The glittering coastline of the Côte d’Azur is a region of legend. Famous painters and writers mingled with aristocrats and royalty during winter séjours, the fierce Mistral wind whirls in secluded coves and perched villages with pretty fountains nestled into hillsides, often sprawling with fragrant citrus groves or twisted olive trees. The French Riviera is a destination where tranquil islands turn their back on mass commercialism, where you can find souvenir shops beside haute couture boutiques in Old Town streets and slow travel finds its place on Earth.
If you’re looking to recreate your own joie de vivre, here are ‘10 Reasons To Start Your Luxury Journey On The French Riviera‘:
Quiet Beauty of Secret Islands
The Mediterranean region has plenty of glory-grabbing islands – Ibiza, Sardinia, Capri to name a few. But, if avoiding the throng of summertime marine traffic is your preference, then the French Riviera’s islands are perfect for you.
Tranquil and picturesque, the Îles de Porquerolles also known as the Îles d’Or (Golden Isles) andÎles d’Hyères due to their locality, are languid islands where time stands still. The islands may have a multitude of monikers, but life there is the definition of laidback luxury.Rent a bicycle to explore dusty coastal trails, go diving in turquoise water or feast on the daily catch of fresh seafood, served at a restaurant shaded by Hyères palms.
The Îles de Lérins are a short boat ride from Cannes but feel a million miles away from the glitz of the famous red carpet resort. Hire a day boat in Cannes for a relaxing morning swimming in the lagoon between Île Saint-Honorat and Île Sainte-Marguerite, venture ashore for a Provençal picnic under fragrant pines, or step back in time visiting the Cistercian monastery and historic fortresses.
Tee Off in Style
With over 300 sunshine days annually and world-class courses, the French Riviera is a golfer’s paradise. Discover challenging courses with sea and hinterland views, most with exceptional facilities including golf academies or private coaching, practice ranges and restaurants.
Our picks are Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, the Robert Trent Jones Junior-designed Golf de St Donat or Riviera Golf de Barbossi which is the only golf course on the French Riviera to present a permanent collection of twenty-two original contemporary sculptures placed along the course.
Luxurious Private Yacht Charters
The French Riviera is the ultimate yacht charter destination with a wonderful climate, designer shopping, amazing Michelin restaurants and an assortment of star-studded VIP events to ‘see-and-be- seen’ at including on board parties during Cannes Film Festival and Monaco F1 Grand Prix.
Start your day with a leisurely breakfast on the top deck of your private yacht, followed by a morning of thrilling water sports before venturing ashore to explore some of southern France’s exceptional historic places of interest. History is found everywhere from Roman ruins and Saracen fortresses, to heritage buildings with Baroque influences and museums with spectacular art collections.
Jenny Caird, CEO and Founder of renowned yacht charter specialists 212 Yachts says, “It has the coolness of French chic mixed with sublime natural beauty from the calanques of Marseille to beautiful coastal walkways on the Cap d’Antibes or St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula. It is a model yacht charter destination to relax and rejuvenate from a busy lifestyle.”
Gastronomy and Wine
Any destination in the world can be experienced with true richness by relishing the local food and wine and the Côte d’Azur is no exception. With an enviable Mediterranean location and culinary influences introduced from North Africa, Northern Europe and the Orient, the diversity of fresh produce is showcased in palate-teasing dishes at some of France’s best restaurants.
Enjoy a gastronomic journey at one of around thirty exceptional Michelin-starred restaurants on the French Riviera including celebrity favourite La Palme d’Or, the fashionable Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo or Elsa, the first all-organic restaurant to earn a star.
Any visit to the French Riviera should include strolling through one of the many food markets for artisan bread, fresh herbs, vibrant fruits and vegetables and robust cheeses only the French can make – served later on a shaded aft deck with a chilled glass of local wine, this is the definition of joie de vivre!
Wine is an essential starting point for an indulgent getaway on the French Riviera and you’ll be spoiled for choice. Regional wines charm with a rich palette of hues and characteristics from crisp Bandol whites to delicate blush rosés from prestigious wine estates in Gassin. If you’re feeling decadent, you can share a winemaker’s dinner with a first-class chef at one of the local vineyards.
The Modernist façade of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès doesn’t give much away, however it is a veritable success story for a dynamic selection of world-class events that are arranged yearly in Cannes. From the internationally recognized Cannes Film Festival to Cannes Lions, MIPCOM and Tax Free World Association (TFWA), Cannes is the place to be for powerhouse events.
Monaco continues to drive demand with leading luxury events such as the high-profile Rose Ball, Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Monaco F1 Grand Prix, Top Marques Monaco and Monaco Yacht Show.
It’s not just the yachting hubs of Cannes and Monaco that host the best regional events – picturesque Antibes welcomes the creme of art and antiques at the Antibes Art Fair, Grasse’s Rose Festival and Mandelieu-la-Napoule’s Fête du Mimosa are spectacular festivals celebrating flowers, while music enthusiasts flock to Nice for the famous Nice Jazz Festival which originated in 1948.
Stunning Film Locations
The French Riviera has always been a magnet for film and television productions, and the scenery more than delivers with gorgeous sea, hinterland valleys with medieval villages, winding roads to grand vineyards and sun-kissed luxury properties taking up screen credits globally.
Yacht charter guests looking for a vivid shore excursion can trace memorable film locations. Head to Monte-Carlo’s place du Casino for scenes from GoldenEye and Iron Man 2, the five-star Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat on the St Jean Cap Ferrat headland has featured in several films including 2015’s Absolutely Fabulous, and the iconic To Catch A Thief starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly was filmed on the vertiginous roads above Monaco and at the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes.
Revel in Royalty
The French Riviera has a vast history linking to much of Europe’s upper class and the influx of royalty has influenced the construction and architecture of casinos, palace hotels and sumptuous villas.
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia funded most of the Russian Orthodox Church in Nice,King Leopold II of Belgium bought land and built lavish villas on the St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula and the Prince of Wales and King Christian X of Denmark participated in the Régates Royales sailing regatta in the bay of Cannes.
Queen Victoria frequented the coastline in the 19th-century and lived in various locations – Menton, Grasse and Nice, joining an illustrious list of nobles who have all been attracted to the spoils of the region.
The magnificent Palais Princier in Monaco remains one of the leading attractions of the Principality, set atop ‘Le Rocher’ between the superyachts berthed at Port Hercules and Port Fontvieille. As well as a daily Changing of the Guards ceremony, annual summer-concerts from the Monte-Carlo National Orchestra are staged in the Palace Courtyard, upholding an age-old tradition of the Grimaldi family, protectors of the arts in general and music in particular.
Top Beach Clubs
What better way to enjoy a day on the French Riviera than arriving by tender and lounging at one of the many exceptional beach clubs with a glass of chilled Champagne? Most beach clubs have restaurant service, sun lounger and umbrella rental and water sports equipment hire so you can do as much or as little as you wish.
Some of the best beach clubs on the French Riviera include Le Club 55 at St Tropez, Plage Croisette Beach and Z Plage in Cannes, Plage Keller on the Cap d’Antibes, Paloma Beach on the St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula and Anjuna Beach at Eze sur Mer.
Luxury Shopping & Bespoke Ateliers
France has some of the best shopping in western Europe and luxury stores can be found across the French Riviera.
In Cannes, the Croisette has the best of the world’s top designers retailing high-end accessories, prêt-a-porter and resort collections. Monaco is a haven of elegant stores and premium brands – drop by Les Pavilions in the Boulingrins Gardens or Metropole Shopping Centre for a luxury shopping experience. Likewise, a group of luxury boutiques are located on Avenue de Suède and Rue Paradis in Nice.
Some of the best shopping on the French Riviera is at bespoke ateliers run by a wealth of talented craftspeople whipping up the most exquisite jewelry, delicate pottery, fine hand-blown glass or leather goods; head to St Paul de Vence, Biot or Old Town Nice.
Pamper Yourself At A Luxury Spa
Spas offer a range of health and wellness treatments to ensure you are refreshed during your time ashore from a French Riviera yacht charter.
Radiating glamour and luxury, the Fairmont Spa at Fairmont Monte-Carlo brings you exceptional treatments in a sublime setting, just a few minutes from Port Hercules and the designer boutiques of the Carré d’Or. Open seven days a week, the Fairmont Spa is a lavish escape whether you want a Caviar anti-aging facial in one of the eight generously-sized treatment rooms, a pre-party manicure at the nail spa or a dip in the outdoor rooftop swimming pool.
Rightly famed among elite clientele, the Wellness Centre at Hotel Royal Riviera in Beaulieu-sur-Mer offers the perfect respite from the French Riviera’s summer hustle and bustle. The exceptional amenities include a fitness centre, sauna and steam room with THALGO marine treatments such as their Exotic Body Scrub with Bora Bora white sand, sea salt, Tahitian vanilla and coconut shell to keep body and soul in check.