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Last updated: 02 March, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Where to go and what to see in the Cote d’Azur to get the most from your trip – 9 days including Cannes, Monaco, Nice & Saint-Tropez from destination expert and travel writer Dana Facaros.

Editor note – Dana has not included specific recommendations of where to stay each day unless it’s necessary. Instead, see the ‘Where to stay’ section in our Cote d’Azur destination guide. The itinerary assumes you’ll stay in one hotel in Nice.

In the morning, get started with a guided tour through the Cours Saleya market and the colourful lanes of Vieux Nice (Old Nice).

Then enjoy a memorable lunch at Le Plongeoir, set on an outcrop overlooking the port.

In the afternoon, head up to Cimiez, one of Nice’s smartest districts, to visit the colour-drenched museums dedicated to Matisse and Marc Chagall.

In the evening book a meal at Le Chantecler in the fabled Negresco Hotel.

View looking down from above to the busy market of Cours Saleya in the centre of Nice City
Experience

Cours Saleya Food and Flower Market

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

Nice’s food and flower market, held along the pedestrianised Cours Saleya esplanade, is packed with all the vibrant, sensuous colours, flavours and scents of the south: lavender, marzipan, sugared almonds, spices, herbal teas, takeaway socca and pissaladiere snacks. Held Tuesday to Sunday, around 6.30am to 1.30pm.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Le Plongeoir
Experience

Le Plongeoir

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

Just under Nice’s Mont Boron, this spectacular restaurant looks like something out of a fantasy, topping a 6m rocky pillar in the sea with remarkable views. It’s pricey, a bit touristy, but unique (and cheaper at lunch).

Best for ages: 13+ | £35

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Matisse Museum

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

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

Marc Chagall National Museum

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

This modern museum showcases Chagall’s joyful series of artworks inspired by the Bible – an explosion of colour and light. It’s the biggest public collection of works by one of the greatest 20th-century artists.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8

In the morning, visit Nice’s Museum of Contemporary Art, then have lunch at the wine bar bistro, La Part des Anges.

In the afternoon, hop on the train to Antibes to see the Picasso Museum, filled with works by the artist at his most joyful, then gape at the super yachts in the nearby port.

Back in Nice, dine at the intimate, Michelin-starred JAN (booking essential).

inside of a wine shop with shelves full of wine bottles
Experience

La Part des Anges

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

Chosen as the best wine cellar in France in 2020,  the ‘Angels’ Share’ specialises in natural wines and organic beers,  with great snacks at the wine bar; the bistro offers ten different wines daily by the glass to go with lunch.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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JAN
Experience

JAN

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen was the first South African chef to receive a Michelin star. Inspired by his grandmother’s cooking, he creates dazzling original dishes, but book early to have a chance to try them: there are only 24 seats.

Best for ages: 13+ | £70

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After breakfast, discover Nice’s fascinating history at the Massena Museum, then head to the charming village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, just nearby.

Lunch at the legendary Colombe d’Or, then peruse the contemporary art at the luminous Maeght Foundation.

Back in Nice, relax on the beach or hit the fancy shops. In the evening join the queue for Nice’s best pizza at Les Amoureux, before checking out the live music scene at Le Shapko.

Massena Museum of Art & History

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

One of France’s most splendid Belle Epoque villas, donated to the city of Nice by the aristocratic Massena family, is now home to a compelling collection of art, furniture and artifacts that track Nice’s rich history.

Best for ages: 18+ | £12

View down a pretty narrow street filled with boutique shops
Experience

Saint Paul de Vence

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

This character-filled, medieval village is one of the oldest in the South of France, and arguably the loveliest of all the ‘perched’ villages. It’s long been a haven for famous actors, film stars, and artists (including Picasso, Matisse and Chagall). The Maeght Foundation and several other top-notch modern and contemporary art museums are located here.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Les Amoureux
Experience

Les Amoureux

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

Nice was part of Italy until 1860, so perhaps it’s not surprising that friendly, unpretentious spot makes perhaps the best pizza in France. No website, no reservations, no phone; just join the queue at 46 Boulevard Stalingrad.

Best for ages: 13+ | £8

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In the morning take a taxi or train to visit the fabulous Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its gardens. It only takes six minutes from Nice to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Afterwards, have a Riviera-style lunch and sunbathe at the Paloma Beach Club.

In the late afternoon, make the spectacular walk around Cap-Ferrat before returning to Nice for a delicious French-Italian dinner at La Cucina.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France

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

View of a pretty curve of beach with a beach club, surrounded by cliffs with trees and villas
Experience

Paloma Beach

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France

Sheltered from the wind, this shingle beach in a beautiful, wooded cove is a laid-back favourite of both locals and celebrities. Views across to the Alps are sublime. It’s part public, but best to splurge on a lounger at the delightful Paloma Beach Club – a local institution with an excellent restaurant.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Walk around Cap Ferrat

Nice, Cote d'Azur, France

A 4.8km circular coastal walk around the glittering coast of the Riviera’s most exclusive ‘cap’ – a favourite of jet-setting billionaires.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free | 2-3 hours

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If it’s a Sunday, book a day’s outing in the mountains on the narrow-gauge steam railway, the Train des Pignes, catching the corresponding train that departs from Nice CP station at 9.20am; take a picnic or have lunch in one of the villages.

Back in Nice, enjoy seasonal ingredients on the weekly changing menu at La P’tite Cocotte in Vieux Nice – one of the few restaurants open on Sunday evenings. Be sure to book.

Get up early and take the half-hour train to Monaco. Start at the fascinating Oceanographic Museum, then walk up to the Royal Palace by 11.55am for the changing of the guard.

Head over to Monte Carlo for a fabulous lunch on the terraces of the Café de Paris before popping into the famous Casino – and have a flutter if you have the cash to splash.

Stroll down the marina for some serious people and yacht-watching, before heading back to Nice.

For dinner, enjoy Nice’s tastiest traditional fare at La Merenda, then go for a late-night drink at the lively Bay Side wine bar.

Monaco Oceanographic Museum

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France

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

Exterior of the green roofed, Belle Epoque cafe de paris with terrace in front
Experience

Cafe de Paris Monte-Carlo

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France

The famous Belle Epoque café, with its lovely outdoor terrace, is the place for a rendez-vous (and people watching) in Monaco. In a prime central location, go for lunch, dinner or a well-deserved cocktail. After some ‘Dutch courage’, try your luck at one of Monaco’s famous casinos nearby.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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In the morning, catch the train to Cannes. There, start on the hill of Le Suquet in the picturesque old town, with lovely views over the bay from the 11th-century chateau, home to the art and history Museum of World Explorations.

Have a light seafood lunch at La Mome Plage, a glamorous private beach club, then spend the afternoon with the cool kids on the golden sands.

Show off your tan at dinner at the iconic, Michelin-starred La Palme d’Or in the Hotel Martinez.

View of medieval Castre Castle. External view of a castle looking up the stone walls. Castre Museum was set up in former Castre Castle, built in 11th century and once inhabited by the Lerins priests
Experience

Museum of World Explorations

Cannes, Cote d'Azur, France

In a medieval castle with superb views over  La Croisette, rare items from the Himalayas, Arctic, Pre-Colombian America and the Pacific islands, along with the ancient Mediterranean artefacts, musical instruments from around the world and historic paintings of the Riviera.

Best for ages: 18+ | £5

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In the morning, head to the wonderful Forville Market, and pick up ingredients for a picnic. Then catch the boat to Ile Saint-Honorat – visit the abbey and buy a bottle of its wine for your picnic.

In the late afternoon back in Cannes, stop by the Palais des Festivals to check out the movie stars’ handprints, before ogling the boutiques along the palm-lined La Croisette and Rue d’Antibes.

In the evening dine on delicious creative cuisine on the terrace of La Table du Chef.

Small forested island with a tiny town in a blue sea
Experience

Ile Saint-Honorat

Cannes, Cote d'Azur, France

If you want to escape the crowds, cross the water to this peaceful island, the second largest of the Lerins. There’s a 3rd-century abbey, where St Patrick once studied; there are lovely walks, swims and the monks’ wine to purchase. See the ferry website for departures and tickets.

Best for ages: 8+ | £15

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Coastal promenade at Cannes, with port on one side and luxury shops on other
Experience

La Croisette Promenade

Cannes, Cote d'Azur, France

Join the locals by shopping the luxury boutiques, then stopping for a drink and people-watching at one of the many canopied cafés along this iconic seafront promenade in Cannes.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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From Cannes (or Nice), take the morning boat to chic Saint-Tropez; from Cannes you’ll have a good five hours to explore the town and see the Post-Impressionist masterpieces in the Museum of the Annunciation.

Catch the bus or take a taxi to Pampelonne Beach, the Cote d’Azur’s most glamorous beach, for lunch and serious A-lister people spotting.

Back in Cannes, have dinner at L’Assiette Provencale, famous for its delicious fish soup. Later, join in the action and fun atmosphere at La Belle Epoque bar.

External facade of a small pink coloured church
Experience

Museum of the Annunciation

Saint-Tropez, Cote d'Azur, France

This pretty 16th-century chapel turned gallery has one of France’s top collections of post-Impressionist art. See paintings by Matisse, Derain, Braque, Vlaminck, Bonnard, Utrillo, Roualt and Vuilllard. Open daily, except Tuesday.

Best for ages: 18+ | £5

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Aerial view of long, white-sand beach
Experience

Pampelonne Beach

Saint-Tropez, Cote d'Azur, France

The Cote d’Azur’s most famous and atmospheric beach, with public sands and private clubs for every taste. The sea here is a lovely turquoise. Among the beach clubs, 55 is for serious star-spotting, Les Jumeaux is for families, Moorea and Aqua Club are laid-back, and Nikki Beach is for blingy party types.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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