Cote d’Azur, otherwise known as The French Riviera, is where the rich and famous go to see and be seen. This stunning Mediterranean coastline encompasses some of the most glamorous vacation spots known to man. Does Saint-Tropez or Monaco ring a bell? Since the 19th century, these cities have inspired artists likes Picasso, A-list film stars, socialites, and aristocrats from around the globe.
For travelers who enjoy the finer things in life, there is no better place in the world to visit than the Cote d’Azur. Most people are familiar with gorgeous coastal cities like Cannes and Nice, but let’s explore what else there is to see and do in this part of the world…
Wine tasting in Cassis
It is no secret that some of the best wine in the world comes from France. If you love white wine and rosé, then visiting Cassis in the Cote d’Azur should be on your list. Cassis is a charming fishing port offering pebbly beaches, limestone cliffs with stunning views, historic château’s and hillside vineyards. Their crisp white wines pair perfectly with the local seafood. I’d recommend spending a day visiting the various vineyards in town – there’s no better way to learn about Cassis! For wineries, I would suggest Domaine du Bagnol, Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Ferme Blanche and Domaine Paternel who specialize in organic wine.
Mucem in Marseille
Located only less than an hour’s drive from Cassis is the the largest city on the Mediterranean coast: Marseille. A fairly new addition to the city that is a must-visit is Mucem, also known as the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. This national museum opened in 2013, and won the Council of Europe Museum Prize just two years later. Mucem is a genuine jewel of the Old Port, and also the first museum solely dedicated to Mediterranean cultures. The design is very modern and the city and water views from the rooftop are picture perfect! Both history buffs and modern architecture lovers will absolutely fall in love with Mucem.
One of the most charming villages in all of France is Les Baux-de-Provence, located in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. It is wonderfully positioned in the Alpilles mountains with a ruined castle overlooking the gorgeous plains to the south. Strolling through Les Baux-de-Provence, you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. You can enjoy nature walks along the mountain range, explore medieval Château des Baux, or even visit a former quarry with multimedia art shows at Carrières de Lumières.
The Lérins Islands are comprised of four Mediterranean islands located off the French Riviera in Cannes. The two largest islands worth visiting are Île Sainte-Marguerite and the Île Saint-Honorat. There’s a historic monastery on Île Saint-Honorat which is still home to 30 Cistercian monks and is a popular attraction for tourists. Both islands also offer beautiful woodland surroundings for peaceful nature walks. There are ferry services offered year round from Cannes to access the Lérins Islands, which feel like such a hidden gem in the French Riviera – definitely worth the journey!
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
If you are curious to see the inside of a mega-mansion in the French Riviera, I highly recommend a visit to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. This seaside villa was built in the early 1900s and overlooks both the Bay of Villefranche and Beaulieucan in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This elegant home with over half a dozen gardens once belonged to the Rothschild banking family. However, it was generously donated in 1934 to the Académie des Beaux Arts and can now be toured by the public! Give yourself several hours to tour the grounds which boast ornate fountains, bridges, rose gardens and more. Inside the mansion, you can admire the state apartments, and an impressive collection of antique furniture, art, and rare porcelain.
Clearly, the Cote d’Azur has so much to offer for those who wanting to experience the history, culture, and gastronomy of the French Riviera. It is the perfect place to vacation in the warmer months, and I would especially recommend a trip to Cote d’Azur for a honeymoon or any sort of couple’s getaway. There is a romantic atmosphere here that can be enjoyed while strolling along the seaside, or tasting the best food and wine that money has to offer!