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Holiday like royalty in the Côte d

South of France

Holiday like royalty in the Côte d'Azur

Sarah 20 February 2018

The jewel in southern France’s lustrous crown and a destination that presents a wealth of contrast, from the glitz and glamour of iconic beach clubs and eateries courted by the rich and famous, to the characterful towns and villages still showcasing the remnants of their Roman reign, the Côte d’Azur is truly a regal retreat.

This famous coastline, also known as The French Riviera, stretches from captivating Cannes to the medieval town of Menton, the first focus of our destination led journey through this richly fascinating part of France…

Menton

Menton

Founded by pirates in the seventieth century, this sleepy seaside town and its captivating array of colourful buildings lining its crescent-shaped bay, has long been the go-to holiday destination for the French themselves who enjoy soaking up its rich history and relaxed atmosphere. With its proximity to the Italian border, there is also a marked influence of Italy which resonates in the feel, flavours and style of this charming location.

Once widowed, Queen Victoria spent some of her winters in “beloved and beautiful Menton” and the Riviera, where she enjoyed the mild climate and breathtaking scenery. Following the Queen’s royal approval, towards the end of the 19th century tourism in the area grew from around 15,000 to 100,000 visitors per year.

Where to eat and drink

Mirazur

Perfectly placed at the foot of the mountains, boasting resplendent views across the bay, Mirazur restaurant presents a menu that’s as captivating as the buildings magnificent art deco façade. Taking the lead from his surroundings along with his Italian/Argentinian heritage, head chef Mauro Colagreco has created a carte du jour that offers a truly authentic flavour of Menton, with seasonal fruit, seafood and home-grown vegetables featuring heavily in the cuisine.

What to see and do

Mar Vivo Beach

A calm and sheltered beach that’s perfect for families and those looking for a quiet retreat, Mar Vivo’s crowning glory is that it boasts beautiful views across to the Italian mountains and sits alongside several trendy cafés and restaurants. Being a small cove, it can get very busy in the summer months.

Musée Jean Cocteau

Opened in 2011, this impactfully designed museum, dedicated to Menton’s adopted “son”, artist, writer and film-maker Jean Cocteau is open daily (10am-6pm) and features high profile exhibitions throughout the year, with work by Matisse and Picasso having been recently displayed.

Marseille

Marseille

The much maligned second largest city in France, Marseille is enjoying a resurgence, benefitting from enormous investment in recent years, not only to its infrastructure but to its cultural identity. Celebrated as the European Capital of Culture 2013, several museums, galleries and many restaurants and bars have since been opened, transforming Marseille into a diverse and stylish destinations with a little more grit than its Riviera based counterparts.

The thriving Old Port, once famed for merchant ships now plays host to the glitterati and their yachts and pleasure boats.  A lively marina now known for its contemporary hotels and haute cuisine, the recently pedestrianised streets close to the Opéra de Marseilles attracts the socialites to its fashionable club scene after dark.  

Where to eat and drink

Une Table au Sud

Seasonal dishes sourced from local producers and a menu curated by young, passionate, Marseille born chef Ludovic Turac, Une Table au Sud is one of the most celebrated restaurants in the region. Award winning and featuring breathtaking views of the port, be sure to book ahead – tables at this exclusive and popular restaurant are in high demand.

What to see and do

Notre-Dame de la Garde

Notre Dame de la Garde

For sublime panoramas of Marseilles, Notre-Dame de la Grande is a must-visit destination. Situated at the city’s highest point, with ornate murals, intricate mosaics and coloured marble, the bell tower is crowned by an enormous gilded statue of the Virgin Mary; an iconic monument that’s befitting of the area and its engaging mix of natural beauty and lavish architecture.

St Tropez

It’s the most infamous resort in Europe, synonymous with jetsetters, influencers, the famous and the beautiful, who flock to its azure shores year upon year to be seen and adored by the masses. It may be renowned for its glamour and extravagance, but if you visit in low season you’ll see peace transcend and its characterful charm shine through. It’s the prime time to visit if you want to shake off the tourists and blend in with the locals, joining them for a café au lait on the cobbles of a sleepy side street.

Where to eat and drink

L’Opera

For a truly unique experience L’Opera is a must. Situated in the heart of St Tropez village lies an arena-cum-restaurant where theatrics meets gastronomy. Here you can witness a show like no other; opera with dinner in a secluded club against the backdrop of the marina. Only in the Cote d’Azur.

What to see and do

Pampelonne Beach, St Tropez

Pampelonne

Known as the destination where “the rich play and the rest of the world looks on” and where Bridget Bardot frolicked in “And God Created Woman” Pampelonne, St Tropez is perhaps the most famous beach in France and well worth a visit for that very reason. Experience the high life personified, with iconic beach clubs such as Nikki Beach and Club 55, both of which welcome us commoners to hire their equipment, sample their menu…and gawp at the illustrious clientele that might be there too.

Where to stay

For the perfect mix of culture, history and exuberance within the majestic surroundings of The Riviera, have a browse of our enticing portfolio of Côte d’Azur properties.

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