Europe, Hotels and resorts, Travel features

With luxury Cote d’Azur holiday villas readily available at great prices across one of France’s most glamorous and beautiful regions, now is the time for planning a summer getaway on an iconic stretch of the French coastline.

Narcissistic paradise

This is Europe’s most famous seaside spot, and has been attracting the rich, famous and beautiful for more than a century now. It’s very busy throughout the whole year, and especially in summer you get a real buzz from the constant activity on the beaches by day and in the legendary clubs by night.

The French Riviera is the section of coastline between Menton and Cannes, where the rich come to play and show off, a narcissistic paradise for those with outsize bank accounts and matching egos. Its a great place for people-spotting, hero-worshipping and, if you feel like it, sneering. But there are lots of things to see here apart from personalities, with great, cosmopolitan cities like Nice and Cannes to explore and beautiful landscapes away from the beaches that add great variety to any holiday here.

Best resorts

There’s a lot of variety along the coastline, too, with the larger resorts lying to the east whilst the west is home to a great number of much smaller holiday spots located in small bays and coves, with more emphasis on seclusion and privacy. The more sandy beaches are located to the west of Antibes, whilst to the east they tend to become more shingly.

The trendiest resort these days is undoubtedly at St Tropez, a capital of fashion, glamour and fun, whilst smaller resorts such as St-Raphael are more family oriented and have excellent tourist facilities. Teenagers and young adults will perhaps find Juan–les-Pins more to their liking with its nightclubs, cafes and all-night bars.

Serious history

One of the Cote d’Azur’s oldest inhabited towns is Antibes. This historic centre was founded by the Greeks and contains a large museum dedicated to Picasso, who donated many of the paintings and sculptures himself.

Monaco

Monaco has had a really turbulent time of it down the centuries, starting out as a Greek settlement before being taken over by the Romans and then the Grimaldis in 1297, who still rule here as the oldest monarchy in the world. There’s a car rally held at Monte Carlo each year, and one of Monaco’s iconic sights is the Grand Casino, set up by Charles III to get out of bankruptcy and now home to exclusive gaming rooms for the super-rich and super-profligate.

Cannes

Cannes is famous for its colourful festivals, especially the International Film Festival in May which attracts international glitterati. At the other extreme, the Old Town has the beautiful church of Notre-Dame de l’Esperance, built in the 16th century in the local Provencal Gothic style.

Nice

Nice is the Mediterranean’s largest resort, packed with museums, galleries and entertainment venues, with the Musee Chagall especially worth a visit, along with the distinctive landmark of the impressive Russian Orthodox cathedral of St Nicholas. The shopping is of course fabulous, and the nightlife vibrant.

Choosing a luxury villa on the Cote d’Azur, you’ll have easy and unrivalled access to the best beaches in Europe throughout the year, as well as great scenery and sights further inland and many great cultural centres.