Explore French Riviera
The main aerial gateway into the French Riviera, and its busiest airport, is Nice. From there it’s just a short drive — or an even shorter and more scenic helicopter flight — to any spot in the Riviera. Nice is also the gateway if you arrive by TGV. How you get around depends on whether you want to stay in one place or would rather visit many. If the latter, rent a car. But traffic is busy and parking hard to find, so if you are staying at only one place renting a car makes no sense. You can get around by walking and occasionally taking a chauffeur transfer.
Climate & seasons
The French Riviera is a spring-to-fall destination. If you want to avoid the summer crowds, skip July and August and come in May, June or September. The weather is warm and the sea temperature pleasant for swimming, but places are less busy. In winter, many hotels close and temperatures are chilly, so we recommend you go north instead and enjoy the Alps. If you want to come for a big event, the Cannes Film Festival is usually held in May, as is the most famous Formula 1 race in the world — the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco Yacht Show on the other hand usually happens in September. Should you want to head inland and see the lavender fields of Provence, the perfect time to come is mid-June to mid-July, which is the peak of the flowering season.
Where to go
The world-famous towns of Cannes, Nice, Antibes and St. Tropez are worth visiting, and so is the town-principality of Monaco. (Some travellers find St. Tropez is not what it used to be, but you might think differently.) Though from a distance they may all sound similar, each place in the French Riviera is different from the others, so where you should go really depends on what you want to experience. In the hilltop village of Èze you will find medieval buildings and breathtaking views over the Mediterranean, whereas Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has elegant belle epoque villas and splendid gardens. The bay and old town of Villefranche-sur-Mer have been the location of over a dozen famous movies. Inland, Grasse is a lovely hillside town and the world’s perfume capital, and Provence stretches its purple lavender fields all the way to the horizon.
What to do
Wherever you go, revel in the glamour of the French Riviera and the stunning views of the Mediterranean. If you come for the beach, just keep in mind most are pebbly — but that doesn’t mean you can’t bask and swim. If you want to do so with more privacy, go for a yacht cruise. Besides solitude and clean turquoise water, you will also enjoy scenic coast views. Local restaurants are as worthwhile as the numerous fine-dining ones, which include some with three Michelin stars. If you are going to Monaco, why not try your luck in the casino, or time your trip to coincide with the thrill of the impressive F1 Grand Prix? Or drive inland, and create your very own perfume in Grasse, which has been for centuries a centre of perfumery. Then continue on, to discover Provence’s markets, chocolate, cheese producers, vineyards and wineries — and lavender fields.