The French riviera... walk in the footsteps of the stars along the croisette in Cannes, and try to catch a glimpse of royalty in Monaco. The Cote d'Azur... the mere name conjours up a vision of luxury and glamour. This is the south coast of France near to the Italian border which was the winter sun resort for the British upper classes from the 18th century and is still today somewhat the playground of the well to do. Perfect for sun and party lovers, who are looking for a chic break in some of the trendiest towns in France.
Top Attractions in Cote d'Azur
The original winter sun resort for rich Brits in the late 1700's, they left their mark on Nice at the « Promenade des Anglais » which borders the waterfront. You can admire the Negresco Hotel, over a century old, and still attracting the stars and royalty that it was designed for. Whilst in Nice make sure you visit the Flower market at cours Saleya, one of the best markets in all of France
The Grand Corniche road
The Grand Corniche road – Between Nice and Menton, and at a breathtaking 500 metres above sea level, is an unmissable trip. There are actually 4 roads that take this route, but the Grande Corniche is the most spectacular. From James Bond in Goldeneye, to Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, film and commercial makers have often used the Grand Corniche as their set. A stop at La Turbie lets you get the best viewpoint of Monaco, perfect in the sunset.
Antibes – Pablo Picasso lived in the Chateau Grimaldi for 6 months in 1946, and a lot of his works are displayed there as it is now the Picasso Museum, well worth a visit both for the art and the château itself , which was built on the ancient Greek site of Antipolis.
Cannes - Gentler, and more sophisticated than Nice, Cannes manages to keep a somewhat picture postcard look, especially near the old port. La Croisette is undeniably linked with the world famous Cannes film festival, and is a 3km promenade lined with luxurious hotels, high class boutiques, and restaurants.
Villa Ephrussi, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
This is the former home of Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, one of the richest women of her time. She spent about seven years, from the time she first saw the land to build the house and gardens, and to fill them with the most awesome treasures. This is luxury with a capital L, and is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Monaco - Prince's Palace and changing of the guard - Originally built in 1191, and serving at that time as a Genoese fortress, it was captured in 1297 by the Grimaldi family, who still hold it to this day. The palace is guarded 24 hours a day by the Prince's Company of Carabiniers, and the changing of the guard takes place at 11:55am every day, and is well worth watching.
Monte Carlo Casino and Opera House
Monte Carlo Casino and Opera House – On the present site since1868, and redesigned 120 years ago by Charles Garnier, who designed the Paris Opera House. It has a spectacular marble and gold atrium, surrounded by 28 marble columns. The salle Garnier,is sumptuously decorated in red and gold. The Opera house is just as luscious and was also designed by Charles Garnier.
Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection, Terraces de Fontvieille
Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection, Terraces de Fontvieille – 100 classic cars from the late Prince Rainier III's collection. From Lamborghini to Citroen, all the cars in this car lover's dream have the particularity of having been personally chosen by the late Prince.
The Exotic Gardens and the Observation Cave
A mix of the exotic and the unusual make this a very interesting place to visit. First, thousands of succulents planted on a mountain side will astound you, and then after popping 60 metres underground you will once again be astonished by the cave and it's stalagmites and stalagtites.
Château de Commarque, Les Eyzies de Tayac
Château de Commarque, Les Eyzies de Tayac – A castle with a 15000 year history, from prehistoric times and the Commarque cave, to the cave dwellings and onto the mediavel life at the castle. This is a great outing, with plenty of animations, including stone sculpting.
Zoological Gardens is built in 1954 by Prince Rainier 3rd, it is a zoo with a very good reputation for the living conditions of the animals. It is actually built onto the side of the rock.
Getting to and around Cote d'Azur
Nice (NCE) has its own international airport, the third biggest airport in France, and is well served with flights worldwide. At the airport there is easy access into Nice town, or for the more thrill seeking, helicopter links to Cannes, St Tropez and Monaco. I advise you to hire a car, as there is a wide area to visit, and some of the sights need car availability