Nice is one of the French Riviera's most beautiful gems, located along the picturesque pebbled shores of the Baie des Anges. The vibrant artistic city, which once attracted the likes of Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, is a great jumping-off point for exploring some of the most renowned locations along the Riviera, including world-class resort area Monaco, home to the famed Monte Carlo district and the annual Grand Prix race. Cannes hosts the internationally-acclaimed Cannes Film Festival each year, while Sanremo showcases an annual singing competition that is noted as the inspiration for the popular televised Eurovision contest. More low-key destinations include Èze, a favorite travel destination of American entrepreneur Walt Disney, and Grasse, known as the "World's Capital of Perfume" for its unique and varied parfumeries. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
Antibes is a gorgeous resort town located along the banks of the French Riviera, approximately halfway between the cities of Nice and Cannes. The historic city is known throughout Europe for its preserved old town district, which is enclosed with 16th-century fortifications as part of the uniquely star-shaped Fort Carré. More than four dozen beaches line the city's 16 miles of stunning coastline, which butts up against the chic resort town of Juan-les-Pins on the lushly forested Cap d'Antibes peninsula. Visitors can explore a plethora of cultural attractions in town, including the city's Archaeology Museum, the Naval Museum of Napoleon, and the Picasso Museum, which houses one of the world's greatest collections by the famed Cubist artist. Other unique attractions include the Absinthe Museum, dedicated to the history of the iconic liqueur, and the Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc, one of the world's most acclaimed luxury resorts.
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Biot is a charming community within southeastern France's Provence-Alpes-Côte region, located near the resort cities of Antibes and Juan-les-Pins on the stunning French Riviera. The town, which overlooks the Mediterranean via a hilltop near Monte Carlo, dates back at least 2,500 years old, known as an iconic center of art and pottery throughout the Renaissance and modern eras. Visitors can explore the city's unique glasswork and pottery studios and shops, which craft products like bubble glass, created from clear or colored transparent glass with bubble-like pockets. An ancient volcano sits just northwest of the village and can be accessed on foot or via car, showcasing unique rock formations. Attractions include the Fernand Léger Museum, honoring the seminal French Cubist artist.
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Cannes is a splendid town on the French Riviera that is best known for its annual international film festival of the same name, which was founded in 1946 and brings some of the world's top entertainment industry luminaries to the region each May. The city, which curves along the beautiful sandy coastline of the Riviera, hosts a plethora of international festivals each year, including the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the International Festival of Games, the Cannes Yachting Festival, and the International Actors' Performance Festival. Just before Shrove Tuesday, the Carnival on the Riviera brings an impressive parade and celebration to the city's streets. Each summer, the Le Festival d'Art Pyrotechnique showcases some of the world's best fireworks displays as part of an annual competition.
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Èze is a picturesque community in southeastern France's Alpes-Maritimes region, located just 15 minutes from the city of Nice along the stunning French Riviera. The city is famed for its unparalleled hilltop sea views and its iconic Jardin botanique d'Èze, known around the world for its acclaimed collection of cacti and succulents. It dates back to the Medieval era, showcasing historic 14th-century buildings like the stunning Chapelle de la Sainte Croix, which features a uniquely-shaped bell turret. Shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes line its delightful city center, which was once frequented by American entrepreneur Walt Disney. It is located along the Route des Villages Perchés, a group of 16 waterfront villages that can easily be explored together as part of longer trips.
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Grasse is a delightful French Riviera town located within the hillside landscape just north of Cannes, known throughout the world as an epicenter for perfume production. The town, which is commonly referred to as the "World's Capital of Perfume," has produced fragrances since the end of the 18th century, creating more than 2,000 unique scents that account for more than two-thirds of the country's perfume production. Parfumeries such as Molinard, Fragonard, and Galimard offer museums detailing their history of perfume making and tours and demonstrations showcasing factory operations. The picturesque Grasse Cathedral, constructed in the 11th century, is dedicated to Notre Dame du Puy and showcases world-renowned paintings by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens. Each year, the city hosts the annual Fête du Jasmin, which showcases a parade, fireworks, and folk and street music performances.
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6.The Lerins Islands
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The Lérins Islands are a cluster of four lovely Mediterranean islands off the coast of the French Riviera, located near the city of Cannes. The islands, which are believed to have been inhabited since at least Roman times, are incorporated as part of the commune of Cannes and include two larger inhabited communities today. Charming Île de Saint-Honorat, originally settled in the fifth century, is named in honor of the founder of the monastery of Lérins and was once the place of study of Ireland's patron Saint Patrick. Île St. Marguerite, accessible via a 15-minute boat ride from Cannes' harbor, is home to the cell of the famed "Man with the Iron Mask," located at the Fort of St. Marguerite and preserved as part of the Musée de la Mer, which also houses significant shipwreck artifacts.
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Marseille is a delightful port city in southern France, known as a major economic and immigration center since the sixth century B.C. The city, which was known as Massalia in ancient Greek and Roman times, is the largest city on France's Mediterranean coastline today, named as the European Capital of Culture in 2013. It is home to a plethora of museums and cultural attractions, including Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, dedicated to the history of Mediterranean civilization, and the Musée des Docks Romains, which preserves in situ Roman archaeological remains. Modern art is on display at the Musée Cantini, including works by internationally renowned artist Picasso. Stunning architectural landmarks range from the Romanesque-Byzantine Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde to the Cité Radius complex, designed by Le Corbusier.
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Menton is a lovely French Riviera town famed around the world for its gorgeous botanical gardens, including the acclaimed Jardin Serre de la Madone, which showcases a collection of rare and exotic plants. The Jardin botanique exotique de Menton, commonly referred to as "Le Val Rahmeh," was created in 1905 by Englishman Sir Percy Radcliffe, while the Villa Fontana Rosa was constructed in 1922 by Spanish novelist Blasco Ibáñez. Lovely public beaches dot the town's shoreline, flanked by historic attractions such as an 1898 covered market designed by architect Adrien Rey. Cultural attractions include the Musée Jean Cocteau, honoring the works of the famed French poet, and the Bastion Museum, preserving the city's historic 17th-century fortress. Each year, the city hosts special events such as the Lemon Festival, bringing themed music performances to its streets each February.
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Monaco is one of the world's most acclaimed resort areas, located along France's Mediterranean coastline but operated as an independent city-state. The region is best known as the home of famed resort district Monte Carlo, which showcases an iconic Belle-époque-style casino complex and the famed Salle Garnier opera house, constructed by world-renowned architect Charles Garnier. In old Monaco-Ville, the Palais Princier preserves the city-state's royal residence, offering guided tours throughout the week. World-class museums and garden facilities include the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, showcasing more than 4,000 species of fish and 200 invertebrate species, and the Jardin Exotique, which presents rare plants from around the world, including rare cacti and subtropical species. Luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants, and vibrant nightlife destinations abound, particularly near its yacht-lined harbor. Each year, the city hosts its famed Grand Prix motor race, which travels directly through its urban streets.
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Sanremo is a charming coastal city in northwestern Italy, located just an hour outside of the city of Nice. The city is best known as the home of the annual Sanremo Music Festival, which has been hosted each year since 1951 and served as the inspiration for the popular Eurovision Song Contest. Its popularity is so widespread throughout Europe that many area residents simply refer to its as "Il Festival," or "the festival." Community events abound throughout the year, ranging from the autumn Tenco Prize songwriting competition to the Mardi Gras-style Flowers Parade each winter. Visitors can peruse the lush grounds of the Villa Ormond, which are home to a Japanese garden and ancient olive groves. Landmarks include the 12th-century San Siro Cathedral, the Art Nouveau-style Casinò di Sanremo, and the five-domed Russian Church.
Saint-Tropez is a vibrant French Riviera town located within southeastern France's Provence-Alpes-Côte region, long known as a popular artist colony on the Mediterranean. The former military stronghold town, which was the first Mediterranean coastline town to be liberated during World War II, became an international resort town during the 1960s for its luxurious resorts and gorgeous beachfront stretches. Many beachfront areas are clothing options, including the region's famed Tahiti Beach, immortalized in the Brigitte Bardot film And God Created Woman. Windsurfing, sailing, and water sports opportunities abound at areas like Bagatelle. The quaint cobblestone-lined La Ponche quarter retains its historic vibe as a fishing village, even though it attracts more yachts than fishing boats today.
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Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the French Riviera's oldest Medieval-era towns, located within southeastern France's Alpes-Maritimes district. The town is known throughout Europe for its lovely modern and contemporary art galleries and museums, including the Fondation Maeght, which showcases a stunning collection of paintings and sculptures from the modern era. It is considered to be one of the Provence region's most beautiful villages, constructed atop a rocky outcropping and surrounded by ramparts fortifications. Magnificent architectural lines the village's picturesque streets, dating back as far as the 16th century and making the city a prime destination for architectural photography.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has been nicknamed as one of the "pearls" of the French Riviera for its lush natural landscapes, rocky beaches, and charming fishing village atmosphere. The commune, which is located within southeastern France's Alpes-Maritimes district, is located on a beautiful peninsula adjacent to the towns of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer. It enjoys a tranquil, warm climate throughout the year, making it a top destination for European elites and international jet-setters due to its close proximity to nearby resort areas like Monaco and Cannes. Lovely beaches such as Paloma Beach and Cro de Peï Pin offer waterfront access and opportunities for recreation throughout the year. Delicious restaurants serve up gourmet seafood-focused fare, including traditional regional dishes like escalope de mérou au citron. Each year, the city hosts the annual Les Azuriales Opera Festival in August at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
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Verdon Gorge is a massive river canyon that surrounds the majestic Verdon River, offering some of France's best outdoor recreational experiences throughout the year. The gorge, which is frequently considered to be the second-largest gorge on earth after the United States' Grand Canyon, is renowned as one of Europe's most beautiful natural landmarks, attracting many tourists throughout the summer season. Visitors can view the river's stunning turquoise waters and enjoy opportunities for world-class white water rafting experiences, led by experienced tour guides. More than 1,500 rock climbing routes line the limestone rock cliffs of the gorge, which are also home to scenic hiking trails like Le sentier de Martel and Le belvédère de Rancoumas par le pont de Tusset. Fly fishing is also popular, along with paragliding, canoeing, and canyoning.
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Villefranche-sur-Mer is a delightful tourist town within France's Alpes-Maritimes region, located along the French-Italian border adjacent to the Principality of Monaco. The lovely district is one of the Riviera's most authentic French-Niçoise fishing villages, retaining its historic character despite its reputation as an internationally-renowned tourist destination. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound, including chances to embark on guided sailing and deep-sea diving experiences as part of guided tours. Lovely architectural landmarks include the 16th-century Chapelle Saint-Pierre, the Baroque Italian-style Église Saint-Michel, and the Old Harbour of la Darse, operated today as a dockyard yacht marina. The city's 1557 Citadel has been converted into a major civic center, home to a town hall building, a convention center, an open-air theatre, and three public museums.
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15 Best Weekend Getaways and Day Trips from Nice, France
- Antibes, Photo: sphraner/stock.adobe.com
- Biot, Photo: Bernard GIRARDIN/stock.adobe.com
- Cannes, Photo: anilah/stock.adobe.com
- Eze, Photo: ivanfirst/stock.adobe.com
- Grasse, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- The Lerins Islands, Photo: Arthur R./stock.adobe.com
- Marseille, Photo: robertdering/stock.adobe.com
- Menton, Photo: pushkin/stock.adobe.com
- Monaco, Photo: George Green/stock.adobe.com
- Sanremo, Photo: audrey/stock.adobe.com
- Saint-Tropez, Photo: PackShot/stock.adobe.com
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Photo: eqroy/stock.adobe.com
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Photo: Vasil/stock.adobe.com
- Verdon Gorge, Photo: Samuel B./stock.adobe.com
- Villefranche-sur-Mer, Photo: Enrico De Vita/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: lamax/stock.adobe.com
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