The French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur) is the Mediterranean coast of south-eastern France. It is one of the most glamorous and delightful coast lines in Europe.
When visiting the French Riveria we recommend you base yourself at one place and then take lots of day trips!! Our favourite town to stay is definitely Villefranche-Sur-Mer! This town is amazing. It’s central, picturesque, thriving and full of culture. The entire town overlooks the sparkling Mediterranean sea. Where you can explore the charming narrow streets filled with vibrantly coloured buildings and Provençal greenery. Be ready to fall in love with this spectacular town.
Not only is this town beautiful, but it is super close to all the cool places you want to take a day trip to.
To get to Villefranche-Sur-Mer you fly into Nice airport. From there you can either hire a car, catch a train or take a taxi/uber. Its approximately 30 minutes from the airport to the town.
We stayed in an AirBnb, it was central, clean and really nice! It also had great views!
Plage des marinieres: really pretty beach (crystal blue water & pebbles everywhere!)
Cap Ferrat: picturesque bay with bright orange umbrellas all around adding pops of colour to the aqua water and lush green landscape.
Les Garcons: really, really delicious food. Make sure you order entrées, mains and desserts. Its simply amazing
Le Serre: Great Italian food here! (especially the anchovy & caper pizza)
Ronde des pains patisserie maritime bakery: This place has the best baguettes, so fresh and tasty.. all the baked goods are a real treat here!
On the same street as the bakery (horizontally) (across from the casino shop) there is a shop that sells the most delicious cheese (pecorino) & salami (red wine and pepper)
Also on this same street there is delicious gelato where you can also get crepes
Go for a walk in the morning and buy fresh strawberries off the street. They are divine. In fact they are the best strawberries you will ever eat.
Go for a long walk around all the bays and hike up all the hills. Beautiful views everywhere.
Spend as much time as you can exploring this town, go up every street, walk along the beach & really immerse yourself in the culture.
Drink at one of the bars on the water: There is often live music & there were even fireworks when we were here! So much fun
Adventure into Nice
Explore the old town of Nice
*Day trips from Villefranche-Sur-Mer: Our top 5 places to day trip to are Saint Tropez, Monte Carlo, Antibes, Cannes & Sainte Maxime.
The number one place you should visit for a day trip is Saint Tropez. (Although if we were to stay overnight anywhere else on the French Riveria, this would be it). As soon as you arrive here you will notice the incredible mega yachts dazzling the port. You will instantly crave a rosè and you will instantly start soaking up the incredible vibes of this town. It’s a slice of Mediterranean paradise where the rich and famous flock.
Hit up the candy store at the Port of Saint Tropez: somehow the candy tastes that bit sweeter here, and gives you a sugar high before you hit the town
Check out and pick out your favourite mega yacht lined up at the Port of Saint Tropez
Bagatelle Beach: Beautiful spot, high class & offers a mediteranean cuisine
Go shopping at all the boutiques: Everything is very chic & luxurious!
Explore the cobbled streets and where they take you (usually to some delicious gelato or crepes)
Nikki Beach: One of the best beach clubs ever. Located on Pampelonne beach. Start off the day by soaking up the sun on plush day beds & end the day partying at sunset with copious amounts of rose and champagne.
Le Club 55: a hot spot for the connected. Tricky to get into, but worth it if you can
Noto St Tropez: Fresh food & cool vibes
Pampelonne beach: Bronze at the beach or check out a beach club! Super nice beach and many A-Listers around.
L’Opera: A delicious dinner and a show! Very different, and an experience
Check out the wineries & go wine tasting.
You can drive to Saint Tropez or catch a Ferry from Saint Maxime, or of course take a super yacht over ;)
If you want to spend more time at Saint Tropez, there are some absolutely incredible hotels & villas to stay at in!! But when we have been to this spot, we have stayed in Saint Maxime.
So here is a list of LUXURY accommodation for Saint Tropez & Sainte Maxime to get you dreaming:
Sainte Maxime is a place with beautiful turquoise waters & a magnificent countryside. There are some awesome spots to stay:
Walk along the beach & go for a dip
Explore old town
DRINK LOTS & LOTS OF ROSÈ
Go to the markets and stock up on the local produce like garlic, olives, cheeses and salami & delight your taste buds!!
Explore the olive groves & purchase some divine olive oil
Go to the vineyards
Stroll through old town
Our number 1 thing to do when we stay here is to go to Saint Tropez.
Monte Carlo (Monaco)
This tiny place is known for its lavish and indulgent lifestyle. It is a haven for the wealthy and a place that has many very glamorous events.
The Monte Carlos Casino: Have a gamble or admire it from a far
Have a coffee & pastry at the café across from the casino: People watch and be impressed at the extravagant cars driving by. Lamborghini’s and Porsche’s galore.
Cruise around Le Jardins Saint-Martin
Watch the Formula One (What a dream): Or if it is not on make sure you drive the course and check out the grand stands. It’s epic. (Note if you are also a Marvel Movie fan, you will reminisce the scenes filmed from iron man 2)
Admire the Opera de Monte Carlo
Check out the Monaco Harbour and appreciate the INSANE mega yachts
Shop at the designer brand stores
Visit Casino Square: the atmosphere here is awesome
Smell the roses at the Princess grace rose garden
This town is famous for its international film festival. It’s a cool spot but I would choose all the other spots above before coming here. However that being said it is still worth checking out.
Shop the upmarket boutiques
Enjoy the beach
Walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette
Check out the amazing hotels with their own private beaches. (Stay in one of these if you stay)
Go to the Cannes Marchè Forville: Try all the local produce from seafood to olives.
Le Viuex Port: have a sunset drink here at one of the cool bars and take in the views
Check out where the very chic Cannes Fil Festival is hosted
InterContinental Carlton hotel: People watch the rich & famous or stay here for an incredible hotel experience
We took a day trip here and enjoyed exploring this town. We stopped for mussels & frites (fries) for lunch and then walked along the forte and cobble stoned streets covered with roses & carnations flowers.
Explore old town
Soak up the sun at Cap d'Antibes peninsula and the Juan-les-Pins coastline
Walk along Forte Carre
Have lunch at a beautiful French bistro
Go to Grasse: The perfume capital. Here you can make your own perfume & see how it’s all done. Such a fun & delightful activity. (This town is also very scenic with amazing views!)
We Can’t wait to get back to the French Riviera, & we hope our guide helps you plan a trip there too!!
Kristi & Michael