Home EuropeFranceCannes The Lifestyle Called CÔTE D’AZUR: French Riviera Itinerary 7 Days

The Lifestyle Called CÔTE D’AZUR: French Riviera Itinerary 7 Days

by ElenaSergeeva

Everything starts with something or somewhere, this is how trends develop, lifestyles are formed and certain “things” become the element of what they call the “high life”. The Greeks, Romans, French and Italians — for centuries have been known as the pleasure seekers who formed what today is known as the Côte d’Azur, also referred to as the French Riviera. Like fine wine, this place has become the product that has matured over time.

The Mediterranean climate and the blue waters have always charmed quite a few, from fishermen looking for a welcoming port, to musicians and artists looking for their creative haven, celebrities, businessmen and the jet-setters who made it into their playground, a place to get away and experience life at its finest. This French Riviera Itinerary 7 Days, is based on my trip to Côte d’Azur.

French Riviera Itinerary 7 Days in Côte d’Azur

French Riviera Itinerary: Day 1 in Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo is a playground of its own and has been the “it” place where generations of people have walked, gambled, partied and enjoyed the lifestyle of the “Rich and Famous”. Nestled on the shore of the Mediterranean between the French and Italian Riviera, this tiny principality was turned into a mini-Manhattan of concrete and glass, once Prince Rainier III of Monaco married the film star Grace Kelly.

It was apparently Onassis who first had the idea that Rainier should improve the image of Monaco by marrying an American film star. Marilyn Monroe was informed, and though not interested – she thought Monaco was in Africa – did not doubt her capabilities.

The jewel of the French Riviera offers travelers all sorts of opportunities to engage in the opulent lifestyle of this famous place. 

Enjoy the view of Monte Carlo Casino with a coffee at Café de Paris

The world Famous Monte Carlo Casino has appeared in Hollywood movies a number of times, and is considered one of the most glamorous Bond locations shown both in Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye.

Casino Monte Carlo is a great place to visit even just from the outside, as the square is always full of humming engines of the world’s finest toys for the boys: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Aston Martins and about every other exclusive car you can think of. To see this place in action be sure to enjoy a cup of coffee at the Café de Paris. 

Want to live the real French Riviera life, then how about driving a Ferrari? Book your Monaco 30/60-Minute Ferrari Driving Experience.

Wander around the Japanese Garden 

These gorgeous Japanese Gardens set in the heart of Monte Carlo were created here in 1994 at the request of Prince Rainier II. This magical oasis perfectly balances Japanese tradition with the Mediterranean climate. Here you will come across a peaceful pond where you can admire the koi carp swimming graciously among the  water lilies and lotus flowers.

Other highlights include a waterfall, lanterns, bridges, a tea house and a Zen garden. You will feel like you have landed right in the heart of Japan. Entree to the garden is free, it is open daily from 9 am to 5.45 pm or 6.45 pm (depending on season). 

Watch a performance at Salle des Etoiles or at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo

The Salle des Etoiles is a 1,000 m² venue that host numerous musical events and performances throughout the year. It is also the place where Rose Ball, the Monte-Carlo Sporting Summer Festival and the Monaco Red Cross Ball are held every year. During our trip to the French Riviera we attended a musical show held at the Salle des Etoiles. Among the guests at the performance was Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene.

The Opéra de Monte-Carlo is part of the Monte Carlo Casino building. It opened in1879 and was known as the Salle Garnie, named after the architect who designed it. Two important gala events were held at the Salle Garnie, in 1966 for the occasion of  celebration of centenary of Monte-Carlo hosted by Grace Kelly and Rainier II and the second one for the Royal wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene.

 French Riviera Itinerary: Day 2 in Monte Carlo

Tour the Palais Princier de Monaco

Visitors may also get a gist of how true royalty lives with a tour of Monaco’s Royal Palace (Palais Princier de Monaco).

This tiny country has been ruled for generations by the same family, the Grimaldis, and the Royal Palace is still used in the day-to-day operations of the country. Only recently has the palace been open to the public who now have the chance to get an inside peek at one of the more luxurious palaces on earth.

Try your luck at Monte Carlo Casino

French Riviera itinerary 7 daysIn the evening we decided to try our luck at the magnificent Monte Carlo Casino.  I am not really a gambler, just enjoy the social environment. After a few games at the slot machines and a small win it was time to continue the evening. 

Party at Jimmy’z 

Of course the casino is not the only place to mingle; nightclubs are hugely popular especially during the high season, and Jimmy’z remains one of Monaco’s most exciting clubs.

Monte Carlo Events throughout the year

Visit Monte Carlo during the Historic Grand Prix

Monte place is also famous for the Historic Grand Prix that takes place every May. Then there’s the Formula One Grand Prix, also in May. July is also a big month for visitors and residents alike with its Fireworks Festival and the concerts held at the Prince’s Palace.

Attend the Yacht Show in September 

The Yacht Show in September brings the upper crust (and boat enthusiasts) from all over Europe (and the world). There is always something happening in this corner of the planet, and yes Monte Carlo is one of the most exciting cities in the world.

During our two nights in Monte Carlo we stayed at the Le Méridien Beach Plaza which enjoys a prime beach location. For availability and best rates click here.  

French Riviera Itinerary: Day 3 in Cannes 

How to get from Monte Carlo to Cannes 

Cannes is located approximately an hour’s drive from Monte Carlo. You can either rent a car to fully enjoy your 7 days in the French Riviera, alternatively you can take a taxi, private luxury car or the train from Gare de Monaco.

Tip: If you decide to rent a limousine please be extremely cautious with checking the company recommendations online. Better ask your hotel concierge for recommendations. I had pre-ordered a limousine which I had found online which never arrived and ruined my mother’s birthday surprise (from reading TripAdvisor reviews a number of people have been scammed by this company). The company ended up charging my credit card three more times. They were listed at Riviera Luxury Limousines and managed by Chris and wife Irina. I had to ask the hotel to book another luxury car for me at that time.

Cannes has a renowned reputation for the film festival. It is as glittering, star-studded, interesting, and fun as it has always been presented. However the Film Festival is not the only time to be in Cannes, as the city plays host to international regatta, concours d’elegance, the Mimosa Festival, and countless gala balls, making this a happening place all year round.

Cannes has a renowned reputation for the film festival. It is as glittering, star-studded, interesting, and fun as it has always been presented. However the Film Festival is not the only time to be in Cannes, as the city plays host to international regatta, concours d’elegance, the Mimosa Festival, and countless gala balls, making this a happening place all year round.

There are major hotels represented here, one of which is the Hotel Martinez which is a favourite with visiting celebrities during the film festival. Eat like a movies star at La Palme d’Or, the only 2 – Michelin star restaurant in Cannes —  a sophisticated Art Deco spread where you can enter the world of Chef Christian Sinicropi and be seduced by his cuisine and creative flavours.  During my two days in Cannes we stayed at Hotel Martinez. For availability and best rates click here.

Walk around the Promenade de la Croisette

There is no shortage of shops in Cannes to outfit your self in the requisite designer gowns. There are numerous boutiques lined up at the Promenade de la Croisette, from designers like Givenchy, Valentino, Dior, Gucci, as well as stores from perennial fashion favourites like Chanel and Cartier.

The choicest destination for those visiting the film festival is the Cap d’Antibes, but it is also a vacationing destination in its own right, one of the most exclusive spots in the Riviera. The 48 beautiful beaches and picturesque walks through the mountainous pine forests and scenic parks are the area’s natural attraction, as well as the various cultural events throughout the year.

French Riviera Itinerary: Day 4 in Cannes

Wine tasting at Île Saint-Honorat 

If you want to spend a day in the sea, a visit to the nearby Île Saint-Honorat which is the second largest of the Lérins Islands and is a 20 minute boat ride from the shore of Cannes.

This place is definitely worth visiting especially on a great sunny day. The island retains a monastery, which is home to 30 Cistercian monks. Here guests can taste and shop the wine which is produced by the monks.

Dinner at Le Pastis Cannes 

This Mediterranean restaurant serves a selection of meat and seafood dishes. Cozy interiors and great services. Read more about my Pastis experience. 

French Riviera Itinerary: Day 5 in St. Tropez

St. Tropez which was once a Greco-Roman fishing village would not recognize itself today, in its current incarnation as one of the hottest destinations in the world. The famous Burj al-Arab architecture of the building was inspired by the yachts of St. Tropez, one of the jewels of the Riviera and an enduring favourite with vacationers from all over the Middle East.

The first hint of the glamour to come in the following decades began in the late 19th century, when Paul Signac painted the light here, Coco Chanel popularized the suntan here, Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot came to film here in the 1950s, which truly brought the city into the public eye. Once the starlet Brigitte Bardot made it her second home, the press followed her making it an international hotspot. Thanks to a huge public relations push in the 1990s, a new generation of celebrities have made St. Tropez as their port of choice for their mega-yacht lifestyles. This town has become a household name and a popular site from paparazzi snapshots to music videos and the summer’s hottest parties. Wealthy vacationers come here to take part in the social scene, or so to say be spotted in the “trendiest” part of the world, vacationing both on land and sea.

While the best accommodations in St. Tropez are undoubtedly on a private yacht, there are a number of on-shore options to choose from. We stayed at Villa Cosy which is located a short walking distance from the town center. For availability and rates click here. 

The dining options on St. Tropez are plentiful offering a choice of both French and Italian heritage. Much of the culture of this place, food included, revolves around the beach clubs, located on a 5km stretch of the Bay of Pampelonne away from the town center. It’s as much about beautiful people as beautiful views in this part of the world, and the beach clubs are the daytime centers of life on St. Tropez. In the afternoon the hotspots like the Nikki Beach are turned into daytime nightclubs, and don’t forget the famous champagne parties.

Now that we have everything else covered, on the subject of boutiques, St. Tropez offers its visitors a great selection of luxury boutiques from Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Pucci, and so on. St. Tropez is a lifestyle of its own.

French Riviera Itinerary: Day 6 in Nice

Nice is one of the oldest cities in the world and is a major tourist center that still retains its sense of history and old-world charm. Artists such as Chagall and Matisse have come to Nice for their work. The luxury side of life can be found on the Promenade des Anglais, a famous seaside walk with luxury hotels and restaurants. 

We arrived to Nice from St. Tropez in the afternoon as since it was raining we enjoyed a lovely dinner at our Hotel West End. The hotel enjoys a perfect location, for availability and best rates click here.

French Riviera Itinerary: Day 7 in Nice

The next day we work up to a beautiful day which allowed us to enjoy ourselves and visit a few of the city’s landmarks.

Visit the Museums 

Continue your exploration into the historical Riviera by visiting the Museum Masséna which is housed in a villa which was built between 1898 and 1901 on the model of Italian villas of the First Empire.

This museum is located right next to the Hotel West End on the Promenade des Anglais. The entrance to the museum is free. Opening hours:  11:00-18:00 (23/06-15/10 : 10:00-18:00) . Closed on Tuesdays. 

This artistic city also has several important museums from the Chagall museum celebrating the artist and the city he so loved, to the contemporary art museum featuring French and American avant-garde art, to the Musée des Beaux Arts which showcases collections from the 16th and 17th centuries.

This museum was also free to the visitors holding the French Riviera Pass and worth a visit while exploring Nice. Opening hours: 11:00-18:00. Closed on Mondays.

Explore the Palace  Masséna

The charming historic square is the main highlight of Nice. Lined with palm trees and surrounded by red ochre buildings, it is the most lively square of the city where numerous cultural and musical events take place. The landmark of the Palace Masséna is the Fountain of the Sun or the Apollo’s Fountain which is how the locals know it. 

And of course, the most beautiful sight of all is the coast from the Promenade des Anglais itself, overlooking the crystal blue sea which is a few minutes walk from the Palace Masséna.

Enjoy the sunshine and a glass of wine on the Promenade des Anglais

There are numerous small bars located right on the beach where you can enjoy a glass of wine paired with a selection of cold cuts and cheeses. 

Best of the French Riviera Full-Day Tour from Nice

If you are staying in Nice and don’t have the leisure of planning your own trip around the French Riviera, you can also opt for taking a Best of the French Riviera Full-Day Tour from Nice. During this 9-hour tour you will visit both Cannes and Monte Carlo.

If you wish to visit St. Tropez during your stay in Nice you might like to opt for a Day Trip to Saint-Tropez by Panoramic Coach. During the 8-hour day trip you will experience Côte d’Azur at leisure while spending some time in Saint-Tropez. 

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