The Côte d'Azur, the Turquoise Coast, or simply the French Riviera, is a dream destination for many travel enthusiasts. Visitors, celebs, and the glitterati/elite have come from far and wide to enjoy some high-end leisure time in this stunning part of France for as long as anyone can remember. With its turquoise waters, shimmering coastline, quaint villages, nearby attractions, festivals, and more, it isn't hard to understand why this area is a favorite for world travelers. Whether you are looking to bask in the surrounding beauty, rich culture, luxurious resorts, or have a first-class holiday full of only the finest things; the French Riviera will easily surpass all expectations. So to ensure a truly extraordinary getaway, here are ten great vacation activities to try while visiting the French Riviera.
10 Check Out France's Most Beautiful Villages
Once travelers have gotten a taste of lounging on the beach for several days, one great activity on the itinerary should definitely be checking out the gorgeous villages nearby. The French Riviera is known for its sea-hugging cities, but why not step outside your comfort zone for the afternoon and delve into the picturesque rocky highlands and its historic villages like Les Baux-de-Provence? Here visitors can stroll down the charming yet narrow streets of Les Baux-de-Provence and enjoy incredible clifftop views of the surrounding area. Visit the museums and learn all about the well-preserved village's history, and while you're at it, don't forget to explore the labyrinthine of castle ruins in this well-preserved and delightful little village.
9 Marvel At The Fontaine-De-Vaucluse
For history and nature lovers, the chance to see the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in all its glory should also be atop your trip to-do list. Dating back to ancient times, the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is a breathtaking natural spring that emerges from a 755-foot high cliff and is the source of the Sorgue River. Touted as the largest spring in France, marveling at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse with its greenish-blue hues, mythical past, and beautiful scenery is the perfect little day trip. As a bonus, right around the corner, visitors will find yet another wonderful historical town/village that has ample shopping and dining options. So you can make a day of this adventure if you so choose.
8 Live It Up In Monte Carlo
The city of Monte Carlo is known for its lavish ambiance and being a sort of playground for the super-rich—enter The Monte Carlo Casino. Located in the country of Monaco on the French Riviera, the casino itself is brimming with rich history, offers an iconic seaside view, and is decked out, to say the least. Inside this luxurious casino, guests are easily tempted to gamble and enjoy the finer things that a small fortune can buy. Try your luck at this casino with favorites like roulette, blackjack, or the bedazzled modern slot machines. If you happen to be a high roller, then check out the high stake battles in the VIP private rooms referred to as the "Salle Blanche."
7 Visit Villa Ephrussi De Rothschild In St Jean Cap Ferrat
Built in 1905, this spectacular villa perched on the hills above St Jean Cap Ferrat in the French Riviera has quite the following. Originally constructed for Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, so she could house her growing art collection, this villa is worth a visit. Not only is this legendary villa iconic with its pink-washed, neoclassical façade, but it is also known for its fantastic, lush gardens on the grounds and panoramic views over the Mediterranean. What’s more, inside the villa, visitors will find a fantastic art collection that is simply unrivaled.
6 Spend Some Time In Nice
Nice is another ancient locale in the heart of the French Riviera that is full of life and has a bustling city vibe. Not only is there a healthy mix of the old and new worlds here, but there are also ample reasons to spend some time in Nice if you are in the area. For starters, this picturesque gem on the French Riviera has everything one could ever want or need on vacation. Visitors can enjoy stunning ocean views, highly agreeable weather, classic architecture, ample history, vintage regional wines, delicious cuisine (Nice is a well-known foodie town), and so much more.
5 Take It Easy In Antibes
If this is your first time considering a one-of-a-kind getaway in the French Riviera, you may not know that this literal paradise shuts down in the off-season. But the good news is that port cities like Antibes stay open all year round. So travelers can still enjoy the resort feel of the Riviera at any time. Even during the Riviera's busy season, Antibes is still worth a visit with its breathtaking views, sandy beaches, and relaxed vibe. Here, visitors can soak up the sun, marvel at the imposing Fort Carré, catch a glimpse of Port Vauban with its gorgeous mega-yachts, explore the local produce markets, and peruse this city's quaint little shops.
4 Appreciate Some Art At The Fondation Maeght In St-Paul-De-Vence
Yet another wonderful activity to check off the list is a trip to The Fondation Maeght. This renowned modern art gallery is an incredible sight to see—both inside and out. Designed by Spanish architect Josep Lluís Sert, this airy structure houses a magnificent collection of works by the masters of the 20th century, all set against a hilltop backdrop. There are also ongoing exhibitions of contemporary artists that are constantly changing. Museum guests can appreciate these works, check out the fascinating grounds of the museum, and, when ready, take a short jaunt to the chic village of St-Paul-de-Vence.
3 Tour The Iles D'Hyères
For travelers looking for some fun in the sun, the gorgeous Mediterranean islands that make up The Iles d’Hyères await you. Located just off the coast between St Tropez and Toulon, these lovely islands have great beaches, walking/cycling trails, a few vineyards, forestland, and one entire island is even a national park (Port-Cros). The largest of the islands, Porquerolles, is a car-free paradise, so if you plan to check it out, you may want to rent a bike there. Overall, whether you are looking for a less crowded beach spot or are in need of some outdoor adventuring, The Iles D'Hyères doesn’t disappoint.
2 Feel Like A Celeb In Cannes
Cannes needs no introduction with its glitz, glamour, and the world-famous annual Cannes Film Festival. Even if you visit when Cannes isn’t hosting its iconic film festival, travelers can still spot the occasional celeb or two. Of course, since the rich and famous tend to flock here yearly, Cannes takes luxury to the next level. So make a day of it, see the upscale resorts near the beautiful waterfront, dine at the 5-star restaurants, and do some serious shopping at designer favorites, including Chanel, Gucci, and Dior.
1 Play In Saint-Tropez
Last but not least, Saint-Tropez is yet another playground for the rich and famous. Visitors can marvel at the lavish villas and multi-million dollar yachts, dine like royalty, shop till they drop, and so much more. That said, you don't need a big travel budget to enjoy this once fishing village. Other fun things to do in Saint-Tropez include stopping by the Musée de l’Annonciade, exploring the open-air market for local treats (olive oils, colorful cloth, and artisan soaps), visiting the Citadel, and of course, enjoying the stunning beaches.