The Cote d’Azur boasts European glitz, Hollywood glamour and opulent luxury rivalled by very few places on earth. Famous for the hedonism of Monaco, the beauty of Nice and the star-studded Cannes Film Festival it is easy to forget that the Riviera is but minutes from quintessential French rural living. Whether it is holidays to Nice, Cannes or Saint Paul de Vence, luxury holidays to the Cote d’Azur are a wonderful way to see and experience the south of France.
Holidays in Nice have it all. An exceptional location, a stunning waterfront, a wonderful year-round climate and a beguiling mix of old world money and luxury combined with the ethnic diversity of a modern European city. You can spend hours strolling the labyrinthine lanes of the old town, meandering along the palm lined sunset-perfect Promenade des Anglais, ambling down to the pretty Port Lympia or crossing the impressive new Place Massena, against a backdrop of the Baroque, Belle Epoque and Neoclassical facades of some of France’s finest architectural treasures. Beach-lovers, unsettled by the large flat stones and pebbles of the beaches, will appreciate the layer of sand that some hotels have added to their private beachfronts.
Having scarcely changed since the early 18th century, Nice’s old town offers tiny lanes crammed with designer boutiques, antique shops, exquisite delis, bars and restaurants. The Parc du Chateau overlooking the Baie des Anges offers a spectacular vantage point. Not much is left of its ruined castle besides its crumbling walls, but the climb up is well worth the view. Follow the Colline du Chateau down to the pretty Venetian Port Lympia. A stroll along its quays is particularly charming.
Holidays to Nice are a truly splendid way to experience traditional French culture. Markets of all kinds from flowers, fruit, vegetables and fish to antiques play a huge part in the day to day life of Nice. Many of these purchases translate, later in the day, into gastronomy, which even in a country renowned for its cuisine is difficult to better. Followers of 20th century art will delight in the galleries dedicated to Matisse and Chagall, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art with its open-air roof terraces offering one of the city’s best panoramas.
Holidays to Cannes are one of the most sought after south of France destinations. Once a small fishing village, Cannes is now a glamorous and expensive seaside resort and one of the social hubs of Europe. Its moment to shine arrives in May as the Film Festival entertains the rich and famous.
Although its wealth, glamour, casinos, high end clubs and restaurants lend Cannes a feeling of unattainable exclusivity, it does boast less flamboyant alternatives. There is the beauty and architecture of the old quarter, Le Suquet, with its cobbled streets and breath-taking views. Forville Market offers spectacular eating experiences, and there’s always opportunities to sit at street side tables to people watch those promenading around the marina. What’s more it costs very little to enjoy the art deco architecture of the seafront palaces of La Croisette. Cannes holidays are a wonderfully vibrant yet chic choice of destination for those wishing to visit the south of France.
Another fantastic destination for Cote d’Azur holidays is the stunning town of Saint Paul de Vence. A perfectly preserved medieval village perched on a hillside several kilometers from the Mediterranean. The village became an important centre for art in the early 20th century and remains home to countless galleries and studios. Wandering the streets of the village is the best way to see everything this charming village has to offer. La Colombe d'Or offers wonderful cuisine in a setting unlike any other. As you dine, you will notice that the walls are covered with the paintings of artists such as Matisse and Picasso who in the earlier 20th century were offered room and board in exchange for their art.