A jewel in the country's crown that attracts crowds all year round, the Côte d’Azur needs no introduction. And it's easy to see why: picturesque villages with incredible charm, a stunning coastline, 300 days of sunshine a year and gourmet cuisine that brings to mind sun-filled days and holidays. We have prepared a (subjective) selection of some of the most beautiful towns on the Côte d’Azur from among the long list of sites and towns to visit in the region. Follow us, we're going to take you on a journey!
1. Cannes and the treasures of its bay
There's no need to introduce Cannes, the emblematic city of the Côte d’Azur often associated with glamour, rhinestone and sequins. And it's true: as you stroll along the legendary Croisette, with its luxury hotels and boutiques on one side and the Mediterranean on the other, for a few hours you even start to feel like a star!
But it would be a shame to simply reduce it to that: its town centre is magnificent and its coastline, with its succession of stunning beaches and hidden coves, is just as impressive. Another great treasure in Cannes are the Lérins Islands. A little of piece of paradise a 15-minute boat ride away, families and lovers will fall under the spell of the abbey on the island of Saint-Honorat and the creeks with their turquoise waters on Sainte-Marguerite Island.
2. Saint-Tropez, the undisputed queen
Another must-see on the Côte d’Azur, Saint-Tropez is the symbol of glitter and glamour with its huge boats moored in the port and its select restaurants and nightclubs. Whether this is what you're into or not, this seaside resort is well worth a visit even if only for its colourful streets, its world-famous church and port, not to mention the famous dessert pastry of the same name! Its atmosphere changes with the seasons, so it's up to you to find the one you like best.
One piece of advice: travel there by boat from Sainte-Maxime. The crossing is affordable and above all, it is very pleasant and means that you can avoid the traffic jams in the summer months!
3. Saint-Raphaël and Fréjus, the sisters of the Var
Neighbouring each other, these two towns in the Var are sun-drenched destinations that pleasure seekers just love! The two form a pair: Fréjus is the gateway to the Var hinterland, whereas Saint-Raphaël offers almost 36 km of coastline dotted with stunning coves and beaches.
They are also the perfect playground for the water-based activity of your choice: boat excursions, stand-up paddleboarding, scuba diving and swimming galore with all the family on Le Veillat beach or in the rocky creek of Sainte-Lucia calanque.
4. Esterel Massif, a colourful curiosity
With its red volcanic rock and creeks with translucent waters, this is one of the most beautiful and emblematic tourist sites on the Côte d’Azur. On dry land, explore it by following one of its many hiking trails. There is a route for all levels: the Pic de l'Ours trail is a 1.5-hour circular route that is perfect for beginners, whereas seasoned hikers will be happy to attempt the 4.5-hour Cap Roux balconies hike.
From the sea, the Esterel Massif can be discovered in a thousand and one ways, or almost: from a boat during a cruise, underwater with a mask and flippers as you enjoy a diving session, or with a paddle in your hand aboard a kayak. Whatever the activity you choose, the breath-taking scenery will never fail to amaze you!
5. The Gorges du Verdon, a natural wonder
The Côte d’Azur is not just about the seaside and the beach! Inland, there is one natural wonder not to be missed: the Gorges du Verdon. Europe's largest canyon, carved out by the river of the same name, is the perfect playground for land-based and water-based activities. Hiking, canoeing, cycling, it's up to you to choose how you want to explore this exceptional site.
For the more athletic among you, make your way to Sainte-Croix lake and Castillon lake to try your hand at canyoning and rafting in an enchanting and unique natural setting. Such great adventures will leave you with many wonderful memories, starry eyes and a strong wish to repeat the experience as soon as possible!
6. Grasse, the city of perfume
Visiting Grasse is a unique sensory experience! The perfume capital of France for centuries, its production has been elevated to an art form and the town has become home to some of the world's leading perfume makers, such as Fragonard and Galimard.
Not only can you discover the secrets of perfume in the museum devoted to this subject, you will also have the chance to create your own. What could be better than a tailor-made fragrance as a souvenir of such an emblematic and major site on the Côte d’Azur?
7. Menton, the city of lemons!
How is it possible not to fall in love with the beauty and incredible charms of this jewel on the French Riviera. The final wonder on the coast before Italy, Menton is not only the capital of lemons, something the town celebrates each year in February, it is also a colourful town with a gentle pace of life that bears all the hallmarks of the south.
The old town is home to many beautiful architectural treasures, such as the Basilica of Saint-Michael and the Chapel of the Penitents, and there are no fewer than five remarkable gardens (!). When it comes to culture, the Jean Cocteau museum, home to nearly 2,000 works by the multi-talented artist, is well worth a visit.
8. Nice, the capital of the Côte d’Azur
Among the many jewels in the Côte d’Azur's crown, Nice is definitely one of the most emblematic. The Promenade des Anglais, the Villa Masséna, the Matisse and Chagall museums, not to mention the castle with its waterfall, Mont Boron which offers a breath-taking view, and the old-fashioned charm of the city centre – Nice never fails to amaze holidaymakers who come there to enjoy the sunshine and the Italian atmosphere.
As you explore the city, be sure to sample some of its culinary specialities! Pan bagnat, the GENUINE nicoise salad, pissaladière (caramelised onion & anchovy tart), stuffed vegetables and the daube nicoise meat stew, an explosion of flavours awaits your taste buds. Calories don't count on holiday, so make the most of it!
9. Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a treasure perched proudly on its rock
Finally, no presentation of the gems of the Côte d’Azur would be complete without mentioning Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a wonder among wonders. The painter Marc Chagall and the writer James Baldwin were not mistaken when they decided to make their homes in this magnificent typical Provencal village. Its gentle pace of life, its incredible charm, the song of the cicadas and the breath-taking view over the surrounding area will definitely also win you over.
On the programme during a day in Saint-Paul-de-Vence: stroll around its stone-paved streets, walk along the ramparts, discover the historical heritage such as the stately tower which now shelters the town hall, and the many chapels and churches as well as... the Maeght gallery devoted to modern and contemporary art!
Where to stay on the Côte d’Azur?
So, you have been convinced by the extensive list of the (many) attractions of the Côte d’Azur and your forthcoming holiday will be in this little piece of paradise. But what accommodation should you choose? Several options are available to you:
- A campsite that offers the best value for money: in addition to the services and amenities that will delight young and old alike, you will have a choice between a wide range of accommodation, from a comfortable mobile home to a timeless tent if you fancy getting back to basics, not to mention some quirky accommodation (lodge on stilts, Coco Sweet tent) for a touch of originality!
- Apartments to upgrade your holidays: such as at our Eden residence in Saint-Raphaël, an apartment stay ensures you a family or romantic holiday that combines home from home comfort, space, privacy and high-standard services. Perfect!