Is The French Riviera Worth Visiting? The 13 Unique Things to do on the French Riviera

Last Updated on 10/05/2022 by Alfred

Have you decided to go on holiday and visit the Côte d’Azur? So here are the best things to do and see in this beautiful southern region!

The French Riviera. There are little words that make more than one dream come true! Whether in France or abroad, the Costa Azzura, as the Italians call it, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes.

It includes a large part of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, also having the magnificent Principality of Monaco.

For the record, its origin is quite funny. It was a Dijon writer who, in 1887, decided to give him this nickname while he was staying in his Côte d’Azur villa.

While looking at the sea, he had the idea of naming his book Côte, in homage to his region, the Côte-d’Or, and Azur, whose meaning is “blue in heraldry.” This name fits him like a glove!

So, is French Riveria worth visiting? Undoubtedly, French Riveria or Cote d’Azur is worth visiting.

Not sure what to do on the French Riviera? Let us guide you through these 13 must-sees not to be missed!

Is the French Riviera Worth Visiting? The 13 Unique Things to do on the French Riviera

1. Saint-Tropez

Is The French Riviera Worth Visiting? The 13 Unique Things to do on the French Riviera

It is almost inconceivable to come and visit the Côte d’Azur without going through Saint Tropez. Whether you like bling-bling or not, Saint-Tropez is a true jewel of the French Riviera.

The atmosphere changes according to the different times of the year, but each season has its charm. The small port is lined with restaurants and ice cream shops.

Its colorful streets are a hallmark of the city. The church is world-famous. Not to mention his Tropezian pie! You can’t miss it! Whether during the day or in the evening, Saint-Tropez is a must in the region.

A word of advice: go by boat! Since the crossing is enjoyable and inexpensive, you will save yourself from the frequent traffic jams during the summer months.

But also, because it will also allow you to visit the pretty town of Sainte Maxime, located not far from Saint-Tropez!

2. The Bay of Cannes

Cannes and its Croisette. Who doesn’t know this iconic city? Cannes no longer needs to forge a reputation between its festival and its luxurious boutiques.

But, luxury, rhinestones, and glitter are not the only assets of the beautiful. Its coastline is superb as well as its city center. You will enjoy strolling by the sea up to the old town. A visit to its castle is also delightful.

Of course, for shoppers, Cannes is not going to disappoint you. Many shops are concentrated in the city center and along the Croisette, for your greatest pleasure!

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3. Monaco

Let us now go to the other side, towards Monaco. The beautiful Principality is a must if you visit the Côte d’Azur! Coming to Monaco is like entering another world: that of beauty and wealth. Because no, it’s not a myth.

While strolling around Monaco, you are sure to come across luxurious sports cars and upscale shops. The city and its pretty alleyways are worth exploring, as is its palace, ideally located on a rock that dominates the entire bay. The view is excellent.

Also, visit the lovely gardens. Monaco Aquarium is also an enriching activity if the area interests you. So remember to take your tickets!

4. The village of Èze

The hilltop village of Èze is one of the most beautiful villages in the region and France. If you do not know what to do on the French Riviera, we strongly advise you to visit it!

It is located not far from Monaco, about 8 kilometers away, on the hills near the Turbie.

An authentic village dating from the Middle Ages, you will fall under the spell of its picturesque old houses. In the heart of the village is also a botanical garden. The panorama you enjoy when visiting it is breathtaking!

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5. The Nice Market

As the Italians say, Nizza la Bella is a must-see town on the French Riviera. It is world-famous for its Promenade des Anglais; Nice takes you into an Italian atmosphere.

This city has many assets, such as its castle with its waterfall, Mont Boron which offers you an incredible view, old Nice, and its yesteryear charm. But also culinary specialties such as socca or pissaladière!

And, of course, it’s Cours Saleya flower market! Then, in February, it’s dazzling Carnival. Nice has so much to offer you!

6. The Islands of Lerins

The islands of Lerins consist of two islands: Saint-Honorat, famous for its monastery, and Sainte-Marguerite, known for its fort that would have served as a refuge for the Man in the Iron Mask.

Easily accessible by most of the coastal towns of the Côte d’Azur, they benefit from a remarkable fauna and flora. Come and escape for a day on this preserved archipelago of the region. A must if you come to visit the Côte d’Azur.

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7. Saint-Paul-de-Vence

You can not miss the visit to this emblematic village of the French Riviera. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is where to see if you don’t know what to do on the French Riviera!

Despite the influx of summer periods, it has remained in its natural state. Its alleys have an incredible charm.

Lined with small restaurants, shops, and art galleries of all kinds, you will enjoy strolling around without even worrying about the passage of time.

Its main viewpoint also offers you a magnificent panorama of the Mediterranean coast. Why not drink at the café in the square while playing petanque?

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8. The Esterel

The Esterel is located in the Var. This is a mountain range with red/orange colors, typical of the region. Hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding are available on the Esterel massif. Its particular landscape will not leave you indifferent!

By car, starting from Cannes, you can take the whole route of the Esterel and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. Pretty hidden coves are all around you, but you have to earn them! Access is not always easy.

9. The Gorges du Verdon

A magnificent sight of the Côte d’Azur can be found here. The Gorges du Verdon is a canyon dug by the river of the same name: Verdon. It is considered the largest canyon in Europe.

Walking, canoeing and hiking are some of the activities available! Among the must-see sites, you will find the beautiful Lake of Sainte Croix and Lake Esparron. Superb views on crystal blue crystal clear water.

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10. A boat ride

Visiting the Côte d’Azur also means enjoying its coastline. Indeed, very nice excursions are to be done by boat.

The azure blue of the sea, which extends from the Var coast to the Monegasque principality, offers an enchanting setting. It would be a shame not to take advantage of it by renting a boat.

11. Grasse, the city of perfume

If you do not know what to do on the French Riviera, this activity is extraordinary, since there are few places where you can visit the largest perfumeries in the world, such as Fragonard or Galimard.

Beautiful city; thanks also has a perfume museum and a superb Roman Catholic cathedral that still contains many works of art today, including paintings of the great Rubens.

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12. Menton

The town of Menton lies on the Italian border. Its architecture is also very colorful and typical. The old Menton is very nice. You could get lost in it by enjoying an excellent Italian ice cream.

And why not, if you come in February, participate in the famous lemon festival!

Like the Nice Carnival, it is a very popular event for the city, well known for its lemons now benefiting from a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).

If you will visit the French Riviera, then go through Menton. Its museum dedicated to Jean Cocteau is also very informative!

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13. Mercantour Park

Moving a little away from the coast, about a 1-hour drive from Nice, visit the Mercantour Park. It is a protected and preserved natural park. With peaks at more than 3,000 meters, another world is available to you.

Hiking, mountain biking, climbing, or exploring wolves. This place is part of the ten national parks of France and is worth a visit.

Other must-sees in Cote d’Azur

As you can see, the region is full of things to do and see! There is also Saint Raphael and its pretty port, Hyères, and its islands of Porquerolles and Port Cros in the cities to visit.

Why not go even further and see the first cities on the Italian coast, such as Ventimiglia and San Remo.

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How to get to the French Riviera

The Côte d’Azur is a very touristic area. It is easily accessible:

  • By car: the motorway connecting the Côte d’Azur to all cities in Europe is the A8. As an indication, it will take you about 8 hours to connect Paris to Nice by car;

  • By train: the region is served by multiple stations. SNCF’s fast or express trains (TGV, Trains Corail) connect the Côte d’Azur to all French areas and all the largest cities in Europe. The TGV Méditerranée allows you to reach Paris in 5 hours and 25 minutes.

You will find TGV stations in Nice, Antibes, and Cannes.

  • By boat: the ports of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Nice, Cannes, and Monaco are the main Mediterranean ports of call for cruises;

  • By plane: Nice Côte d’Azur airport is the second largest airport in France (after Paris). If you want to come and visit the French Riviera, then the plane remains the easiest and fastest way. Do not hesitate to consult our Ulysses flight comparator to organize your trip.

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