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
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.