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The Cote d’Azur is probably the most fashionable place on Earth. It’s home to some of France’s most beautiful cities, including Nice. I still remember my first time to the Cote d’Azur, it was beautiful, the weather was perfect and I felt so happy. And it plays host to some of the best cultural events on the calendar, like the Cannes Film Festival. But what about the discerning traveller? What can they hope to get out of a trip to France’s southern coast? Let’s find out.
In northern Europe and Britain, around 70 percent of days are overcast. Ouch. Yet, in the south of France, just a few hundred miles away, the sun always seems to be shining. According to meteorological data, the Cote d’Azur sees on average 300 days of sunshine a year. It’s no wonder the Victorians flocked here to escape the misery of London. Peak times are July and August, of course. But the weather is still pleasant in May and September for off-season travellers.
Have you ever wished that Venice would rend itself from Italy, trot up the coast and park itself on the Cote d’Azur? Well, if you have, you’re in luck. Port Grimaud is like a mini Venice, right on your doorstep. The town was first envisioned by French architect Francois Spoerry back in the 1960s. He wanted to create a village on four islets near to St Tropez. The result? A town that is centred around narrow canals that creates the feel of Venice. Here you’ll find romantic bridges, boats, restaurants and boutiques brimming with designer fashion. There are also luxury South of France homes nearby for easy access.
Monaco has been its own sovereign state since the 13th century, thanks to the Grimaldi family. Since then, it’s become something of an island of safety and luxury for the world’s richest people. Here they can enjoy everything that the high–life has to offer. The harbour at Monaco is teeming with luxury yachts and private boats. And the city itself is full of expensive restaurants and luxury stores. Here, you’ll also find the world’s most famous casino, Monte Carlo. Fancy your luck?
Nice is referred to locally as “Nice La Belle.” It was a town that grew up during the Victorian and Edwardian era. As a result, it has some of the most beautiful architecture and buildings in the whole of France. There is an English legacy here that is hard to ignore, as made apparent by the Promenade des Anglais. But the true Nice is a portal into French culture. The narrow streets are packed with what can only be described as authentic French pastimes. The food market at Cours Saleya is a must-visit attraction.
When you’re considered to be a “pearl” in a place like the Cote d’Azur, you know you must be something special. Cannes is precisely that. Here you’ll find much of what you’ll find in Monaco. There are designer boutiques galore, and plenty of expensive jewellery on display. But, surprisingly, you can also still experience traditional French culture. The surrounding area is dominated by its maritime legacy. Be on the lookout for great seafood restaurants.