Although the Cote d’Azur stretches from Italy to Toulon in France, most of its glamour is concentrated in the old French Riviera, between Monaco and Saint-Tropez.
The Alpes Maritimes region adds drama to the east, skirted by the fabled Grande Corniche road, while Nice lies between the two millionaire peninsulas, Cap Ferrat and Cap d’Antibes.
Cannes is 40 minutes’ drive west of rustic-glam Nice, while eternally-hip Saint-Tropez is another 80 minutes to the west.
The Cote d’Azur also has six peaks over 3,000m, where you can go skiing until as late as April. Isola 2000, Auron and Valberg/Beuil are the best-known resorts; bus companies run special ski services from Nice.
The ever-buzzing capital of the French Riviera has a charming, Italian-influenced historic centre. Nice is the coast’s foodie central, home to world-class art, and host the extraordinary Nice Carnival, second only to Rio’s. It has excellent transport links to the rest of the Cote D’Azur, and Nice airport is the main gateway. It’s the ideal base for a first-time visit to the Cote D’Azur.
With its stunning hotels, fabulous restaurants, hip boutiques, iconic beaches and nightclubs, St-Trop (its nickname, ‘Saint Too Much’) is one of the world’s top places to see and be seen (with prices to match), attracting film stars, models, VIPs and Russian oligarchs, while still maintaining an informal, bohemian sense of fun.
A little piece of Hollywood in the South of France, Cannes is most famous for its spring Film Festival, but it’s pretty and sun-drenched year-round, with historic architecture, a glimmering bay and a handful of cultural stops. Le Suquet, the picturesque old town has lovely views over the bay and Lerins islands.
This tiny principality, complete with its own royal family, is the second smallest (and most densely populated) country in the world. Crammed into this two-square-kilometre tax haven are skyscrapers, casinos, mega-yachts, Porsches, celebrities, a royal palace, countless clothing boutiques and a marina. Fun to visit and see it, but unless you’re mega-rich, it can be a little too exclusive.