. Outside of the film festival, you’re not so likely to see many famous faces but it’s still cool to wander around the iconic complex.

You can visit the Cannes Walk of Fame and find out which celebrities have the same size hand as you. 

La Croix-des-Gardes

Mix up the magic of the harbor with the charm of the affluent villas constructed on the hilltop village of La Croix-des-Gardes. The nature park offers short and easy walking trails where you can breathe in the scents of mimosa blossoms while peering down on the city. 

Le Vieux Port

The Old Port of Cannes was constructed in the heyday of the 1950s and fuses glamour with tradition seamlessly. Take a stroll along the marina, admire the yachts and flex your photography skills. 

Bay of Cannes

Bay of Cannes

Live out your fantasy of sailing, swimming, and snorkeling in the crystalline waters of the Bay of Cannes and book a half-day catamaran cruise . This will take up the majority of your one day in Cannes, but for boat enthusiasts, it’s a match made in heaven.

The medieval streets of Le Suquet were built over a Roman settlement and it’s the oldest part of Cannes. The Musée de la Castre houses ancient artifacts and a collection of Riviera landscapes and provides a vantage point over the tumble of winding alleyways that form the historic neighborhood.

You can also pay a visit to Notre Dame d’Esperance, distinguishable by its bell tower. 

Colorful houses in Cannes, France

Île Sainte-Marguerite

Located a half a mile offshore, regular ferries connect Cannes to this island of eucalyptus forest, beaches and rock pools. The connection takes 15 minutes each way and as the island is only 3 km (1.9 miles) in length is it possible to squeeze in a brief visit. 

Where to eat in Cannes

  • Welcome to Key West : A great spot for breakfast or light lunch in a cute setting. Or, grab a specialty coffee or bubble tea to go.
  • L’Assiette Provençale : One of the waterfront restaurants with reasonable prices, especially when you order from the menu fixe. Quality food is presented artistically and the lemon meringue isn’t to be missed. 
  • Nova Social Food (temporarily closed, expected to reopen: April 2023): A vegetarian/vegan restaurant that presents plant based equivalents of classic meat dishes in a stylish setting.  

Saint-Tropez (1 Day)

Driving time: 2 hours (112 km/70 miles) from Nice to Saint-Tropez, then 2 hours (135 km/84 miles) from Saint-Tropez to Marseille

Drive time to Saint-Tropez from Nice typically takes 2 hours, unless you take the slightly longer coastal option. You will stop here en route to Marseille where you will have booked accommodation for the final 4 nights of your French Riviera itinerary.

The drive from Saint-Tropez to Marseille takes a further 2 hours. 

Alongside Cannes and Monaco, Saint-Tropez is another contender for the most luxurious city in the French Riviera. The town itself is a fairly compact town with a handful of fascinating landmarks, museums, and heritage spots.

If you want to update your wardrobe then there is an ample selection of designer boutiques in the center that rival those in Cannes. The town is surrounded by sun-dappled beaches turquoise swimming coves and the surprisingly rugged hinterland that protrudes to the east. 

Old Town of Saint-Tropez, France

Best things to do in Saint-Tropez

Citadel of saint-tropez.

This 17th-century fortress sits atop the town and provides fantastic views once you’ve hiked your way to the summit. It houses the Museum of Maritime History and gleans insight into the lifestyle of fishermen.

Port de Saint-Tropez

The iconic port is teeming with bobbing yachts and sailboats and has a lovely ambiance. Take some time to roam the harbor on foot and swing by the little boutiques and cafes.

Sunset in the harbour of Saint-Tropez

Annonciade Museum

This converted chapel houses paintings from esteemed artists who lived in Saint-Tropez and captured its personality through their work. Although modest, the artwork on display is priceless. According to their official website the museum is closed from 15th January to 10th February, and from 15th November to 30th November.

Marché De St Tropez

Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, Avenue Augustin Grangeon erupts into an open-air market where you can stockpile French pantry staples. Pastries, charcuterie, fish, and artisanal preserves are sold alongside clothing, jewelry, and trinkets.

Stock up for the last few days of your French Riviera road trip if your visit coincides. 

Sentier du Littoral Saint-Tropez

This short cliffside hiking trail is usually fairly quiet and affords a spectacular view of the untouched coast moments from the city.

Panoramic view of Saint-Tropez

Where to eat in Saint-Tropez

  • Chez Jean Robert (temporarily closed) : Gourmet cuisine from a locally renowned chef in a refined setting that nods back to bygone decades. The taste of the food lives up to its presentation. 
  • Le Petit Pointu : A cozy seafood restaurant with a lovely outdoor seating area down a side street. Heavily geared towards fish and meat, there is a small menu for vegans too and the prices are fairer than elsewhere. 

Cassis (1 Day)

Driving time: 40 minutes (27 km/17 miles) from Marseille to Cassis

Cassis is a typical Provençal coastal village that comprises the trademark pastel-painted buildings that you’ll know all too well at this stage of your French Riviera road trip. There is a lot of historic architecture to feast your eyes upon over catch of the day and the town feels very chill after spending a few days in its flashy sister towns.

Beyond the port of Cassis, you’ll discover a tapestry of hillside vineyards that produce Cassis white wine. But the star of the show are the dramatic Calanques that frame the town.

These are slender inlets edged by plunging limestone coastal cliffs that some consider the French Riviera’s equivalent to Ha Long Bay. 

Best things to do in Cassis

Calanques national park.

The park is nestled between Marseille and Cassis so you will savor the scenery from behind the wheel. Calanque de Port Pin and Calanque de Port-Miou are two of the most accessible viewpoints that you can view from the parking lot.

If you have longer than 10 days in the French Riviera then you might want to add one of the hiking trails to your itinerary although for a day trip this might feel too tight.

Calanques of Cassis, South of France

Cruise the calanques

Now for the chance to get a close-up at the mighty Calanques, you want to hop aboard a sailing vessel from Cassis Harbor. There are plenty of providers waiting to whisk you away to sea, but Visit of Creeks comes highly recommended!

Calanques sea kayaking

For an even more ‘oarsome’ time, sea kayaks are available from Calanque de Port-Miou and Cassis Harbor. Both Destination Calanques and Lo’Kayak offer kayak rentals and guided tours that navigate you through these natural wonders. 

Cap Canaille

Hop back in your car and follow Route des Crêtes to the headland south of Cassis. Cap Canaille is the tallest coastal cliff in the whole of Europe. If you want to see the best of the French Riviera in 10 days this is a sight not to skip. 

Cap Canaille, France

Cassis wine

Grab a bottle of Cassis wine to enjoy back at your hotel. Clos Sainte-Magdeleine and Domaine du Bagnol are the most convenient vineyards where you can take a cellar tour, sample the goods and choose your favorite tipple.

Cassis Town

Once you’ve exhausted yourself with the wines and waters of Cassis, remember to tour the town itself. Note the 13th-century fortress that looms above town, which is now reimagined as a guesthouse.

If time permits, you may want to swing by the Musée d’Art et Traditions Populaires de Cassis and buff up your local history. 

Colorful houses in Cassis, France

Where to eat in Cassis

  • Le Patio : A harbor side eatery that specializes in seafood and lip smacking desserts. 
  • Grain de Folie : An adorable independent cafe where you can grab coffee, sorbet or cold drinks in a warm environment. 
  • L’Artisan Glacier : After a morning of kayaking (or exhausting your arm by taking photos) you’ve earned at least two scoops. 

Marseille (2 Days)

Although Nice claims the title capital of the French Riviera, Marseille is in fact the largest city in the region and the second-largest in the whole of France.

Dating back to circa 600 BC when Greek sailors founded the city, Marseille is also the oldest city in France. It swiftly rose to become a major trading port which has remained part of the modern-day identity of the city. 

Considering its size and heritage, no doubt you’ve already figured out that Marseille is rammed with things to see and do.

Panoramic view of the Old Port in Marseille, France

Best things to do in Marseille 

Old port of marseille.

As the most happening and one of the most picturesque parts of the city, you’ll want to spend some time pottering around the Old Port of Marseille.

Take in some of the oldest buildings in France, nosey at the jiggling boats and crane your neck at the mighty churches that border the neighborhood, such as Cathédrale La Major.

Château d’If

Located 1.5 km (0.9 miles) off the coast, Château d’If is a former prison atop a small island. It was the most feared jail in France during the 16-19th centuries and reserved for the very worst criminals. You can ride the ferry across to the island (20 minutes each way) and see the ruins for yourself.  

Château d'If in Marseille, France

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

The very symbol of Marseille, this catholic church was constructed in the mid-late 19th century atop the foundations of an ancient fort. It’s a steep walk up to the church so you might want to hop on a local bus and then walk back down to town while savoring the views. 

Constructed in commemoration of Marseille’s nomination as the European City of Culture in 2013, MuCEM stands for Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. It’s a fantastic spot to gain an understanding of continental culture, traditions, and history. 

Palais Longchamp

This prestigious monument is set within a spacious garden that’s populated by sculpted animals and a huge fountain. Alongside the monument and botanical gardens, you will find the Museum of Fine Arts and Natural History Museum.

Palais Longchamp in Marseille, France

Friche Belle de Mai

A former tobacco factory, the Friche Belle de Mai is now a cultural center that brings together exhibitions, performance art, concerts, and rooftop cinema screenings. It’s worth checking out what’s on or rocking up to immerse yourself in contemporary French Riviera culture. 

Sunset sailing

As Marseille concludes your French Riviera itinerary, you might want to indulge yourself and spend your last night enjoying a sunset boat cruise with dinner and drinks on board. 

Sailboat at sunset in Marseille, France

Where to eat in Marseille

  • Restaurant l’Inattendu : A casual setting with a boutique menu using seasonal produce. The menu fixe is economical and the food will fill your tummy for hours. 
  • Restaurant le Relais 50 : Upscale French-Mediterranean dishes with ample terrace seating and interiors that evoke the spirit of the 1950s.
  • Ca Phe S : Relaxed interiors where you can try Vietnamese specialty coffee including egg coffee and iced coconut coffee. 
  • Café Populaire : Whether you come for brunch or an evening cocktail with tasty tapas, you’ll see that there’s a reason this place got its name. 

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The Ultimate French Riviera Road Trip Itinerary for 10 Days

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Kirstie Will Travel

Making Everywhere You Go An Adventure

South of France · February 3, 2024

How to Spend 5 Days in the French Riviera (The Perfect French Riviera Itinerary)

Sparkling blue seas, pastel-coloured old towns, relaxing beach clubs, glamorous ports and Mediterranean views – the French Riviera is exactly as beautiful as you can imagine! Spend 5 days in the French Riviera on your next short break to enjoy a mix of relaxation and town-hopping between some of the most beautiful seaside spots.

This French Riviera itinerary will map out the perfect five-day trip, with practical information for planning your visit and all the best things to do on the Côte d’Azur. You can visit as many as 6 towns and cities in this time, and each one has a different charm to offer. And if you simply can’t get enough of the French Riviera, there are some recommendations to extend your itinerary at the end.

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Pinterest graphic for the perfect 5 day French Riviera itinerary

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5-Day French Riviera Itinerary Breakdown

Day 1: nice, day 2: antibes, day 3: free day (with suggestions), day 4: menton + monaco, day 5: nice, is 5 days in the french riviera enough.

Yes – in fact, I’d argue that spending 5 days in the French Riviera is the perfect amount of time for your trip. There’s plenty of time to see the main sights of the Riviera, explore some hidden gems, and take a day or two to relax and bask in the Mediterranean sunshine.

If you’d like to spend more time in the French Riviera, it’s easy to stretch out this itinerary to include more days relaxing, and spending more time in the different towns. You can find some recommendations at the end of this guide.

On the other hand, if you only have a few days in the French Riviera, check out this guide on how to spend a weekend in Nice – you can still see the city and maybe squeeze in a day trip!

Where is the French Riviera?

The French Riviera is on the southern coast of France in western Europe. It stretches from the Italian border near Menton in the east, to around Saint Tropez in the west.

Is the French Riviera the Same as the South of France?

Although the French Riviera is in the south, the South of France covers a much larger area. Spanning from the west all the way to the east coast, it covers the entire southern portion of the country, catching roughly everything south of Bordeaux. So, the French Riviera is in the South of France.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the South of France, check out this 7-Day South of France itinerary , taking you from Toulouse to Nice.

How to Plan Your Trip

With this French Riviera itinerary, what to do each day is covered! But it pays to think about the logistics, so here are a few top tips to help you plan your trip to the French Riviera.

Getting to the French Riviera

The main airport serving the French Riviera is the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport. As the third-largest airport in France, you’ll find a long list of flights here – both from Europe and further afield. There are also regular internal flights between Paris and Nice. Nice Airport is close to the city, and well connected by tram.

France also has good rail connections and you can reach Nice and the French Riviera by train from many of France’s other major cities – including a direct train link to Paris.

How to Get Around

One of the best things about the French Riviera is that all the cities and towns are so well connected. Regular and reliable trains run along the coast to all the main spots, including Monaco.

The main route is a regional line (called TER), which runs from Ventimiglia, just over the Italian border, or Menton in the east, to Cannes in the west. From one end to the other, the train takes around an hour and a half. Tickets are cheap (just a few euros for each journey) and can be easily bought at the stations.

Where Should You Base Yourself on the French Riviera?

This itinerary is quite flexible with where you can base yourself on the French Riviera, mainly thanks to the excellent transport links mentioned above. I do recommend that you choose one place to stay for your whole French Riviera trip – it’s just not worth the hassle of moving from place to place when it’s so easy to get a return train to each day trip!

Where you choose to base yourself on the French Riviera depends on what you’d like to do on the trip. I have stayed in both Nice and Antibes, and recommend them both for different reasons.

Antibes is great if you’re looking for a more laid-back, beachy holiday. You can still take day trips to see more of the Riviera, but you can spend your free days relaxing in the sun.

However, if you want to be in on the action, visiting a different town every day and soaking up the culture, Nice is the place to be! It’s the main city of the French Riviera, meaning the most frequent train connections, livelier nightlife, and more to do.

A girl walks through a street in the old town of Antibes, France

When is the Best Time to Visit the French Riviera?

The French Riviera is known for its beautiful weather, so most would think that the best time to visit is during the hottest summer months of July and August. However, this is the busiest and most expensive time to go to the Côte d’Azur, and if you plan to do more than sunbathe the heat can be impractical.

What’s great about the French Riviera is that the weather stays pleasant outside of those months, and I recommend visiting in the ‘shoulder season’ – around May-June and September. The crowds will be smaller and the weather a little cooler, but still hot enough to relax on the beach.

If you’d like to have as much of the French Riviera to yourself as possible and aren’t worried about the weather, you could visit during the winter or early spring. I’ve been in February before, and although I missed out on sunbathing, it was still a great experience! You’ll get the benefit of quiet towns and cheaper prices, but bear in mind that a lot of places operate seasonally, and you might need to do a bit of extra research for places to eat and things to do.

Your 5-Day French Riviera Itinerary

Your French Riviera itinerary begins in Nice. Spend the morning getting acquainted with the largest city on the Riviera. First make your way to Port Lympia, Nice’s main marina. You can see the small Notre-Dame du Port , as well as admire the ships docked in the port, which range from small boats to luxurious super yachts.

Next, head to Colline du Château . The hilltop park offers amazing panoramic views over Nice. Start by climbing the steps (or opt for the lift!) up to Bellanda Tower where you can look out over Nice’s old town, beaches, and the Promenade des Anglais. Then explore the park a little. If you make your way to the other side you can look down on Port Lympia, and there’s even an archaeological site!

Now it’s time to get lost in the beautiful old town of Nice. You’ll explore several old towns on this French Riviera itinerary, and Nice’s is definitely the liveliest. Bustling streets are lined by tall houses with typical wooden shutters, and the ground floors are occupied by countless shops and boutiques, selling a charming mix of souvenirs for tourists and local artisanal offerings. Bars and restaurants spill out into plazas, and ornate churches squeeze into impossible spaces. Look out for Place Rossetti with Nice Cathedral, as well as Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur de Nice and Église Sainte Rita. If lunch is approaching, head to Chez Thérésa for some traditional Niçois socca.

If you’d like to dive deeper into the history and culture of Nice, you could take a guided walking tour through Nice and let a guide uncover plenty of hidden corners. Check out these options below.

Spend the afternoon in one of the many museums in Nice. I recommend Musée Massena, where you can learn about Nice and the French Riviera region, or Musée Matisse which houses many works of famous French painter Henri Matisse. To end the day, either grab dinner in Nice and enjoy the bustling nightlife with a few drinks in the old town, or head to your French Riviera base to end the day there.

A street in the old town of Nice, a French Riviera city

The second day of your French Riviera itinerary is dedicated to the beautiful medieval beach town of Antibes. Combine culture and relaxation for the perfect day on the French Riviera! Start at Port Vauban, the largest port on the Mediterranean, housing some of the world’s most luxurious boats. From here, climb up the old city walls to explore the seafront and the streets of the old town. There are so many beautiful hidden corners and buildings to see here. Make sure you look out for Antibes Cathedral, pop by the Marché Provençal, and browse some of the beautiful boutiques.

Boats in Port Vauban, Antibes with Fort Carré in the background

After some lunch, check out the Picasso Museum. Famous artist Pablo Picasso spent some time in Antibes after World War 2, and the place he stayed, Château Grimaldi , has been turned into a museum that displays countless works he donated after leaving.

For the afternoon, you can choose to spend an afternoon on Plage de la Gravette or discover some more things to do in Antibes . You could visit the Archaeological Museum or Fort Carré, pop over to the neighbouring town of Juan Les Pins, or head back into the old town for some more shopping.

Pick a spot for dinner along Boulevard d’Aguillon. Then grab an ice cream from Gusto Gelato and wander along to the St James Bastion. You’ll get the chance to see Port Vauban again as you pass by. Up on the Bastian, there’s an impressive statue called Nomade which lights up at night.

Inside the Picasso Museum, one of many things to do in Antibes, France

Check out the best things to do on the French Riviera!

There are plenty of options for your third day – it completely depends on what kind of holiday on the French Riviera that you’re looking for, as well as where you’re staying.

If you’re based in Antibes, I recommend a day relaxing on Plage de la Gravette, you could head out to explore the Cap d’Antibes. The peninsula is known for beautiful bays, lavish villas and lush surroundings. There are some great hiking routes with stunning views, which you can reach by bus or car (although it’s a lot easier by car). Or take a boat tour around the Cap d’Antibes .

If you’re in Nice or further east, you could also spend a day relaxing on the beach. Bear in mind that most of the beaches in Nice are stony, so it might be worth visiting a beach club so you can have access to a sunbed. Or, head out for another day trip to the neighbouring towns of Villefranche-sur-Mer and/or Èze.

Start with Èze, a medieval hilltop town known for its panoramic views over the Mediterranean. It has one of the most beautiful old towns on the French Riviera, as well as a botanical garden to explore. After Èze, pop over to Villefranche-sur-Mer, where you’ll find another picturesque old town! This time you can expect bright streets and colourful buildings. This is one of the easiest day trips to take from Nice, as both towns are only a short train ride away.

Saint-Pierre chapel in Villefranche-sur-Mer, French Riviera

Morning in Menton

The fourth day of your French Riviera itinerary involves a new country and one of the most beautiful towns on the Cote d’Azur. You’ll spend the first half of the day in Menton, the last town before you reach the Italian border, known for its affiliation with lemons and all things yellow.

When you arrive in Menton, wander along the waterfront until you reach Quai Impératrice Eugénie . Here you can look out on the most iconic view of Menton with its bright yellow buildings. You can also explore the nearby Vieux Port de Menton. After, climb the yellow stairs , making sure to take in the views all around you. Soon you’ll reach Basilique Saint-Michel Archange de Menton , a dominating baroque church which is free to enter and look around.

Now it’s time to get lost in the old town for a little while. Although small, Menton’s old town is as picturesque as they come, and the streets are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever walked. It’s also pretty easy to get lost – but that’s not such a bad thing! After some time in the old town, head back to the main centre of Menton to browse some souvenirs. You’ll find a multitude of lemon-themed offerings on Rue Saint Michel, and you could also visit the Menton Market for some local produce.

A girl standing on a rock looking out to the yellow houses of Menton, one of many towns on the French Riviera

Afternoon in Monaco

Hop back on the train and head for an afternoon in Monaco. It’s important to note here that although you’re entering a different country, if you have a Schengen visa to enter France you should be covered for Monaco too (always worth double-checking this beforehand!). Just make sure you have your passport and any relevant visa documentation, as checks can take place on the train.

When you arrive in Monaco, head straight up to the Prince’s Palace area. The hill is a little steep, but the views at the top are worth it! I recommend walking up Avenue de la Porte Neuve , from where you can visit the Fort Antoine Theatre. The old fortress-turned-amphitheatre looks out over Port Hercule. Then continue your way along the hilltop, passing the Fisherman’s Garden and the Oceanographic Museum , which you could visit if you have enough time! As you make your way around to the Prince’s Palace and the centre of the old town, make sure you take the path through Jardins Saint-Martin to this viewpoint over Port de Fontvieille – it’s my favourite view in Monaco.

Next up, visit the Prince’s Palace and take a wander around the old town. The palace sits on a huge esplanade meaning it’s easy to get great views. You can also visit some parts of the interior during the summer months. As for the old town, look out for the Monaco Courthouse, Saint Nicholas Cathedral and the Monaco Town Hall.

View of Port de Fontvieille from above in Monaco

There’s still a lot more to explore in Monaco. It’s time to head to the other side of the country – luckily that’s just a short 15-minute walk away! Make sure you first stop off at Port Hercule to admire the luxury yachts and then make your way to Monte Carlo. In this area of Monaco, the most famous attraction is the iconic Monte Carlo Casino. You can also browse some incredibly luxurious stores, see the Princess Grace Japanese Gardens, and walk the route of the Monaco Grand Prix. If you’re a big Formula One fan, you might enjoy this Monaco Grand Prix guided walking tour .

You’ve reached the last of your 5 days on the French Riviera. Your final day depends on your travel arrangements, but after checking out of your accommodation, I recommend making your way back to the main city, Nice. Here, you can visit anything that you missed on your first day in Nice back at the start of your French Riviera trip.

If you’re looking for more things to do in Nice, check out the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (and the nearby Tête Carrée), Place Masséna and Promenade du Paillon, the Promenade des Anglais, or the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice.

Alternatively, check out these activities in Nice and the French Riviera if you have more time to spend on your last day.

More Time on the French Riviera?

If you’d like to spend more than 5 days on the French Riviera, you can easily expand this itinerary. Either add in some more beach days, spend longer in each place, visit some more destinations, or add in some special experiences.

Some more places to visit along the coast that aren’t included in this French Riviera itinerary are Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Bormes-les-Mimosas, Cap-d’Ail and Ventimiglia (Italy).

Which part of the French Riviera itinerary are you most excited for? I could go back and follow this exact trip over and over again, so I know you’ll have the best time! If you’d like to explore more of France after spending 5 days in the French Riviera, check out this itinerary for 3 days in Paris , or the best things to do in the dreamy alpine town of Annecy .

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6 Must-See Spots in the French Riviera

Ah. The Cote d’Azur. Just hearing the name conjures up images of sparkling azure waters, star-studded film premiers, exclusive beach clubs bedecked with candy-colored sun loungers, and all the fabulous, moneyed types who’ve vacationed here over the years: Brigitte Bardot, Salvador Dalí, and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few. Given the region’s abundance of scenery (natural and otherwise), the question becomes where to go and what to see first? To jump-start your trip-planning, we’ve put together a guide to the French Riviera, complete with hotel, restaurant, and sightseeing recommendations in six of the region’s most standout spots, from the megawatt Cannes and St. Tropez to the sleepy medieval village Èze.

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There’s not a place in the world with more sex appeal than St. Tropez. After all, the ritzy beach town is where Brigitte Bardot was first discovered in the 1960s, and where celebs like Gigi Hadid, Beyonce, and Sir Elton John can be spotted partying at day beach club Nikki Beach and dining under tamarisk trees at the iconic beach bar Club 55 . If you don’t have keys to a private yacht, a stay at the storied Hôtel Byblos (where ‑ fun fact ‑ Mick Jagger proposed to his first wife, Bianca) promises to be just as much of a sceney affair. The 91-room property is nestled in a hill overlooking the leafy Place des Lices and offers a Sisley Spa, an Alain Ducasse eatery, and the legendary discotech (dare we say the most famous in all of France), Les Caves du Roy . Break up languorous afternoons spent sun-bathing and celeb-spotting by scooting out to Domaine Bertaud Belieu to sip rosé and tour the vineyard’s bucolic 160 acres.

RELATED: 11 Gorgeous European Beaches

Antibes Southern France

One glance at Antibe’s sparkling azure waters, narrow, cobblestone streets, and bobbing boats in the harbor, and it’s easy to see why artists like Picasso, Monet, and Boudin were drawn here. Learn all about the seaside town’s influence on Impressionism at The Picasso Museum in Château Grimaldi, where Picasso himself lived for six months in 1946. Or, stroll along the Promande des Arts to see contemporary Catalan artist Jaume Plensa’s Nomade , the 25-foot sculpture of a man looking out to sea. The grand 19th-century Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc , in nearby Cap d’Antibes, is arguably the most luxurious place to stay in all of the Cote d’Azur. Tuck into roasted sea bass and lobster with tarragon at the Eden-Roc restaurant, take a dip in the heated, saltwater swimming pool – you know it from that famous Slim Aarons photograph—or simply take in all the action from the ocean-liner-like terrace. You may never want to leave.

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The unofficial capital of the French Riviera, Nice offers the quintessential Cote d’Azur experience — glorious architecture, year-round sunshine, outstanding food—and is a great jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the region. Rent a bike and pedal along the Promenade des Anglais , the city’s main drag, until you reach the castle ruins of Colline du Chateau , which has commanding views of the town and sea. From there, walk west to the outdoor markets along the Cours Saleya to browse stalls of flowers, spices, produce (try the fresh figs) and antiques. There are plenty of budget-friendly digs in town (we’d recommend the water-facing Hôtel Suisse ), but if you’re willing to splurge (and venture a half-hour outside town), nothing beats the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel . Set on 17-acres of manicured grounds embowered in pine trees and boxed hedges, the historic property evokes the grandeur and elegance of yesteryears. Other highlights: an Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool, spectacular views of the Mediterranean, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France hotels

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This swanky, sun-kissed locale is an A-list destination year-round, but no more so than in May, when the who’s who of Hollywood descends on the town for the Film Festival. Spot some of the industry’s biggest players on Promenade de la Croisette , a glittering boulevard along the Mediterranean coast, where there are views of sunlounger-striped shores on one side, and big-name boutiques like Dior and Dolce & Gabbana on the other. Your hotel, the impossibly glamorous InterContinental Carlton Cannes , has a prime perch right on the boulevard, should you want to escape the maddening crowds and retreat to your guestroom’s private sea-view terrace. Once you’re rested up, rub shoulders with the glitterati at The Carlton Bar and Terrace – a popular film festival hangout with killer Aperol spritzes– then it’s off to the upscale Le Relais des Semailles eatery in the heart of the Old Town of Le Suquet, to feast on modern Provençal dishes like roast veal with artichokes and foie gras with summer truffles.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Cannes, France hotels

Monaco in Southern France

Princess Grace. James Bond. Formula 1 Grand Prix. Monaco’s associations with the glamorous, jet-set crowd just don’t stop. Get caught up on the country’s impressive history at stately spots like the Prince’s Palace (the official residence of the ruling Prince of Monaco), Fort Antoine , an amphitheater that dates back to the 18th century, and the Monaco Cathedral , where Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace got married, or check into your accommodations at the opulent Hôtel Metropole . Afternoon tea is served daily in the lobby vaulted lobby; when the dessert trolley comes around, reach for the praline truffles, citrus guimaves, and warm chausson aux pommes. Come evening, slip into your gown or suit and head for the legendary Monte-Carlo Casino , the lavish Belle Époque building that dates back to 1863, and has appeared in classic films like To Catch a Thief and Never Say Never Again . Try your luck with a high-stake game of French Roulette, and order a martini – shaken, not stirred.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Monte-Carlo, Monaco hotels

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Sure, the Cote d’Azur is primarily known as a playground for the rich and famous, but if slow-paced village life is what you seek, the region can offer that, too. Enter Èze, a charming, hilltop town in between Nice and Monaco. The village’s centerpiece is Jardin Exotique d’Èze , a picturesque cactus garden that overlooks the village and the old castle ruins. Linger there to study the garden’s exotic vegetation, then set out to wandering the cobbled medieval streets and charming storefronts for which Èze is best known. La Chevre d’Or , a Relais & Châteaux chateau that teeters on a cliff edge, is a fine place to hang your hat. Enjoy a glass of sauvignon blanc and a belly-filling Mediterranean feast in the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, then retire to your guestroom, where exposed stonework, sea views, and expansive terraces only add to the romance.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Correze, France hotels

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    Go and visit the Top 10 places in the French Riviera, selected for you. The places-to-see list is not in a set order - but to begin with we will take the places you can't miss. First of all, our own favorite village, Villefrance-sur-Mer located next to Nice. 2. Villefrance-sur-Mer. The best places near Nice, Villefrance-sur-Mer

  23. 6 Best Places to Visit in the French Riviera

    RELATED: 8 Best Places to Travel This June. 3 Nice The unofficial capital of the French Riviera, Nice offers the quintessential Cote d'Azur experience — glorious architecture, year-round sunshine, outstanding food—and is a great jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the region.