French Riviera Holidays

Heady glamour on the French Riviera

There is perhaps nowhere better known for its glitz and glamour than the French Riviera. Hollywood stars flock to Cannes’ annual film extravaganza, swanky evening dress is the norm at Monaco’s ritzy Monte Carlo casino, and Saint-Tropez attracts a high-fashion set, seemingly straight from the catwalks. But French Riviera holidays are about more than just glitz and glamour – it’s a place for fun and frolics, too. There are 75 miles of beaches in this sun-blasted corner of southeastern France, plenty of biking and hiking trails along the foothills of the Alps and history-rich medieval towns that are perfect for romantic strolls.

While Cannes during the film festival might get all the attention, the French Riviera’s second city – and its gorgeous seaside promenade, La Croisette – is best enjoyed minus the crowds. In February, Nice’s Carnival is a joyous affair, possibly only eclipsed by Rio Carnival. Beach time is an essential part of holidays to the French Riviera, and one of the best sun basking spots is Plage de Pampelonne, near Saint-Tropez. L'Ile de Riou, just outside Marseille, is more of a hidden gem where, after sunset, evenings can be spent hopping between chic waterfront restaurants and lively bars. A glamorous escape to the French Riviera, dressed up to the nines, dining on glorious French cuisine and sipping fine wines, makes for an A-list holiday.

Three tips for a top trip

Catch a marvellous train
From Nice Ville station, take the scenic and aptly named Train des Merveilles, which loops into the Alps passing pretty vineyards and dramatic gorges and chugging over viaducts.
Plan your lunch
The region heaves with excellent restaurants but, to fit in with French Riviera dining time, opt for a midday lunch as food isn’t served between 2pm and 7pm.
Learn to jive
One of the world’s best jazz festivals this side of New Orleans is held in Nice every July, with a broad programme encompassing funk, hip-hop and rock – as well as jazz.

Best attractions to see in the French Riviera

Jaw-dropping sunsets

With near non-stop views out to the Mediterranean Sea, the Riviera is perfect for watching spectacular sunsets. The best spots include quaint fishing villages such as Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer.

Menton’s wild vistas

On the Cote d’Azur near the Italian border, Menton offers tranquil beaches, spectacular public gardens and an extraordinary museum dedicated to its favourite son, artist and poet Jean Cocteau.

Grasse’s flower power

The hillside town of Grasse is home to France’s perfume industry. While its medieval streets and ancient churches are worth seeing, Grasse is at its finest during August’s Jasmine Festival.

Your French Riviera questions, answered

You can, but locals can’t – Monaco’s citizens are forbidden from even entering the principality’s casinos. So you will have to take a flutter for them.

The star of Provençal cuisine has to be ratatouille – a hearty vegetable stew. The traditional dish is usually accompanied by rice, potatoes or French bread.

Winter is ski season. The French Riviera has 15 ski resorts, including its highest peak, the family-friendly Isola 2000, just an hour and a half from Nice.