The Best Things to Do on the French Riviera
Collected by Sylvia Sabes , AFAR Local Expert
With museums, beaches, mountains, and more, the French Riviera has something to offer every type of traveler. Visit the picturesque Côte d'Azur for attractions ranging from palaces and perfumeries to cycling, horseback riding, and world-renowned art museums.
9 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France
Today luxury hotels, high-end boutiques, and a fine-sand beach compete for visitors’ attention as they stroll the famous coastal walk in Cannes that follows the crescent-shaped border between water and town. Once this glamorous...
Chalet d'accueil du Boréon, Route Départementale 89, 06450 Saint-Martin-Vésubie, France
Named for the alpha males that are its very raison d’être, the conservation center in the southern Alps' Mercantour National Park ensures the well-being of three separate wolf packs. Each pack is allotted 7.5 acres of the park. Wolf...
96 Boulevard de l'Observatoire, 06300 Nice, France
On a pine-covered summit overlooking the sprawling city of Nice, Mont Gros, a 19th-century observatory, is a local icon. Built by Charles Garnier (famous for his Paris Opéra design) in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel),...
chemin des sangliers prolongé, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
If the horse races at Cagnes sur Mer aren’t hands-on enough for you, get up on that horse yourself. Les 3 Fers, an equestrian club in St. Raphaël, offers a trip that takes riders of all levels along the sea cliffs, as well as one on the...
164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez, 06000 Nice, France
Henri Matisse was already a successful artist in 1917 when he left Paris behind to settle in the suburbs of Nice. It was here that in 1941—too infirm to hold a brush steady—Matisse developed his cut-paper artworks. The...
Siège, 16 Boulevard du Val Claret, 06600 Antibes, France
In Antibes, much of the local economy depends on flowers. From the pervasive mimosas that perfume the air every January to the delicate violets growing wild on the forest floor, a variety of blooms are harvested throughout the year for both their...
Office de Tourisme d'Isola 2000, 06420 Isola, France
Within 90 minutes of Nice’s Promenade des Anglais are 15 ski resorts, making it easy to start the day at the beach then head to the hills for an afternoon in the snow. Isola 2000 and Valberg offer miles of slopes for fans of downhill...
Lérins Islands, Cannes, France
Just a 15-minute ferry ride from the glitz and glamour of Cannes, the Lérins Islands look like lipstick marks left by a star’s kiss. Ste-Marguerite is home to just 20 residents, who share their 15 beaches with day-trippers looking for...
36 Avenue Dr Ménard, 06000 Nice, France
Born in Russia, Marc Chagall lived in Paris and the U.S. before moving to Vence in 1950, where he remained until his death in 1985. Today, his namesake museum in Nice, built to display the biblical series he donated to France in 1977, stands as an...
Port-Cros, Hyères, France
Located where the mountains meet the sea, Port-Cros National Park is only partially visible from the shore, as nearly half of its land is underwater. While this island park offers plenty of hiking, cycling, and beach activities for landlubbers,...
Avenue Saint-Martin, 98000 Monaco
1 Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
The exclusive town of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is home to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a Renaissance-style palace with sumptuous furnishings and one of the most famous gardens in France. Beginning with a traditional French garden, the land is by...
Quai du vieux port, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
Dedicated to saving threatened marine wildlife, particularly the marine mammals of the Mediterranean, SOS Grand Bleu invites visitors to St. Jean Cap Ferrat to set sail for an afternoon on the historic Santo Sospir sailboat. Catch up with...
113 Boulevard Général Leclerc, 83000 Toulon, France
Completed in 1888 and restored in 2009, the Musée d’Art is housed in an Italian Renaissance-style building that provides a grand setting for a diverse collection that includes Rococo paintings, Baroque sculpture, contemporary art, modern...
10 Rue de la Paix, 06360 Èze, France
A maze of narrow medieval streets wind up and down this village perched along the Grande Corniche. The ruins of a château are now an exotic garden, and the 18th-century neoclassical Notre Dame of the Assumption church is a national monument....
Place Mariejol, 06600 Antibes, France
In 1946, Picasso worked from a studio in the Château Grimaldi of Antibes, creating 23 paintings and 44 illustrations that he gifted to the town. Later, 78 pieces that he designed for the Madoura pottery studios in Vallauris were added to the...
2 Quai de Monleon, 06500 Menton, France
In the 1950s, the town of Menton invited prodigious artist, poet, author, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau to design a museum for his work. In a town known for its extraordinary gardens, the museum is an ode to the creative genius, beginning with the...
248 de, Route Capon, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
Even with the summer crush on the French Riviera in full swing, there are quiet escapes to be found. In particular, I like to take walks along the Sentier du Littoral, the coastal footpath that stretches the length of the French Mediterranean...
Plage de Pampelonne, 83350, France
While filming And God Created Woman here in 1956, French superstar Brigitte Bardot made Ramatuelle’s Pampelonne Beach a summer icon. Today, the beach and neighboring St. Tropez continue to draw celebrity jet-setters like Elton John...
158 Avenue de Verdun, 06360 Èze, France
Regular tours of the Fragonard distillery explain the 400-year history of the French perfume industry and give a unique peek into how luxury fragrances are created today. A small museum also details the longer history of perfume in the world and...
Boulevard de Strasbourg, 83000 Toulon, France
Completed in October 1862, the Opéra de Toulon is the second-largest opera house in France—one of many constructed in the middle of the 19th century, like the Palais Garnier in Paris. Designed by Léon Feuchère, it is an early Beaux-Arts building...
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