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Tourist information for the Cote d'Azur

The French Riviera boasts a combination of fine weather and sparkling blue seas, making this area one of the most magnetic in the world. Its mountain backdrop, exquisite light and sheer chic have drawn a diversity of adherents, not least some of the twentieth century's most famous artists. Travel here for smart resorts, wonderful beaches and warm seas or escape to the quieter hinterlands and the excellent art museums. This area is usually associated with sun, sea and sand and there's plenty of that. But the Cote d'Azur also has gorgeous mountain scenery only a short drive from the bustling resorts. Medieval hilltop villages host art and craft festivals and beautiful walks abound in the scented countryside.

Map of the Cote d'Azur
A useful website about the Alpes Maritimes.

Activities on the Cote d'Azur:
Anything to do with the sea and water sports, shopping, promenade strolling.

Special Attractions on the Cote d'Azur:
Cannes film festival, Picasso museum at Antibes, Fondation Maeght (outstanding collection of twentieth century art), Matisse and Chagall museums at Nice.

Towns and places of interest on the Cote d'Azur:

Antibes
Antibes. Wealthy old town with Chateau Grimaldi and the Picasso museum. Has a popular market, private and public beaches and a wealth of restaurants. Less showy than Cannes and less busy than Nice it is a good centre for visiting some of the best art museums.

Biot
Biot. Pretty village and home to the excellent Fernand Leger museum. Fernand Leger was a colleague of Picasso with a strong commitment to art celebrating the working man and the skill of turning huge art pieces into ceramic mosaics.

Cannes
Cannes. Busy, flashy harbour and marina. Famous for its film festival and smart beaches. Boat trips can be taken to the nearby Iles de Lerin, which are small, quiet havens of pine-scented woods and shores.

Cassis
Cassis. Surrounded by spectacular cliffs.

Frejus. Roman remains, medieval centre and Aquatica aquapark.

Grasse
Grasse. Centre of the world famous perfume industry.

Hyere. Quieter old summer resort

Juan-les-Pins. Antibes' neighbour is known for its jazz festival at the end of July and its tiny remnant of the ancient pine forests that once covered this area.

La Ciotat. Surrounded by excellent beaches.

Marseilles. This is still a thriving port and cosmopolitan city with a thriving nightlife and a reputation for hot tempers. In town are several interesting museums, ceramics, contemporary and twentieth century art and around are several beaches and smaller coves to explore.

Menton
Menton. Last stop before the Italian Riviera, this town has a strong Italian influence and has probably the best climate on the coast being sheltered by the surrounding hills. It has a pebble beach and many public gardens and is a somewhat calmer place to stay especially out of season when its weather is often warmer than the other towns of the area.

Monte Carlo
Monaco/Monte Carlo. The fairy-tale Principality whose Prince captivated the heart of Grace Kelly. The castle and surrounding gardens are spectacularly situated on a promontory with breathtaking views over the harbour of Monte Carlo with yachts the size of tennis courts. Perhaps the most famous, and certainly the most picturesque, Formula One motor race takes place through the streets of Monte Carlo.

Nice
Nice. This is a busy, crowded, Italianate city. Old Nice, filled with the perfume of the flower market, has tiny streets and numerous chapels whilst the new town has good shopping and art museums (modern and contemporary art, Matisse and Chagall). The famous Promenade des Anglais with its elegant hotels and casino runs alongside the pebble beach and the Phoenix Floral Park with theme rides and animals.

St. Paul de Vence
St. Paul de Vence. Very pretty fortified village full of art galleries and near the Fondation Maeght which houses the most extraordinary collection of art works collected by the Maeghts. They were art dealers and friends with artists such as Giocometti, Miro, Chagall, Picasso, Braque and many others.

St. Raphael. This is an expensive resort with good beaches, watersports and a casino.

St. Tropez
St. Tropez. Not to be missed for the sheer extravagant show of wealth but probably best visited in spring and autumn to avoid the crowds and the most excessive prices.

Vence. Ancient city with good exhibition of twentieth century French art and a chapel decorated by Matisse who lived here. Smart shops and restaurants.


Map of the Cote d'Azur