Something happens when you stand beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you experience the true essence of wonder but also a certain realization of achievement. That is to say, this is one of the most iconic landmarks on the planet and one which incites wanderlust for people all over the world. However, this is also a sight that many travelers dream about and often a moment which can seem like the fruition of a life-long yearning to travel. At the same time, there is much more to the city of love than this inspiring tower and when you finally visit Paris, you should also realize that the French capital is merely the start and an opportunity to encounter a much greater experience.

Located in the very south of France, the French Riviera stretches for more than 500 miles alongside the Mediterranean. Also known as Côte d’Azur, the region is sprinkled with beaches and rugged coastline while Nice, Cannes and St Tropez are just a few of the enchanting towns to visit. Whether you venture in search of the quiet-life in France, sun-kissed beaches, incredible food or remote wilderness; there are few pockets in Europe which can evoke the same sense of wanderlust as the French Riviera.

With this in mind, here are five reasons to break out of Paris and explore an alternative side to this fascinating travel destination:

5 Reasons to Break Out of Paris and Visit the French Riviera

  1. Encounter Small Town France on the French Riviera

Antibes is a small resort town on the outskirts of Cannes which is best known for the ancients ramparts surrounding the town. Strolling down Avenue du Verdun, a small harbor comes into view where primitive fisherman boats can be found alongside yachts belonging to the wealthy. In many ways, this is a much quieter microcosm of the nearby cities and possibly an insight into what Cannes or Nice may have looked like many thousands of years ago.

Whether you spend time exploring Musée Picasso or the ancient facades of town, this is a much more relaxing and primitive alternative to the nearby cities. In fact, Antibes is the perfect example of the many hidden jewels in the French Rivera and an opportunity to encounter small town France in the midst of a stunning coastline.

  1. Take a Walk on the Luxurious Side in Cannes

As the saying goes, when in Cannes, do as the people in Cannes do. Well, this may not be a saying but Cannes is certainly a unique city in France and an opportunity to splash out on the luxury experience. After all, even for a quick one night stopover, the city is full of charm and offers some particularly impressive food experiences which make it worthwhile. From the succulent steak at Mesclun to the five star experience at La Chaperon Rouge, the restaurants in Cannes are some of the best regarded and most sought after in the world.

As you might expect, this luxury extends to hotels and just about every other service in the city while the nearby beaches are nothing short of immaculate. Furthermore, La Croisette is a stunning boardwalk on the ocean front of Cannes and this popular area is home to some lovely café’s and boutique shops which provide the perfect excuse to take a sunset stroll.

Indeed, this famous city may be best known for the Cannes Film Festival but make no mistake, luxury is an all-year event in Cannes and this is yet another side to France which never fails to delight visitors.

  1. Getting Around and Reaching Remote Locations is Easy

France is one of the most advanced countries in Europe and arguably one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. When it comes to landmarks and historical attractions, you will find them at every turn but then the countryside and stunning coastline are just as popular as the cities. In this respect, we can understand how or why the French government have overhauled every transport system across the nation. That is to say, every city attraction is just a metro or tram ride away while the coastal towns are accessed by train and even nearby islands are within easy reach.

For example, Sainte-Marguerite Island is one of the famous Lérins Islands in the Bay of Cannes. Visitors are drawn to this island by beautiful scenery and historical importance but there are also two restaurants on the island and some accommodation for an overnight stay. In spite of the remote nature of Sainte-Marguerite, visiting the island is a straightforward task. In fact, with high speed trains, luxury coaches and reliable ferries, visitors can travel seamlessly throughout France, from Paris and the Eiffel Tower all the way to the French Rivera and Saint-Marguerite Island.

Needless to say, the above mentioned island is merely an example and you should find that travel in France is always easy and something that makes extending a vacation a seamless idea.

  1. Monte Carlo and St Tropez – You Always Have Options

Monte Carlo is one of the most famous cities in France and a popular destination which certainly worth a visit. However, this vibrant city is often similar to Cannes above in a sense that it offers a similar luxury experience with possibly even more extravagance in between. After all, this is where you will find the biggest casinos in France and the track for the annual F1 Grand Prix.

At the same time, the French Riviera has much more to offer than luxury and St Tropez is an ideal example in this respect. Featuring a stunning beach and cultured old town, St Tropez may be popular with the rich and famous but the intrepid traveler can also find appeal in this beautiful town. Walking through cobblestone alleys and beneath ancient churches, there is much history to explore but then the relaxing resorts and holiday-feel about the town is very symbolic of the French Riviera region. With this in mind, you always seem to have a choice in the French Riviera and in this instance, you can lavish in the excess of Monte Carlo or escape the noise and kick back in St Tropez.

  1. You Will Find Art, History and Landscapes at Every Turn

Simply put, nowhere in France looks quite the same as the French Riviera and this idyllic coastline is one of the most impressive stretches in Europe. You will find luscious hills and valleys in between each town and remote wilderness on nearby islands but either way, the landscapes offer a beautiful contrast to the city scapes and urban areas.

On the other hand, there is also history here, for even the Romans took a fancy to the French Riviera and left endless ancient monuments and structures in their wake. When you travel through or between towns, there are always remnants in the form of old churches or abbeys while museusms are usually on hand to help visitors take a close look.

As you might expect, this is also a food lovers haven and a place where the French cuisine is often taken to new heights. You will encounter Michelin star restaurants next to traditional eateries in some towns but either way, the food experience is likely to surpass even the highest expectations.

As already mentioned, witnessing the Eiffel Tower for the first time is an unforgettable experience and the same can be said for the immense culture and variety of experiences in the Capital. Furthermore, France is an exciting destination with historic castles, sublime food and beautiful scenery at every turn. However, as you should see, the French Riviera is not to be missed and with convenient transport linking this iconic region to the rest of France, it would be a shame not to extend a trip to prioritize this gem on your upcoming travel itinerary.

Are you thinking about visiting the French Riviera? Please do not hesitate to contact us and we can assist you with options and travel itineraries to help you plan for the occasion!


Mark Buck is the Managing Director of United Europe Travel Services (Pty) Ltd, an online and offline travel services company based in South Africa

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