We'll be visiting these destinations in a few weeks to update our new edition of "Open Road's Best of Provence and the French Riviera."
Why some avoid Nice is perplexing. Nice, on the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), has on average 300 sunny days a year, many important historical sights and museums, a fabulous Old Town, and great dining. Nice was part of Italy until 1860 and you’ll see the Italian influence in everything from architecture to cuisine.
Photo: "Hafen von Nizza" by Tobi
Antibes is an ancient town with 17th-century ramparts and a fortress wall dropping into the sea. The streets of its Old Town (Vieil Antibes) are lined with Italianate buildings with red-tile roofs. High over the water is the medieval castle, the Château Grimaldi. It’s also a major tourist destination, with a sandy beach, boutiques and cafés.
Photo: "Antibes Sunrise" by David Ansley
The city looks Italian with its yellow and ochre homes reaching down the hill to the sea. The beach here is pebbly, and the harbor can accommodate huge vessels. It’s still a naval port. The interesting rue Obscure, a street that runs parallel to the waterfront, is covered by vaulted arcades. The town has a huge restored citadel (Citadelle St- Elme) dating from the 16th-century.
Photo: "Villefranche-sur-Mer" by Tom Corser www.tomcorser.com.
Come here to sit in the Old Port (Vieux Port) along the quai Jean-Jaurès, and enjoy some of the world’s best people-watching. St-Tropez’s web of narrow streets in the Old Town (Quartier de la Ponche) are lined with pastel-painted buildings with red-tile roofs filled with restaurants and boutiques for every budget (especially those with an unlimited budget). Oh, and for that St-Tropez tan, there are some great beaches here, too!
Photo: By Paolo Schubert
This alluring resort with nearly perfect weather is best known for its international film festival (Festival International du Film) held every May. Head to La Croisette, a two-mile promenade on the waterfront. You’ll see palm trees, polished yachts from every imaginable place in the world, incredible shops, ultra-luxury hotels and some of the most interesting sun-worshippers in the world.
Photo: "CannesCarlton" by Gilbert Bochenek