If you’re planning a vacation on the French Riviera, first, we’re jealous and we want to come along. Second, it can be a little overwhelming to sort through all of the different cities and towns in the region to determine what you’ll enjoy most. This part of the world is dotted with a countless number of sights to explore and sometimes that may be a little daunting when planning a trip.
So, we’ve cut out the guesswork for you by highlighting five of our favorite spots to kick back in on the French Riviera.
One of the largest cities in France, Nice is a must visit if you are planning a getaway to this region. Understandably, your first stop is probably going to be the beach to the many public beaches. But there are also a number of private beaches that allow guests to access lockers, chairs, umbrellas, wait staff, etc. making the extra costs well worth it. Hi Beach and Blue Beach are two of our favorite private spots.
Once you’ve soaked up all the sun you can take, a stroll around the old city is a must. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time the moment you step foot upon the winding streets. Stop in to the famed Marché aux Fleurs (Nice’s renowned flower market) on your way there. If you need any more convincing, the Italian influence throughout the city is unmistakable. This, of course, means that in addition to fabulous French dining options, there are many truly incredible Italian spots to chose from as well!
Despite being less than an hour away from the big city of Nice, Èze Village feels like stepping back in time to a faraway place. While Èze Village could be lumped into Nice as a side note, we think its uniqueness deserves its own mention.
Èze Village, the medieval-esque commune, sits more than 1,400 feet above the Mediterranean sea and many of its shops and restaurants are carved out of the rocky terrain. Make the trek to the top of the village itself through winding steps and archways for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and sea. After taking in the sights, head over to Parfumerie Galimard where you can make your own perfume.
And if you are feeling indulgent, head over to Château Eza Hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant to enjoy fantastic food with panoramic views of the water far below.
Close to the larger more populous Marseilles, Cassis is a tiny seaside town with a whole lot of charm. The city is known for its famous calanques—cliffs that you can explore in a number of different ways. Hiking, which will get you the best view, is one of our favorite options. You can visit here to learn more about the different hiking paths as they can vary based on difficulty. Just note that paths are closed during certain parts of the summer so plan ahead.
If you want to take it easy, opt for a boat tour that will take you to see a number of the famous calanques in the region. You can pick up a tour at the port at just about any time making it an easy and stress free option. In addition to the cliffs, there are a number of wonderful beaches to visit as well. During the evenings, post up at an outdoor table at one of the restaurants right by the water for a little wine and people watching. There is often live entertainment and a wonderful nearby outdoor market to explore as well.
The Mediterranean resort town of Antibes tops the lists of many looking to go all out in France’s southern paradise. Antibes will live up to every one of your expectations if decadence and relaxation is what you’re after. To every visitor’s delight, the attraction of Antibes doesn’t stop at its beaches and great accommodations so make sure you set aside some time to wander around the narrow cobblestone streets of the old town.
Once you take in your fill of the gorgeous architecture, stop by one of the many small restaurants lining the streets to grab some of the classic bistro cuisine that the country is famous for. While you will likely be wowed by just about any place you visit, we recommend giving Le Broc en Bouche a try to taste your very first (or fiftieth) Foie Gras with a glass of wine.
Afterwards, head to Garoupe Lighthouse for some of the best views in the entire French Riviera (but plan accordingly for the short hike and save your cute shoes for later)! Of course, no visit here is complete without a stop at the Musée Picasso.
If glamour is what you’re after, Cannes is your place. Known for it’s famous film festival and as a favorite vacation spot for the rich and famous, Cannes oozes with exclusivity. Start off by taking a walk along La Croisette, the famous promenade right along the water. You’ll come across lots of dining options, window-shopping, and many of the luxury cars and hotels the city is famous for.
At some point, you’ll want to get away from the glitzier parts of the city so when that happens, we recommend heading to the Marché Forville, a great market for food and local products. On Mondays, it turns into a flea market and with prices high in Cannes, this may be one of your only opportunities to score a good deal! While in Cannes, make sure to carve out some time to take a ferry to the Lérins islands. These islands will offer you stunning views and they’re a nice way to escape the crowds on the mainland.
Cannes photo via