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Overview

The sunny south of France — Côte d'Azur or the French Riviera — is Europe's holiday region par excellence. This beach-studded stretch of coastline begins at St-Tropez and stretches toward Menton near the Italian border. Top resorts are Nice, its capital and chief gateway, along with Cannes, far more chic, and St-Tropez, the most sophisticated of all Côte d'Azur resorts. Perhaps the most compelling endorsement of the Riviera has been the number of artists drawn to its shores and hillside villas. At Cagnes, Renoir praised the "light effects" of the region. Nice was selected by Matisse as the spot in which to spend the remaining years ...

The sunny south of France — Côte d'Azur or the French Riviera — is Europe's holiday region par excellence. This beach-studded stretch of coastline begins at St-Tropez and stretches toward Menton near the Italian border. Top resorts are Nice, its capital and chief gateway, along with Cannes, far more chic, and St-Tropez, the most sophisticated of all Côte d'Azur resorts. Perhaps the most compelling endorsement of the Riviera has been the number of artists drawn to its shores and hillside villas. At Cagnes, Renoir praised the "light effects" of the region. Nice was selected by Matisse as the spot in which to spend the remaining years of his life (you can visit his remarkable Chapel of Saint Dominique at Vence). Picasso left an art legacy from one end of the Riviera to the other. A trio of roads or corniches connects Nice with the Italian frontier, and stretches a distance of 20 miles. The Middle Corniche, finished at the outbreak of World War II, was created specifically for visitors. Originally, Napoleon ordered the construction of the Grand Corniche to replace the old Roman Aurelian Way. The Shoreline Corniche is in many ways the most intriguing. You don't get the lofty spectacular views afforded by the two other motor roads, but you do receive a firsthand preview of the string of resorts dotting the coastline, including St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Danforth Prince
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Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince have written many guidebooks for Frommer's, including Frommer's France and Frommer's Germany.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: French Riviera continues west from the Italian Riviera and Menton through Monaco, Nice, Antibes and Cannes, along the Mediterranean coast of the Alpes-Maritimes département.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, May and October