- Travel tips
- 5 February 2021
Road Trip at Côte d’Azur at the French Riviera: which places to visit
A road trip at Côte d’Azur is picturesque and fun, more even so if you visit during spring or the summer, when the temperatures are the best and the coast is full of life.
The French Riviera begins at Menton, the first french village after the italian borders. Every village has its own particular charm and it can be tricky picking where to stay. Obviously, this depends also on how much time you have, but if we are talking about a timespan of a couple of days up to a week, here below you can find some places that deserve a visit.
The beauty of the Principality of Monaco – Montecarlo
At the sound of the words “The Principality of Monaco” our mind travels to the VIP’s land and it actually is, but there are tourist attractions that even common people can visit.
To my experience, a day’s visit is enough, during which you can visit some focal points:
- A walk at the port Hercules: the best way to see many mega yachts moored;
- The Prince’s Palace, home of the Grimaldi family that rules Monaco: I strongly suggest that you climb the Rock of Monaco, “Le Rocher” in french, on foot or take the elevator. From there you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Principality, the Hercules port and walk around the Old Town;
- The Oceanografic Museum: if you are a sea lover you can not simply miss this. A good thing is that it is for all ages to visit and if you have kids in tow, on the terrace you can find a small playground. The most magnificent thing about it though, is its breathtaking position, at the edge of the rocks on the sea;
- Place du Casino: the square where the famous Monte Carlo Casino sits on. Take a seat at the outer terrace of “Cafè de Paris” if you want to enjoy the come and go of some of the most luxurious and rare cars in the world and of course, people dressed to impress.
The enchanting village of Èze that overlooks the sea
It is a small village halfway between Montecarlo and Nice. It is therefore a strategic point to choose to stay: you can make it your starting point to visit the mosta important adjacent towns.
I like Èze very much for its medieval style and those small stone houses. Spending about an hour is more than sufficient to visit. It sits on top of a hill (there is a big parking lot at its feet). You can combine your visit to coincide with breakfast time, in order to enjoy the panoramic terraces available at hotels and cafes or with any other meal to enjoy at some restaurant inside its cobble stone streets.
At Èze you will find its famous exotic garden with succulent plants and a production site and store of the perfume maker Fragonard, if you have a nose for scents.
Nice, the best city in Côte d’Azur
When I think of Nice my heart fills with enthusiasm. It is the biggest city of Côte d’Azur, it is its landmark and by far the most lively one. Nice would merit a whole article to itself of what to do and see. For the scope of this road trip I have to advise you to spend a whole day at least or two to three days, if you can spare them.
The beaches are well known and plenty to choose from in Côte d’Azur, but here you have the occasion to take a dip in front of the famous Promenade des Anglais and at the same time to be in the heart of the city that sits across the beachfront. The Old Town of Nice is a web of streets that accomodates stores, bars, restaurants and typical cafes. The Massena square is the principal square, while the Castle of Nice offers a stunning view of the bay.
I could go on and on about what to do in Nice, for sure it is a must stop at your road trip.
The picturesque villages of the Provence: Saint Paul de Vence and Grasse
In the collective imaginary Côte d’Azur is associated with the sea. But a few kilometers towards the mainland of the Provence region you will find medieval villages within the green, an amazing scenery! The rythms and landscape change completely in respect to the chaotic coastline and you can evaluate the possibility of staying there for a night.
The most famous village is by far, Saint Paul de Vence. It is a medieval village bult on top of a hill. Seen from afar you can grasp its beauty that awaits the visitor, once you are there its medieval cobble stone streets and the many art galleries and artisanal shops are striking.
Another picturesque village is Grasse. It is about half an hours drive from Saint Paul de Vence and you can combine both villages within one day. At Grasse you will find many old companies that produce parfumes using the Provence flowers. The hills nearby are full of lavender and other typical flowers of Provence that make up a very colorful scenery, especially if you visit at springtime.
Antibes and Cannes: the fascinating sea villages
Continuing our road trip to the west, we will find other two interesting spots. The first one is Antibes. It is a small town on the sea full of colorful streets and full of flowers. If you are interested into art and history, you will find the Picasso museum and various others. The Antibes area is full of beaches and bays, very nice to consider stopping and taking a dip, preferably after a day spent at the Provence mainland.
The second one is Cannes. It became famous for its cinema festival, but even without the festival it is still a cute town to visit. The must visit spot is the Croisette, the beachfront that you can take a walk for a couple of kilometers, if you wish to. Suquet on the other hand, is the borough that encloses the historical center of Cannes.
You can continue your road trp to Saint-Raphael, Sainte-Maxime and Saint Tropez. The last one is another VIP village, very famous. It is too bad tough that it is almost always full of too many people and heavy traffic during certain summer weekends.
All the above mentioned areas can be reached within a travelling road distance of not less than 200 km. That means that you do not have to travel long distances per day to get to them and you can easily manange or alter daily your road trip as you go.
The French Riviera has much to offer. You only have to hit the road!
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