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.
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.