no alt text

Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 07 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Feel the wind blow through your hair along the spectacular Grande Corniche, the clifftop Cote d’Azur road where Hitchcock filmed Grace Kelly driving her roadster in To Catch a Thief.

Built 500m above sea level by Napoleon and following the old Roman road Via Julia Augusta, it has incredible views of this sought-after stretch of French coast, with mountains on one side and sea shimmering on the other.

You can drive the length of it in under an hour, but half the fun is stopping at the coast’s highlights along the way: picturesque towns such as La Turbie and Eze. From La Turbie, take the road to Monaco, but turn off at Les Hautes de Monte Carlo for the incredible views from the promontory by the France Telecom dome.

Part of the Grande Corniche is a park, with a network of footpaths: get there on the Route de la Revere, west of the Col de Eze.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 2-4 hours

Getting there & doing it

There are actually three ‘Corniches’. The Basse Corniche is a clogged coastal road; the Moyenne Corniche is at mid-altitude; and the Grand Corniche is the highest of them all, running from Nice to Monaco. After Monaco, it continues all the way to Menton on the Italian border, but lacks the big thrills along this section. However, there are lovely hill towns to visit around there, such as Gorbio and Saint-Agnes.

If you don’t have a car, hire one for the day. For Cary Grant and Grace Kelly glamour, make it a convertible: Platinium Rent offers open-top Aston Martins, Audis, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Jaguars and Masseratis. You could opt for a guided self-drive in a Lamborghini or Ferrari, that will also include a spin around the streets of Monte Carlo, and the Monaco Grand Prix race track.

Take a picnic: have it where Grant and Kelly did, below the Grande Corniche on the D53 No.1009 Beausoleil – in front of a mechanic’s atelier. There’s a picnic table.

When to do it

In July and August, when it’s busiest, it can be a bit crowded, with a sometimes alarming mix of cyclists, speed demons and people driving slowly and stopping for the views – so consider spring or autumn for this drive.

Go on a clear day if you can, or risk finding the wonderful views shrouded in mist, especially around La Turbie. Plan your return to Nice just as the sun sets: it’s pure romance.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Chateau Eza

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France[1.2 miles]

Charming, authentic and classy boutique hotel set in a 17th-century castle, within the 9th-century walls of a village perche. Ideal for honeymooners, with romantic rooms and heart-stopping views over the coastline.

Official star rating:

Cap Estel

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France[2.7 miles]

This superb villa turned boutique hotel, between Monaco and Cap Ferrat, has been voted the best seaside hotel in France. Stay here for old-fashioned glamour, truly magical views, a private beach and gorgeous infinity pool.

Official star rating:

Hotel Royal Riviera

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France[4.2 miles]

The grande dame of the Cote d’Azur, this classic, updated luxury hotel has a sublime seaside location. It comes with pool, lush gardens, and one of the very few private beaches on the exclusive Cap Ferrat.

Official star rating:

Welcome Hotel

Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cote d'Azur, France[4.8 miles]

An inn for over two centuries, this iconic and historic yet charming seaside hotel in laid-back Villefranche-sur-Mer is modern, unpretentious and run by lovely people.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

French Riviera

Cote d'Azur, France

Money, glamour and bombshell looks: this beach-trimmed stretch of French coast offers decadent hotels, lounging in beach clubs, fine restaurants and world-class art.

Website >
Overview >


Cote d'Azur, France

The Riviera’s Never Never Land for the rich, offering bling, glamour, sights, high-roller casinos and entertainment galore.

Website >
Overview >


Cote d'Azur, France

The buzzing, art-filled, foodie capital of the French Riviera, with a charming, Italian-influenced historic centre. The ideal base for a first-time visit to the Cote d’Azur, and home to the world-renowned Nice Carnival.

Website >
Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France[4.7 miles]

A remarkable fantasy villa, complete with exquisite exotic gardens, built in 1912 by the flamboyant art collector Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild to house her fabulous collection of 18th-century art and furniture.

Best for ages: 18+ | £13

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[5.6 miles]

The world’s most prestigious automobile races, with a track winding through the winding streets of this billionaires’ playground. Monaco is the height of Formula One glamour.

Best for ages: 13+ | £50 | 4 days

Monaco Oceanographic Museum

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[5.6 miles]

Founded in 1906 by Prince Albert I, Monaco’s Musee Oceanographique is one of the oldest scientific marine institutes anywhere. Spectacular aquariums and treasures from ocean voyages, located in a remarkable wedding-cake building cascading over cliffs.

Best for ages: 4+ | £12

Matisse Museum

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France[6.3 miles]

A beautiful 17th-century Genoese mansion that now houses a museum dedicated to the art of Nice’s longtime resident, Henri Matisse.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Gorgeous and secluded white-sand beach nestled in between jagged cliffs

Mala Beach

Monaco , Cote d'Azur, France[3.5 miles]

A stunning white sand and pebble beach under pale golden cliffs just west of Monaco. Accessed by steep steps, this shallow cove is both glamorous and exclusive. Mala has two public areas and two chic beach clubs: Eden Plage and the Reserve de Mala – both romantic at sunset, serving cocktails by candlelight and playing music after dark.

Best for ages: Any | Free

Website >
Overview >
Large white villa built on a pinnacle stretching out into the sea

Villa Kerylos

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France[4 miles]

Built in 1908 in an ancient-Greek-style, this villa in a ravishing seaside garden setting features replica 2nd-century AD interiors typical of the island of Delos. The project of two scholars obsessed with the period.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8

Website >
Overview >
Ancient stone monument of the Trophy of Augustus in Le Turbie, French Riviera, France

Trophy of Augustus

La Turbie, Cote d'Azur, France[4.2 miles]

High above Monaco, Emperor Augustus erected a 147ft monument in the 1st century BC to celebrate his victories over the Ligurian tribes. In spite of damage over the centuries, it is still a remarkable sight, with breathtaking views.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Website >
Overview >
White sand beach with blue waters at Villefranche-sur-Mer

Marinieres Beach

Villefranche-sur-Mer , Cote d'Azur, France[4.3 miles]

Tucked between chi-chi St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Nice, the charming Medieval village of Villefranche-sur-Mer is the relaxed, boho antidote to the moneybags Riviera. A kilometre of coarse, gently shelving golden sand and crystalline waters, it’s all free and open to the public.

Best for ages: Any | Free

Website >
Overview >