Honest disclosure here: I am a francophile, I’ve lived in France, I speak French, I love French food, French wine, the sense of ambiance and style. It’s my preferred destination hands down, and I love sharing the true French experience with Facilitate Luxury clients.
France is the world's most sought after tourist destination for good reason, the country features no shortage of luxury accommodations and experiences. France is home to a diverse range of absolutely stunning landscapes each with their own unique history and culture. However, there is one time-tested region that has been the preferred holiday destination of European nobility, celebrities, and a diverse mix of artistic and cultural savants.
We’re talking about the French Riviera or Côte d’Azur. This legendary stretch of coastline is situated in the southeast corner of France in in the region of Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur (PACA). It is here where some of the world’s most exclusive resort villages host luxury travelers and bespoke experiences seekers from around the world. It is here where I had the immense pleasure of spending a year of my life, exploring, experiencing, and learning.
I remember my first time I laid eyes on the incredible blue color of the Mediterranean sea. I was 14 at the time, on a school trip through France, and I still vividly remember the bus ride headed south towards our next destination - Nice. There was one specific moment that has since defined my life. At one point the bus crested a hill and I caught my first glimpse of the most incredible shade of blue I never knew existed. The image of the sun glistening on the rich blue sea is forever imprinted in my mind. It was in that moment at a young age on my first trip to France that I decided that I must come back to this place!
Since then I’ve made my way back to the French Riviera numerous times and even spent a year living in the quaint little town of Cap-d’Ail. I’ve had the pleasure of showing the beauty of the French Riviera to my best friends and family, and now I share this beauty and these experiences my clients.
These are just a few of the best places to visit for a sun-kissed luxurious holiday to the French Riviera…
The best way to start your experience in the Riviera is in Nice, France, the capital of the Côte d’Azur. Nice is easily accessible by flight from most European airports with multiple daily flights from Paris or by TGV (high-speed train) from Paris.
Nice is the perfect starting point for a Riviera experience. It is here where you will get a feel for the unique blend of French and Italian culture that brings the city to life. Step into Vieux Nice (Old Town) to experience the beauty and charm. I highly suggest getting lost in these streets. You will discover the Palais de Justice, a focal point of old town and eventually you will stumble upon Cours Saleya, an outdoor market featuring a vast array of products that is an essential part of life in Nice. I suggest exploring with no time frame and no destination to reap the maximum tranquility. I always recommend that my clients explore and travel on their time, be flexible, not rigid, and you begin to immerse yourself in the moment.
While meandering through old town you will undoubtedly stumble upon a café with a terrace so inviting that you have no choice but take up a table for a coffee or wine. If you’re anything like me, you may easily become seduced by the Rosé all day vibe that life in the Riviera exudes.
When in Nice, one of the best ways of indulging is to spend the day or an afternoon soaking up the Mediterranean sun at a beach club. The beach club is simply a brilliant place where one can show up empty handed and embrace a wonderful beach day. Food, beverage, and service while you lounge in the sun. Simply perfect. Imagine eating lobster pasta from your beach chair as you look out into the bright blue sea. There are a host of chic beach clubs with swanky people all along the Riviera and it can be difficult to determine which is the best. I always recommend my clients to where I have personally experienced and perhaps have some connections to make their experience extra special.
There are many locales to visit in the Riviera and it truly depends on your taste, style, and what you wish to explore, learn, and experience. I highly recommend a journey by car along one of Les Trois Corniches, or the three roads carved into the mountainside. Take your pick, they all offer an amazing scenery and means of discovering the small coastal towns that mark the journey from Nice to Menton.
The Grand Corniche winds along the top of the mountainside, the Moyenne Corniche in the middle, and the Basse Corniche along the coastline.
Drive the Basse Cornishe from Nice to St Jean-Cap-Ferrat for a certain type of tranquil glamour.
Perhaps one of the finest and most well-known, The Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons resort in St Jean-Cap-Ferrat. A gorgeous hotel in a stunning location, the Four Seasons managed property is situated in a private 17 acre enclave and features 74 ultra luxury rooms, an exclusive spa, a Michelin starred restaurant, and a seaside club.
Photo: Four Seasons The 1908 property’s past guests include the likes of Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, and Pablo Picasso. In 2009, the property was entirely reimagined by French designer Pierre Yves-Rochon and is certain to make for a decadent experiences.
Photo: Four Seasons When in St Jean-Cap-Ferrat, one must pass by the gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, which is the villa built by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild
A short drive up the winding cliff-side from St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat one can reach the picturesque, fairytale-like cliff town of Èze. One of my favorite places in the region for an ideal sweeping view of the the Riviera. Stop in Èze for a photoshoot or go for dinner at La Chèvre d’Or, a Michelin starred restaurant perched on a cliff.
Cannes is world famous for its film festival but outside of this large event, Cannes is a relatively sleepy destination. Its a wonderful option for a quiet getaway and features soft sand beaches that are much more hospitable compared to the rocky type found in Nice. This makes Cannes a perfect destination to spend the day relaxing at a beach club and enjoying good food and wine from the comfort of your lounge chair. Cannes is a perfect size city to walk and features a beautiful boardwalk with plenty of restaurants offering opportunities for rosé sipping and people watching.
A premier destination for the international jet set since the 1960’s, Saint Tropez has beauty, ritz, and glamour while at the same time maintaining a special quaint town feel. The city is easily walkable and superbly romantic. A favorite place to stay for Facilitate Luxury clients is Hotel Byblos. This is an impeccable five star resort that features culinary delights from Chef Alain Ducasse at their restaurant Rivea at Byblos in addition to hosting the region’s premier night club, Les Caves du Roy.