The azure coast is just that – France’s southern seaside lapped by the turquoise waters of the warm Mediterranean. The brash bustle of the tourist centres doesn’t float everyone’s luxury boat, but a more relaxed French holiday can easily be had.
The area is well served by direct flights into Nice and the Eurostar (website: www.eurostar.com) from London links with TGV (website: www.tgv.com) rail services heading south from Paris or Lille.
The prestigious celebration of the movies, the Cannes Film Festival (website: www.festival-cannes.fr), takes over the chic town from 14 to 25 May and the Monaco Grand Prix (website: www.visitmonaco.com) roars into the miniscule principality on 24 May.
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See Monaco’s marinas with their floating palaces and spot tax-exile racing drivers pacing out the world’s most famous street circuit before the big day.
Breath the cool, high air in the Mercantour National Park (website: www.mercantour.eu), a world away from the sultry sun-spots of the coastal resorts and home to eagles, wild boar and wolves.
Strut/rollerblade or drive (in a sports car ideally) along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais and stop to admire the faded charm of the fin-de-siecle beachfront hotels.
Dodge the holiday hordes and head to Nice’s old town then visit the Musée Matisse (website: www.musee-matisse-nice.org) to see the luminous colours of the Riviera captured by the brush of a master.
Don your best and join the high-rollers at the Monte-Carlo Casino (website: www.visitmonaco.com) for a night at the gaming tables.
Savour the sweet smell of Grasse (website: www.grasse.fr), France’s capital of perfume since the 16th century and gateway to the Provincial countryside.
Discover lesser-known destinations like Menton (website: www.menton.fr) on the French-Italian border, with its subtropical climate and gorgeous public gardens or Eze, 11km (7 miles) from Nice, a fortified, medieval village clinging to precipitous slopes.
Did you know?
Prince Rainier III of Monaco married Hollywood star Grace Kelly in 1956.