The French Riviera in the south of France may be huge in its territory, but it is relatively simple to plan a trip there, especially if you are preparing for the matter properly. The French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur – “Blue Coast”, is a beautiful area, starting east along the coast from Menton and Monaco and continuing to the Théoule sur Mer and up towards the southern two thousand of France. On the French Riviera you will find several endearing cities, including the famous city of Cannes and the famous Nice, about 14 natural parks, Roman ruins, medieval villages and even a number of unique attractions, such as whale watching that can be seen right next to the beach.
The French Riviera is not just a place to spend the summer months. True, the cities and other points of interest on the French Riviera enjoy warm temperatures starting in July, just as crowds walk along the boulevards and fill the beaches, but the winter months are known as one of the French Riviera’s best kept secrets with its magical snow falling from the sky about two hours north. Combining the various options will allow travelers planning a trip to the French Riviera to make the most of their stay in one of the most beautiful regions in Europe and the south of France in particular and enjoy some magical (or more) days with the people they love.
When to go on a trip to the French Riviera
Hills protect the French Riviera from the west and the Alps protect it from the northwest. This means a comfortable and pleasant Mediterranean climate throughout the year. If you come to this area, the probability of sunny days is very high (it has close to 300 sunny days) and a few rainy days that usually “fall” on the months of March and April and October and November. June and September are the two most recommended months to travel in the area while the months of July and August are considered the peak of the tourist season on the French Riviera. During these months, crowds of tourists flock to the beaches and it is not easy to find available sun beds and of course accommodation.
The rain and cold, which characterize the winter months, are less relevant to this area which means that the temperatures in the cold months do not drop below zero. At the same time, the large towns as well as the small villages on the French Riviera do not give up on the traditional Christmas celebrations and charming markets, which include hot and delicious wine and local produce, offered for sale at stalls. The area’s 15 ski resorts open to skiers in December and the nearest ones are a little over two hours away from the city of Nice. In February, Nice hosts one of the Riviera’s most notable winter events, the 15-day annual carnival, which features many parades and celebrations. The city of Menton hosts a three-week festival – the Lemon Festival which combines about 140 tons of oranges and lemons in various performances.
How to get here (and also to Cannes)
It is convenient and very easy to get to the French Riviera if you want to focus on a trip solely there. There are direct flights to Nice, which depart from Israel frequently, and land at its airport, which is also considered the main airport of the Riviera itself. There are also flights to Cannes from Israel, which allow anyone interested to take advantage of the beauty of the city and combine it when visiting the Riviera if desired. Car renters will be able to reach the French Riviera via the motorway, the A8 or La Provençale, which connects Nice Aix-en-Provence in the west to the Italian border in the east. Those coming to Nice from Paris are expected to travel about eight hours, 950 km. Those who do not want to drive, will be able to take advantage of France’s excellent train system, which connects the French Riviera with other destinations throughout France as well as major European cities. The express (TGV) from Paris to Nice, for example, takes about five and a half hours.
Transportation solutions in the French Riviera
Many Israeli travelers choose to “do” France using a rental car, which brings with it many benefits and especially the ability to stop almost anywhere they want combined with full independence. At the same time, it is important to know that there are other transportation solutions, which are considered to be convenient and very efficient, which are a good alternative for travelers, including those who want to focus on their trip on the beautiful French Riviera. Buses and trains are considered to be very common in this area and they connect the coastal towns to the ancient villages from the medieval period. You can buy a special ticket, which will allow you to get on the buses that connect Nice with nearby towns such as Grasse, Saint-Paul de Vance, with the village of Eze and with Monaco.
The journey from Nice to Menton on line 100 departing from the port is an attraction in itself as it includes a journey along the beautiful coastline with stops in nearby towns such as Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu, Cap d’Ail and Monaco. The regional express train, or TER, connects the main coastal towns along the Riviera, from Fréjus to Ventimiglia, the first across the Italian border. Trains run every 30 minutes and most stations are within walking distance of the town center or offer bus services from the station. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket vending machines, which are located at each station, it is only important to make sure that you sign them at the station at one of the verification machines before boarding the train. Between June and September the train that leaves for a circular route – Trains des Merveilles passes from Nice to Tende with stops in villages sitting near the route, such as Peille. The train climbs to an altitude of close to 3,280 meters during the two-hour journey, which also passes through the charming Mercantour National Park.
Welcome to Cannes
A visit to Cannes must begin at the Forville market in Le Suquet (the old part of Cannes), which offers vegetables, fish and other products for sale from Tuesday to Sunday. On Mondays the market becomes the flea market Marche Brocante or an antiques market. Those looking for brands or those looking for Chanel handbags, walking along the iconic Avenue de la Croisette is an experience in itself and the city promenade that stretches for almost two kilometers along the Gulf of Cannes and adorns it with well-designed and invested boutiques, as well as some of the city’s famous hotels. A visit.
The beautiful beaches of Cannes are an attraction in themselves and they are divided into two types: public beaches and private beaches. The most recommended for swimming is the Plage du Palais des Festivals and the private beach, which is worth a visit is that of Hôtel Martinez’s Zplage. It is very worthwhile to board a ferry that will take you, in just 15 minutes, to the island of Sainte-Marguerite, which is covered with pine and oak trees, shading the trails for hiking. On the smaller island of Saint Honorat, to which the ferry also continues, you can visit its ancient monastery, where the local monks make wine, made from the six grape varieties that grow there.
Next, to Nice
The city of Nice deserves more credit than it gets from tourists. When arriving in Nice it is very worthwhile not to miss the climb to the Citadel Hill, from which the construction of the city began. A maze of winding paths from the direction of the old town and Place Garibaldi that takes those going out for an easy walk of about 10 minutes are also highly recommended. The city has a promenade built in the 18th century and a sidewalk in the old part of Nice, which is also used as a market on a daily basis. Along it, the stalls, which stand in a row, open and offer their wares to passers-by: vegetables, fruits and even flowers. The market is open all days of the week, except Mondays, when a colorful antiques market takes over the place. The Nice area has over 100 different museums, 12 of which are dedicated to the only artist who lived and moved on the Riviera, while in the city itself there are two museums worth stopping at: the Marc Chagall Museum and the Matisse Museum. Travelers who want to delve deeper into the history and learn about the artists of the area, will be able to embark on a special route following the painters, a marked route that includes the antiquities of various works of art placed at the same points, where they were painted.
A hiking trail on the French Riviera and the adjacent Provence region
This itinerary begins in the city of Nice, the undisputed capital of the region. Nice is known to be close to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and as such enjoys many sunny days. After visiting the city, which includes walking along the promenade and stopping also in its old town and port you can head out to another city, no less beautiful, the city of Antibes which is only a 40 minute drive (south of Nice). Its charming marina, filled with yachts of the rich and famous, is its highlight, but it has quite a bit to do. The Picasso Museum is one of the attractions in the city and also Fort Carre which justifies a stop. The Antibes Jazz Festival is an event that is well worth attending, although in practice it is held in a town near it and not in Antibes itself (it takes place in Juan-les-Pins). After a day or two of stopping in Antibes you can proceed directly to the city, which we are all familiar with thanks to the famous film festival and all the celebrities who tend to be photographed in it, the city of Cannes. Every year in the spring celebrities flock to Cannes, and of course quite a few tourists who want to see them up close. While staying in Cannes you can enjoy a tummy tuck on one of its beautiful beaches and also shopping in its luxury shops. The city has a variety of museums and during the summer months a variety of shows and various concerts are held there.
After a light refreshment in Cannes, you should head to the next stop, to the town of Castellane, which is about 82 km from Cannes. After visiting there it is worthwhile to continue an hour’s drive to the famous hanging village – Moustiers Sainte Marie which is known as one of the most beautiful and special villages in France, both due to its location and its charming streets.Another ancient city is the city of Apt, which is about 90 km from Moustiers Sainte Marie. Although it is a city from 125 BC, it is considered a central, large and vibrant city. The market held in the city every Saturday is an attraction not to be missed and so is Its narrow alleys, which are worth walking along. If you want to get to know some of the beautiful villages of the Provence region, which is close to the Riviera, you should continue to the city of Avignon and from there to the charming picturesque villages that are only 40 km away, such as Les Baux de Provence.
The city of Arles is the next destination and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has many monuments from Roman and medieval times and is known, among other things, for the famous painter Van Gogh, who painted his famous sunflower painting right there (and also while in the city This one, by the way, he cut off his ear and painted the same famous portrait, in which he is seen with a quince). Finally – the beautiful Marseille, which is also near the Mediterranean Sea. The fish soup that everyone knows came from it and the culinary field in it is, without a doubt, one of its standout points.
Festivals on the French Riviera
The French Riviera is packed with festivals, which is one of the reasons why many come to it. With the arrival of the hot months and when the summer season is almost at its peak, the beaches of the Riviera begin to resonate with the sounds of many cultural events, celebrating all kinds of arts and traditions: theater performances, shows that sanctify local traditions, music, fireworks and more. One of the well-known festivals of the Riviera is the Nice Jazz Festival. This festival has been reinventing itself for more than seven decades and is without a doubt one of the oldest and most prestigious music festivals held on the French Riviera. Every year many jazz stars meet on city stages to express one of the most beautiful and unique genres of music. The festival’s guest list consists of both women and men, who devote quite a few hours to this music and perform all over the city. Another special festival in Nice is the Book Festival. This festival is a wonderful opportunity to discover French writers and enjoy, “on the road”, the magical atmosphere of the city. The festival is held in the Arena de Cimez Gardens and attracts both locals and tourists.
Speaking of festivals, it is impossible not to mention the International Film Festival held every May in the city of Cannes and retains a place of honor on the list of world festivals. This festival is famous mainly due to the visit of the famous and rich, actors and actresses that everyone knows, who walk around the city during the screenings and leave behind the dust of stars … Another world-renowned festival is the Cannes Festival of Pyrotechnic Art, which attracts over 100,000 each year man. The festival, which has been in existence since 1998, illuminates the light with thousands of lights for six consecutive evenings and brings together the best artists in the world in this field. The light shows and pyrotechnics are breathtaking and certainly justify a stop in the city at that time. And how is it possible without festivals on the beach? Every year an electronic music festival is held on the shores of Cannes with the biggest names in this field. The festival includes a huge dance floor for participants and a colorful, rhythmic and happy atmosphere.
The equal beaches of the French Riviera
The beaches of the French Riviera are known for their special beauty and spectacular waterline. After leaving Paris, the big city and also leaving the beautiful vineyards of Bordeaux, one can start exploring the lush and more special side of France, it is packed with amazing beaches. Visitors to the French Riviera will be able to enjoy a “back belly” at one of the beaches while sipping fine wine or watching towards the far horizon or perhaps spending time in a lovable beach sports activity to extract some bones. The beaches in the French Riviera towns are an opportunity to enjoy the other France and also soak up quite a bit of the warm sunshine, especially if you visit them between June and September, which are considered the most recommended period to visit.
Plage de Pampelonne
Not far from Saint-Tropez is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on the French Riviera. This grandiose beach attracts crowds and is in an ideal location to soak up a few hours under the sun, facing the sea. It is highly recommended to reach it in the early morning to avoid the overcrowding and crowds that flock to it especially in the afternoon. La Garoupe Beach – This is a great opportunity to enjoy a beautiful white sandy beach and clear waters. This beach, one of the prominent beaches of Antibes, offers hammocks to relax in front of the sea and also a pleasant atmosphere.
The beaches of Cannes
Most of them are private beaches, which guarantees visitors a little quieter, compared to other beaches. You can take the opportunity to stop for a good meal at one of the nearby restaurants or for a short shopping spree at the stunning boutiques in the area.
Welcome to the beach of Monkey, abounding in the exclusive yachts that adorn it and adorn it on all sides and also in crowds of people sunbathing. The coast of Nice is five kilometers long and a walk along it, from one end to the other, will probably take you about an hour. This is a beautiful sandy beach, located next to a very touristy promenade, adjacent to hotels, galleries and also good restaurants. The beach of St. Tropez is a bathing beach with minimal attire (sometimes a little more, sometimes less), where many rich people tend to spend their sunny summer days. There is not much to do in it other than a “back belly” and maybe even a quick selfie with one of the celebrities, who usually get to it.
This charming sandy beach stretches for about 11 km. It is close to the resort town (of the same name), a simple town in style and pleasant and very easy to reach from the city of Nice, McCann and also Marseille.
A few minutes drive from Nice you will discover a charming elegant rocky beach, where many celebrities tend to spend their summer vacation. This beach offers deck chairs and quite a few places to eat.