Shores of the Colour of Azure
At the southern foot of the Maritime Alps, one of the most picturesque corners of the world is the Côte d’Azur, also known as the French Riviera. The length of it is 300 kilometres, at the south-eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, spreading from the port city of Toulon to the Italian border. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, members of the royal families were relaxing here. A little later, this place became a favourite for Russian aristocrats, writers and artists. Cannes, Nice and Saint-Tropez eventually became synonymous with luxurious rest for the most demanding public in the world.
The name Côte d’Azur is attributed to the writer Stephen Liege, who, in 1870, so named one of his novels when he saw the unsurpassed bay of the city of Hyères. More than 140 years have passed, but the combination of the words “Côte d’Azur of France” still caresses the mind and causes unearthly associations. This is the land where everything is lit up by the golden light of the generous sun, filled with the blue of the azure sky and flavoured with local spices, like caraway, garlic and basil with olive oil. Local Mediterranean wines have a special delicate aroma drawn from the grapevines and caressed by the southern sun. The Provençal cheeses taste of mountain herbs and flowers. Here, magnificent palaces and chic villas are combined with fashionable hotels and fine restaurants, so that the holiday never ends. For many, the main thing on the Côte d’Azur is not the sea, but rather the “hangouts”, entertainment, restaurants, discos and casinos.
Nice – Visiting Card of Côte d’Azur
Nice is the largest city in this region, combining elegance, dynamism and charm of the resort and sea settlements. The diamond of Nice is its seven-kilometre “Promenade des Anglais”, with facades in the belle epoque style, which were popular in the early 20th century; combining the traditions of neoclassicism with elements of Art Nouveau.
What to do:
- Walk on the promenade of the Angels (Promenade des Anglais).
- Drink a signature cocktail in the oak panelled bar of Le Relais, in the legendary Negresco Hotel.
- Visit the magnificent museums of Marc Chagall and Matis.
- Wander through the narrow streets of the old city.
- Visit the villa of the Baroness Beatrice Ephrussie de Rothschild (Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild).
- Look through the telescope of the observatory, located on the top of Mont-Gross.
- Take a walk in the flower market of Cour Saleya in the old town.
Cannes – The Capital of Cinema
Cannes is a mecca for fans of cinema and festivals, walks and parties, an indulgence for gourmets and a shrine for shopaholics.
What to do:
- Take a walk along the promenade of Croisette (Promenade de la Croisette).
- See the stars from all over the world on the red carpet of the Cannes International Film Festival.
- Walk on the walk of the movie stars.
- Visit the unforgettable Cannes Festival of Pyrotechnics (Festival d’art pyrotehnique de Cannes).
- Walk in the “Old Town”, with its medieval quarters, the Mont-Chevalier Tower and the Notre-Dame de l’Esperance church.
- Visit the island of St. Marguerite, where the fortress is known as the place of imprisonment of the mysterious prisoner, the “Iron Mask”.
- Go to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, which houses an extensive city library.
- Play in the Casino Carlton Casino Club (Hôtel Carlton Intercontinental).
Antibes – The Flower of the Sea
Antibes is a real child of the sea, where everything is buried in flowers and small sailboats or real floating palaces quietly swing on the waters of the Port Vauban. Rumours about the “paradise corner” always attracted rich and noble people, who subsequently built luxurious castles, chic estates and beautiful villas. The beauty of this land attracted the writer Jules Verne as well, and the Villa “Green Oaks” became a haven for him, where he created his immortal masterpiece, “20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” in three years. Built at the end of the 19th century, the Soleil and Eden Rock villas became one of the most fashionable hotels in the world, Hôtel du Cap Eden-Roc, subsequently bought for a record amount by Roman Abramovich.
What to do:
- Admire the masterpieces of Picasso in the Grimaldi Castle (Château Grimaldi).
- Enjoy the signature cocktails of Eden Roc in the chic Bellini Bar.
- Communicate with dolphins and killer whales in one of the largest water basins in the world: Marine Aquapark “Marineland”
Juan-les-pins – A Jazz Paradise
Juan-les-pins is the capital of jazz music. The city annually hosts thousands of jazz lovers from all over the world at its famous jazz festival. There have been many jazz stars arriving, including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, BBC King, Ray Brown, Blues Brothers, Diane Reeves, Diane Kroll and many others.
What to do:
- Visit the world-famous jazz festival (traditionally held in mid-July).
Monaco – Life in the Light of Lights
Monaco is a fairy dwarf state, as if specially created for people who dream of entertainment, shows and festivities. For many centuries, this enclave of princes and monks was known only in the narrow circles of the European aristocracy, but everything changed after the marriage of Prince René III to the American actress with the German roots, Grace Kelly.
Menton – The Land of Lemons and Beaches
The city that inspired Alexander Green to write his famous novel “Scarlet Sails” is famous for its music festival, the beautiful cathedral of San Michele, cozy streets in Provencal style and, of course, its annual holiday of lemons. Every year, the entire city is transformed and filled with unthinkable figures from lemons, oranges, limes, pomelos and grapefruits.
Saint-Tropez – Secular Mecca of the Riviera
Saint-Tropez is the prestigious place of rest for the most famous people in the world. The place gained worldwide fame after Roger Vadim filmed the film, “And God Created a Woman”, with Brigitte Bardot in the title role. The most fashionable private beaches stretch into the horizon; the most famous of which, Plage de Pampelonne, has long been a place for sunbathing in complete nudity. Here, wonderful shops of so-called beach brands, with the legendary sandals Tropeziennes at the helm, can be found. There are also excellent restaurants with such spectacular fish dishes that no Michelin stars are needed.
What to do:
- Sit in a famous bistro on the waterfront – Le Gorille and Le Senequiere – watching the luxury yachts and their owners.
- Dance in the legendary club Les Caves du Roy (Hotel Byblos).
- Sunbathe on a favourite beach of stars and celebrities, Nikki Beach.
- Dine at Le Club 55 (43 Boulevard Patch), the most elegant beach restaurant in Saint-Tropez.
Éze – A Village on a Rock
Like the inaccessible nest of a strange bird, the old village of Éze, in the south of France, is located on a mountain ledge, at an altitude of 427 metres above sea level. From here, you can survey the entire Mediterranean coast and, on clear days, even the island of Corsica is seen.
St. Anne is the highest (800m above sea level) seaside village in Europe and one of the most interesting villages of France, located 3 kilometres from the sea.
Beaulieu-sur-Mer: A City between Nice and Monaco
“A beautiful place by the sea”, as translated from French, the city of Beaulieu-sur-Mer is where they shot the famous comedy “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. This beautiful Mediterranean town of France is located between Nice and Monaco.
The attraction of this small settlement is the casino Beaulieu, built in the style of Belle Époque. In addition to the casino, there is a rich exposition of paintings. Be sure to visit the Villa Kerilos (in ancient Greek, it means “swallow”), built in 1902-1908 by connoisseurs and lovers of Greek history. To finish the villa, they used Carrara marble, opal, bronze, ivory and gilding.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – is one of the most prestigious places of the Côte d’Azur, with the most expensive land on the coast.
Villefranche-sur-Mer – has retained its historical appearance as a city of the XVII century, with its port, colourful facades of the houses and the fortress.
Mougins – is a real centre of art, with its art workshops and galleries.
The Côte d’Azur is an amazing place. Everyone will find something special for themselves, whether enjoying the works of Picasso, Mathis and Chagall or visiting jazz festivals and excellent beaches. Perhaps, it will be the excellent cuisine, luxurious parties, legendary casinos, exclusive shopping and unforgettable walks that make those memories that last a lifetime for you. Whatever you want, come and find it in the Côte d’Azur.