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Best Ways to Explore the French Riviera
August 14, 2020 | By: Matthew Williams
Whether you know it as the French Riviera or the Côte d’Azur, this beautiful region in the south of France is a magical place to explore. With its gorgeous coastline, elegant coastal towns and fascinating history, the French Riviera has been a tourist magnet for centuries. There is plenty to discover, no matter your interests, and in this article, we are going to show you some of the best options for exploring the region.
What better way to explore the iconic towns of the Côte d’Azur, than with a walking tour with a passionate local guide? With What to do Riviera and their partners you can enjoy both free and fee paying walking tours of Cannes, Antibes, Nice and Monaco. Discover the top sights, see the hidden corners and find out all about the history, culture and traditions of these fascinating towns. In Cannes find out about the world famous Film Festival and the town’s glamorous addresses, in Antibes discover the town’s ancient Greek past and remaining fortifications, in Nice experience the Belle Epoch past and the art scene past and present and in Monaco find out about the rich and famous who flock to this tiny country and what makes it so special. Whether you join one or more, you will come away with some great insights and a better appreciation of the region beyond the beach!
If you are looking for a more active way to explore the French Riviera, then hop on a bike and take in the views of the coast from a different perspective. Between Antibes and Nice you will find a fantastic 23 km cycle route that is mostly flat and gives you the chance to stop off at the quaint towns along the way. It is easy cycling and you can also choose just to do part of it or combine it with routes into the interior. A fun detour is to cycle to Cagnes-sur-Mer and the picturesque hilltop town of Hauts-de-Cagnes with its breathtaking views of the coast. Keep in mind that there will be some steep climbs on this route and if you are concerned you could consider hiring an e-bike instead (it is a holiday afterall)! You can also join a guided e-bike tour in Antibes around the main sites and along some of the most memorable sights on the nearby coastline or a tailored road bike tour of the region for some breath-taking views.
Food and drink tours
All French regions have their own proud culinary traditions and beautiful fresh produce and the French Riviera is no different with its own delicious Provencal flavours. The hills around the coast are rich with vineyards, olive groves and a rich variety of other fruit and vegetables, which you can easily find freshly prepared in local restaurants. For a true appreciation of this bounty join a cookery class for a few hours or even a day and learn all about the history, production techniques, cooking tips and of course most importantly the chance to try what you have made! You can also join a specialised tour exploring local flavours, including a wine tasting, vineyard tour and a stop at a Michelin starred restaurant for a wonderful insight into the region's cuisine.
Another fantastic way to appreciate the scenery on the Côte d’Azur is go on a self-guided driving tour. The beauty of this activity is that you can tailor it to exactly what you are interested in seeing. Choose a route that explores the inland hill towns and vineyards, or make your way along the iconic coastline, stopping at the world-renowned towns of Cannes, Saint Tropez and Monte Carlo. Pack a picnic of local specialties or make a reservation at a restaurant overlooking the coast. Stop at one of the quieter beaches along the Côte d’Azur and enjoy the peace and quiet with the beauty of the Med. Whatever you choose, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience.
You will find a huge range of options to explore this wonderful region by sea from sailing ships to speed boats. It is a lovely way to see the coast at its best with the azure blue waters contrasting with the deep red cliffs of the coast. See the elaborate mansions of the rich and famous and marvel at the superyachts enjoyed by the wealthy that flock to the region. If you are looking for something a bit more active, many tours give you the chance to combine the experience with snorkelling, swimming and other water sports. Or if you want something a bit more special, opt for a trip on a sailing yacht and watch the sun set while you savour dinner on the deck.
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