French Riviera, the pearl chain on the Mediterranean

Sunday, 21 November 2010 - 04:47 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, French Riviera
Reading Time:  42 minutes

© Markus Bernet - www.demis.nl

© Markus Bernet – www.demis.nl

The French Riviera is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and diverse areas in Europe. This is where the sophisticated charm of St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo meet the original and rural life in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. The incomparable play of color on the beaches and in the landscape meet the Maritime Alps. You simply have to experience it oon your own. Off the main tourist track even today there still can be found refuges at acceptable prices. Some of this places are included in this article. The names of the villages and cities are linked with the local tourist sites.

Content


Antibes © Mario Lassnig

Antibes © Mario Lassnig

Antibes
Antibes Juan-les-Pins has one of the longest coastlines in France. There are many beaches along the 25 kilometres coastline, and five ports, one of which is the largest yachting harbour in Europe and second in the world, that of Port Vauban. Here all the pleasures of the sea are available for all tastes: water-skiing or paragliding, diving, sailing. Antibes Juan-les-Pins has also developed other sporting facilities: basketball, squash, walking, tennis. Little wonder that Antibes Juan-les-Pins is considered the most sport-oriented town in France! Wikivoyage Antibes


Cannes © Mario Lassnig

Cannes © Mario Lassnig

Cannes
Cannes is one of the world’s most prestigious cities. Truly a haven of prosperity, security and quality of life, it has not usurped its legendary reputation as a city where life is wonderful. The splendid surroundings, the mosaic of authentic neighbourhoods , the luxurious setting, services of exceptional quality: everything contributes to making Cannes the ideal destination for those with an epicurean view of life. With its exceptional sunshine, its luxury hotels , excellent restaurants, colourful casinos, historic city centre, sandy beaches and magnificent bay, Cannes has all the features and assets envied by seaside and tourist resorts all over the world. The city boasts 280 restaurants (one of which has been awarded Michelin ’stars’: Palme d’Or**), 3 casinos, 700 shops with all the great prestige brands and 10 discothèques. Wikivoyage Cannes


Cassis © Marion Schneider & Christoph Aistleitner

Cassis © Marion Schneider & Christoph Aistleitner

Cassis
The little fishing port, tucked between two exceptional natural sites (the celebrated Calanques and the majestic Cap Canaille) offers a concentrated version of Provence and the Mediterranean. The magic begins to work on the little road that leads to the village, winding between vineyards and pine trees. Walk along charming back roads lined with the brightly coloured homes of fishermen. Cassis will be forever remembered by those who see its port, boats and welcoming terraces for the first time. Wikivoyage Cassis


Cavalaire-sur-Mer

Cavalaire-sur-Mer

Cavalaire-sur-Mer
Set behind a magnificent bay which is named after the town, on the blue waters of the French Riviera along a 4km stretch of white sand, the town of Cavalaire-sur-Mer enjoys an exceptional climate with 300 days of sunshine per year. Bordered by the green Massif des Maures (524 metres), Cavalaire covers a surface area of 1,674 hectares for just over 6,450 inhabitants. This relatively new town in the Var was founded in 1929 and was classified as a tourist resort in 1956. It is now particularly appreciated for its large fine-sand beach, for the quality of its clean waters, its marina, its Provençal market, its traditional Provençal celebrations and for the entertainment and events that are organised for locals and visitors free of charge throughout the summer months. Wikivoyage Cavalaire-sur-Mer


Fréjus © Cyrilb1881

Fréjus © Cyrilb1881

Fréjus
The most difficult thing will be leaving again. Fréjus, located in Provence in the département of Var, was the very first naval base in the Mediterranean in the days of the Ancient Romans. This prosperous town, steeped in emotion and history, is now a centre for Art and culture, in the heart of the Riviera, an ideal holiday destination with plenty of things to see and do without ever losing that sense of subtlety. Wikivoyage Fréjus


Grasse © Christophe Finot

Grasse © Christophe Finot

Grasse
Rising from the hills above the Mediterranean is the city of Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, surrounded by the charming Provencal landscape and villages of the Pays de Grasse, the regional name for this breathtaking and tranquil countryside. Together, they form the French Rivera’s most beautiful balcony. At the dawn of the new millennium, with the renewed emphasis on authenticity, well-being, and the great outdoors, the Pays de Grasse is in the spotlight: a vast natural and cultural amphitheatre, rich in fascinating historic and architectural treasures. The region is a remarkable destination, featuring stunning perched villages and gentle hills, covered with olive trees, rolling all the way down to the sea. Here, the locals still speak the language of their ancestors, seeking both to preserve and to share their identity. Wikivoyage Grasse


Grimaud © Patricia.fidi

Grimaud © Patricia.fidi

Grimaud
Grimaud is one of the oldest villages in the Maures, and belonged to Gibelin de Garibaldi on the Middle Ages. All that remains intact of the old three-towered castle is one vaulted hall. Take a walk through the charming little streets in the village. On the coast, discover the waterside town of Port Grimaud, with its house-lined canals leading to the sea. A touch of Venice in the middle of Provence! Wikipedia Grimaud


Hyères © Bichot from Paris

Hyères © Bichot from Paris

Hyères
Located 15 km east of Toulon, 84 km from Marseille and 50 km from Saint-Tropez, the town of Hyères les Palmiers is a small part of a protected Provence at the foot of the Massif des Maures and bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. With 300 days of sunshine per year, an exceptional countryside and Mediterranean climate, Hyères les Palmiers is also proud of its Islands i.e. Porquerolles, Port Cros and Le Levant, its peninsula of Giens, its medieval centre and its Victorian suburbs. Hyères les Palmiers has a famous bay and harbours many sport activities such as scuba-diving, sailing, fun board and kite-surf. The town was awarded «Nautical Resort» and «Pavillon bleu» (for the quality of its sea water). Wikipedia Hyères


Iles de Lérins © Alberto Fernandez Fernandez

Iles de Lérins © Alberto Fernandez Fernandez

Iles de Lérins
The “Iles de Lérins” is a small archipelago just off the coast of Cannes and part of the commune of Cannes. The archipelago has the two main islands of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat and the two micro-islands of Tradelière and St-Féréol. Boat excursions to the islands leave from Cannes (15 minutes to Saint-Honorat and 30 minutes to Sainte-Marguerite). Excursions also leave from Antibes, Golfe-Juan, La Napoule and Nice. The islands are pedestrian-only; no motor vehicles are allowed. Ile Sainte Marguerite is the larger, and nearer, island. The island is covered by a lovely forest of Allepo pine and eucalyptus, with wide paths criss-crossing the length and breadth. The port area, where the ferry lands, has cafés and restaurants, and it’s a short walk to the Fort Royal where you can see the now-bare little cell where the Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated. Ile Saint Honorat is the smaller, further, island, an additional 15 minutes by boat from the ferry landing of Sainte-Marguerite. Although small, the walks are still nice, and there’s the Cisterian abbey to visit, which includes a gift shop of locally produced products. Wikivoyage Iles de Lérins


Le Levandou © Massimo Macconi

Le Levandou © Massimo Macconi

Le Lavandou
Le Lavandou has much to offer: Authentic village of fishermen, modern, dynamic and sportive seaside resort, a cultural city. 12 kilometres of coast where beaches, creeks blend into different colours, from light blue to azure and amethyst to the turquoise colour of the sea. 12 marvellous beaches with thin sand, whose granulometry and the variety of colours are a real geological curiosity. Lush Mediterranean vegetation and a protected environment. An international port with 1100 parking places divided into 3 docks and with a stretch of water of more than 7 ha. The “Blue flag of Europe” for its managing of water and environment at large, for its actions to promote education to sensitize at the protection of our environment, at the preservation of our coast heritage, at the safety and beach equipments. The “starfish flag” for the quality of its bathing water. The “flowery city label”, for its flowers and trees that contribute to the embellishment of Le Lavandou. A wide range of entertainments, distractions and festivities. Lodging of quality, several shops and one of the best food and much more. Wikivoyage Le Lavandou


Menton © Pumuckel42

Menton © Pumuckel42

Menton
Thanks to a beneficial subtropical microclimate (316 cloudless days a year), winter is practically unknown in Menton. Therefore, you can enjoy a beautiful sea and the nearby sunny mountains all year round. Menton is on the borders of Italy, the Principality of Monaco and the Comté de Nice. Paradise of gardens, Menton is also a unique display of architecture. These have moulded this “secret Riviera”, paradise where you can walk in the footsteps of famous names. From the Empress Eugénie to Jean Cocteau, countless people have come to this magical setting to get re-kindle the authentic. The scents, colours and tranquillity, but also the diversity of the activities that can be practiced here throughout the year, make Menton “the pearl of France”, as stated by the geographer Élysée Reclus. Moreover, the town is the first town of the Alpes-Maritimes to receive the designation “City of Art and History”. Wikivoyage Menton


Monaco © Zazu-srb

Monaco © Zazu-srb

Monaco
Monaco is located between the South of France and Italy, right on the Mediterranean Ocean. Monaco is country of monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state. The country is only about two squared kilometres in area, but still boasts a population of over 30,000 people, making it the most populated country in the world. Monaco is made up of several areas; Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Fontvielle and Larvotto Beach. Monaco is well known for its tax haven status, and has a great deal to do with its exclusivity and appeal. It is also well known for tourism as a playgroud for the rich and famous, with it’s renowned Monte Carlo Casino. The Grand Prix is another major part of Monaco too, but it does boast many other exciting sports and activities. Wikivoyage Monaco


Nice @ Martinp1

Nice @ Martinp1

Nice
It’s a demanding climb to Le Château, a ruined castle that perches on a cliff high above Nice proper, but the view is more than worth it. Seen from such heights, the Mediterranean is a shimmering riot of blue, its lacy, frothed edges lapping against the shore, while the rooftops below spread over the land to form an irregular earth-toned mosaic. Nice is one of France’s largest cities, but it’s easy to find quiet streets with a distinctly old-world feel. The fabulous flower markets and colorful plazas whet your appetite for the fantastic orgy of color you’ll discover in the Chagall museum or etched in glossy detail across the onion domes of the Russian cathedral. This is a café city, best taken in during long strolls and leisurely meals of seafood and wine. Around most corners you’ll discover a picturesque scene, but those glimmering azure waters are Nice’s big show. Join the families pacing the promenade or the old men relaxing in the salty air after a game of boules. Lounge atop the pebbly beach, and indulge in some of France’s best people-watching. Nice is the place to go if you are seeking beauty, romance, and a distinctly Mediterranean charm. Pack the camera, and prepare to be totally won over. Wikivoyage Nice


Ramatuelle © Pumuckel42

Ramatuelle © Pumuckel42

Ramatuelle
Ramatuelle is a medieval pituresque village huddled upto the hillside in the heart of nature. It is a quiet modest village which contrasts with the trendy celebrity side of its beaches of Pampelonne. The heart of the village is built in the form of a snail. Shops and cafés hide in secret alleyways. The ochre façades and the pastel coloured shutters are decorated with jasmin, honeysuckle and bougainvillea. A pleasure for the senses ! On Thursdays and Sundays the local Provençal market livens up the cafés and restaurants of Place de l’Ormeau. The beach of Pampelonne became one of the most famous beaches in the world with the jet-set. Two private beaches created the Tropezian myth: “Tahiti Plage” opened in 1946, made out of the abandoned film set originally used by the studios La Victorine for the shooting of the film “Chant des îles” by Georges Manae in 1935 and “Club 55” (created in 1955) which was the canteen for the shooting crew of the famous film “Et Dieu créa la femme” with Brigitte Bardot and is now a renowned restaurant. Wikipedia Ramatuelle


Sainte-Maxime © Patricia.fidi

Sainte-Maxime © Patricia.fidi

Sainte-Maxime
Sainte-Maxime represents the authenticity of Provence with its 11 kilometres of Mediterranean shore, its houses covered with old tiles, its typical market and its local products, its shopping streets and its tree-shaded “Promenade”. You will venture in the “Massif des Maures” for nice hikes on top of the hills offering a wonderful view of the “golfe de Saint-Tropez”. Then, you and your children will enjoy many activities and leisure in this environment where spindrifts mingle with chlorophyll. Sainte-Maxime goes with the flow of traditionnal celebrations and major events all year round. Summer time is the peak of the year with no less than 40 shows and concerts. Wikivoyage Sainte-Maxime


Saint-Raphaël © Stefi123

Saint-Raphaël © Stefi123

Saint-Raphaël
Between the Mediterranean and calcareous Provence, the Esterel Mountains are 32,000 ha. of volcanic rack of which 13,000 ha. are classified and protected. This domain offers all kinds ot sports including hiking, horseback riding, climbing, and mountain biking. With 5 different harbors the sailing resort is the ideal place for boating enthusiasts. Along its 42km of coastline you can discover sandy beaches, creeks, and inlets, all carved out of the famous red rock ot the Esterel Mountains. There are seven reception areas and a municipal conference hall (Palais des Congres) which can be adapted to different types of functions such as seminars, conferences, gala evenings, etc. You will be able to discover traditional festivities in every season. There are joust tournaments, celebrations of St. Baume and St. Pierre, Mimosa Week, Jazz festivals, and other typical Saint-Raphaël entertainment. Wikivoyage Saint-Raphaël


Saint-Tropez © Ballista

Saint-Tropez © Ballista

Saint-Tropez
Saint-Tropez is a myth everyone dreams about. The village remains the unavoidable destination for famous people, lovers of the sea, history, art and heritage enthusiasts. A quality-filled calender with word famous events running all year round, contribute to building the town’s legend. However, besides these festive moments, Saint-Tropez remains a small fishing village, true to its image, with multiple facets and infinite charms. Many atributes which Saint-Tropez’s guides will help you to appreciate. Follow them along the colourful alleys, the Provençal market where you will find all the local products which have made the reputation of the village, the XVIth Century Citadel and the famous Annonciade Museum. The coastal path, visiting the wine domains of the penninsula and the hill-top villages of Ramatuelle and Gassin are also original ideas for trips. Wikivoyage Saint-Tropez


Théoule-sur-Mer © Gilbert Bochenek

Théoule-sur-Mer © Gilbert Bochenek

Théoule-sur-Mer
Nestling in the Esterel massif in an area of 1049 hectares Théoule offers you its red rock inlets and calanques from where you have captivating views of the sea, the coast and the mountains. Sheltered in a small cove on the Estérel coast, Théoule is a peaceful, even heavenly seaside resort, which has everything to delight holidaymakers: turquoise waters lapping its sandy beaches shaded by palm trees, numerous inlets and calanques in the red rock of the Estérel, a charming little marina with its mini-lighthouse built from red stone, a few very beautiful and luxurious residences surrounded with gardens, a superb crenellated castle built from red stone, called the Théoule sur – vue mer “château des Mineurs”. Wikivoyage Théoule-sur-Mer


Toulon © Pinpin

Toulon © Pinpin

Toulon
Toulon is a very interesting, international town. It has a pretty and active port area; the naval base; a fascinating “old town” with squares, terrace cafés, trompe l’oeil wall murals; excellent shopping, a modern main-line railway station, and lots of lovely old buildings with wrought-iron balconies. The veille ville (old town) is large and interesting. It has a combination of Provencal village feeling with some typical seaport-town areas (little “dive” bars and places named after far-away locales). A fair number of oriental fast-food places adds to the exotic touch. Wikivoyage Toulon


Ventimiglia © mike 23

Ventimiglia © mike 23

Ventimiglia
The Ventimiglia of today is composed of the upper town of medieval origin, built on the top of the “Cavo” hill, and of the new lower town in the alluvial plain between the river Roja and the torrent Nervia, where the ancient Ligurian people Intemelii and then the Romans once settled. The Ventimiglia region is very various from a geographical and a climatical point of view. The valley of the Roja, the only river of the Imperia region running nevertheless mostly in France, is characterized by steep and deep gorges rich in woods and small lakes, studded with few but picturesque mountain villages; the coast westwards between the mouth of the Roja and the French border near Mentone, on the contrary, has a typical mediterranean vegetation and offers such an exceptionally mild climate that it favoured in the last century the creation of the acclimatization park of Sights. Wikivoyage Ventimiglia


Villefranche-sur-Mer © Abujoy

Villefranche-sur-Mer © Abujoy

Villefranche-sur-Mer
This village knew to keep the charm of Provence and the prestige of the Riviera. Villefranche benefits from a mediteranean climate; mild in winter and hot in summer. Nestling in the heart of one of the most beautiful roadstead in the world, Villefranche sur-mer welcomes you in his haven of peace. Created in 1295 by Charles II d’Anjou, the village kept its picturesque charm with the passing centuries: the warm colors of the mediteranean façades, the small steeped streets of yesteryear appearance, its citadel, and the rare works of Cocteau, Volti or Goetz are some of the treasures you will discover in this village as foretaste of paradise! Wikivoyage Villefranche-sur-Mer

Rread more on Wikivoyage French Riviera and Wikivoyage Alpes-Maritimes. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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