Great Videos and Photos of the Best Places and Things to see in Cote d'Azur France. For the independent traveller who is interested in seeing places while planning their next trip. Or for anyone who likes to be close to nature and see the quieter parts of the country or city
The Cote d'Azur or often know as the French Riviera runs from Monaco to Cannes. The Riveria is holiday spot for both international celebrities and locals alike, stay in the cities of Nice, Cannes or Antibes or some of the smaller coastal towns or villages.
Both Villefranche sur Mer and lie right on the sea below the cornice and easily accessible by train and bus from Nice.
Villefranche sur Mer
Enjoy a stroll around this Mediterranean town or relax on the beach or enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafes.
Villefranche sur Mer sits below high cliffs and as the name suggests, fronts the sea. Over the centuries the town has been home to many painters and artists.
The town is only 15 minutes by train or road from Nice.
While the tourists from the Cruise Voyages stop off and wander the small streets and alley ways, the fishermen mend their nets, unload their catches and continue about their daily fishing chores. Though many of the fishermen have taken up the more lucrative roles as captains of sea ferries and diving vessels.
The deep waters around the bay provide anchorage to some of the world's largest cruise liners.
The town has developed many fine restaurants, with a concentration on sea food.
The fortress or Citadel de Villefranche-sur-Mer, was built approx. 1554 and remained a military fortification until 1965.
Today the fortress is open to the public and houses a museum.
The St Pierre chapel, dedicated to St Peter, the patron saint of fishermen overlooks the port and sea.
Beaulieu sur Mer
Wander around the marina, enjoy the architecture of this town set at the foot of the mountains
Beaulieu sur Mer is an up-market seaside resort town and a year-round commercial and residential town. The town has a very pretty aspect, sited below dramatic cliffs on the sea shore. The town has shops, shady tree-lined sidewalks and a Casino, along the waterfront there are beaches and a marina.
As the Côte d'Azur the developed into a world destination for the wealthy (end 19th century) , Beaulieu-sur-Mer became a favourite residence for European royalty and rich Americans such as Isaac Singer, founder of the sewing machine company, and James Gordon Bennett, Jr., publisher of the New York Herald.
Today it is a wealthy town and holiday destination of the well to do.
The mountain village and castle of Eze is easily accessible from Nice by Bus, while the sea side village of Eze sur Mer is right on the rail line from Nice.
Eze is a fortified hilltop town, accessible from Nice or Monaco by the high Grand Corniche road or from the train station along the sea (Eze sur Mer), by a winding path that takes you up through the mountains and finally to the cafes, restaurants of Eze with its fine mountain vistas.
From the village, on a clear day (which is quite often) you can see as far as St Tropez and to Corsica in the Mediterranean.
From west to east, the grande corniche, a high cliff road offering spectacular views of the 600m mountain cliffs as they drop precariously to the Mediterranean, starts at Vinaigrier hill and continues to the promontory Bataille hill.
The vote of the annexation of the Nice to France took place on the 15th and 16th April 1860. In Eze, the voting took place in the chapel of the white penitents. On 171 registered voters, there were 133 voters and 133 ballot paper marked "yes".
Nietzsche was a frequent visitor to Eze.
In the village, the philosopher who was sensitive to the influence of the climate and the landscapes, regenerated himself. Like many writers, he needs to walk to create." "I could, without having the concept of tiredness, be in the mountains for periods of seven or eight hours". I slept well, I laugh much. I was in a perfect condition of patience."
Eze sur Mer
Take the train from Nice to Eze sur Mer and walk the mountain track – from the station, it is about an hours uphill walk to Eze
Eze sur Mer is accessible by train from Nice/Monaco – approx. 25 minutes duration. The trains run frequently approx. 2 per hour. The station is close to a residential area, though from the pathway across the road from the station, you can reach the village of Eze, high up in the mountains.
The path twists and turns as it winds its way higher and higher up the 600m cliff face. The views of the Mediterranean are well worth the steep walk.
When you reach the village you will find a number of well sited cafes, where you can relax, before trekking back down for a train.
Both Nice and Monaco can be reached by local bus from Eze. Check locally for the timetable.
Visit the Principality of Monaco, home of the Monaco Grand Prix
Bordered by the Mediterranean to the south and surrounded by the French department of Alpes-Maritimes , Monaco a tiny country of about 2 square km, has a population of 30,0000, making it one of the most densely populated countries.
Monaco is a monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state. The country is a tax haven and offers special appeal to the rich and famous.
The principality is famous both for its Casinos and Grand Prix.
Four districts make up the town:
Monaco-Ville, historic seat of the Principality, located upon the rock where the Prince Palace stands,
Monte-Carlo, the district surrounding its Casino,
La Condamine around Port Hercule,
Fontvieille, the new industrial area built on ground reclaimed from the sea.
Monte Carlo in Monaco is situated at the base of the Maritime Alps on the French Riviera. It is not only famous its mild climate, beaches, hotels, casinos but also the hosts the Monaco Grand Prix, boxing championship, European Poker Tour Grand Final, World Back Gammon Championships and many fashion shows.
Enjoy the atmosphere of this sea side town along the French Riviera.
Les Croisette is the waterfront avenue with palm trees, the avenue is known for picturesque beaches and for restaurants, cafés and boutiques.
La Suquet, the old town, provides a good view of La Croisette.
The fortified tower and Chapel of St Anne house the Musée de la Castre.
Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea)
The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned on the Île Sainte-Marguerite. The mysterious individual was believed to be of noble blood, but his identity has never been proven.
His cell can be visited in the Fort of St Marguerite, now renamed the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea). This museum also houses discoveries from shipwrecks off the island, including Roman (first century BC) and Saracen (10th century AD) ceramics.
The first Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939, but the war intervened resulting in the festival taking place, on 20 September 1946. It was subsequently held every September – except in 1948 and 1950 – and then every May from 1952 onwards.
The early Festivals were primarily a social event from which almost all of the films went away with an award but with the appearances of stars from around the world on the Festival's red carpet and increasing media coverage quickly earned it a legendary international reputation.
Before 1972, the competing films were selected by their country of origin. From 1972, the Festival Committee chose the films that would feature in the Official Selection, thus asserting its authority.
On the 50th anniversary of the Festival de Cannes 1997, the world's greatest directors came together on stage to award the Palme des Palmes to Ingmar Bergman.
In 2007, on the 60th anniversary, 33 of the world's greatest directors were invited to take part in an anniversary film, To Each His Own Cinema, each shooting a 3-minute short film about the rooms in which films are projected in cinemas.
Cannes the City
Cannes has a reputation as being an exclusive destination for the rich. The Cannes Film Festival is held annually in May (generally). In April and October there are trade fairs for the television industry. The city has long established it's self as being a media and high tech convention city.
Along the rail line to Cannes there are a number of towns worth visiting - Cagnes sur Mer and Grasse which is outside the Riviera are just two.
Cagnes sur Mer
Stroll around the small streets of this hill top castle town, set above Cagnes sur Mer
Cagnes sur Mer– accessible from Nice by local train, is a seaside resort and fishing port. Strolling about the old fishing port of Cros de Cagnes is a must, and while you're there you will surely be tempted by some grilled fish or to try the local specialty of Poutine.
The charm of the Haut de Cagnes (the old city at the top) is another reason for visiting Cagnes.
The medieval quarter surrounding the castle is full of tiny streets, stairs, little restaurants and old houses that gradually descend down and blend with the modern lower city.
Cagnes is also a city of artists, with such painters as Ziem, Derain, Cezanne, Renoir, and Modigliani who all helped to make this city famous.
Take a trip to the home of perfume in the foot hills of the alps.
The town of Grasse in Provenance, but just a short train ride from the Cote d'Azur is built on a hill overlooking the plains, is the centre of billion $ perfume industry.
The soil and the temperate climate are ideal for growing hyacinth, jasmine and tuberose, the base ingredients for perfume, though today the trend towards synthetic essences continues, with a resulting decline in the natural essences.
The traditional method is still retained by a number of perfumeries, Fragonard, being the largest.
The cobble town centre is ideal for strolling about, a visit to Notre Dame du Puy Cathedral and the 12th-century bishop's palace being well worth a visit, as are the many side walk cafes.
Not always so perfumed.
Grasse owes its prosperity to its closeness to the sea, the mild climate and clean water which thunders down from the mountains. The abundant supply of water led to the growth of a tanning industry in the 15th century. The tanners worked on the rivers banks, scraping, washing, and soaking the leather for months at a time. The people of Grasse were no doubt experts in tanning. But while Grasse was famous for its leather, it was renowned for the smells of animal carcasses and other odours resulting from the tanning.
Innovative tanners started to mix olive oil with scents from wild flowers and used the scented oil in the tanning process, producing a softer leather with a fine smell. The smell from the flowers also helped to reduce the unpleasant odours from the tanning.
The scented soft leather was used to make ladies gloves and exported to some of the larger cities where they became a fashion item, helping delicate ladies overcome the odours of the streets.
In time Grasse became known for its scents and as the tanning industry declined the perfume industry grew to what it is today.
While in Italy, it is included in this guide because its the last stop on both the Riviera train line from Nice and the Italian train system from Genoa.
Ventimiglia is a coastal city situated in northern Italy with an ancient medieval city centre. It is steeped in history and offers the sightseer many historical attractions. To name but a few the remains of a Roman theatre, traces of ancient city walls and tombs. Balzi Rossi Caves and Giardino Hanbury/Hanbury Gardens also offer places of interest to the tourist as well as the Friday market.