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The French Riviera

A famous hangout place for the rich and famous, the French Riviera offers its visitors an unforgettable experience. Known in French as Côte d'Azur, the region is rich in beautiful beaches, Michelin restaurants, art and culture. This scenic coastal drive features the best route to explore the iconic coastline fully.

Start: Toulon

Finish: Menton

Duration: 226km; 7 Days

 

Day 1: Toulon to Saint-Tropez

Distance: 82km

Time: 1hr 48 minutes

The trip starts in Toulon, an important centre for French naval construction, fishing and winemaking. Take the D559A heading west towards Sain-Tropez. The drive mixes old French charm with stunning sea views. Take the D93 to Pampelonne Beach, where Brigitte Bardot filmed "And God Created Woman". Its beautiful soft sand and clear water is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Popular with artists in the 1960s, Saint-Tropez remains known for its beaches and thriving nightlife. Visit the Harbour and the Citadelle for some culture and sightseeing. The Place des Lices Market has a great variety of items for sale, from fresh food to books.

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Day 2: Saint-Tropez to Saint-Raphael

Distance: 39km

Time: 52 minutes

Continue on the D559A to keep the drive close to the coastline. The area has many beaches, such as Nartelle, Frejus and Esclamandes.

Saint-Raphael is a resort town named after a WWII allied landing. The town has a couple of casinos for those who enjoy a bit of gambling. The Jardin Bonaparte and Massif de l'Esterel are good options for nature lovers and offer nice walks and nice green and lush scenery.

Local seafood is regarded as a specialty in Saint-Raphael. Try the Bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew, in one of the many excellent restaurants around town.

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Day 3: Saint-Raphael to Cannes

Distance: 40km

Time: 1hr 10minutes

Cannes is renowned for its famous film festival. The town is a luxurious destination for the world's rich and famous jet setters and a glamorous place with fantastic beaches and shopping options.

Explore the historic castle walls of Museum de la Castre to see a collection of Mediterranean antiquities and pre-Columbian primitive art. Spend some time in one of its many beautiful beaches: Croisette, du Midi or La Bocca. Walk around La Croisette, a street filled with upscale stores and restaurants. Finish the day watching the city lights ( and its people) from an intimate wine bar downtown.

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Day 4: Cannes to Nice

Distance: 33km

Time: 45 minutes

Take the D6007 on your way to Nice. Make a small detour and stop at Antibes to visit the Picasso Museum. The museum is near where the famous painter lived after WWII and now showcases modern and contemporary art. Antibes is also known for its numerous markets, including La Marche Provençal, renowned for its fresh produce.

Nice is the heart of the French Riviera. Start your visit at the Matisse Museum, dedicated to the famous French artist and later on, walk to the Cathedrale Saint-Nicolas, a beautiful Russian cathedral.

Don't miss out on the fantastic food and nightlife the city has to offer.

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Day 5: Nice

Nice deserves a second day dedicated to its many activities. Visit the historic old town, a part of Nice with a mediaeval village influence, with narrow streets curving between old buildings with red-tile roofs, small restaurants and open markets.

Explore Gambetta, the neighbourhood home to two great museums: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice, a fine-art museum with paintings by van Loo & Monet and The Villa Massena Museum, a centre for Riviera art & artefacts from the belle époque, including Napoleon's death mask.

Stroll around Voilier Beach for a bit of sunshine before heading to Eze. This tiny mediaeval village is charming and unspoiled by mass tourism.

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Day 6: Nice to Monaco

Distance: 29km

Time: 45 minutes

Continue on M6007 to reach Monaco. The Principality of Monaco is a favourite destination for the super-wealthy. The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is located on a magnificent building. The museum focuses on marine life preservation, from beautiful aquariums to the shark lagoon and Turtle Island.

At night, go to the Monte Carlo Casino to gamble or to look at its magnificent architecture. Enjoy a walk around Monaco Harbour for some people seeing to end a day of luxury.

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Day 7: Monaco to Menton

Distance: 13km

Time: 20 minutes

Drive along the coast via D6007 to the last stop on this trip. Menton is the last stop on the glamorous Côte d'Azur before getting to Italy. It's known for beautiful beaches and gardens such as the Serre de la Madone garden, showcasing rare plants.

The Jean Cocteau Museum features a collection of famous poets' body of work. Spend some time at the exquisite Jardin Botanique Val Rahmeh: its sea-facing exotic gardens have a subtropical microclimate unique in France. Relax at Palmes Beach; the area offers several activities, including diving, swimming and snorkelling. Enjoy the night ahead in one of the many bistros and take in the last part of this fantastic holiday.

 

Drive the Amazing French Riviera


 

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