Planning a trip to the South of France? Here is everything you need to know about the most beautiful cities on the French Riviera, so you can make the most of your trip!
The South of France, and particularly the French Riviera is a top travel destination and a dream for many of us. And for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to sail across the beautiful turquoise water of the Mediterranean, wander through picturesque towns, and take in all the glamour of Monaco?
A few years ago this dream came true for me as I got to celebrate there my 30th birthday.
I will never forget watching fireworks above the Mediterranean from Canne’s Croissette boulevard that night, or the narrow streets of St. Tropez. Nor the glamour of Monaco and our dinner above the harbor. What a magical experience!
Do you know how sometimes you try to “take it all in”, all the wonderful views, and try to remember them for a lifetime not knowing if you could come back? Well, in this case, that wasn’t me. 😉 I knew that at some point I will come back here.
So this May 2022 I made it happen. I was very happy to walk along the Promenade des Anglais again and spend a long weekend on the French Riviera together with my family.
During our 4 days in the South of France, we explored the most beautiful cities of the French Riviera and here I am, telling you all about it in this post, so you can make the most of your trip there.
These are the best places you should definitely visit if you are planning a holiday in the South of France:
Top Cities On The French Riviera
Nice is the second-largest city on the French Riviera after Marseille and a wonderful destination to start exploring the region. It is also one of the most visited cities in the South of France, hosting over 4 million tourists each year.
When in Nice, you’d first want to walk along the Promenade des Anglais, this wonderful promenade along the Mediterranean coast, stretching for up to 7km. Then head over to the old town, walk through its winding, narrow streets and visit the beautiful Pierre Gautier Square and Massena Square. Next make sure to climb the stairs at the end of the Promenade des Anglais, for an impressive panoramic view of Nice from above.
In case you are wondering where to stay in the South of France, my recommendation is definitely Nice. Its great location, just 30-45 minutes away from Cannes, Antibes, or Monaco, makes Nice the perfect place to use as a base for your holidays in the South of France.
If you are looking for a beach holiday, you should know that while Nice beach is impressive, it is also a stony beach. You’d definitely want to grab some special sandals for walking on it, especially for going into the water. 😉
2) Monaco – the most glamorous of the French Riviera cities
The next city you’d want to visit is Monaco. This gorgeous city-state (Monaco is an independent country) is definitely a must-see during your trip as it is one of the most spectacular cities on the French Riviera.
Monaco & its capital, Monte Carlo, have been and remain one of the most luxurious travel destinations in Europe. So get ready to see lots of Ferraris and Lamborghinis passing around as well as impressive yachts anchored in its port.
Start your tour at Monaco’s main square, where you’ll find the famous Monte Carlo Casino. You don’t have to gamble to see the inside of the casino (at least the lobby) so step inside and have a glance at the architectural beauty of this building.
Then continue your tour towards the right side of the Casino to explore its beautiful gardens and views of the Mediterranean from above the cliffs.
Next, head down to the port and then up the stairs to visit Monaco’s old town and the Prince’s Palace (the official residence of the Prince of Monaco).
While it’s pretty hard to choose, I’d say Cannes is probably my favorite out of all the cities on the French Riviera. It has that small resort vibe, but also all the glam and luxury that you’ve been accustomed to in the South of France region.
Hosting the famous annual international film festival and the Creativity Festival, Cannes is a great cultural travel destination too. And if you’re looking for a great, sandy beach for your holiday in the South of France, then Cannes is a great option!
When visiting the resort you’d first want to walk along its famous promenade – the Croissette and the Palais des Festivals and then head into the old town and the picturesque, narrow streets. Next climb to the Cannes fortress for some great views of the city from above.
4) Saint-Tropez – the jewel of the French Riviera cities
I’m sure this old fishing village needs no introduction! Saint-Tropez, the jewel of the French Riviera, is another one of the main cities in the South of France to add to your travel bucket list.
Located a little bit further from Nice, around a 1,5-2 hours drive, Saint-Tropez is well known for its beaches and nightlife. It has been a popular destination for “jet-setters” since the 60s and continues to be nowadays as well.
Similar to the other cities in this list, you will love walking along the old streets of Saint-Tropez and their beautiful boutiques or taking in the sea breeze by the port.
And after having covered the 4 main cities you absolutely shouldn’t miss on the French Riviera, we are coming now to a slightly lesser-known one, but just as beautiful. So if you have more time to spend in the South of France, I highly recommend visiting Antibes.
Located only 15 minutes by train from Nice, Antibes is a great day-trip option if you’d like to explore more of the area.
This charming little town will impress you with stunning views of the Meditteranean its citadel walls as well as great beaches. You’ll also want to head over to Cap d’Antibes and explore this luxury resort located nearby.
6) Villefranche Sur Mer
This gorgeous harbor town is located pretty close to Nice, just a few minutes away by train, and definitely deserves a visit. It is one of the most authentic and charming fishing villages on the French Riviera.
Walk along the sea shore and admire the clear, blue water, or stop for a day of sunbathing on its beautiful beach. Then head to the old town, explore the traditional markets or simply enjoy that delicious French food in one of the many restaurants in the Darse area.
So there we have it, the list of the most impressive cities you should visit during a trip to the French Riviera. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that it was helpful for planning an amazing holiday to the South of France! Happy travels! 🙂
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