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The French Riviera teems with destinations dripping with glamor and natural beauty, with Nice the logical spot for a base to see them all. Whether you want history, fashion, fun, beaches, day trips or culture, Nice is a bustling city with the heart of a Provençal village. Most of the Riviera's jewels are beaded along the coastal road known as the Corniche, where there's a jaw-dropping vista around every perilous corner.
Heading west from Nice, the first of the Côte d'Azur's gems is the quiet fishing village and market town of Antibes, one of the most unspoiled of the Riviera's destinations. Next is Cannes, a glamorous place even when it isn't teeming with movie stars. A candlelit seafood dinner overlooking the Mediterranean is the perfect setting to pitch your script. Perhaps the Riviera's most dazzling diamond is St. Tropez. This is the place to watch the rich young things of European royalty hop on and off their multi-million dollar yachts.
Thanks to its picturesque setting on the Mediterranean coast, Provence, in Southern France, is blessed with a warm climate, idyllic landscape and highly fertile soils that yield a range of fresh produce to fuel the region’s famous cuisine. Far from the hearty breads and cheeses typical of French food, Provencal cuisine is characterized by its light Mediterranean flavors - sun-ripened vegetables, fresh Provencal herbs (native thyme, rosemary, basil, savory and marjoram, all sold around the world as ‘herbs de provence’), lashings of homegrown extra-virgin olive oil and a vast variety of fresh seafood.
Perhaps the most famous regional dishes are the bouillabaisse and ratatouille, which appear on most menus around the region. The former employs a choice selection of fish and shellfish, soaked in a tomato and saffron infused soup and served smeared in aioli, the region’s trademark creamy garlic sauce.
With the Mediterranean coastline as a guide, it seems easy to get to Monaco from Nice, a short trip that doesn’t require any border-crossing formalities. But with the vertiginous roads, paltry parking and the horrible risk of denting one of Monaco’s many million-dollar cars, driving can be daunting. The country’s location is another factor—built onto the side of a mountain, the terrain isn't the smoothest.
But Monaco is only 12 miles away, and being in that proximity to the land of luxury can be incredibly tempting. Your best bet may be to book a group or private half-day tour around Monaco from Nice via minivan, which makes for a great overview experience that can be taken during the day or after dark with no need to worry about navigating the streets of Monaco. You’ll take a lap around the Formula One Grand Prix circuit before stopping at Casino Square where you’ll have free time to dine and try your luck at the Grand Casino.
Nice has an azure sea, a kind climate, unbeatable wine and food, exciting nightlife, art, views and ice cream the flavour of flowers. Whether you want history, fashion, fun, beaches, day trips or culture, Nice is more than nice.
Nice bursts at the seams with cultural riches. Begin at the striking Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, home to Warhol, Christo and many French artists. The Musée des Beaux-Arts boasts names like Rodin, Dufy and Sisley. Other must-sees include Marc Chagall Museum and the Musée Matisse in the Cimiez district. Nearby lie ancient Roman ruins at the Musée et Site Archéologigues. Matisse's magnificent Rosaire Chapel is located near Nice in Vence, and the Musée Picasso, in Antibes, is in a wonderful small castle overlooking the sea.
Take in the French Riviera by driving the stunning coastal road known as the Corniche. Visit the tiny principality of Monaco and the casinos and yachts of Monte Carlo.
Long the summer retreat of choice for A-list celebrities and multi-millionaires, St Tropez’s mix of white-sand beaches, gourmet dining and chic shopping boulevards is a seductive proposition. But despite the private beach clubs, exclusive nightclubs and mega-yachts that line its harbor, St Tropez is more than just a hangout for the European jet-setter, and its historic Old Town, lively markets and endless coastline make it a popular choice for day trippers and cruise visitors holidaying along France’s fabled Côte d’Azur coast. As the capital of the French Riviera, Nice makes a strategic starting point for a day tour, from where the legendary resort town is reachable by both land and sea. You might not be able to afford a private luxury yacht, but the next best thing is a day trip to St Tropez from Nice by ferry, offering magnificent views of the St Tropez peninsula, the Maures mountains and the Côte d’Azur. Alternatively, take a small group or private day trip by minivan from Nice