The French Riviera is also known as the Côte d'Azur, which literally translates to “Azure Coast,” is on the Mediterranean coastline on the southeast corner of France, including Monaco. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from the Italian border, (also known as the Italian Riviera) in the east, to Saint-Tropez in the west. The coastline was one of the first modern resort areas, which began as a winter retreat for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot for British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. In the summer, it was also frequented by many members of the Rothschild family.
Population: Over 2 million
Official language: French
Official currency: Euro
Climate: Sunny, hot, dry summers and mild winters
Fun fact: In the first half of the 20th century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, and Aldous Huxley.
Months to Avoid: July and August, when hotel prices rise, and in November, when several hotels, museums and restaurants close for the off-season
Things to Do: The ancient city of Marseille possesses a quaint and tranquil setting, while right on its doorstep there’s swimming and sailing in the unspoiled waters of the Calanques National Park. To the east are the well-known family resorts of La Ciotat and St. Raphaël, lush vegetation, silver beaches, secluded islands and medieval villages are found in towns like Grimaud and La Garde Freinet. You can escape to the wonderful landscapes of the Îles d’Hyères, with some of the best flora and fauna in Provence, then you can escape to the beachy charm of La Croix Valmer. Its neighbor is the frequently visited St. Tropez with its huge crowds during the summer months. The section of the Riviera between Cannes and Menton became a traveler’s destination in the nineteenth century as foreign aristocrats began to winter there and take advantage of the region’s mild climate. Later film stars, artists and writers frequented the area. Nowadays, the Riviera is an uninterrupted beach coast filled with hotels, apartment blocks and secluded villas, with plenty of yachts in sight and at anchor. Nice is considered a substantial city, while Monaco invites visitors with its opulent hotels and casinos galore.