Best French Riviera Beach Holidays
THE RIVIERA - France
Nice is the epicentre of the Riviera, otherwise known as the Cote d’Azur or Coast of Blue.
Some of Nice's beaches are stony and you have to pay to lounge on many of them, but it’s worth it simply for people-watching. The beaches half an hour south at Cannes are much sandier, as are the beaches further south again at St Tropez, made famous by sultry actress Brigitte Bardot.
In Nice, the Promenade des Anglais (Promenade of the English) is a wonderful beachfront avenue on which to take a long stroll. Shopping and restaurants leading up to the old fort are a real experience.
At the northern end of the Promenade des Anglais is the wonderful old Negresco hotel, with its huge circular lobby and the world's biggest bacarat crystal chandelier above you. This is a real experience to wander through, especially when you seen the fashionable people with their small dogs including poodles in the expensive reception area. The hotel restaurant Le Chantecler is a culinary highlight in Nice.
For al fresco dining and people watching, try the pedestrian square two streets back from the beach. There are great perfume shops back from the beachfront strip as well, something that's very French and very attractive to the many women (and men) who come from all over the world.
To the north of Nice beaches, sites and Nice hotels is the famous principality of Monaco, which is expensive, but doesn't cost anything to soak up the sights. The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix through the streets of Monte Carlo in May is the highlight of the social calendar here.
Many Formula One drivers who race around the picturesque streets live in this tiny principality, ruled by Prince Albert after the recent death of his father Prince Rainier. His mother is the famous Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace for many years before her tragic death in a road accident.
Monte Carlo is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you're prepared to spend a little money to experience the best opulence in hotel accommodation Monte Carlo offers to the world.
Go to the Casino Royale and marvel at the expensive European artwork on every wall. Walk through the Hotel de Paris across the road and you might recognise a movie star staying there.
Or go to Jimmyz Nightclub where you'll walk through a maze of the latest model Ferraris, Mercedes and Rolls Royces to get to the front door. Be careful of the drinks prices at Jimmyz, but it's worth it to see the occasional rich young Frenchman throwing wads of inherited Euros into the air, surrounded by beautiful people.
Just above Monte Carlo and back across the French border is a beautiful little town named Eze, dominated by buildings made from limestone. The former King of Sweden's summer residence is here, now the town's major hotel.
Heading south back towards Nice, go through the little town of St Paul de Vence and stop in at the magnificent restaurant Le Coq d'Or. A former James Bond 007 - also known as Roger Moore - has been eating here for years, surrounded by a lovely little hotel and beautiful countryside.
Head down to Cannes, home of the famous film festival, less than an hour away. The best beaches near Cannes are sandy, packed and topless bathing is the order of the day. G-strings are everywhere on both men and women, especially at festival time which is always within a week or so of the Monaco Grand Prix.
It’s a real treat to be in or near Cannes in May at the Cannes film festival time as the most visible movie stars in the world walk the streets. You’ll also find actors and actresses waiting to be discovered converging here, hanging around trying to be seen.
Apart from all the heady distractions, the beach quality is very good on the Riviera, compared with most other parts of Europe. The softest whitest beach sand is at Cannes, where you'll also find the biggest number of topless women and G-strings on both sexes on the best of French Riviera semi nudist beaches.
It's up to you whether the attraction of the sand compared with the
distraction of the people makes this a worthwhile Best Beach Holiday.
Best French Riviera beach holiday travel destinations are written by dedicated photo journalists, published and edited by the Best Beach Holidays Travel writer. Contact Best Beach Holidays to submit your beach holiday articles