Idyllic St Tropez, enchanting Provence and the magnificent coastline of the French Riviera
The Côte d’Azur sweeps along the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, undeniably one of the most naturally beautiful places in the country. Thick forests of pine and fields of glorious lavender grow alongside the many sandy beaches with their clear turquoise waters. Ancient and picturesque villages nestle in the hills, against the backdrop of the spectacular mountains.
Sightseeing and activities
Aside from the stunning scenery, there are plenty of things to see and do in the Côte d’Azur. Iconic towns are dotted along the coast, including St Tropez itself, Cannes, Antibes, Nice and Monaco, each offering historical sites, delicious food and fabulous shopping. A hallmark of the region is the colourful markets, where local produce such as olives, truffles, lemons and fragrant lavender are sold in abundance. Many also sell crafts and paintings, reflecting the rich artistic history of the region.
There’s no shortage of opportunities to appreciate local culture, with fascinating museums and galleries hidden away in almost every town of the area, from major cities to walled hilltop villages. Time-honoured festivals and saints’ days are celebrated in the traditional way, alongside internationally recognised regattas, music events, and, of course, the Cannes Film Festival.
If you’re looking to get active during your stay, the Côte d’Azur’s scenic landscape of mountain and sea makes it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Sailing and motor boat rental are a fine way to explore the region and admire the spectacular coastline, while on land, hiking and cycling are star activities, especially in the stunning Massif de l’Estérel. Of course, no visit to Provence would be complete without a visit to a local vineyard to sample the area’s signature pale rosés.
The breathtaking coastline of the French Riviera has long been renowned for its beaches, ranging from glamorous hangouts for the cocktail-sipping rich and famous, to impossibly beautiful coves hidden between the cliffs, corniches and the glittering Mediterranean. A stone’s throw from St Tropez you’ll find the Plage de Pampelonne, famous for its 4.5km of white sand and buzzing celebrity-filled beach clubs, and the pine-fringed Plage des Salins, a low key alternative boasting 600m of sand and clear waters. Further east the beaches range from unspoilt coves tucked away within the rugged red folds of the Massif de l’Estérel, to the see-and-be-seen glamour of La Croisette in central Cannes. The Plage de Passable, a beach with plenty of water sports, sun loungers and a restaurant, sits in a small cove in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, with lovely views across the bay.
Bars and restaurants
There is a reason why the region of Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur is so popular with lovers of fine food and wine. Provence is renowned for its rosé, as well as the sheer abundance of seafood and the local, flavourful and colourful fruits, vegetables and herbs. You’ll eat well wherever you go, from grab-and-go market snacks to fine dining cuisine. However particularly noteworthy restaurants include La Vague d’Or in St Tropez’s Cheval Blanc hotel, with three Michelin stars and a charming terrace over the beach, and the fresh fish-oriented menu of romantic La Ponche. Don’t forget to stop at La Tarte Tropézienne bakery for one of the famous local pastries. If you would like to try creating the delectable cuisine of the region yourself, several local chefs offer day-long cookery courses.