The city’s Old Port offers luxurious boutiques and casinos, while Le Suquet, or Old Town, provides a look into the area’s more traditional past. A stroll along Cannes’ winding streets, captivating churches, and clock towers reminds one of an earlier, more humble period.
A short boat ride from Cannes brings vacationers to the lush, historic Île Sainte-Marguerite, dating back to ancient Roman times. Here, bird-watchers can get a close-up view of swans, herons, falcons and more at the isle’s Étang du Batéguier pond, while nature lovers will enjoy the fragrant eucalyptus, pines and expansive views.
History buffs will appreciate the 17th-century Fort Royal, where France's most infamous prisoner, the Man in the Iron Mask, was once confined.
Cannes’ old quarter, with its quaint houses, winding alleyways, and impressive Château de Cannes, offer an authentic view of Provence; while upscale hotels, shops, and Allée des Étoiles, Cannes’ walk of fame, provide a more modern picture.
Sitting peacefully amidst azure Mediterranean seas, Nice has welcomed vacationers and renowned artists for centuries, such as beloved Henri Matisse, who spent his entire life in the city, and French-Russian modernist Marc Chagall. Museums, such as Musée Matisse and Musée Chagall, have been built here in their honor. Vacationers searching for something a bit more modern will enjoy the Musée d’art Moderne et d’art Contemporain (MAMAC).
Or simply admire Nice’s inspirational views. A ride or stroll along the Promenade des Anglais features grand views of the sparkling Mediterranean. Those more musically inclined should visit the baroque-style Palais Lascaris in Old Nice, built during the early 17th century. A collection of 500 or so rare musical instruments line its halls, adorned with colorful frescoes.
The regional capital of the exquisite French Riviera, Nice displays its charms in a more low-key fashion than neighboring Saint-Tropez or star-studded Cannes. Together, they create the perfect French Riviera holiday.
The business district of the world’s second smallest independent state of Monaco, Monte Carlo has a lot to offer. The views alone of rich blue Mediterranean seas and lush mountains are worth the trip. From jazz festivals, eclectic museums, opera and ballet to high-stakes gambling and grand prix car races, Monte Carlo keeps visitors on the move.
The historic Oceanographic Museum, founded by Prince Albert I, is built right onto the Rock of Monaco. Breathtaking Monte Carlo Harbor provides the perfect ambiance for daydreaming and people watching. Dedicated to the city’s patron saint, the understated Chapelle Sainte Devote dates back to the 11th century, and is frequently visited by Monaco’s royal family. Enticing Japanese Gardens offer more delightful scenery in a city overflowing with enchanting vistas.
At night, crowds dress up in their finest attire to attend an entertaining evening at the opulent Opera de Monte-Carlo. It doesn’t get much better than this, as grand culture and high society mix with alluring views of azure seas in romantic Monte Carlo.
What To Do
Discover underwater archeological treasures from ancient Roman shipwrecks at Musée de la Mer.
Explore the medieval ruins of Île Sainte-Marguerite, a tree-studded island about a mile and a half from Cannes. Hike along its natural reserve, Le Batéguier. Or visit another nearby isle, Île Saint-Honora, with its 19th-century monastery. Vacationers can purchase wines and other souvenirs made by resident monks, and fortunate souls can even arrange for a contemplative retreat. Get an authentic taste of Cannes at the tempting Marché Forville, where locals sell fresh seafood plucked right from nearby seas, plus delicious cheeses, colorful flowers, and traditional French delicacies.
Climb Colline du Château (Castle Hill) for incredible views of Nice’s Old Town and nearby turquoise seas. Go for a cool dip in the glistening waters of the Mediterranean.
Delight yourself or your favorite someone with a bouquet of vividly colored flowers from a quaint shop in Vieille Ville (Old Town). Sip some café au lait at a local café and watch the world stroll by.
Visit the fragrant lavender fields of Grasse, between Nice and Cannes.
Explore the impressive impressionist paintings highlighting Nice at Musée Matisse.
People watch at the world-famous Brasserie du Café de Paris Monte-Carlo. Tour the entrancing Nouveau Musée National de Monaco located at the Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber. Visit the charming village of Eze, France near Monte Carlo. Walk through its cobblestone streets to a charming castle at the top of a hill. Hike down Nietzsche’s path, named after the renowned German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who used to walk here during his visits.
While this area is wonderful for people watching, Monte Carlo is also the perfect locale to check out luxurious cars and yachts.
Sit back and count the waves at Larvotto Beach alongside the international jet set. Dress in your finest attire for a night at the Opera du Monte Carlo, where such renowned entertainers as Enrico Caruso, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti have performed. Take a gamble on Monte Carlo; it’s clearly worth it.
When to Go
A trip to Cannes and the French Riviera is lovely in any season, with sunshine year-round. Summer can get very hot, with temperatures over 90 F. The more temperate weather makes spring and fall te perfect time to visit.
Cannes' International Film Festival is held in May.
Each year, dating back to 1294, Nice hosts a carnival in mid-February.
Although many stores close during August, sun-worshippers love to spend long summer days basking upon the region’s splendid beaches.