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A First-Timer’s Guide to Road Tripping Across the French Riviera

View of Nice, French Riviera

The French Riviera stretches from Theoule-sur-Mer in the west, all the way to Menton which sits on France’s boarder with Italy. Filled with the most beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, exclusive celebrity parties and marinas packed with some of the finest yachts in the world – there is a lot to consider on your first road trip along the Cote d’Azur.

There is also over 120 perched villages, lots of historic towns, farmers markets and a rich culture. There really is something for everyone, the problem is with so much to see and do, what MUST you do on your first trip across the French Riviera?

Discover the Cote d’Azur with our handy list of our favourite, must-see places on the French Riviera to ensure you make the most of your first of many visits, because we are sure you will be back!

Our journey begins at the Italian boarder, travelling west down the glorious French Riviera coast.

If you’re visiting in the winter months, Menton is the place for you, because of its crescent shaped bay it is the warmest resort in the winter. This colourful town is famous for its blossoming citrus trees, in February it is home to the Lemon festival which features floats made up of thousands of citrus fruits. To find out more take a look at another of our blog on the unusual festivals on the French Riviera.

Home to the Formula 1 Grand Prix races, Monaco is the home of luxury. You will find some of the nicest golf courses, large museums, Hollywood events and of course cars in Monte Carlo. Here, you can also find the world famous Casino de Monte Carlo, Vegas-style machines and traditional games are played here. If you’re not interested in the gambling scene, there are extensive gardens which lead you to the ultimate shopping and dining experience, with an array or boutiques and the finest restaurants.

Monaco, French Riviera at night

A short distance from Menton is the picturesque village of Villefranche-Sur-Mer, this gorgeous fishing village is made up of sunny colours and gold-toned buildings. This is a quieter part of the Riviera, where you can wonder through narrow cobbled alleyways and stairways into the old town and the Saint-Elme Citadel, which give you some of the best views of the Mediterranean. You can also enjoy a quiet coffee, cake and a spot of yacht watching in many outdoor cafes that line the harbour.

French Riviera

If you continue west along the coast you’ll get to the seaport city of Nice, often called the capital of the French Riviera. This beautiful part of the Riviera features picturesque hills, a busy harbour and famous historical ruins inspired by the likes of Matisse – who lived in Nice in the early 20th Century. When in Nice, we recommend that you visit the colourful flower market, explore the Roman ruins and of course take a stroll down the boardwalk at Promenade des Anglais. If you have time, you’ll have to go shopping in the Galeries Lafayette for a unique boutique shopping experience.


Lose yourself in the beaches and large yacht harbours of Antibes, surrounded by fortified walls. As well as crystal clear waters, there is tonnes of history too – the Grimaldi chateau features works by Pablo Picasso and Antibes is also home to the Absinthe Museum, which of course you can taste too! If you are more interested in floristry, then take a walk through the beautiful Exflora Park which features the best flower displays and gardens.

French Riviera Seaside

Next along our journey is, Cannes is known for its glamorous Festival de Cannes, otherwise known as the Cannes Film Festival, so if you’re visiting the French Riviera in May, you’ll be sure to rub shoulders with famous actors, musicians and stars. However, for the rest of the year, it is about the culture, we recommend strolling the mile long La Croisette, which is a long stretch of the best restaurants, shops and museums along the beautiful crystal clear coastline.

Cannes Festival

Sainte-Maxime is great for families is, as this holiday town is protected from the winds by the Maures Mountains, ensuring a great temperature for sunbathing! You’ll never get bored on these beaches, water sports are common as well as the Pelagos Sanctuary where you can discover more about bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales.

St Tropez, is all about the glitz and glam, known for its jet-set celebrities and designer culture, this busy resort town is the home to some of the most extravagant yachts, boutiques and delicious restaurants, also a daily early morning fish market. If you visit St Tropez, be sure to take a quick trip to the sea side town of Port Grimaud, just seven miles west. Here you will find marshes, sand dunes, canals and water ways, great to take a boat ride along their colourful houses and cafes.

Last on our journey along the French Riviera is the small town of Ramatuelle, which is built in the hills and looks out over the beautiful bay of Pampelonne. Located just 15 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of St Tropez, this tranquil town is the perfect escape from the hustle, where you can visit Volterra Castle and unwind with a glass or two of the AOC Cote de Provence wines at the luscious vineyards.

Bruce International

If you enjoy your stay so much you don’t want to come home, you don’t have to! Bruce International are a Cote d’Azur property specialist based in Roquefort-les-Pins in the South of France. We offer a range of services, including property viewings, purchase assistance and even project and event management. Whether you’re looking for a holiday home or a forever home, for further information about Bruce International and their wealth of experience in the property sector, please click here.

A First-Timer’s Guide to Road Tripping Across the French Riviera

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