Imagine a place of breathtaking beauty where the sun shines for 300 days out of each year. 115 kilometers (or 71 miles) of sparkling beaches and coastline are available for your walking and swimming pleasure. You can golf at any of 18 courses, ski at 14 resorts, and sample sumptuous meals at any of over 3000 restaurants. Does this sound too amazing to be believed? Without a doubt, it exists and it is waiting for you: the French Riviera, also known as the Cote d’Azur.
If it is history as well as relaxation and beauty that you seek, the Cote d’Azur has a past that is as rich and interesting as that of any location. As the 18th century came to a close, British gentry began to travel to the Riviera to leave their cares behind and attend to their health in the warm Mediterranean sun. After the railroad was built in the mid-19th century, the Cote d’Azur became the playground of choice not only for British royalty like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, but also for Russian aristocrats and wealthy Americans such as the Rothschild family. The first half of the 20th century saw the Riviera become home to famous artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edith Wharton, and Aldous Huxley. More recently, celebrities Elton John and Brigitte Bardot have purchased homes there. You can experience the same by renting a Cote d’Azur villas and see how the rich and famous spend their summer.
In just a little over five hours, you can take a train from Paris to Nice, the largest city in this resort region. While there, you can sample the entertainment on the beautiful seafront promenade or spend hours strolling through the many world-class museums. Your options seem virtually as endless as the white sands stretching before you. If working on your tan is a priority, you have found one of the world’s favorite places to be heliocentric. Although much of the somewhat pebbly beach is public, a great deal is private and requires that you rent a spot. In and of itself, Nice has enough charm and tourist attractions to make it a stand-alone tourist destination.
You might, however, want to take a break from the ordinary and sample some of the local cultural fare. Depending on the time of year, you might choose to kick up your heels at the Carnival in Nice held in January. Or, for flower-lovers, try attending the violet festival in March in Tourrettes-sur-Loup or the city of Grasse’s Rose and Jasmine Festivals which occur in May and July respectively. Aficionados of the silver screen can see firsthand the world-renown Cannes Film Festival, also in May. Toward the end of July, Nice features a lively jazz festival. Clearly, there is no shortage of organized events to enjoy in this culturally vibrant region.
For over two hundred years, the Cote d’Azur has been the gold standard of vacation destinations, and it is no wonder. With its chic reputation, its history of celebrity visits and residences, and its cultural diversity, the French Riviera outshines virtually every other resort area in the world. Trip packages will enable you to take advantage of whatever specific interest you may have, from the most physically challenging to the ultimate in lazy relaxation. Each year, thousands of visitors make it a point to return to the Riviera. Don’t miss out on your chance to see what all the fuss is about!
Photo Credits: Night Panorama, Boats, Beach, Rose Festival, Tourettes-sur-Loup