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Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Cote d’Azur

Apr 22, 2014

We specialise in offering exceptional villas, country houses and chateaux exclusively in South West France, Provence and the Côte d’Azur because these regions offer the most reliably warm, sunny weather and a fantastic variety of things to see and do – besides simply relaxing by the pool! The world famous playground of the rich and famous, here are our top 10 highlights of the Côte d’Azur:

  1. The sunshine! Averaging 300 days sunshine per year, the Côte d’Azur has always been a year round destination and the Victorians flocked here in winter rather than in the height of the soaring summer temperatures. May, June and September are beautiful times to visit, when the weather is reliably warm and summery but without the peak holiday crowds of July and August.
  2. St Tropez. A humble fishing village until the 1950’s, St Tropez has become synonymous with film star glitz and glamour since Brigitte Bardot and her celebrity set made this the place to be and be seen. Today, millionaires’ yachts glint in the sunshine whilst their owners browse the designer boutiques and people-watchers sip cocktails in the quayside restaurants. Le Mas de Ravanassier is set in 10 acres of beautiful gardens overlooking the Bay of St Tropez, 14 kms away.
  3. Corniche de l'Esterel. Take the spectacular drive from St. Raphael to La Napoule, with the towering hills of the Esterel range on one side and the glittering Mediterranean peeking through the pines on the other, interrupted by tiny rocky inlets and sandy coves.
  4. Nice. Referred to locally as ‘Nice La Belle’, the Victorian and Edwardian upper classes put the city on the map as a sophisticated winter resort and the grand, pastel painted facades of the Promenade des Anglais are a lasting legacy of La Belle Époque.  In comparison, the narrow streets of Vieux Nice provide a wonderful glimpse into the authentic French life of the city and especially the bustling flower and fruit market of Cours Saleya. La Marmotte enjoys a prime location just 8kms from Nice, just below the hilltop village of St Paul de Vence.
  5. ‘Villages perchés’. Throughout the Côte d’Azur, villages were traditionally perched on the hilltops as a defence against marauding pirates and invaders but today they are delightful for whiling away a few hours, exploring narrow cobbled streets and finding pavement cafes in sun-dappled squares. St Paul de Vence, Grimaud, Mougins and Tourettes are some of our favourites and Èze is widely renowned for its breathtaking views. Villa des Cypres is just a few kilometres from the charming medieval village of Grimaud.
  6. Monaco. Although it is a Sovereign state, ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century,  Monaco is the epitome of Côte d’Azur  glamour and there is nowhere more iconic than the world’s most famous casino in Monte Carlo.  
  7. Modern Art. The South of France has long attracted and inspired some of the most famous artists and their work can be seen at excellent galleries including the Musée Picasso in Antibes, Musée Matisse in Nice and The Fondation Maeght near St Paul de Vence, with works by Chagall, Braque and Miro, Matisse and other 20th century masters.
  8. Cannes. Known as ‘The Queen of the Coast’ and ‘Pearl of the Riviera’ Cannes is renowned as the playground of the rich and famous with its designer boutiques, fine restaurants, palatial hotels and, of course, the International Film Festival. Cannes may be best known for the elegant palm-lined promenade of La Croisette, overlooking hotel loungers and parasols neatly lining the beach but there are still glimpses if its origins as a fishing village in the Vieux Port and Le Suquet. 
  9. Port Grimaud, the Venice of the Côte d’Azur. In the late 1960’s, architect Francois Spoerry created this picture-perfect village on four little islets just west of St Tropez. Pastel painted architecture lines a network of narrow canals which can be enjoyed by boat and pretty little bridges link squares brimming with restaurants and designer boutiques. The stunning contemporary villa of Le Petit Faucon is within half an hour’s drive of Port Grimaud and St Tropez.
  10. Island hopping. Lying just off the Côte d’Azur, the Iles d’Hyères and Iles des Lérins make an idyllic escape by boat to explore unspoilt, traffic free islands and follow walking or cycling trails to sandy coves backed by pines and hiding between cliffs.