Côte d'Azur

November 2022

The French Riviera

The French Riviera (known in French as the Côte d'Azur) is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from Saint-Tropez in the west to Menton at the France–Italy border in the east.

The coast is entirely within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. The Principality of Monaco is a semi-enclave within the region, surrounded on three sides by France and fronting the Mediterranean.

The French Riviera contains the seaside resorts of Cap-d'Ail, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Cannes, Saint-Raphaël, Fréjus, Sainte-Maxime, and Saint-Tropez, as well the cities of Nice and Menton.

Nice is the biggest and most important city in the area and hosts the international "Nice Côte d'Azur Airport", the third busiest airport in France.

The Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is connected to the Nice city center with tram line T2.

Transportation in the area is excellent and includes fast and cheap trains, buses, and trams.

Nice seafront, Promenade des Anglais

Nice ville-vieux

Riviera is an Italian word that originates from the ancient Ligurian territory of Italy, wedged between the Var and Magra rivers. The Côte d'Azur (blue coast) is a nickname given by France to the County of Nice after its annexation in 1860 because the climate was similar to that of the north of Italy, even in winter, with a sky as blue as its sea. In addition, the summer temperature in the area can be very cool because of the Mistral (northwest) and the Tramontane (north) winds.

Cannes, the beach, and the famous azure-colored beach chairs.

This coastline was one of the first modern resort areas. It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II, and King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales. In the summer, it also played home to many members of the Rothschild family.

In the first half of the 20th century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans.

After World War II, it became a popular tourist destination and convention site.

Many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region.


Nice sits on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges. Founded by the Greeks and later a retreat for the 19th-century European elite, the city has also long attracted artists. Former resident Henri Matisse is honored with a career-spanning collection of paintings at Musée Matisse. Musée Marc Chagall features some of its namesake's major religious works.

With its mix of real-city grit, old-world opulence, year-round sunshine, vibrant street life, and stunning seaside location, no place in France compares with Nice. You can do so many things in this fascinating city, whether you plan to spend a long weekend, a week, or even more here.

Nice seen from Castle Hill

(Colline du Château)

Quai des Etates-Unis

#I LOVE NICE, located between Quai des Etates-Unis and Port Lympia, just under the Castle Hill.

Place Masséna

Galeries Lafayette Nice Masséna


Quai des Etates-Unis


Place Giuseppe Garibaldi

Place Masséna

Quai des Etates-Unis

Line T2 tram station

Promenade des Anglais

Cours Saleya

Deli Bo pastry

Opéra de Nice

Place du Palais de Justice

Promenade des Anglais

Vieux Nice (Old Town) is the city’s vibrant old town, with narrow cobblestone streets and pastel-hued buildings where shops sell Niçoise soaps and Provençal textiles, plus meats and cheeses. A daily market on pedestrian street Cours Saleya offers produce and flowers, and busy pubs and outdoor eateries serving specialties like socca crepes dot the area. Leafy, hilltop Parc de la Colline du Château has grand city and sea views.

There is so much color in Vieux Nice!

Marché Aux Fleurs Cours Saleya

Rue de la Préfecture

Place Rossetti

Rue Sainte-Reparate

Rue Benoît Bunico /

Rue du Colett

Place Giuseppe Garibaldi

Marché Aux Fleurs Cours Saleya

Port Lympia is the old port of Nice, located at the city's east end.

Surrounded by Venetian-colored buildings, this scenic harbor docks boats & a lighthouse.

4, Quai Papacino

24 Quai Papacino


Villefranche-sur-Mer is situated on the wooded slopes surrounding the magnificent roadsteads immediately east of Nice; Mount Boron dominates the town. It is connected by a corniche (cliffside) road with Beaulieu to the east and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to the southeast on the scenic Cap Ferrat peninsula, where notable properties include the former Riviera residence of Leopold II, king of the Belgians.

The picturesque old town was founded early in the 14th century. The French 20th-century writer and artist Jean Cocteau entirely decorated its ancient Saint-Pierre chapel. The citadel was built in 1560 under the rule of the duke of Savoy. The town overlooks a beautiful well-sheltered roadstead and is often used by naval and cruise vessels. Tourism dominates the local economy, and there is a yachting harbor and a small fishing port.


Monaco is a sovereign principality (reigned by the Grimaldi family since 1297) located amid the Côte d’Azur. Monaco’s tiny territory occupies densely clustered hills and a headland that looks southward over the Mediterranean. The city of Nice lies 15 km to the west, and the Italian border is 8 km to the east. Many unusual features, however, have made Monaco among the most luxurious tourist resorts in the world and have given it fame far exceeding its size.

Many visitors to Monaco alternate their hours between its beaches and boating facilities, its international sports-car races, and its world-famous Place du Casino (built-in 1861), the gambling center in the Monte-Carlo section that made Monte-Carlo an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth.

In Monaco are the Roman Catholic cathedral, the prince’s Genoese and Renaissance palace, and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, built in 1910. The casino contains a theatre designed by the 19th-century French architect Charles Garnier, the home of the Opéra de Monte Carlo. During the 1920s, many of the works of the famous Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev were given their premieres there. There is also a Monte-Carlo national orchestra. The best-known automobile events in the principality are the Monte-Carlo Rally and the Grand Prix de Monaco.


Cannes is a resort town famed for its international film festival. Its Boulevard de la Croisette, curving along the coast, is lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques, and palatial hotels. It’s also home to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, a modern building complete with red carpet and Allée des Étoiles – Cannes’ walk of fame.

The view from the castle is gorgeous. 


Menton is known for its sandy beaches and gardens, such as the Serre de la Madone garden, showcasing rare plants. It is located just a couple of kilometers from the Italian border.

The hilly, medieval old town is home to Basilique Saint-Michel, with its 18th-century bell tower and the ornate facade of La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs. The views from the hilltop are stunning.

The Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman displays works by poet Jean Cocteau.