Living the Riviera Dream: How to Make the Most of Provence’s Coastline

The area of Provence has long since been associated with luxury, laid-back living and of course, beautiful beaches. The Romans flocked to Provence centuries ago to enjoy the scenic coastlines, rolling hills and greenery; and since then, the steady influx of people visiting the area has never really ceased. Indeed, Provence remains firmly in the top three locations in France for people looking to invest in an additional property overseas, with many choosing to reside within the French Riviera area and enjoy the advantages of living beside some of Provence’s superb coastal areas. From the upmarket glamour of Cannes to the cultural, peaceful atmosphere of Nice, Provence’s coastal cities offer no less of a pleasing experience, with fine dining, excellent night life and many attractions for visitors to enjoy. The question on many a visitor’s lips, when faced with the myriad of appealing locations that make up Provence and the Riviera is, quite simply, where should I begin? Where are the best spots that best suit me? Thankfully, Provence’s coastal areas are plentiful and diverse, ensuring that, whatever your taste, there is bound to be the perfect beach-side spot for you.

 

Living the High Life in the Côte d’Azur

For many, the real appeal of the French Riviera is the sense of opulence and sophistication that comes with many of the resorts. Perhaps it is the thrill of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, not to mention with the throngs of celebrities that regularly visit the region (especially during Cannes Festival); or perhaps its just the glamorous, luxurious atmosphere. Whatever the reason, it is undeniable that many of the more exclusive coastal towns and cities are a highly appealing prospect for visitors to the area. Of course, a great way to explore all of the main celebrity haunts is by boat; and many cruises will take you directly to the sun-soaked shores of Nice, Saint Tropez and Marseille to bask in the upmarket ambiance. As PlanetCruise.co.uk point out, “a fly-cruise in the Mediterranean allows you to experience many fantastic ports”; which is a convenient factor for individuals looking to experience the highlights of the area in one trip. If looking for a location to stay for a holiday break onshore, Saint Tropez remains one of the most fiercely elegant spots to base yourself, with a wide variety of excellent restaurants, boutique shops and sandy beaches to relax on. In recent years, Saint Tropez has also adopted a more child-friendly attitude, which as a result, has meant that it has seen a significant increase in families holidaying there.

 

Escaping the Crowds and Enjoying a Tranquil Break


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Jeanne Menj

If the excesses of the luxury lifestyle don’t hold much appeal, then be reassured with the knowledge that the French Riviera still holds plenty of surprises. There are still several coastal towns that remain relatively low-key, maintaining a real sense of their past and keeping a truly French sense of joie de vivre in their lifestyle. One such spot is Cassis, located a mere half an hour’s drive from bustling Marseille and its airport, yet with an ambiance that is completely removed from the energetic, sumptuous atmosphere of its other coastal counterparts. Cruise passengers will find Cassis easy enough to reach, as the town is only a short drive away, as will anyone looking to explore the region by road. Here, fisherman still fish using traditional boats, and the quaint restaurants and idyllic beaches remain wonderfully uncrowded.

 

Alternatively, for those eager to enjoy some of the excellent bird watching and wildlife spotting that is available within Provence’s coastal areas, head to Eze; a rocky spot 430m above the sea below, which is just perfect for relaxing with a pair of binoculars in hand; or for those with a more adventurous spirit, leaping off the rocks with a parachute to attempt a spot of parascending!

 

Variety in the French Riviera

One of the best aspects about Provence’s coastline is the sheer variety that visitors can expect to enjoy there. From picturesque fishing villages that seem to have changed little in two hundred years, to progressive, exciting towns that teem with activities, bars and restaurants, there is a huge diversity amongst the locations. The area remains one of the most popular in France, remaining a firm favourite of cruise liners and other holiday makers, and for good reason. Small wonder that so many people who visit the area then go on to invest in a property, with so many spectacular spots to enjoy.

Villeneuve-Loubet

Village of Villeneuve-Loubet

villeneuve-loubet property

The village of Villeneuve-Loubet stands on a hill, while the new town and its buildings stretch down to the Mediterranean sea.

In the old part, where stairways are everywhere, you will be surprised to discover an interesting village, with steeply sloping streets bordered by colourful façades and balconies decorated with flowers. Discover a castle built in the 13th. surrounded by 10 hectares of grounds planted with Mediterranean and exotic tree species.

St Tropez

International St Tropez

St Tropez property

The International tourist area of St. Tropez is worldwide known.

Here you will discover:

  • Famous beaches such as : Bouillabaisse Beach, Caneliers Beach, Salins Beach; there are at least 40 beaches on the peninsula.

  • The Place des Lices, populated by the Stars who meet there and to play “boules” under the plane trees.

  • property in St Tropez

    Splendid residential areas with luxurious villas and apartments.

  • The port is full of huge yachts and splendid sailing boats, famous restaurants such as Le Gorille and Sénéquier.

Brigitte Bardot has lived in Saint Tropez since the 60’s, and with her arrival, Saint Tropez became a mythical place for the international Jet Set! If you want to get away from the crowd and you can stroll in the charming streets of the old village. Or it is better to visit Saint Tropez in spring or autumn when life is quieter!

Saint Raphael

Multi-Cultural Saint Raphael

St Raphael property

Lying between the Mediterranean and the Esterel Mountains, Saint Raphael offers various sports like biking, hiking, horseback riding, and climbing.

Saint Raphael is well known for its the sailing resort with its 42km. of coastline.

All around the year, Saint Raphael organizes conferences, gala evenings, festivities such as celebrations of St. Baume and St. Pierre, Mimosa Week, Jazz festivals, and other typical entertainment. So there is plenty to see and do!

Sanary sur Mer

Picturesque Sanary sur Mer

sanary sur mer property

Sanary sur Mer has a quaint picturesque port with a shoreline path for visitors to stroll along, colourful façades and terraces shaded by palm trees.

From the top of Notre Dame de Pitié there is a magnificent view of the islands.

It is a lively village: a large carnival is held every year. During the evenings in the summer you can see craft makers all along the port. There are numerous food festivals such as the “bouillabaisse days”, “sardine days” and other special events.

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Porquerolles Island

 Gold Islands: Porquerolles

Porquerolles property

Porquerolles is the biggest and the most flamboyant of the three Gold Islands in the Hyères gulf.

A renowned vineyard…
The island was bought in 1912 by “Monsieur Fournier” who apparently bought it as a wedding present for his wife; he planted two hundred hectares with grapevines. This later produced a top quality wine which was to become one of the first to be classed “vines des Côtes de Provence”.

Now a preserved area: In 1971, the state bought 4/5 of the island, thus protecting it from any unsightly housing or hotel developments. Linked to the Park National de Port-Cros Porquerolles is another site protected by the Conservatoire Botanique.

ile de port cros

Nice

Elegant Nice

nice property

Nice, the fifth largest city in France, is well known for its elegance and charm, and its exceptional year round climate. Very popular overseas property location for Brits – check out Nice Property.

The famous “Promenade des Anglais” (English walk) is always bordered with various flowers. You can view the Baie des Anges (Angels bay) and the beaches on one side, and on the other many luxurious hotels such as “The Negresco”.

You can stroll through the ochre coloured streets listening to the “Niçois” speaking their own language, and taste Nice’s best recipes (try the Pissaladières, Pan Bagnat, the Salad Niçoise or the famous Ratatouille). The main cooking ingredient is olive oil, of course, and many of the local dishes are garnished with the succulent little black Nice’s olives.

But do not forget Nice is also a city of art and culture. After Paris, Nice has the largest variety of museums in France.

In the summer you can enjoy the Nice Jazz Festival held in the arena, the gardens of Cimiez, and on the Promenade des Anglais.

Each quarter in Nice is alive with life featuring markets, boutiques, street cafes and restaurants making the whole city a “nice” place to live.

Check out some of the sights of Nice …..

Monaco

Magical Monaco

monaco property

Situated on the Cote d’Azur between Cap d’Ail and Menton, and just before Italian border, you can find Monaco. It is one of those magical and glamorous places that rightly have a worldwide reputation.

This tiny capital, is built in front of the mountains (Monaco is nicknamed “The Rock”), and recently several hectares of land have been reclaimed to Monaco’s area by building several sky scrapers right on the sea!

Monaco is full of expensive boutiques with the latest chic fashions, palatial luxury hotels, and very chic restaurants and cafes, stretch limos, expensive cars and beautiful people! This perfect little gem is one of the “IN” places for the international jet set and the houses or apartments are, understandably, very expensive!

monaco properties

Menton

Beautiful Gardens of Menton

menton property

Situated at the extreme south east of France, Menton is well known for its beautiful gardens (in fact: it has won the competition for the best city of flowers here in France on five different occasions), its pretty port, and its beach resort.

The long hours of sunlight and the subtropical climate of Menton promote the growth of orange trees, lemon trees, mimosa, and palm trees. The two marinas, the old port and the beaches offer the opportunity to savour the seaside.

Every year Menton celebrates the famous Lemon Festival during the 3 weeks from February to March. You can admire magnificent floats in the parade along the “Promenade du Soleil”.

property in menton