The French Riviera, or the Côte d’Azur, is the sun-soaked stretch of coastline in southeastern France that runs along the Mediterranean through illustrious cities such as St-Tropez, Cannes, Nice and the sovereign principality of Monaco, as well as secluded spots such as Grasse and Villefranche sur Mer. Packed with affluent resorts, Michelin-starred restaurants, VIP parties, haute couture and private beach clubs, the myth surrounding this region is undeniably luxurious, storied and extravagant. Between long, leisurely lunches spent indulging in the highbrow cuisine of Nice, strolling from boutique to boutique along La Croisette in Cannes and afternoons spent poolside in St-Tropez, the Côte d’Azur is every bit as glamorous as you’ve heard. This is one of the world’s great seaside destinations, remaining a sizzling jet set hotspot among an exclusive and sophisticated crowd that spans millionaire elite and A-list celebrities.
Where to Stay
For more than half a century, the legendary Hotel Byblos has played host to some of the high-profile figures, discreet family holidays and lavish summer celebrations. Since it first opened its doors in 1967, the family-owned hotel has felt like its own posh seaside village within a village along the Mediterranean. Life in the Byblos world is revolves around the central pool that’s surrounded by palm trees, pink and ochre-hued fisherman’s cottages and lavish Byzantine-meets-Provençal décor. None of the generously-sized 40 rooms and 51 suites are duplicates, whereas the luxury comfort stems from the timeless design, soft color palettes and sumptuous bathrooms. Take a peek beyond the windows and you’re treated to lovely views of the pool, the gardens and the Mediterranean sun. Elsewhere, the property is home to France’s first Sisley spa, whose Lebanese room has reconstructed a 17th-century palace in Beirut that was transported stone by stone, a pair of understated restaurants and an iconic nightclub. Not only is St-Tropez the ideal base for exploration in the Côte d’Azur, but the hotel sits on the highest hill in the city that’s 10 minutes on foot from the tranquil shores of its own Byblos Beach and 15 minutes in car to the famous Pampelonne Beach. Check out our Luxury Hotel Guide to the Côte d’Azur for a complete list of recommendations.
Where to Dine
Located within the famous Hotel Belles Rives, La Passagère is the enchanting gourmet restaurant that sits directly on the waters. Nestled comfortably between Nice and Cannes on Cap d’Antibes in the quaint town of Juan-les-Pins, the surrounding megayachts and maze-like Old Town that’s encased by 16th-century ramparts set the stage as you approach the property. Inside, the space is decorated with glided columns, frescos that date back to the 1930s, hand-painted porcelain and magnificent chandeliers. The allure culminates on the outdoor terrace that features stunning panoramic views of the bay of Juan-les-Pins, the Lerin Islands and the Esterel. Led by Executive Chef Yoricre Tièche, the Michelin-starred restaurant puts forth a menu of fresh Mediterranean cuisine that pays homage to its location with a focus on local seafood. Be sure to take a peek through our Restaurant Guide to the Côte d’Azur for an expanded list of dining establishments.
What to Do
When it comes to the Côte d’Azur, Nice finds itself as a vibrant hub of culture and art that’s filled to the brim with old-fashioned bars, fine dining establishments and historic galleries. Get lost in the winding alleyways and Belle Époque architecture of Vieux Nice to uncover its alluring charm, whereas a stroll along the seaside Promenade des Anglais is a pleasant reminder of its old-world opulence. Head to St-Tropez when you’re feeling glamorous to join the well-heeled types arriving by the yachtful. Here you can indulge at the gaudy seafood restaurants and make your way to the star-studded beach clubs that burst into life as the sun goes down. You’ll soon realize why St-Tropez has developed a reputation as a hedonistic playground for the rich and famous. No trip to the French Riviera is complete without a visit to high-rolling Monaco. Iconic sites such as the Monte-Carlo casino, Royal Palace and Exotic Gardens make for a fantastic visual feast that you won’t soon forget. While chilled rosé on the beach, nightclubs filled with sun-kissed socialites and languid afternoons spent lounging on the yacht are certainly the norm in the Côte d’Azur, there’s also a side of the Riviera that’s subtle, charming and cultural. The region is home to everything to everything from alluring vineyards and scattered medieval villages to natural parks and Roman ruins. When you want to briefly escape the crowds, the picturesque Villefrance-sur-Mer is the perfect spot for some tranquility.
What to Wear
Whether you’re staying in St-Tropez, Monaco or Nice, don’t expect to see any shortage of brand names and the latest trends in the Côte d’Azur. From the charming seaside dinners and extravagant beach clubs to days spent beside the resort pool, it may be wise to channel your cool, collected and charming self to properly enjoy the enchanting melodies of the French Riviera. For an afternoon in the Old Town, opt for this AMUR Joy Pleated Linen Blend Midi Dress for a chic daytime option. The dress is cut from a lightweight linen blend for optimal breathability, whereas ultra-slim shoulder straps and pleat detailing provide nice touches. This Officina del Poggio Mini Safari Straw Shoulder Bag is the perfect companion for the dress. Woven from leather-trimmed straw, the Safari bag puts forth a beachy design for spring that’s equal parts casual and glamorous. Check out our Style Sheet for the Côte d’Azur for the complete fashion low-down ahead of your trip.