At the heart of Europe, between the Southern Alps and the Mediterranean, prepare to be amazed by the Côte d'Azur, or French Riviera. Embark on a sea excursion to the Lérins Islands, or visit the pebble beach resorts of Mandelieu-la-Napoule in Menton. The Mercantour National Park, together with the 13 other natural parks in the Côte d'Azur "department", make up a vast playground for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canyoning, climbing, and caving. This region also houses 15 ski resorts with over 700km of slopes.
The itinerary "The Painter's Côte d'Azur" examines how this region was seen by the great artists (Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Dufy, and so on). From Antibes to the National Picasso Museum "War and Peace", by way of the Maeght Foundation, be won over by the painter’s passion for the Côte d'Azur.
The Greek Villa of Kerylos, the Cimiez Arenas, the Tropaeum Alpium are ample evidence of strong ties linking the Côte d'Azur to Antiquity, whether through legacy or direct imitation. The Villa Ephrussi Rothschild, the Chapelle Notre-Dame des Fontaines or the Notre-Dame Sanctuary of Laghet show just how much Italy has influenced the architecture of the Côte d'Azur, not forgetting the Russian Church and the Chagall Museum in Nice, or the new Jean Cocteau Museum (Severin Wunderman collection) in Menton.
Cannes, Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, and Nice have long been the favoured pleasure grounds of International Aristocracy, which has left an indelible stamp on these towns. It’s the apotheosis of elegance and luxury from the Promenade des Anglais to La Croisette and from yachts to palaces.
The hinterland is teeming with sites of great renown: Grasse and its perfume shops, St. Paul of Vence, and the Napoleon Route which links Golfe-Juan to Gronable over 300km.
Discover the full range of flavours of Provencal cuisine from Michelin starred restaurants to more typical establishments. Sample such traditional recipes as: pissaladière (a pizza-like dish), niçoise salad, raviolis, gnocchi, daube (a red meat stew marinated in red wine), stockfish (dried fish, usually cod),ratatouille, farcis niçois (vegetables stuffed with meat and herbs), tourte de blette (Swiss Chard Tart)…
The colourful market stalls overflow with sunkissed locally-sourced produce alongside gourmet specialities (honey, candied fruits) and craft products (especially fragrances derived from flowers, but also Vallauris pottery, orglass artworks from Biot).
The Mimosa Festival, The Lemon Festival in Menton, the Nice Carnival, all these summer pyrotechnics lend a festive colour to your stay on the Riviera. The Cannes International Film Festival opens the season with a series of prestigious cultural and artistic events, followed by the Nice Jazz Festival andJazz in Juan.
For children, there is Marineland and the Phoenix Floral Park which made ideal desinations for family outings.
The French Riviera enjoys exceptionally sunny weather with a great many treasures on offer: an outstanding cultural heritage, sublime landscapes that served to inspire the greatest artists, munificent and well preserved countryside, tranquil hilltop villages, sun-soaked Mediterranean cuisine, a generous lifestyle, and many important international events.