7 of the best places to stay along the French Riviera

Glamorous and laid back in equal measure, the French Riviera holds some of the Mediterranean's prime beach resorts.

All along the Côte d'Azur right up to the Italian border, you'll find a huge choice of sunny places for a relaxed summer holiday, everything from tiny coves and big city beaches to intimate bays on peninsulas and island outposts.

Guide to the French Riviera © Gevisions - Fotolia.com
Guide to the French Riviera © Gevisions - Fotolia.com

Where to stay in the French Riviera: Pierre & Vacances is a specialist in providing great value, super stylish and well-equipped properties for all budgets along the French Riviera* - check out the latest special offers and get booking today!

Cannes

The home of the world's most glittering film festival also has several long sandy beaches lined with glitzy - and not so glitzy - beach clubs.

Stroll along the Croisette past the city's grand hotels for the full-on French Riviera experience, or try the more chilled-out beaches on the western side of the Vieux Port.

If you want to escape the city, take a boat to the Iles des Lérins and have a lazy swim in the beaches of Sainte-Marguerite. Then wander round the monastery and fortress on the neighbouring island of Saint-Honorat.

The palm shaded Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes © Dmitry Vetrov - Flickr Creative Commons
The palm shaded Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes © Dmitry Vetrov - Flickr Creative Commons

Book a room with a sea-facing balcony at Cannes Villa Francia* and you can look out over the Mediterranean and the Iles des Lérins.

If you fancy a change from the two outdoor pools, the relatively quiet beach of Rochers de la Bocca is less than a 15-minute walk away.

Menton

Hard up against the Italian border, Menton seems to blend in with its Italian neighbours thanks to its exquisitely pretty old town of ochre and terracotta townhouses.

It's a city of gardens, with the heady scent of oranges and lemons wafting through the many exotic green spaces including the Jardins Biovès.

The colours and steep slopes of Menton © Monticellllo - Fotolia.com
The colours and steep slopes of Menton © Monticellllo - Fotolia.com

If you're in the mood for a bit of culture, check out the Jean Cocteau Museum on a little peninsula curving round the Baie de Soleil.

Just next door is the ancient fort with a gallery that the writer and director created himself. Then hit one of the many beaches that line most of Menton's coast.

From Les Rivages du Parc résidence*, it's only a three-minute walk to the Plage du Casino. Surrounded by the trees, the residence has fabulous sea views from its balconies.

Sainte-Maxime

Sainte-Maxime is just across the bay from Saint Tropez, but it's a world away from the French Riviera's best-known resort.

Much more relaxed - and less expensive - than its flashy sister resort, Sainte-Maxime also has wonderful sandy beaches including Plage de la Nartelle just beyond the centre.

Spend the morning browsing the mouthwatering stalls in the indoor food market. You'll have plenty of time to catch one of the regular boats that shuttle across the bay to Saint-Tropez if you're in the mood for a bit of classic Côte d'Azur dazzle.

Sainte-Maxime's main beach is only a five-minute walk from Résidence Les Platanes*, along with the Casino Barrière and the marina.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Set just a few kilometres around the peninsula from Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the most attractive villages on the Côte d'Azur.

Wander past colourful houses and fishermen's cottages along covered passages and stone staircases towards the 16th-century Saint-Elme citadel for sweeping views of the Mediterranean.

The pretty village of Villefranche-sur-mer, France © Eagle2308 - Fotolia.com
The pretty village of Villefranche-sur-mer, France © Eagle2308 - Fotolia.com

Stop by one of the cafés that line the exceptionally charming harbour before carrying onward to the long stretch of beach. From here you can soak up the views of the village along with the sun.

Surrounded by landscaped gardens, Résidence L'Ange Gardien* is just a short walk from the beach. Take in the wide views of the coast from the vantage point of the large outdoor pool.

Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël

Different as they are, these neighbours complement each other perfectly. Fréjus is an enchanting lesson in Roman history.

Take time to explore the ancient amphitheatre, aqueduct and baths from around the 3rd century BCE. Then head down to the town beach and its marina filled with gleaming boats.

Merging seamlessly with Fréjus is the more modern seaside resort town of Saint-Raphaël, with its multitude of beaches and marinas hugging the coastline. And all around are the Esterel Mountains adding a dramatic note to the landscape.

Enjoy the best of both towns at Résidence Cap Hermes*, which overlooks Port Fréjus and is within easy reach of Saint-Raphaël. There's a beach about a three-minute walk as well as an outdoor pool.

Hyères - Giens Peninsula

Dangling from below the city of Hyères is the Giens peninsula, one of the more unusual sights of the Côte d'Azur.

Salty lakes fill the centre of this upside-down T-shaped nature reserve, but both edges are lined with long sandy beaches. At its end is a series of pine-covered rocky cliffs; follow the coastal footpath and enjoy gorgeous views from the top.

Beach and shoreline on Île de Porquerolles © Donnerbold - Fotolia.com
Beach and shoreline on Île de Porquerolles © Donnerbold - Fotolia.com

For gentle island adventures, take the boat that leaves the Port de la Tour Fondue and hop across to Porquerolles.

This crescent-shaped island is home to sandy beaches, cute little villages and hiking trails that take you through pine forests and past windmills and hulking great forts.

Set in cooling gardens, Résidence La Pinède* leads directly to a sandy beach on the eastern edge of the peninsula, and there's also an outdoor pool.

Bandol

Sheltered by pine-clad hills, Bandol earns its nickname of 'La Ville Tranquille'. Tranquil as it may appear, there's still some action around the marina and the lively port.

Things get a bit calmer when you pitch up on the beach that's tucked into the Anse de Renécros, whose sides almost come full circle.

Wine lovers will already be familiar with Bandol's vineyards, which produce superb reds, whites and, in particular, rosés.

At the town's tip, you can take a boat to the sleepy little island of Bendor, where time has a way of slowing down.

Overlooking the beach at Renécros, Résidence Louis Lumière* has easy access to the sands.

It also faces the marina, and all apartments have balconies in which you can enjoy views of either the beach or the port.

Fancy the French Riviera? Check out the latest deals on holidays rentals and resorts from Pierre & Vacances at each of these destinations and many more along the coast for summer 2019.

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Mary Novakovich

Mary Novakovich
Posted on Tuesday 16th April 2019 in: Beach Europe Summer

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