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Scroll down to view our selection of holiday cottages with pools on the Cote d’Azur.
Chic resorts, spectacular coastline and sleepy villages amidst stunning scenery there’s so much to see and do whilst staying at one of our holiday cottages with pools on the Cote d’Azur.
Here’s our guide to the Top 10 Things To Do in this beautiful region.
1. Discover the Calanques
Between Marseille and Cassis, the Riviera coastline is pierced by deep inlets and rugged limestone cliffs known as ‘calanques’. This dramatic scenery, with its unique flora and fauna, enjoys the protection of National Park status. Ideal for exploration on foot, way-marked trails have been created, however during the summer months sections can be closed to the public due to the risk of forest fires. Boat trips provide a great alternative way of discovering the secrets of these turquoise coves.
2. Drive the Corniches
These parallel, cliff-hugging roads twist and turn their way eastwards from Nice towards Monaco and the Italian border, offering stupendous views over the Riviera coastline and Mediterranean sea. The spectacular settings of the Grande Corniche, built along the line of a famous Roman road by Napoleon, and Moyenne Corniche have featured in many film shoots down the years; the lower Corniche Inferieure (Basse) links coastal towns and, like the higher routes, can become congested in the high season.
3. Visit bustling Nice
With its colourful markets, Mediterranean climate and fabulous location, Nice has been a popular tourist destination for 250 years. The construction of its famous seafront Promenade des Anglais, on the Bay of the Angels, began in the late 18th century as wealthy visitors from more northerly climes began to arrive, fleeing the winter weather back home. Just a stone’s throw away from here, the city’s Old Town houses a vast array of boutiques and restaurants offering some of the best world foods; at the centre of the pedestrian quarter lies the Place Massena with its striking architecture. Nice also boasts a botanic garden and chateau, with panoramic views available from its cliff-top perch and from nearby Mont Boron.
4. Climb the Massif de l’Esterel
This rocky range of red hills between St Raphael and Cannes offers an opportunity to escape the bustling coastline and appreciate some fine views across the region. The scenery owes its colour to the underlying ancient volcanic rock. At just over 2,000 feet (618 metres), its highest point is Mont Vinaigre which lies slightly inland but is a popular destination for walkers and cyclists. The arid landscape of cork oak and scrub enjoys protected status and there are several way-marked walking routes to follow.
5. Bask on the beach
No holiday on the Riviera would be complete without a visit to the beach, but it’s hard to list a definitive Top Ten of these as people’s criteria differ. Posing on Paloma Plage (Cap Ferrat) below the mansions of millionaires, or basking on one of the public beaches around classy, but crowded, Cap d’Antibes is not to everyone’s taste. While busy Cannes beaches, off the famous La Croisette, have their appeal, quieter spots can usually be found at resorts like nearby Theoule-sur-Mer. The same applies to Nice and St Tropez; smaller neighbours like Villefranche, Port Grimaud and Rayol Canadel-sur-Mer offer less busy alternatives.
6. Embark for the islands
Lying just off the Giens Peninsula, below Hyeres, the ‘Golden Isles’ are well worth a day trip. Ferries make frequent short crossings from Giens and other mainland ports to Porquerolles (the most accessible) and Port Cros (a national nature and marine reserve). The less-frequented third island, Le Levant, was formerly a penal colony and has no electricity supply. Today it is a centre for naturism; visitors are advised that nudism is obligatory on its only accessible beach and along much of its coastline. Most tourists choose Porquerolles, exploring it on foot or by bicycle; restrictions can be imposed to prevent forest fires and dogs are not allowed on its beaches. Port Cros enjoys protected status and visitors are asked not to leave its way-marked paths or smoke during their stay.
7. Savour the past
The Medieval village of Eze enjoys a lofty perch on the Cap Ferrat peninsula offering superb views over the Mediterranean from its exotic cactus gardens. Here, the scents of the local perfume industry can be sampled in boutiques and stalls which line the winding streets. Twelve miles inland, in the hills above Cannes, lies the busy fragrance town of Grasse, with its perfumeries and museums dedicated to floral essences and, more recently, food flavourings. The medieval walled town of St Paul de Vence is another popular tourist destination around half an hour’s drive due west from Nice. Further west still, charming Bargemon is an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Nice along roads winding up through the olive groves.
8. Negotiate the bends
Monaco is an independent principality, sandwiched between France and Italy on the Mediterranean shore and famous for its annual Formula 1 Grand Prix. Ruled by a constitutional monarch, Prince Albert II, this miniature country is one of the world’s smallest, second only to the Vatican City. It is possible to drive the Grand Prix course, twisting and turning through the streets, past the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino which generates much of Monaco’s wealth.
9. Go Italian
Rising steeply from its beaches, the picturesque French border town of Menton has an Italian feel. Famous for its citrus fruit, the town hosts an annual lemon festival and has links with many well-known artists including Jean Cocteau. It’s just a short trip from here into Italy, to the neighbouring town of Ventimiglia with its Roman remains and popular weekly market.
10. Visit the Villa
One of the top tourist attractions on the Riviera is the Villa and Gardens of Ephrussi de Rothschild, at St Jean Cap Ferrat. Oozing Belle Epoque glamour and style this spectacular site overlooking the sea was created by Beatrice de Rothschild, wife of wealthy banker Baron Maurice de Ephrussi, in the early 20th century. Filled with her collections of fine art, antique furniture and porcelain the property was bequeathed to the Institut de France on her death. It offers a rare glimpse of how the ‘other half’ live on this secluded, exclusive peninsula.
You can view our full selection of holiday cottages with pools on the Cote d’Azur below.
Other selected holiday rentals on the Cote d’Azur:
If you’re looking for holiday cottages with pools on the Cote d’Azur, why not take a look at our latest Travel Guide to the region.
For more information about holidaying in the south of France, visit the official Provence, Alpes, Cote d’Azur Tourism website.