The French Riviera
Situated at and to the east of the point where the Alps meet the Mediteranean, the French Riviera, also known as the Cote D’Azur is an area that enjoys a wonderfully mild to warm climate all year round.
Spring comes early, bringing the first mimosas into bloom by February; by April the days are normally sunny and warm, and gardens already filled with flowers. From May to September or October, the climate is ideal, with plenty of sunshine and warm to hot days and beautifully warm nights. For much of this period, resorts and beaches are not overcrowded, since they are set up to cope for the summer holiday crowds. July and August are very busy, and during this period advanced booking for hotels is highly advisable and in many places essential.
The tiny Principality of Monaco is an independent state surrounded on three sides by France, and on the fourth by the Mediterranean, and ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century. Monte-Carlo, most famed for its casino, is an opulent micro-state, with the world’s highest per-capita GDP.
East of Nice
Some of the most expensive houses in France are clustered onto the small peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, between Eze and Nice. In the past, Saint Jean was home to actors, princes and rich businessmen from Paris or Switzerland. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a house and gardens now open to the public, is a beauful vestige of a bygone age; today The area between Monaco and Nice including Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Mont Boron is home to the international jet set.
Nice is France’s sixth city, as well as being the biggest resort on the French Riviera. Nice is a city that has masses to offer, including historic quarters, a beautiful long seafront (from the Promenade des Anglais and westwards), a famous flower market, some interesting sites and sights, including the Matisse museum, the Chagall museum, and the famous Russian Orthodox basilica . It is also very well endowed in hotels, from five-star palaces such as the Negresco.
Lying to the west of Antibes, Cannes is the other main city of the French Riviera: Cannes is of course most famous for its annual Film Festival, which after the Hollywood Oscars ceremony is the biggest annual event in the world of film. Cannes is also a popular venue for trade fairs, including the annual music industry fair, the Midem, that takes place in late January. During these events, the town attracts visitors hoping to get a glimpse of their favourite film-star or musician; and of course, it is a town with plenty of tourist accommodation and beaches.
The Esterel coast
This part of the coast is less developed, mainly on account of the hills and forests that come almost to the water’s edge. Apart from Fréjus and Saint Raphaël, the resorts are small, offering a quieter holiday style. The dry and rocky Esterel hills, with their Mediterranean pine forests, are popular with hikers and walkers. The coastline between Miramar and Saint Raphaël is full of little coves, many of them only accessible by foot from the coastal road, the “Corniche de l’Esterel”, a scenic route offering magnificent views of the coastline and out to sea.
The Western Riviera
South of Fréjus, the coast is again rocky and forested, and there is little in the way of coastal plain between the hills and forests of the Massif des Maures, and the sea.
The main resort in this part of the French riviera is Saint Tropez, perhaps the most famous of all Riviera resorts. Saint Tropez, an old Mediterranean seaport standing on the south shore of a very sheltered bay, the Gulf of Saint Tropez, has long been a classically chic Mediterranean resort, frequented by stars and Parisians. With its old port and its historic centre, it remains popular to this day with jet-setters, and offers an idyllic holiday environment with plenty of shops, hotels, beaches, cafés and restaurants as well as being served by Pampelonne Beach.
The other popular resorts in this part of the Riviera are the small towns of Port Grimaud, Sainte Maxime and Le Lavandou with old towns and harbours.
Cote D’Azur Details
Regional Features 115 kilometres (71 mi) of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants Yachts each year the Riviera hosts 50% of the world’s super-yacht fleet. Climate 300 days of sunshine per year Tourism Around 14 million visitors per year Events and Festivals Monaco Rally (Jan), Nice Carnival (Feb), Tourettes-sur-Lou Violet Festival (Mar), Monaco Grand Prix (May), Cannes Film Festival (May), Nice Jazz Festival (July), Grasse Jasmine Festival (August) Cities and Towns Monaco, Menton, Nice, Cannes, Antibes-sur-Mer, Grasse Featured Villages St. Tropez, Villefranche-sur-mer, Tourettes-sur-Loup, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-ser-Mer, Eze, St Raphael, Mougins, Valbonnes, St Jean Cap Ferrat
Laze the day away at Plage Mala
Located on Cap D’Ail 5 minutes from Monaco and 20 minutes drive from Chateau La Tour, Plage Mala is a small secluded bay better known to locals, French, Monegasque and Italian, than tourists. Featuring two beach restaurants La Réserve and Eden Plage, it’s an ideal location to relax the day away. Both offer great food, drinks & cocktails, music, sunbeds and outdoor dining. Reserve early in the summer months as they are both popular.
Try your hand at Paragliding
Eze Village is 10 minutes drive from Chateau La Tour and from October to May, you can leave from Mont Bastide and glide down to Eze beach on the shore and celebrate with a drink at private beach club Anjuna Plage. The Fédération Française de Vol Libre will make sure you’re in safe hands.
Charter a Motor Yacht
We can arrange a motor yacht and captain to take you wherever you want to go. As an example day out, depart Monaco harbour and travel down the coast as far as the rugged Esterel coast past Cannes, stopping to enjoy the secluded bays and crystal clear water.
For lunch moor the yacht at the les Îles de Lérins, an island group off Cannes, the two largest islands in this group are the Île Sainte-Marguerite with its Fort Royal, which held the Man in the Iron mask in the 17th century or Île Saint-Honorat whose monastery dates from the 5th century and is still home to 30 Cistercian monks.
After enjoying lunch at La Guérite on Île Sainte-Marguerite or la Tonnelle on Île Saint-Honorat, stroll the warm pine scented forests of the islands which echo with cicadas or use the yacht as your swimming platform as you enjoy the islands before returning home at dusk.