Things To Do and Activity Guide for Cote d'Azur (the French Riviera) Vacations

Driving the Mediterranean Coast

Driving the Mediterranean Coast, Cote d'Azur Activities Getting around by automobile is relatively straightforward, and certainly it is it is the preferred mode of travel if you intend to visit as many locations as possible on your own terms without the aggravation of having to line up private cars or taxis in advance and pay substantial fares. Hertz, Avis and Europcar are well established along the coast, as are any number of smaller local car rental outfits. WIMCO will make all of your vehicle arrangements when you book, which effectively — and conveniently — puts a car in your hands as soon as you arrive. France has been called by some a motorist's paradise, and certainly this portion of the south coast does nothing to offset that reputation.

The A8 autoroute runs parallel to the coast inland and provides high-speed travel across southern Provence — to be sure, it runs all the way from Italy to Spain. Between Nice and Menton run three more local cliff-bound routes — the Grande Corniche through la Turbie, the Moyenne Corniche through Eze, and the Corniche Inférieure fronting the coast. The views are stunning — mountains coursing skyward on one side, the world in many cases dropping off into oblivion on the other with the great blue expanse of the Mediterranean filling the void all the way to the horizon. Be advised that some of the more popular coastal routes become congested in the middle of the summer, especially during high season in the French vacation calendar between mid-July and the end of August.


Cote d'Azur Activities Cannes is most well known as home to the Cannes Film Festival, drawing Hollywood to the south of France. But Cannes still retains its small, fishing-port past. Beyond the designer shops on la Croissette, you’ll find narrow streets that lead from the waterfront to small local squares filled with tiny shops, people playing pool, and open markets.

Cannes Film Festival

The Festival Palace is where it all happens. When the Cannes Film Festival is in town, paparazzi crowd under the palm trees, popping flashbulbs at the glittering movie stars swanning up the broad, red-carpeted stairs to find out who has won the Palme d’Or. The festival takes place in mid-May annually.
Cannes Film Festival

La Croisette

A world famous street filled with upscale shopping opportunities that runs right along the beautiful shoreline of Cannes. Take a walk down the shoreline and watch the yachts as they dock or depart.

Cap d'Antibes & Antibes

Just beyond Cannes to the east is Cap d'Antibes—"the Cap"—a peninsula of rocky coves lapped by the waters of the Mediterranean and dotted with sprawling properties and famous retreats. Be sure to head to Le Sentier du Littoral, a gentle walk around the coast, with coves to swim in.

Castle Hill

A must-do in Nice. Either take the hike to the top, or a small lift for spectacular views of the city. There is a café at the top as well.

Lerin's Island

Take a short ferry ride and see the Royal Fort, or take a refreshing swim in one of the coves that the island has to offer. Also known as a common place for familes to set up picnics.

Driving the Coast

France has been called a motorist’s paradise by some. The A8 autoroute runs parallel to the coast inland and provides high-speed travel across southern Provence.

Sight-seeing in "Old Town"

Narrow streets filled with boutiques, eateries, and apartment buildings. Take a look around and see what this little area has to offer. Get lost shopping for hours with all of the mystery behind every turn and corner.

Grand Prix

The Grand Prix is a Formula 1 (F1) race held every year right after the Cannes Film festival in Monaco. It is easy to stay in either Nice or Menton to catch some of the action (and requisite parties) around this race.

Nice Jazz Festival

In mid-July the International Jazz Festival comes to town, renowned among jazz aficionados and stars alike. With five to six nights of Jazz, it’s a great reason to visit the south of France. Tickets can be purchased online.

Nice Carnival

French Riviera's first winter event. This carnival is world famous and attracts nearly a million visitors from many different nations every year. This carnival offers a unique opportunity to experience Nice at a time of year when most tourists stay home under the assumption of bad weather and grey skies.


Located to the south of Mougins, Picasso spent the last twelve years of his life at this religious site. It is possible to tour the 13th century bell tower that is flanked by ancient cypress trees.

Lemon Festival

A festival unlike any other which, as the name suggests, has lemons and all things lemon-themed as far as the eye can see. In 2020, the theme for the Lemon Festival will be "Parties Around the World". The festival consists of fireworks, light shows, and a parade through the streets for all to see.

Massif de l'Esterel

This small beach town is known for its orange rocks and blue skies. Enjoy the wildlife of the French Riviera by camping at this location, where you can bike, hike, and kayak through small rivers.


Cote d'Azur Activities Visit one of its most popular beach, Larvotto Beach, during the day to sip on champagne under the sun and Monte-Carlo Casino at night. You might recognize the casino from several James Bond movies. The Monaco St. Nicholas Cathedral and Princess Grace Botanical Gardens are also worthwhile sites to explore.

Musée Picasso

This museum houses a formidable collection of the master's own work, plus items by Max Ernst, Juan Miró, Nicolas de Staël and Fernand Léger.
The Picasso Museum

Cote d'Azur Activities


A vibrant open-air city, full of museums, sidewalk cafes, and incredible bistros on assuming streets.

Promenade des Anglais

A must experience in Nice, France, known simply as the promenade, somewhat similar to the Santa Monica promenade in Los Angeles. Walk or bike along this section to admire the water and energy of the local people.

Saint-Paul de Vence

An idyllic fortified hilltop town just minutes from Nice. Spend an afternoon strolling its narrow streets, bargain shopping, and enjoying 180 degree views of the French Riviera.

The Chagall Museum

A museum filled with the works of Russian artist Marc Chagal, who created a unique collection of lively, large-scale renderings of Russian village life, as filtered through the prism of Yiddish folklore.
The Chagall Museum

The Matisse Museum

Discover Matisse's mastery of different mediums and techniques with works from every period of his life.
The Matisse Museum

The Picasso Museum

Visit this museum filled mostly with Picasso’s work during his time at Chateau Grimladi. The museum is located in Antibes.

Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild

Explore gorgeous green gardens and stunning views of the sea at this landmark in St. Jean


Cote d'Azur Vacation Ideas

Plan Your Cote d'Azur Vacation

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