Interesting places to see and visit in
the South of France + Monaco
in Alphabetical order)
Nice Fact File
South of France Fact File
View of Port de Marina Baie des Anges and Biot from the
Click on image to enlarge
in Alphabetical order)
This is seemingly untouched since it was built by Louis
IX in the 13th Century. The walled town is a
perfect example of a medieval village. Even its ramparts
are completely intact. From the walls there are fabulous
views down into the village itself and for miles across
the flat marshy landscape all around. The Constance Tower
– once a prominent look out post and the Governor’s house
are also worth seeing.
It is described as the
“ Town of water, town of
art... it was built and has developed around this dual identity.
It was a Celtic-Ligurian capital from the 3rd century BC
was pushed aside for the founding of Aix in 122 BC.
The Cours Mirabeau is
the centre of the town
and the heart of Aix. It is a beautiful tree lined
avenue,with one side lined with wonderful terrace cafés
- Le Boréon -near St Martin Vésubie. In 1992 the wolves
came back to France. A half hour drive up into the Alps
from Nice. Mercantour National Park that is close to the
Italian border in the Alpes Maritime the park covers over
685 km2 of stunningly beautiful mountain countryside. Ideal
for walking, hiking and exploring. More infomrantion at
les Tempsdu loup
Alpilles are a dramatic chain of mountains that rise up
out of the Rhône
and the Durance. There are some well worn walking trails
that run through the region with red and white markers denoting
the Grande Randonnee (GR) trails throughout France. The
route along Crêtes or mountain ridge above the village of
Saint-Rémy is particularly worthwhile taking. Alternatively
you can discover the region on horseback.
lively town which lies at the opposite end of the Baie des
Anges (Nice) is one of the most sought after spots on the
coast.It is home to Port
the largest marina on the coast. You will normally find
a large selection of yachts from the small 4 berth to the
4-5 deck plus complete with helicopter. The town has a picturesque
walled old town and in the centre of the old town close
to the market is Chateau Grimaldi the home of the Picasso
museum that overlooks the sea. There are some lovely sandy
beaches, including the Plage de la Salis that is open to
the public. In neighbouring Juan les Pins for example many
of the stretches of beach are only for the use of hotels
and restaurants (although you can walk along the sun in
front of them).
on image to enlarge
also Cap d'Antibes below)
Arles was first a Celtic dwelling-place, then a Greek colony,
before Julius Caesar settled the veterans of his Roman legions
here in 46 BC. Arles
is has varied landscapes. It is the gateway to the Camargue,
one of the nicest natural sites in Europe with an exceptionally
rich animal life. The Alpilles (see above), dominated by
the town of Les Baux-de-Provence, stretch 25 kilometers
to the Northeast. These limestone hills are surrounded by
sunny pleasant Provençal villages spread out among vineyards
and olive orchard. On the border between Provence and Languedoc,
your stay in Arles will bring you close to Beaucaire and
Tarascon, Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer, Nîmes and the Pont-du-Gard,
Avignon and the Papal Palace, Aix-en-Provence and the Montagne
is a city
of full of history and city of theatre, Located
at the confluence of the Rhône and Durance rivers, Avignon
is well known for its ramparts, its famous Pont Saint-Bénezet
and the Palais des Papes. (Popes palace)
is a fortified
city that is marked by papal history. The walls of the city
have seven doors that are superbly preserved and you can
then discover the city of the Popes. The Palais
des Papes built in the 14th century
overlooks a lively square. Nearby are the museums the Petit
Palais and Palais du Roure and not too far away is the famous
des Anges: This vast bay stretches from the Cap d’Antibes
westwards as far as Cap Ferrat in the east with Antibes
at one end and Nice at the other.
If you fly to Nice you will normally approach the
airport via the Baie des Anges and from the Antibes direction
pass over the semi circular development of apartments at
Villeneuve Loubet. Another good vantage point to view the
baie is the château in Nice.
is located 5 kms inland; it is
built on a headland that is typical of this type of hill
top village (Mougins, St Paul de Vence, Cagnes old town
etc) and overlooks the sea. It is one of the art centres
of the south of France. Apart from its beautiful location,
a major reason to visit Biot is for the potteries and glassworks
(Verreries) and the Léger Museum. The artist Fernand Léger made the village his home
and both it and its people had a profound effect on his
work. Unlike some of the neighbouring hill top villages,
Biot has not been spoilt by too many art shops, estate agents
and expensive restaurants. It still retains much of its
area local information
by some as one of the classiest resorts on the Cote d’Azur,
although very expensive and having one of the longest shopping
streets in Europe, you can still find a reasonably priced
hotel and meals locally. It is has a picturesque old town
overlooking the town and is famous for its annual film festival
held in May each year. It has wonderful sandy beaches that
are accessible from the main promenade “La Croisette”. There
is also a working fishing port contrasted by private moorings
from some the most expensive yachts in the world.
has a population of about 68,000 with many people retiring
there from northern France.
History: Its history goes back a long way. In the middle
ages it was a fortified village built around a castle. This
area is known as Le Suquet. At the highest point is a watchtower
that was built in 1088 by the monks of St Honorat. The population
was mainly involved with agriculture and fishing till the
1830s. Then an English Lord, Lord Brougham and his daughter
stayed there because of a cholera epidemic had closed the
Italian border.They stayed, built a villa and spread the
word about Cannes. Soon the wealthy from Britain and Russia
were regular visitors. Towards the end of the 19th century,because
of the mild winter climate over 3,000 families were staying
there. The port was filling up with yachts and the railway
opened. In 1879 the first tennis court in France was built
there. A golf course soon followed and earlier in 1860 the
first sailing club was established. This was the same year
as the first casino. In 2007 there are four. 1912 saw another
landmark - the Carlton Hotel opening and others followed
shortly afterwards. The Majestic in 1926, The Martinez in
See also The
Cannes Film Festival - le Festival international du film
de Cannes Apart
from the Film Festival, there are numerous conferences including
an annual property conference and if Nice airport is too
far away, there is an airport at Cannes.
The town of Cavaillon is
normally associated with Charentais melons that are a major
crop. It lays claim to one of the few remaining triumphal
arches of Roman France. The arch is still in remarkable
condition and with some exquisite carvings it was moved
during the 19th century from its original location
and is now on the edge of the square where the weekly fruit
and vegetable market is held.
The flat marshy land of
the Camargue is renowned for its bird life, particularly
the pink flamingos. The main centre is the village of Les
Saintes Maries de la Mer, from where boat trips leave several
times a day during summer. You can also consider taking
a four wheel drive safari.
was renowned as the party capital of the Riviera in the
1920’s. The Hôtel
du Cap Eden Roc
was one of the first to open for the summer season. The
area was soon popular with rich Americans, including Scott
and Zelda Fitgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Rudolph Valentino.
Later on other famous names made their homes in the area
– Graham Greene and Pablo Picasso. Today the Cap still retains
its elegance and you can take some interesting walks along
the coast. There is 24.5km of coastline and has five harbours.
One of these is Port Vauban situated overlooked by Antibes
vielle ville. This is one of the largest in Europe and you
can see boats that range from small pleasure boats to yachts
that are big enough to have their own helicopters on one
of the decks! Overlooking
the Port from the Baie des Anges side is Fort Carré.
is a charming resort that has a picturesque harbour. Sir
Winston Churchill used to paint there when he was taking
holidays in the area.You can also take boat trips from there.
is one of the best known names in the wine world. Châteauneuf
was where the Avignon Popes had their summer residence.
There are dozens of wine producers in the village who are
all keen to explain how they make their wines and then how
their wine is better than their competitor’s! There are
plenty of opportunities to taste without having to buy.
is Eze sur Mer and perched up on the hill behind it is Eze
village. Some say that it is one of the most perfect spots
on the Cote d’Azur with spectacular views over the Mediterranean
coast with the Alps as a backdrop.
Caesar founded this town. It was once important port and
was larger under the Romans than it is today. Sections of
the old city walls are still visible, as are parts of an
aqueduct; a theatre, amphitheatre, and various other buildings
that are all now intermingled with the remains of the medieval
city that took over where the Romans left off.
village is perched on a hilltop above the Luberon National
Park (see Luberon National Park below). This is one of the
most beautiful villages in the whole of France. The views
of Gordes from the approach road are breathtaking. In the
village itself, there are steep cobbled streets that meander
up and down around a château built in the 11th
century. This is the focal point of the village. You can
relax for a while in one of the many shaded cafés in the
Place du Marché.
it has expanded in modern times, it has managed to hold
on to its village atmosphere. It is very famous as being
the centre of the French perfume industry and many of the
perfumeries are open to visitors. Before it was famous for
perfume it was very well known for its tanneries. Today
there are over 30 perfumeries.
of these famous perfumeries welcome visitors. Fragonard
that was established in 1926 and housed in the historic
factory at Boulevard Fragonard. Gal There Grasse is surrounded
by acres of scented flowers. Galimard - in 1747 Jean
de Galimard, Lord of Seranin established Galimard. In earlier
times the manufacturer supplied King Louis and his court.
They are located at Route de Cannes and Route de Pegomas.
Molinard - The house of Molinard was established
in 1849. It is located at Boulevard Victor Hugo. You can
normally purchase perfumes at factory prices at the end
of a tour.
There is a daily flower market in the Place aux Aires. Grasse
hosts an annual international rose exhibition each May and
there is the La Jasminade flower fête each August. The old
medieval village is a comfortable mixture of narrow cobbled
streets climbing up and down and elegant merchant homes.
A great deal of money is being spent on the town by local
town’s Romanesque Cathédrale Notre-Dame-du-Puy was built
in the 12th century to replace a 200 year old
fortress. Part of the original tower still remains. The
south side of the cathedral houses many works of art including
several by Fragonard and Rubens. Fragonard was the son of
a Grassois perfumed glove maker. His painting can be seen
in the Villa-Musée Fragonard.
: 1400-1800 m. It is one of the closest ski resorts to the
coast. It is 27 km from Grasse - 38 km from Cannes - 57
km from Draguignan. A
small ski resort, great for families
and as it so close to the coast great for day trips
is the oldest resort on the coast that has been popular
since the late 19th century when many wealthy
British people came to the town to spend the winter. As
a result the town has many elegant villas that are surrounded
by delightful gardens. The beaches are located on the eastern
side of the peninsula south of the town and three beautiful
islands are accessible from the port.
de Lérins: The
beaches on the two Lérins islands Sainte Marguerite and
Saint Honorat are the least crowded on the French Riviera
because a lot of people are deterred
by the 15 minute boat trip from Cannes. Both the
islands are covered with eucalyptus and pine trees and offer
lovely unspoilt beaches to explore. It is easy to walk around
Juan- les- Pins is
fashionable with younger crowds as well as families. It
has a number of private beaches, and many bars and restaurants,
plus market stalls along the promenade in the evening. The
à Juan festival is held each summer in the Pinede (pine
grove).With its hectic nightlife it's hard to believe Juan-Ies-Pins
used to be a tranquil spot of pine trees and sandy beaches
until its conversion to tourism in the 1920s and 30s.
Baux De Provence: Les
Baux looks like a large rock from the east side. Go around
to the other side and you will discover that the village
has been literally carved out of it. Originally there was
just a castle that played an important role in the turbulent
history of medieval Provence. The rest of the village was
added several centuries later. Why not spend a night there
so that you can wander during the evening and avoiding the
just below Les Baux and with spectacular views of the castle
is the L’Oustau de Baumaniere. The views of the castle are
even better when it is illuminated at night. It is a quite
spot off the tourist track, but it is a central base for
exploring the Alpilles region. The gardens are planted with
roses and scented plants and there are plenty of places
to sit, eat and drink in the open air.
National Park: This
was made popular for British tourists in Peter Mayle’s book
“A year in Provence”, it is well worth a visit. It has spectacular
scenery and dramatic hill villages. An ideal way to get
around is on bike. They can be rented locally in towns such
part of the region
of Provence, Marseilles was founded in 600 b.c. by the Greek
sailors of Phocaea. It city is the oldest in France and
second largest city in France and the largest commercial
port, Marseilles. When France was a colonial power it was
the gateway to the Mediterranean, Today Marseilles remains
a capital of southern Europe, cosmopolitan and exuberant,
with its picturesque old port, its Bouillabaisse and its
old port has lots of charm and plenty of good restaurants.
The speciality is bouillabaisse made from a selection of
local fish and seafood. There are restaurants all along
the three quaysides that enclose the harbour. The most popular
with locals is Le Mets de Provence.
Menton: Is the warmest resort on the French Mediterranean
coast. It is therefore also a good place to visit out of
season. It is less pretentious than a lot of other resorts.
It seems to have been almost overlooked by tourists. The
local government has spent a great deal of money on it over
the past few years and it is very attractive. The old town
buildings clinging to the hillside, that dips steeply into
the sea. It is a border town and although feels very French,
it also has a very Italian flavour to it as well.
Left: Harbour at Menton
Located on the Mediterranean Sea, tucked into the Maritimes
Alps, it is
only minutes from Nice International Airport ( bus, train
and helicopter connections) and the French and Italian Rivieras. It has a population of 32,020
and is 2 sq
km in size. The currency is the euro as in the neighbouring
countries. Most of the people who dwell here come from somewhere
else, drawn by the sun, glamourous lifestyle and – most
importantly – tax-free income and more police per head of
population than in any other European country.
history is pretty
much the history of the Grimaldi family who have ruled the
principality for over 700 years. - A 1918 treaty with France
states that, should the Grimaldis die out, Monaco will become
an autonomous state of France. In -2002 Laws were passed
in the same year to ensure that the Grimaldi family would
remain in power even if Prince Albert did not have an heir
to the throne. There are a number of annual events held
including the Formula 1 Grand Prix in May (and every other
year the Historic Grand Prix) and International Open Tennis
Championships in April, Monte Carlo car Rally in January
and the Monte Carlo Television Festival in February.
is in the heart of the Laguedoc region. It is 7km from
the sea and has the benefit of its own airport. The centre
of the town is the Place de la Comédie which is surrounded
by buildings including the opera house. There is an old
town that is mostly pedestrianised has picturesque squares
and courtyards. There are plenty of shops along the Grande
Rue Jean Moulin. There is always something on there – music,
dance and art festivals,
the mild climate and diverse landscapes aside, Nice is more
than just a seaside resort. It is one of the most stylish
cities in France. Apart from the beach that extends for
miles, there are plenty of shops, a Russian cathedral, an
old quarter with a lively market and a couple of worthwhile
museums. One of these is dedicated to Chagall and the other
to Matissse. They both worked and lived in the region.
city of Nice
extends inland with its pedestrian area featuring luxury
boutiques, Massena gardens with their fountains and the
picturesque old town. Nice stretches the length of the Baie
des Anges, lighting up the whole of the Riviera with its
majesty. When you fly into Nice airport the views are superb
by day or night.
is a magnificent city, the epitome of Riviera charm, a gentle
way of life and luxury that has an exceptionally mild and
sunny climate, blue sea and azure skies. Nice is a thriving
tourist city, sought after all year round by lovers of the
French Riviera. The Promenade des Anglais is a world-famous
attraction, which is the pride of the city of Nice.
offers everything you could wish for in a holiday destination
- history, spectacular scenery, architecture and a buzzing
nightlife, not forgetting plenty of sun and sea.
half way along the Promenade des Anglais is famous Negresco
hotel. It has become a landmark in its own right. Henri
Negresco was a director of the casino and he built the hotel
with the sole intention of attracting its wealthiest clients
who would appreciate the palatial surroundings that are
still a major feature. Guests have the use of a private
worth a visit is the Old Town that dates back to medieval
times or La colline du chateau dating back to the eleventh
century. The old town contains within its narrow alleyways,
the expanses of its squares and the Cours Saleya over 250
restaurants, 200 boutiques and galleries. Other excellent
places for sightseeing include the Basilique Notre-Dame
- the largest church in Nice, built in 1864. Other sightseeing
hotspots include La Cathedrale Saint-Reparate, built in
the seventeenth century, and the 16th century L'Ancien Hotel
de Ville, formerly Nice's town hall. Climb (or take the
lift) up to the castle and enjoy panoramic views over the
Baie des Anges and visit the two cemeteries lying side by
side the Christian and neighbouring Jewish cemetery. SEE:
Nice port under restoration - October 2010
There may be 19 amphitheatres
in the Roman world that are larger than the Arena at Nimes.
It is the best preserved. It was originally used for gladiators
or animal combat. Later it became a military fortress and
then in medieval times houses were added that turned it
into a small town. The modern removable covering allows
the amphitheatre to be used all year round for performances.
Nimes was once a Roman staging post between Spain and Italy.
Although full of it’s heritage it is also a real living
city. The famous Pont du Gard a tripple decker Roman aqueduct
built to bring drinking water to Nimes is well worth seeing.
It was built just before the birth of Christ. There are
some pleasant walks along the river and you can also walk
across the aqueduct as well.
was the former seat of the counts of Orange Today
the town is best known for its spectacular
Roman theatre that is the best preserved in Europe.
Much of the back wall of the stage is still intact. In a
series of pillars and niches containing the statues of imperial
benefactors, a statue of the Emperor Augustus nearly 4 metres
high has been reconstructed from fragments found around
the theatre and replaced in its domed niche in the centre
of the wall.
the Arc de Triomphe,
whose intricate frieze and relief celebrates imperial victories
against the Gauls. It was built around 20 BC outside the
town walls to recall the victories of the Roman Second Legion.
was designed in 1966 by the French architect Francois Spoerry.
It was the dream of an architect and sailor as well, having
his own boat just in front of the house. It is the most
significant construction of its style in the whole Mediterranean.
All units in Port Grimaud, except smaller apartments,
have their own mooring Port Grimaud is an excellent marina
across the bay of Saint-Tropez,
protected from Wind form the East and the ”Mistral” from
The unique feature of this hilltop village are the ochre
colours of the landscape. The shades of earth range from
deep red to pale yellow and are visible in the hillsides
and rock outcrops resulting in a wonderful contrast against
the greens of the foliage. A well defined walking trail
that takes approximately half an hour leads you past the
most dramatic colour combinations.
St Tropez: This
was once the home of painters and artists who valued the
fact that it was the most inaccessible village on the coast.
St Tropez suddenly saw a tourism boom that brought it to
life after Brigitte Bardot came there in the 1950’s to film
“And God created Woman” Many other famous people have lived
there including Eddie Barclay and Dirk
Bogarde It is quite difficult to get into the village
in the height of the season, with long queues, but despite
that once you are in there it still has that unhurried Provencal
atmosphere. The best beaches will be found a few kilometres
out of the town to the southeast.
on the east side of Nice, just five kilometres away,
this picturesque village has not lost any
of it’s character over the last 30 years.It is one of the
most spectacular sections of the Riviera.It is built on
wooded slopes around a picturesque fishing harbour and small
port . There are restaurants facing the port. The old town
that climbs up the hill with the church in the centre has
narrow lanes and tall brightly coloured houses, some of
which have "tunnels" between them.There is a good
stretch of sandy and shingle beach beach and every Sunday
there is a flea market offering a good selection of bric
a brac. There is even a special dog toilet. Cruise liners
often stay overnight in the the deeper waters and their
passengers are ferried into the town for sight seeing.
The village is 3km from the sea.It stands on a hill,
while the new town and its buildings stretch down to the
Mediterranenan. The village was built in the XIII?th century
at the foot of the castle of Romée de Villeneuve, who gave
it his name. In this current configuration, the village
dates from the beginnings of the XVI?th century. Villeneuve-Loubet
offers its visitors 4 kms of coast-line with high-quality
water for bathing. There are both public or private beaches,
so there is something for everyone. The natural beaches
are made of round pebbles from the river Loup that have
been polished by the sea, Marina Baie des Anges is a development
of apartments with a marina in front with 527 berths which
can accommodate craft up to 30 metres long.If you ar approsching
Nice airport by air you can often get spectacular views
of this development a moment or two after seeing Antibes
old town (at top of this page). Villeneuve-Loubet
is the birthplace of the famous 19th century provençal chef,
restaurateur, and culinary writer Auguste Escoffier, the
author of the Guide Culinaire and the founder of French
Photos of South of France and Monaco
a magical town in the south of France to visit again and
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