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Côte d'Azur



France, Cote d'Azur, Villefranche

Villefranche sur Mer, France, between Nice and Monaco. Note the typically tiny beach and railway line that provides easy transport along the Riviera - providing the staff are neither on strike nor out to lunch.

Cote d'Azur Beach Photos


French BeachesFrance MapCôte d'Azur vs Riviera Map


Driving to the Côte d'Azur, hints and links on ferries, tolls, speeding controls, insurance.


Where to visit in Côte d'Azur


The Côte d'Azur (Blue Coast) is the Mediterranean coast in the south of France that stretches from Hyeres to the Italian Border, while the French Riviera is the popular beach resort section that occupies the eastern part of the Côte d'Azur from Cannes through Juans les Pins, Antibes, Villeneuve-Loubet Plage, Cagnes-sur-Mer and Nice, past the Monaco principality and on to the last French Town before Italy, Menton.


Anthony Peregrine in the Sunday Times calls Cannes a 'tawdry patch of urban blight messing up a nice coast' - but that's a little exaggerated as the three main Riviera towns - Cannes, Cagnes-sur-Mer and Nice - all have magnificent sea fronts, warm summer water, many lovely old buildings, lively, agreeable locals, sensational food (from restaurants or supermarkets), stunning weather and some terrific beaches - as well as some blight, but where doesn't have some blight these days?


The Riviera - in our opinion - is less snooty than you might think and still terrific for eating, partying and people watching on the promenades. Some fine museums, too. And there's the mad Nice Carnival...


When to go there?

The best time to hit the Côte d'Azur is pre and post summer, i.e. May, June, September, October, when the heat is off and the crowds are at work. Just after summer is better for swimmers as the Med will still be warm then. Winter is not too bad, with short days but frequent blue skies and not cold.


St Tropez is probably the snobbiest part of the Côte d'Azur, with big money, big crowds and big traffic jams yet still glamorous. The in-vogue beach is Nikki, where you have to pay - or even book in advance, but there are plenty of superb cafés and restaurants as well as the outstanding Musée de l'Annonciade (20th century masters such as Rouault and Matisse).


To escape from the busy Côte d'Azur, try the views and activities of the magnificent 'Grand Canyon' of Verdon Gorge a couple of hours away inland, the îles d'Hyères (resort islands with more wildness and less motors), the superb Provencal towns of Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Arles, or even a bit further away off the French mainland, head for the great landscapes, walks and beaches of Corsica (car ferries from Nice or Marseilles).



Large town and beach photos

CannesJuans les PinsAntibesVilleneuve-Loubet Plage




France Pictures



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