The French Riviera: Places to Explore


  • Antibes

    No wonder Picasso once called this home—Antibes (pronounced Awn-teeb) is a stunner. With broad stone ramparts scalloping in and out over the waves and backed by blunt medieval towers and a skew of tile... Read more

  • Beaulieu

    With its back pressed hard against the cliffs of the corniche and sheltered between the peninsulas of Cap Ferrat and Cap Roux, this once-grand resort basks in a tropical microclimate that earned its central... Read more

  • Cannes

    A tasteful and expensive breeding ground for the upscale, Cannes is a sybaritic heaven for those who believe that life is short and sin has something to do with the absence of a tan. Backed by gentle hills... Read more

  • Cap d'Antibes

    This extravagantly beautiful peninsula, protected from the concrete plague infecting the mainland coast, has been carved up into luxurious estates shaded by thick, tall pines. Since the 19th century the... Read more

  • Èze

    Towering like an eagle's nest above the coast and crowned with ramparts and the ruins of a medieval château, preposterously beautiful Èze (pronounced ehz) is unfortunately the most accessible of all the... Read more

  • Fréjus

    Don't be turned off if you begin with a stroll on the sandy curve along the tacky, overcommercialized Fréjus-Plage (Fréjus Beach). Just turn your back on modern times and head uphill to Fréjus-Centre... Read more

  • Grasse

    High on a plateau over the coast, this busy, modern town is usually given a wide berth by anyone who isn't interested in its prime tourist industry, the making of perfume. But its unusual art museum features... Read more

  • Haut-de-Cagnes

    Although from N7 you may be tempted to give wide berth to Cagnes-sur-Mer —with its congested sprawl of freeway overpasses, beachfront pizzerias, and train station—don't. Just follow the brown signs inland... Read more

  • Iles de Lérins

    When you're glutted on glamour, you may want to make a day trip to the peaceful Iles de Lérins (Lérins Islands); boats depart from Cannes's Vieux Port. Allow at least a half day to enjoy either of the... Read more

  • Juan-les-Pins

    If Antibes is the elderly, historic parent, then Juan-les-Pins is the jazzy younger-sister resort town that, with Antibes, bracelets the wrist of the Cap d'Antibes. The scene along Juan's waterfront is... Read more

  • Mandelieu-La Napoule

    La Napoule is the small, old-fashioned port village, Mandelieu the big-fish resort town that devoured it. You can visit Mandelieu for a golf-and-sailing retreat—the town is replete with many sporting facilities... Read more

  • Menton

    Menton, the most Mediterranean of the French resort towns, rubs shoulders with the Italian border and owes its balmy climate to the protective curve of the Ligurian shore. Its picturesque harbor skyline... Read more

  • Mougins

    Passing through Mougins, a popular summerhouse community convenient to Cannes and Nice and famously home to a group of excellent restaurants, you may perceive little more than suburban sprawl. But in 1961... Read more

  • Nice

    Nowadays Nice strikes an engaging balance between historic Provençal grace, port-town exotica, urban energy, whimsy, and high culture. You could easily spend your entire vacation here, attuned to Nice's... Read more

  • Port-Grimaud

    Although much of the coast has been targeted with new construction of extraordinary ugliness, this modern architect's version of a Provençal fishing village works. A true operetta set begun in 1966, the... Read more

  • St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

    This luxuriously sited pleasure port moors the peninsula of Cap Ferrat; from the port-side walkways and crescent of beach you can look over the sparkling blue harbor to the graceful green bulk of the corniches... Read more

  • St-Paul-de-Vence

    The famous medieval village of St-Paul-de-Vence can be seen from the coast, standing out like its companion, Vence, against the skyline. In the Middle Ages St-Paul was basically a city-state, and it controlled... Read more

  • St-Raphael

    Right next door to Fréjus, with almost no division between, St-Raphaël is a sprawling resort town with a busy downtown anchored by a casino. It's also a major sailing center, has five golf courses nearby... Read more

  • St-Tropez

    At first glance, St-Tropez really doesn't look all that lovely: there's a moderately pretty port full of bobbing boats, a picturesque Vieille Ville (Old Town) in candied-almond hues, sandy beaches, and... Read more

  • Vallauris

    In the low hills over the coast, dominated by a blocky Renaissance château, this ancient village was ravaged by waves of the plague in the 14th century, then rebuilt in the 16th century by 70 Genoese families... Read more

  • Vence

    La Vieille Ville, the historic part of Vence, is encased behind stone walls inside a thriving modern market town and dates from the 15th century. Though crowded with boutiques and souvenir shops, the Old... Read more

  • Villefranche-sur-Mer

    Nestled discreetly along the deep scoop of harbor between Nice and Cap Ferrat, this pretty watercolor of a fishing port seems surreal, flanked as it is by the big city of Nice and the assertive wealth... Read more