Welcome to the mesmerizing French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. This stunning stretch of coastline in southeastern France is renowned for its glamorous resorts, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture. A road trip along the French Riviera is a perfect way to explore the region’s charm and soak up its rich history.
With its sunny Mediterranean climate, azure waters, and breathtaking views, the French Riviera has long attracted artists, writers, and jet-setters from around the world. From the glamorous streets of Nice to the luxurious resorts of Monaco and the charming villages nestled in between, a road trip through the French Riviera promises to be an unforgettable experience.
As you embark on your French Riviera road trip, be sure to pack your sense of adventure and appetite for discovery. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning beaches, medieval towns, vibrant markets, and delectable cuisine. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or a connoisseur of fine wines, the French Riviera has something to offer everyone.
One of the advantages of a road trip is the flexibility it provides. You can choose your own route and explore at your own pace. However, with so many incredible places to visit, it can be challenging to decide where to go. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the top 10 places to visit on your French Riviera road trip. From glamorous cities to hidden gems, this list will help you make the most of your journey.
So, buckle up and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and allure of the French Riviera. Let’s dive into our list of the top 10 places to visit on your unforgettable road trip.
As the largest city on the French Riviera, Nice is a must-visit destination on your road trip. Known for its stunning promenade, vibrant markets, and rich cultural heritage, Nice offers a perfect blend of history and modernity.
Start your exploration of Nice by strolling along the Promenade des Anglais. This iconic waterfront promenade stretches for miles, lined with palm trees, charming cafes, and vibrant beach clubs. Take a leisurely walk or rent a bike to enjoy the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Next, head to the charming Old Town, known as Le Vieux Nice. Lose yourself in its narrow, winding streets filled with colorful buildings, traditional shops, and delightful restaurants. Don’t miss a visit to the famous Cours Saleya market, where you can indulge in fresh produce, flowers, and local delicacies.
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Musée Matisse is a must. Located in a beautiful 17th-century villa, this museum houses an extensive collection of works by Henri Matisse, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
If you’re interested in history, make sure to visit the Colline du Château, a hilltop park offering panoramic views of Nice. Here, you can explore the ruins of a medieval castle and enjoy stunning vistas of the city and the coastline.
No visit to Nice is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Sample traditional Nicoise dishes such as socca (a savory pancake made from chickpea flour) and pan bagnat (a delicious sandwich filled with local ingredients).
With its vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, and captivating culture, Nice is a perfect starting point for your French Riviera road trip.
Renowned for its glitz and glamour, Cannes is a must-visit destination on your French Riviera road trip. This prestigious city is synonymous with the annual Cannes Film Festival, but there’s much more to discover beyond the red carpet.
Start your exploration of Cannes by visiting the iconic Boulevard de la Croisette. This world-famous promenade stretches along the waterfront, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Stroll along the boulevard, lined with luxurious hotels, chic boutiques, and trendy cafes. Don’t forget to snap a photo at the Cannes Film Festival Palace, where the cinematic magic happens each year.
If you’re a fan of sandy beaches, Cannes won’t disappoint. The city boasts several beautiful public and private beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun. Some of the most popular beaches include Plage de la Croisette and Plage du Martinez.
To immerse yourself in the city’s history and culture, visit Le Suquet, the old town of Cannes. This charming neighborhood is perched on a hill and offers panoramic views of the city and the harbor. Explore its picturesque streets, visit the Notre-Dame de l’Espérance church, and discover hidden gems in the local shops and restaurants.
Cannes is also a paradise for shopping enthusiasts. Rue d’Antibes, located near Boulevard de la Croisette, is lined with high-end fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, and perfumeries. Treat yourself to some retail therapy and indulge in the latest fashion trends.
For a taste of local flavors, make sure to visit the Forville Market. This bustling market is a food lover’s paradise, offering an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, pastries, and more. Sample some of the local delicacies and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this lively market.
Whether you’re a film enthusiast, beach lover, or a shopping aficionado, Cannes has something to offer everyone. Immerse yourself in the glamorous atmosphere of this vibrant city and make lasting memories on your French Riviera road trip.
No road trip along the French Riviera is complete without a visit to the small but mighty principality of Monaco. Known as a playground for the rich and famous, Monaco offers a unique blend of glitz, luxury, and natural beauty.
Begin your exploration of Monaco by visiting the iconic Monte Carlo Casino. This legendary casino is a symbol of the city’s opulence and grandeur. Even if you’re not a gambler, admire the stunning architecture and take a leisurely walk through the surrounding gardens.
Next, discover the charming old town of Monaco, known as Monaco-Ville or “The Rock.” Perched on a high cliff, this historic neighborhood offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Explore its narrow streets, visit the majestic Prince’s Palace, and witness the changing of the guards.
For Formula One fans, a visit to the Circuit de Monaco is a must. This world-famous street circuit is considered one of the most challenging and glamorous in the racing world. Take a walk along the track and imagine the excitement of watching the Monaco Grand Prix.
Monaco is also home to the Oceanographic Museum, founded by Prince Albert I. Dive into the fascinating world of marine life, explore interactive exhibits, and marvel at the vast collection of marine artifacts. Don’t miss the chance to visit the rooftop terrace, offering panoramic views of the city and the sea.
For nature lovers, a visit to the Jardin Exotique is a must. This beautiful botanical garden showcases a vast collection of rare and exotic plants from around the world. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden’s winding paths and enjoy the tranquility of this serene oasis.
End your visit to Monaco by taking a scenic drive along the Grand Corniche. This road offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coastline, the city of Monaco, and the surrounding hills. Stop at one of the viewpoints to capture stunning photos and create lasting memories.
Although small in size, Monaco is a destination that leaves a big impression. Experience the glamour, natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage of this enchanting principality on your French Riviera road trip.
Nestled between Nice and Cannes, Antibes is a charming coastal town that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Steeped in ancient history and surrounded by beautiful beaches, Antibes is a hidden gem on the French Riviera.
Start your exploration of Antibes by visiting the historic Old Town, known as Vieil Antibes. This well-preserved neighborhood is filled with narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and quaint shops. Explore the Marché Provençal, a vibrant open-air market, where you can find fresh produce, spices, and local specialties.
While in the Old Town, don’t miss a visit to the Musée Picasso. Housed in the Château Grimaldi, this museum showcases an extensive collection of artworks by the legendary artist Pablo Picasso. Marvel at the masterpieces and learn about Picasso’s time in Antibes.
Antibes is also home to one of the most scenic harbors on the French Riviera, Port Vauban. Take a leisurely stroll along the marina, lined with luxurious yachts and charming cafes. From here, you can also visit the Fort Carré, a historic fortress offering panoramic views of the town and the Mediterranean Sea.
For beach lovers, Antibes boasts some of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the French Riviera. Plage de la Gravette and Plage de la Salis are popular choices, offering crystal-clear waters and pristine shores. Spend a day relaxing on the beach, soaking up the sun, and enjoying water sports activities.
No visit to Antibes is complete without exploring the beautiful Cap d’Antibes peninsula. Take a scenic walk along the coastline and discover hidden coves, rugged cliffs, and picturesque views. Make sure to visit the iconic Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a stunning mansion surrounded by exquisite gardens.
Antibes is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. The town hosts various music and art festivals throughout the year, showcasing local and international talent. Check the local calendar to see if there are any events happening during your visit.
With its blend of history, natural beauty, and laid-back atmosphere, Antibes is a delightful stop on your French Riviera road trip. Immerse yourself in its charm, explore its rich cultural heritage, and create unforgettable memories.
Famous for its glamorous reputation and vibrant nightlife, Saint-Tropez is a must-visit destination on your French Riviera road trip. This charming coastal town, located on the secluded St. Tropez Peninsula, offers stunning beaches, picturesque streets, and a vibrant atmosphere.
Start your visit to Saint-Tropez by exploring the iconic Vieux Port, the main harbor that has been attracting luxury yachts for decades. Take a leisurely walk along the waterfront, admire the stunning boats, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this bustling port.
Next, make your way to the charming old town of Saint-Tropez. Discover its narrow, winding streets filled with boutiques, art galleries, and sidewalk cafes. Admire the pastel-colored houses and experience the unique Provençal charm that defines this town.
No visit to Saint-Tropez is complete without spending time at its famous beaches. Head to Pampelonne Beach, one of the most renowned and picturesque beaches in the area. Relax on the golden sands, enjoy the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, and indulge in sunbathing and water sports.
If you’re a fan of art, don’t miss a visit to the Musée de l’Annonciade. Housed in a former chapel, this museum features an impressive collection of modern art, with a focus on works by artists who were drawn to the charm and beauty of Saint-Tropez.
For a taste of the local cuisine, explore the vibrant food markets of Saint-Tropez. The Place des Lices market, held twice a week, offers a wide variety of fresh produce, regional specialties, and artisanal products. Grab some snacks and have a picnic by the harbor or on the beach.
In the evenings, Saint-Tropez comes alive with its renowned nightlife scene. Experience the vibrant energy of the town as you enjoy dinner at a trendy restaurant, sip cocktails at a rooftop bar, or dance the night away at one of the famous nightclubs.
With its luxurious charm, stunning beaches, and vibrant atmosphere, Saint-Tropez is a must-experience destination on your French Riviera road trip. Immerse yourself in its glamorous lifestyle, enjoy the natural beauty, and create unforgettable memories in this picturesque town.
Perched high on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the medieval village of Eze is a hidden gem on the French Riviera. With its stunning views, charming streets, and rich history, Eze offers a serene and picturesque getaway from the bustling coastal towns.
Upon arrival in Eze, you’ll be greeted by narrow cobblestone streets, ancient stone buildings, and colorful flower boxes adorning windowsills. Take a leisurely stroll through the village and explore its enchanting alleyways, filled with artisan shops, boutiques, and art galleries. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Fragonard Perfume Factory, where you can learn about the art of perfume-making and even create your own unique fragrance.
As you wander through Eze, make your way to the exotic garden, famously known as Jardin Exotique d’Eze. This breathtaking garden is perched on the ruins of an ancient castle and offers panoramic views of the coastline. Explore the garden’s winding paths, adorned with rare succulents and charming sculptures, and marvel at the stunning vistas that surround you.
Eze is also home to the renowned Château de la Chèvre d’Or, a luxury hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, visit its terrace for a drink or a meal and indulge in the panoramic views that extend as far as the eye can see.
For history buffs, a visit to the Eze Medieval Castle is a must. This ancient fortress dates back to the 12th century and offers insights into the village’s fascinating past. Climb to the top of the castle tower and immerse yourself in the history and charm that permeate its walls.
End your visit to Eze by taking a short hike down to the stunning beach of Eze-sur-Mer. This secluded pebble beach offers crystal-clear waters, peaceful surroundings, and a sense of tranquility away from the more crowded Riviera beaches. Spend some time relaxing on the shore or take a swim in the inviting Mediterranean waters.
Eze’s unique charm, breathtaking views, and rich history make it a must-visit destination on your French Riviera road trip. Immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere, appreciate the natural beauty, and discover the secrets that lie within this enchanting village.
Nestled between the French and Italian Rivieras, Menton is a picturesque town known for its colorful architecture, beautiful gardens, and mild climate. With its charming old town, stunning promenade, and vibrant festivals, Menton is a delightful destination on your French Riviera road trip.
Begin your exploration of Menton by visiting the historic Old Town, also known as Vieille Ville. Lose yourself in the labyrinth of narrow streets, lined with pastel-colored houses adorned with vibrant flowers. Explore the small shops, cafes, and art galleries dotted throughout the area, and don’t miss the chance to visit the baroque-style Basilique Saint-Michel, located in the heart of the Old Town.
One of the highlights of Menton is the stunning Jardin Serre de la Madone. This beautiful garden, designed by Lawrence Johnston, features a stunning collection of exotic plants, grottoes, and winding paths. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden and immerse yourself in its peaceful atmosphere.
For a taste of local cuisine, visit the bustling Marché des Halles, a covered market where you can find an array of fresh produce, seafood, and regional specialties. Grab some ingredients and have a picnic in one of Menton’s many scenic spots, such as the Promenade du Soleil or the beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Menton is also known for its vibrant festivals, the most famous being the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival). Held annually in February, this unique event celebrates the region’s citrus heritage with elaborate floats, parades, and sculptures made entirely of lemons and oranges. The colorful displays are a sight to behold and attract visitors from all over the world.
Don’t miss the opportunity to relax on one of Menton’s beautiful beaches. The Plage des Sablettes and the Plage de la Promenade du Soleil are popular choices, offering soft sands and clear blue waters. Take a dip in the Mediterranean or simply bask in the sun and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
With its charming atmosphere, stunning gardens, and vibrant festivals, Menton is a hidden gem on the French Riviera. Immerse yourself in its beauty, soak up the relaxed vibe, and discover the unique character that makes Menton so special.
Saint-Paul de Vence
Nestled in the hills of Provence, Saint-Paul de Vence is a charming fortified village that has long been a haven for artists and creative souls. With its narrow winding streets, art galleries, and panoramic views, Saint-Paul de Vence is a must-visit destination on your French Riviera road trip.
Begin your visit to Saint-Paul de Vence by walking along the picturesque ramparts, which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets, you’ll discover numerous art galleries and workshops, showcasing the works of local and international artists. Take your time to explore these galleries and appreciate the diverse range of artistic expressions.
One of the highlights of Saint-Paul de Vence is the Fondation Maeght, an art museum located just outside the village. This renowned museum houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by artists such as Chagall, Miró, and Giacometti. Admire the sculptures and paintings while enjoying the tranquil setting of the museum’s beautiful gardens.
For a glimpse into the village’s history, visit the Saint-Paul de Vence Heritage Museum. Housed in a 16th-century townhouse, the museum explores the rich cultural heritage of the region through displays of traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts.
Another must-see in Saint-Paul de Vence is the Chapelle du Rosaire, also known as the Matisse Chapel. Designed by the renowned artist Henri Matisse, this small chapel is a masterpiece of art and spirituality. Admire the colorful stained-glass windows and the simplicity of Matisse’s designs as you contemplate the serene atmosphere.
Take a break from exploring and indulge in the delightful cuisine of Saint-Paul de Vence. The village is home to several exquisite restaurants, offering traditional Provençal dishes and local specialties. Enjoy a leisurely meal on a sunny terrace, savoring the flavors of the region.
End your visit to Saint-Paul de Vence by simply wandering through its charming streets. Appreciate the beauty of the medieval architecture, discover hidden courtyards and fountains, and soak up the artistic and bohemian atmosphere that has attracted so many creative minds over the years.
With its artistic legacy, stunning views, and timeless charm, Saint-Paul de Vence is a true gem on the French Riviera. Immerse yourself in its creativity, explore the art scene, and experience the unique atmosphere that has captivated generations of visitors.
Known as the perfume capital of the world, Grasse is a charming town nestled in the hills of Provence. With its rich heritage in the perfume industry, beautiful landscapes, and historical sites, Grasse is a captivating stop on your French Riviera road trip.
Start your exploration of Grasse by visiting the Perfume Museum, located in an 18th-century mansion. Learn about the history of perfume-making as you discover the techniques and ingredients used to create these fragrant masterpieces. Don’t miss the opportunity to create your own personalized perfume during a workshop.
For a deeper dive into the world of perfumery, visit one of the perfumeries in Grasse. Take a guided tour to learn about the production process, from the selection of raw materials to the blending of scents. Immerse yourself in the captivating aromas and indulge in the art of fragrance.
Step back in time as you explore the charming old town of Grasse. Wander through its narrow streets, lined with pastel-colored houses and traditional shops. Discover the Place aux Aires, a square filled with cafes and bistros, where you can pause for a cup of coffee or indulge in some Provençal cuisine.
One of the highlights of Grasse is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-du-Puy. Admire its beautiful bell tower and step inside to marvel at the stunning stained-glass windows. From the cathedral, enjoy panoramic views of Grasse and the surrounding landscapes.
Grasse is also home to several beautiful gardens. The Jardin des Plantes, a botanical garden dating back to the 18th century, showcases a variety of plant species and offers a peaceful retreat. Take a leisurely walk through its lush greenery and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
For a unique experience, explore the countryside around Grasse and immerse yourself in the fragrant fields of flowers. The town is known for its production of lavender, jasmine, and rose, which are often used in perfumes. Visit the nearby fields to see the flowers in bloom and breathe in their intoxicating scents.
Whether you’re a fragrance enthusiast or simply want to soak up the charm of a Provençal town, Grasse offers a sensory journey like no other. Immerse yourself in the world of perfumery, explore the historical sites, and indulge in the beauty of this enchanting town.
Located on the beautiful coast between Nice and Monaco, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a picturesque seaside town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and historical charm. With its colorful buildings, sandy beaches, and scenic harbor, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a delightful ending to your French Riviera road trip.
Begin your visit by exploring the charming old town, known as the Vieille Ville. Stroll through its narrow streets, lined with colorful houses and charming boutiques. Admire the medieval architecture and discover hidden squares, fountains, and lovely cafes. Don’t miss a visit to the Chapelle Saint-Pierre, adorned with beautiful frescoes by the artist Jean Cocteau.
Next, make your way to the stunning waterfront promenade, known as the Quai de l’Amiral Ponchardier. Take in the breathtaking views of the Bay of Villefranche as you walk along the promenade lined with picturesque cafes and restaurants. Relax on the beach, go for a swim, or simply enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this idyllic spot.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is also home to the impressive Citadelle Saint-Elme, a 16th-century fortress offering panoramic views of the town and the Mediterranean Sea. Explore its museum and learn about the history and strategic importance of the Citadel throughout the centuries.
A short boat ride away from Villefranche-sur-Mer lies the enchanting Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula. Take a leisurely walk along its coastal path, surrounded by lush gardens and luxurious villas. Discover hidden coves, enjoy the tranquility of nature, and admire the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coastline.
For a taste of the local cuisine, head to the vibrant Rue du Poilu. This narrow street is filled with charming restaurants and cafes, serving a variety of delicious dishes, from fresh seafood to Provençal specialties. Indulge in a leisurely meal while enjoying the beautiful surroundings and the vibrant atmosphere of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
As the sun sets, soak up the romantic ambiance of Villefranche-sur-Mer. From the harbor or the beach, witness the pastel hues painting the sky over the Mediterranean, creating a magical backdrop for a memorable evening.
With its picturesque charm, stunning beaches, and relaxed atmosphere, Villefranche-sur-Mer is the perfect ending to your French Riviera road trip. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this seaside gem, create lasting memories, and savor the peaceful vibe of this charming coastal town.
Embarking on a road trip along the French Riviera is a remarkable journey filled with breathtaking landscapes, historical sites, glamorous cities, and charming villages. From the vibrant streets of Nice to the luxurious resorts of Monaco, and from the artistic atmosphere of Saint-Paul de Vence to the enchanting coastal towns like Menton and Villefranche-sur-Mer, the French Riviera offers a diverse range of experiences and sights to discover.
Each destination along the French Riviera has its own unique charm and allure. Nice captivates with its stunning promenade and vibrant markets, while Cannes enchants with its glamor and world-famous film festival. Monaco dazzles with its opulence and thrilling Grand Prix, while Antibes entices with its historic charm and beautiful beaches. Eze offers a serene oasis with its breathtaking views, while Grasse immerses you in the world of perfume-making. Lastly, Saint-Paul de Vence and Villefranche-sur-Mer showcase the artistic heritage and coastal beauty that define the region.
As you traverse the French Riviera, don’t be afraid to stray from the beaten path and explore the lesser-known gems along the way. Take your time to savor the local cuisine, bask in the Mediterranean sun on the picturesque beaches, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and history that permeates each destination.
Whether you’re a lover of art, history, breathtaking landscapes, or simply seeking a taste of the glamorous Riviera lifestyle, a road trip along the French Riviera promises an unforgettable adventure. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime as you navigate the sun-soaked roads of this captivating region.