Exploring the Allure of the French Riviera
The French Riviera is often considered one of the most beautiful and upscale destinations on the planet. But what, exactly, makes this such a unique and desirable place to explore? It might be the breathtaking views over the Mediterranean, the historic glamour of the Cannes Film Festival or perhaps the amazing French cuisine available from towns up and down the coast. Perhaps it is a combination of it all, including that something special that you can only experience for yourself when you’re soaking up the sun in the French Riviera.
Where is the French Riviera?
In France, the French Riviera is better known as the Cote d’Azur. The French Riviera is located in the southeastern portion of France, and it stretches from the town of Cassis in France all the way to the Italian border. It includes the principality of Monaco, although technically Monaco is not part of France.
The French Riviera is one of the oldest true resort destinations in the world. In the 18th century, wealthy British flocked to the area because of the warmth, beach access and spectacular scenery. With the addition of a railroad heading to the French Riviera, the area became increasingly popular with the rich and with royals from across Europe. Thanks to the number of international homeowners and travelers to the French Riviera, it is a cosmopolitan destination where English is nearly as widely spoken as French.
When to Visit the French Riviera
Since the French Riviera is located along the blue waters of the Mediterranean, it boasts a mild Mediterranean climate. That being said, there are definite seasons in the area as well as times of year that are far busier than others. Winters can be cold, though rarely to the point of freezing. Plus, there are more than 300 days of sunshine per year, so you’re likely to see some sunshine and warmth no matter when you go.
Summer, or anywhere from late June to the beginning of September, is always busy in the French Riviera. The beaches are packed, hotels are booked months in advance and it can be hard to get reservations at the best restaurants. However, it is also the time of year when it is the warmest and all the beaches are open. The end of May is also very busy thanks to the annual Cannes Film Festival, which draws in celebrities as well as travelers eager to spot famous actors out and about in the area.
Even in the winter months, there are more than 30 beaches that remain open along the French Riviera. Although some smaller private beaches close up for the winter season, there is still plenty to do, see and explore. Plus, winter means fewer crowds and the possibility of a much more affordable trip.
Getting to the French Riviera
One of the most romantic ways to explore the French Riviera is by car. Stretches of road run parallel to the Mediterranean shoreline, and there are countless places where you can pull over and admire sweeping views over the sea. If you want to visit the French Riviera by car, you can easily rent a car and do so.
If you plan on flying into the French Riviera, your best bet is to arrive at the Nice Airport. This is located right in the heart of the French Riviera, and it offers regular flights to cities throughout Europe, North America and the rest of the world. Expect a lot more flights on seasonal routes during the summer months.
Another option is to travel to the French Riviera by train. There are regular trains scheduled from throughout Europe, with common routes coming from Paris and Genoa. There is also a train that runs the length of the French Riviera and can be a great way to get from one destination to the next on your trip. If you opt to travel by train, make sure you invest in a sturdy, secure suitcase like the Swissgear 8836 20″ Expandable Laptop Carry on Hardside Luggage in Black. This suitcase has a dedicated laptop sleeve to protect your computer even when you’re pulling your bag on and off the train. It also offers elastic tie-down straps, a spacious interior, a TSA-approved lock and spinning wheels for the maximum organization as well as maneuverability.
Although having a car and driving the streets of Monaco like James Bond is certainly appealing, you don’t have to have a car while in the French Riviera. During the summer, roads can be filled with traffic and parking can be expensive. It’s free to travel on foot and just carry the essentials with you. A Swissgear 1818 Triangle Sling Bag puts everything you need without reach without weighing you down. You’ll love the padded shoulder strap and the mini-organizer panel, both of which can keep you comfortable and organized as you explore on foot. Plus, it looks stylish, and the sleek black color blends in with European fashion. If you’re planning on collecting lots of souvenirs, we recommend you checkout luggage sets for traveling to find some ideal luggage.
A Swissgear 1818 Triangle Sling Bag
Introducing the two-compartment Swissgear 1818 Triangle Sling Bag. Featuring a single-strap design that makes it simple to access your things by quickly swinging the bag on your shoulder, moving it from your back to your chest, putting everything within easy reach.
The Culture of the French Riviera
When you’re planning a trip to the French Riviera, you might focus on where to go. While the destinations are important, don’t forget about the incredible culture you can experience throughout the region. There is lots of history, culture, and cuisine that you won’t want to miss while in the French Riviera.
If you love art, you might want to check out museums like the Marc Chagall National Museum or the Musée Matisse, both of which are devoted to honoring French works of art. You might also want to explore the famous Jardin Botanique d’Èze, also known as the Exotic Garden. This amazing succulent garden is located in a medieval fortress that also happens to offer an incredible view. You could tour the 16th-century Saint-Elme Citadel or admire the mosaics in the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary.
Of course, no trip to the French Riviera would be complete without indulging in some local cuisine. A great stop for your itinerary is the daily Marche Provencal held in Antibes. This market is the perfect place to purchase fresh seafood, flavorful olives, artisan cheeses and even a few souvenirs like art or clothing. When you shop at the Marche Provencal, be sure to bring along your Swissgear 7677 Laptop Backpack. Even with your laptop in the integrated padded compartment of your laptop backpack, there is plenty of room for souvenirs. Whether you’re in a cafe eager to edit a few sightseeing photos or you have to stop to catch up on work emails, having your laptop accessible and secure is a huge plus. The backpack’s padded and breathable straps let you carry around your purchases and tech devices all day in comfort, and there are even easy-access side pockets suitable for water bottles. That’s a big advantage, because public water fountains are readily available in the French Riviera, letting you refill your reusable bottles throughout the day. The backpack even offers organizational features where you can store anything from a change of clothes and a towel for the beach to fresh fruit from the market, a hat and your camera.
Swissgear 7677 Laptop Backpack
Polished and petite, the Swissgear 7677 Laptop Backpack is a modern complement to any style. Adorning an easy-to-reach front pocket, dual side water bottle pockets, an internal zippered pocket, a tablet sleeve, and a 13” padded laptop compartment, it provides convenient compatibility for the on-the-go student who needs a new laptop bag.
Top Towns to Visit in the French Riviera
One of the best things about visiting the French Riviera is that you don’t have to stay in one place for the entire trip. You can easily visit two or more cities in a week, or you can have a home base and then add on a few day trips to see more during your stay. Check out some of the most popular destinations in the French Riviera as well as what makes each unique.
Nice: Nice is far more than just a nice place to visit. As you stroll along the famed Promenade des Anglais, you’ll be just steps from the waters of the Mediterranean. If you only have the chance to visit one place in the French Riviera, it should be Nice. That’s because the city offers great public transport, gorgeous beaches, ruined castles and fantastic restaurants. Many of the art, history and archeology museums are also free to visit. If you want to stay active during your stay, Nice boasts some wonderful coastal and mountainous paths suitable for a range of fitness levels.
Cannes: For glitz and glamour, head to Cannes. During the film festival in May, it’s celebrity season, but it’s an upscale destination year-round. This is the place to live largely and enjoy accommodation at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. You’ll want to dress to impress on the red carpet or while strolling along the Promenade de la Croisette, so bring along a suitcase that can fit plenty of wardrobe changes. The Swissgear 8836 28″ Expandable Hardside Spinner Luggage is designed to protect your belongs and keep them organized. The interior even expands for additional packing space! There’s also tie-down straps and side handles for extra convenience.
Monaco: Monaco is the home of royalty, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and legendary casinos featured in James Bond movies. Spend an evening at the Monte Carlo Casino where you can sip a martini and play a hand of poker. As the second-smallest independent state on the planet, Monaco is densely populated and easy to navigate on foot. Tour the medieval architecture of Monaco-Ville, take a photo in front of the Palace Princier where the current monarch of Monaco lives or catch a show in the iconic Monaco Opera House.
St. Tropez: This destination is all about outdoor living. Bring a bathing suit, because everything revolves around the beach and the pool. Soak in the glam of the past by finding a local bakery and ordering the Tarte Tropézienne, a local pastry named by none other than Brigitte Bardot. You can stroll along the waterfront for free but splurge on entry to a day club if you want to see what luxury is truly like in St. Tropez.