French Riviera, France: where it is, when to go and what to see

Who I am
Martí Micolau

Author and references

The French Riviera, renowned for its many casinos, ports teeming with yachts, the film festival, the production of perfumes, soaps and cosmetics, is afascinating stretch of the French coast where elegant cities and contrasting panoramas alternate with Mediterranean nature, beautiful beaches and mountainous natural parks. From a simple seaside holiday to complete itineraries that include nature, cities and traditions, the French Riviera will amaze all types of travelers.
Here's where it is, when to go and what to see on the French Riviera!


  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where it is
  3. How to reach us
  4. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  5. The main cities
  6. 10 things to see: the places of interest on the French Riviera
  7. The main itineraries on the French Riviera
  8. What to do on the French Riviera: excursions and tours
  9. How much does a holiday on the French Riviera cost? Prices, offers and advice
  10. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 4.935.576
  • Main towns: Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Cagnes du Mer, Menton
  • Language: French
  • Local currency: EUR
  • Weather: Mediterranean, average temperatures 11/20 ° C
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    The Côte d'Azur is located along the Mediterranean coast of France. It is not to be confused with the entire French Riviera.
    Precisely we refer to the stretch of coast that borders with Italy and it stretches from Menton to Martigues, also including the Principality of Monaco.

    How to reach us

    By plane

    There are two reference airports, one in Nice and one in Marseille, respectively located 6 and 24 km from the corresponding cities. Both are directly connected to Italy by the airlines Alitalia, EasyJet, Meridiana, Ryanair, Volotea and Vueling which arrive at destinations in about 2 and a half hours.
    Arrived at the airport a Nice, you can reach the city by tram L2 (€ 2,00), while arriving at the airport of Marseille you need to take the free shuttle to Vitrolles station and continue by train to the city (€ 5,00) - Flights to Nice from € 43,00 - - Flights to Marseille from € 35,00 -

    By bus or train

    Being a destination very close to Italy it is also possible to arrive by train or bus.

    As far as the bus, the French Riviera is reached by the Flixbus company which leaves from different Italian cities thus taking a time that can vary from a few hours to a full day of travel, the costs vary as well, starting from a minimum of € 5,00 (Sanremo-Nice route, about 1 hour and 30 minutes travel)

    Similar speech for train connections. Liguria is the closest region, Sanremo is about 1 hour by train (daily connections from € 10,00 / 11,00 each way). From Milan the Thello railway company starts, whose line to the Côte d'Azur is direct and stops in several Italian cities, then serving the main cities of the coast, so Monte-Carlo, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Saint-Raphael, Toulon and Marseille in an average time ranging from 5 to 8 hours depending on the destination to be reached.

    By car

    Again for the question of proximity to Italy, being in the north you can think of reaching the French coast by car.
    As already mentioned, Liguria is quite close: Sanremo is less than 1 hour away, Savona is 1 hour and 50 minutes away and Genoa about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

    For those leaving from other cities in northern Italy, it is worthwhile reach Genoa or Savona (depending on the starting point) and from there take the A10 Genoa-Ventimiglia motorway which, after the border with France, becomes A8. The latter alternates a path between the coast and the hinterland that offers magnificent views.

    When to go? Info on climate and best time

    • Weather: Mediterranean with average temperatures between 11 and 20 ° C, mild winters with little rain and hot, fairly dry summers with the sea temperature exceeding 20 ° C
    • Best time: from April to September the days are warm and sunny, but for beach life prefer the months of June, July and August
    • Period to avoid: from October to March the temperatures are relatively low, aggravated by humidity due to the proximity of the sea and a few rainy days
    • Advice: in spring and in September bring mixed clothing for the mid-seasons complete with umbrella for any rain and jacket or sweatshirt for the evening, while in summer it will be enough beach essentials and light clothing

    The main cities

    The French Riviera stretches for several kilometers along which its cities are well distributed, all organized at best with transports that connect the various places to each other. There are also two airports located respectively at the two ends of the coast. These factors allow both to be based in a single city and visit its surroundings, and to explore it from east to west or vice versa. For their strategic position and for convenience in travel, for the widest accommodation offer: here are the best cities to use as a base:

    1. Nice: has an airport, has a good location and enjoys an excellent network of connections, allowing trips of a few hours to every corner of the Côte d'Azur. There are also many beaches both in the city and in its vicinity
    2. Menton: arriving by car or train from Italy it is the first city you meet therefore, in the case of itinerant trips, it is excellent as a base for a couple of days to visit its surroundings, including for example Monaco which is more expensive
    3. Marseille: even if it is not really a city on the Côte d'Azur, it is part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and has an airport therefore excellent for finishing an itinerant trip and starting from here. Marseille is also well connected to the rest of the Côte d'Azur and allows for various excursions in the surrounding area such as Toulon, Hyeres, Cannes and various national parks

    10 things to see: the places of interest on the French Riviera

    1. Menton is the first city on the coast coming from Italy, renowned for its colorful old town and the excursion to nearby Gorbio and Saint Agnès
    2. Principality of Monaco is the prestigious independent city-state, known for being the seat of the Grimaldi princes, for the casinos of Monte-Carlo, for its Exotic Gardens and for the Formula 1 racing circuit
    3. Nice it is the capital of the Côte d'Azur, the main city for travel throughout the area. The historic center is full of elegant buildings from the Bella Epoque. Do not miss the Promenade des Anglais, the Russian Cathedral and the castle
    4. Antibes and Cannes, close to be able to visit them on the same day. Antibes and its old town are enclosed by medieval ramparts. Cannes is known for the Film Festival, the casinos and luxury hotels on the Croisette and the yachting harbors
    5. Saint-Tropez and Saint-Maxime, two villages close to each other, former fishing villages, a favorite destination for artists of all kinds. Both offer beautiful long beaches, colorful old towns and a cheerful nightlife
    6. Grasse is a hilly town, an undisputed destination for discovering the French perfumery industry between the Musée International de la Parfumerie and the historic perfumeries Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard
    7. Toulon it is visited both for its sandy beaches alternating with rocky coves, and for its elegant old town full of Renaissance buildings, especially on Corso Lafayette
    8. Massif of the Esterel is a mountain massif that reaches 614 meters, characterized by red rocks overlooking the sea. It offers great trekking excursions and wonderful views
    9. Gorges du Loup, are natural gorges carved by the Loup river, with natural landscapes around and glimpses of ancient villages. They are a renowned photographic, walking and climbing destination
    10. Marseille, as already mentioned, it is not really a city on the Côte d'Azur, however it is quite close and perfect as a base for getting around. Don't miss the Romanesque-Byzantine-style Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, the Château d'If and the modern Cité Radieuse complex

    The main itineraries on the French Riviera

    Although it is identified above all as a seaside destination, the French Riviera mainly allows two types of itinerary.

    The first is the most classic one with which you go to visit the main cities alternating days on the beaches, while the second travel inland through natural parks, gorges and massifs, touching just a couple of cities:

    1. Cities and beaches on the French Riviera: visit the towns and villages of the Côte d'Azur such as Nice, Menton, Monaco, Toulon, Marseille, Cannes, Antibes, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Tropez, Grasse and Hyères, alternating full or half days on the beaches of the areas visited
    2. The hinterland of the Côte d'Azur: with this route we visit Nice and Menton, where we base ourselves to leave for the villages of Gorbio and Saint Agnès, the Esterel Massif and the Gorges du Loup

    What to do on the French Riviera: excursions and tours

    How much does a holiday on the French Riviera cost? Prices, offers and advice

    A trip to the French Riviera requires a substantial budget considering accommodation starting from € 50,00 per night, meals of about € 20,00 per person, day trips with an average cost of € 70,00 or alternatively car rental starting from € 80,00 per day.
    Flights on the other hand are quite low cost from the main Italian cities thanks to several low cost airlines.
    Seasonality must be considered: the whole area lends itself better to spring and summer holidays, a period during which inevitably the prices are higher since they are mostly seaside resorts. In fact, in the winter period, although the prices are lower, the area does not offer the same beauty as the period just recommended.

    • Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -
    • to Nice from € 43,00 -
    • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 450,00 per person -

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