The luxurious French Riviera, also known as the Cote d'Azur, stretches along the south east coastline of France. This balmy, temperate region is drenched in cultural and artistic history, where traditions still exist from generations past.
Cote d'Azur has everything you need for a great vacation – a great climate, stunning sea views, renowned culinary delights and above all, a love of the high life. From the old world glamour and jet-set style of Cannes and Monaco to the glorious beaches, you'll find lovely cobblestoned villages, where colorful fishing boats elbow up to mega yachts and sailboats from around the world.
There is a diverse array of luxury accommodations along this beautiful stretch of the Mediterranean coastline, including luxury French Riviera villas, renovated historic chateaux and five-star luxury hotels. You can rent a luxury private villa outside of Cannes with dramatic hilltop views or a spacious modern villa near Monaco with its own private, infinity swimming pool. You will find luxury home rentals to fit most any size of group, from a honeymoon couple to a family reunion. If you prefer the nearby amenities and services of a luxury five-star French Riviera hotel, we also represent several of the finest resorts along the Cote d'Azur.
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If you've never been to the French Riviera, it's easy to think of all of the towns in the region being alike. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Each city, town and village has its own unique ambiance and vibe. For example, if you're looking for a variety of city attractions, like museums, restaurants and nightclubs, then Nice is your best bet. The largest city in the region offers something for everyone, including villa rentals with the waters of the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop.
Grasse is located further inland and is noted for being the heart of France's flower-growing district. Many of these flowers find their way into French perfumes. Villas in this relaxed part of the French Riviera offer sweeping views of lavender fields.
Cannes and Monaco are ideal for those who like to be where the action is. These two locations are favorites with jet setters and Cannes draws thousands of movie stars and other celebrities to the film festival each year. It’s easy to see why you will find some of the most exclusive villas for rent in this region. Monaco, a separate principality surrounded by France, is home to the Monte Carlo casino; the Grimaldi Palace, former home of Princess Grace (Grace Kelly); and the elaborate and luxurious Hotel de Paris, built in 1863.
Imagine coming back to your own private French Riviera villa rental after a full day on the beach, shopping or sightseeing and jumping into the swimming pool overlooking the Mediterranean. Kids will love being able to use that pent-up energy having fun in the water. All of our luxury Cote d'Azur villas include a private pool.
Some of our favorites are Villa Infinity, located just five minutes from charming Beaulieu-sur-Mer; Villa Panorama, a cozy retreat near exclusive Eze-sur-Mer; and the 15-bedroom Villa Chateau des Lumieres, near the Village of Vence.
Plan Your Cote d'Azur Vacation
If your idea of the ideal French Riviera vacation is a large hotel with plenty of services and amenities, then a five-star Monaco beach resort in the French Riviera is probably the best choice for you and your family. However, not all luxury Cote d'Azur resorts and hotels are alike.
For glamour and sophistication, we suggest the Hotel Martinez, located on the "Crescent" in Cannes and home base for the celebrities that flock to town for the annual Cannes Film Festival. Or the Hotel Royal-Riviera, located on the waterfront at exclusive Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. For world-class cuisine and a private, secluded setting, we suggest Château de la Chèvre d'or in Eze, with its two Michelin star restaurants, 43 cozy suites and its dramatic hillside views of the medieval town of Eze and the Mediterranean beyond.
To sample the exclusive life of the residents of Monaco, try the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, the only luxury hotel in Monaco with a private beach. Each suite here has sweeping, unobstructed views of the sea and amenities include multiple eateries and a beach side spa. For a unique, yet luxurious Riviera experience, opt for Le St Paul Hotel in St-Paul-de-Vence, located in the hills inland from the Mediterranean. This picturesque village is one of the oldest Medieval towns in France and the hotel offers large suites with features like stone fireplaces, clawfoot bathtubs and private, rooftop verandahs with 360-degree views of the village, countryside and distant sea.
WIMCO’s well traveled reservations agents can advise you on the special details of each of these luxury hotels in the French Riviera and guide you to the one that is the best fit for your specific needs.
Choosing between a luxury villa on the French Riviera or a wonderful hotel along the Mediterranean can seem like a difficult decision. The good news is that both are great choices. However, the type of accommodation you ultimately decide on depends on what type of vacation you prefer. If you'd like room for you and your family to spread out, away from other vacationers, with your own pool and your own kitchen where you can make at least a few meals, then a luxury French Riviera villa is probably the best option for you.
If instead, you'd like to be near active nightlife, multiple restaurants and on-demand services like massages and room service, then a five-star French Riviera resort is likely the best choice for you and your family. Or you can experience both, just like the most sophisticated travelers do by renting a villa for a week and enjoying a luxury hotel for another 3 days?
Be assured, whichever option you decide on, WIMCO Villas can help you confirm all of those details that make a vacation truly memorable, from dinner reservations to your own private chef.
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The French Riviera, also known as the Cote d'Azur (the Azure Coast), is a popular resort region in the south of France, best known for its beaches, its excellent restaurants, its art community and its temperate climate.
This stretch of Mediterranean coastline from around St Tropez to Menton on the Italian border, has fascinated sun-worshipers, artists and free spirits since the late 19th century. Picasso, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Matisse and Jean Cocteau all vacationed here. It's easy to see why this part of the world is so captivating. The combination of turquoise water, temperate weather, delicious food and carefree lifestyle is difficult to beat.
The region is also home to the fascinating and historic City of Nice and the Principality of Monaco and its fabulous casino as well as the smaller villages and towns of Cannes (of film festival fame); Cap d'Antibes and Cap Ferrat, favorites of Hollywood celebrities. You’ll also find picturesque waterfront villages like Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Eze, Villefranche and Menton.
The Riviera's close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea keeps the region from getting too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. That means you can comfortably vacation here year round. However, we prefer spring and fall, when the weather has warmed a little and there are less people in the restaurants, beaches and streets. The average high temperature in Nice in May and October is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The French Riviera is best accessed by flying to the Nice International Airport (IATA: NCE). There are non-stop flights from New York City to Nice or you can fly to Paris and change planes there. The non-stop travel flight time from New York City is approximately 8.5 hours.
Another great option is to spend a few days in Paris, then take the TGV (train grand Vitesse or “very fast train) from Paris to Nice. It departs from the Gare de Lyon, and only takes 7 hours. This is a relaxing and scenic way to travel down to the coast.
From Nice, it is best to rent a car to best explore the small towns of this coastal region. However, there is also excellent inter-city train service along the Mediterranean coast.
US and Canadian citizens need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months past your return date to visit France and Monaco. No visa is needed for stays of three months or less.
There are so many things to see and do along the French Riviera; it's difficult to choose just five.
Here are the top 5 things on our list:
1. Relax on the beach. The Mediterranean beaches are a major draw of the Riviera. However, some of these, such as the beaches in Nice, are made of small stones rather than sand. We think the best beaches are at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Menton, Villefranche and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Most of these beaches have a variety of amenities, such as waterfront cafes, water sports concessions, showers and lounge chairs for rent.
2. Stroll the Old Town in Nice. Nice, the largest town along the French Riviera, has a diverse history. It was part of Italy for generations before becoming a part of France in 1860. This mixture of cultures is very noticeable in the architecture of the city's Old Town.
This area, with its narrow, cobblestone streets and terracotta stucco structures, is a great place to explore on foot. In addition to the quirky collection of shops and restaurants there, Old Town is home to the city's weekly fresh flower market.
Stroll through the Saturday markets. These markets are set up normally in the town square where you'll delight in the array of locally grown olives, purple-tipped artichokes, and succulent coeur de boeuf tomatoes.
Browse amidst stalls of linen tablecloths and antique bric-a-brac. Wander the back streets and alleys, poking into handmade sandal shops or high-end boutiques, while keeping an eye open for a good place to have an afternoon aperitif.
3. Try your luck at the Casino in Monaco. The casino at Monte Carlo in Monaco is arguably the most important attraction in Monaco. The beautiful 19th-century beaux-arts building features an assortment of gaming tables, a few slot machines and even a theater. The local ballet and opera company perform there.
You don't want to compare this casino to your favorite Vegas gaming palace. Monte Carlo is formal (no shorts, please) and features European games, such as baccarat and roulette more than slot machines.
4. Tour the lavender farms and perfumes of Grasse. The South of France is well-known for its perfume manufacturers and for growing many of the flowers that go into making French perfume. Many of these are located in the region surrounding the town of Grasse, which is located in the foothills of the Alps, north of the coastal area.
5. Savor the food of the Cote d'Azur. The cuisine of the South of France combines the flavors of French, Italian and North Africa and uses the abundant bounty of local seas and fields. Highlights of this region's cooking include bouillabaisse, salade nicoise, ratatouille and a thin-crusted pizza with black olives, tomatoes and basil. The region is also known for its dry rose wines from areas like Tavel.
As a bonus tip: be sure to find the local churches or museums to really get a first hand look at the magnificent history of the area.
Planning a luxury villa vacation along the French Riviera can be as easy and relaxing as being on one.
With WIMCO villas, the pampering actually begins before you even leave your home. Allow the villa specialist and concierge services team at WIMCO Villas to handle every detail for you.
With over 35 years of experience in the luxury travel space, the friendly vacation planners will assist you with everything from selecting the perfect luxury villa and booking your flights to stocking your kitchen with fresh local groceries and arranging for a private chef and even gourmet cooking classes.
While you are sipping a glass of refreshing Bandol rose overlooking your swimming pool and the sparkling Mediterranean waters beyond. Your private chef will prepare your gourmet dinner
Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make your vacation on the French Riviera memorable and enjoyable. Every booking with WIMCO Villas is personalized and includes our complimentary 24/7 signature concierge service.
We genuinely enjoy taking the stress out of our clients' vacation plans. Leave everything to us – give us a call (401-849-8012) or contact us today to start planning your memorable French Riviera vacation!