The Côte d’Azur is another name for the French Riviera. This breathtaking area, which stretches from Saint-Tropez to the Italian border, is hugged by the Mediterranean Sea. This area is renowned for its magnificent beaches, beautiful waters, and opulent resorts. Tourists who want to enjoy the splendor of the Mediterranean and a taste of the opulent lifestyle frequently travel to the French Riviera. Let me take you on an epic French Riviera road trip.
Before we move on, did you know that every week we send out a newsletter featuring:
- New Destinations on the Tripio app
- Highlighted Itineraries on the Tripio app
- Articles from the Tripio blog
Subscribe to Tripio’s Weekly Newsletter!
The region offers a huge variety of outdoor adventures, which may surprise some people. The proximity of the French Alps to the French Riviera allows for a variety of great outdoor activities, including via ferratas, white water rafting, rock climbing, cave exploration, paragliding, cliff jumping, magnificent hiking and so much more.
One of the most well-known destinations on the French Riviera is Cannes, which is well-known for its luxury resorts and glitzy film festival held in May. While the oldest city in France, Marseille, offers a special fusion of the outdoors, history, and culture. Then there is Saint-Tropez which is well-known for its posh stores and exciting nightlife.
The most popular season to travel is during the summer (June to September), when temperatures can exceed 30°C/86°F and there are several events and festivals being held. However, this means it can also be the most expensive and crowded time to travel. Both the spring season (from April to June) and the fall season (from September to November) are fantastic periods to travel. Temperatures during the winter months (December to March) can drop as low as 10°C to 15°C (50° to 59°F), but it is also quieter and less crowded.
Once on the French Riviera, a car is the most practical way to get around.
A vacation to the French Riviera is going to be full of luxury and glamor, heart-pounding experiences, as well as offering a taste of French culture and lifestyle. So let’s kick off our epic French Riviera road trip in the beautiful city of Marseille.
Kicking off our road trip with a bang by vising the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, also known as Notre-Dame de la Garde or simply La Garde, is a Catholic basilica located in Marseille, France. It is the city’s most important religious and cultural site, and is known for its impressive architecture and panoramic views over the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The basilica was built in the Romanesque Revival style of the 19th century, and is decorated with intricate mosaics, frescoes, and statues. The highlight of the basilica is a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, which is located at the very top of the main apse and is said to have miraculous powers. The basilica is open to visitors daily and is a popular tourist destination in Marseille. This spectacular basilica sits at the city’s highest point so you are in for a treat of a view.
Palais Longchamp is a stunning 19th-century palace and cultural center located in Marseille, France. Known for its impressive gardens and fountains, as well as its art museum and natural history museum. The palace is composed of two wings, with a central dome and two large fountains. The gardens of the palace are also notable, and are home to a variety of plants, including palm trees and cacti. Palais Longchamp is open to visitors daily and often hosts concerts, exhibitions and other events. The grandeur of its design is sure to blow you away. The top section of the palace is wheelchair accessible by road.
Calanques National Park features stunning narrow, steep-walled inlets and coves that are unique to the region. The park is a popular destination for hiking, rock climbing, boating, and of course cliff jumping all while offering stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea. The park is also home to a diverse range of plant and animal life, including several species of birds and reptiles which can be admired.
Cliff jumping can be done from several spots including ones as high as 65 feet. Please be sure to check the water depth, look out for rocks and boats and ask the locals for advice on where the safest spots to jump from are. Please be aware that jumping will always be at your own risk and every precaution should be taken. Cliff jumping can be dangerous and should only be attempted by experienced and skilled swimmers. On our French Riviera road trip, we move on from Marseille, and head along the coast to Saint-Tropez.
Pampelonne Beach is a long sandy beach that is lined with exclusive restaurants and bars. It is popular with celebrities and the jet-setting crowd. Enjoy the beautiful clear water and soft white sand. There are beach chairs that can be rented from the resorts or you can sit on the sand with your towel for free. Keep your eye out and see if you can spot any A-listers.
On the French Riviera, in the municipality of Saint-Tropez, is a stronghold known as the Citadel of Saint-Tropez. The French monarchy constructed the fortress in the 16th century to defend the town from attacks by outside forces. Throughout its history, the castle housed both prisoners and served as a military outpost.
The Museum of Maritime History, which explores the history of the town and its connection to the sea, is presently located inside the Citadel of Saint-Tropez. The museum has a number of both ongoing and one-time displays that highlight the marine heritage of Saint-Tropez and the Mediterranean region. The galleries include antiques, models, and hands-on exhibits that offer insight into the region’s naval history, including the background of the citadel and its use in the defense of the town.
The museum also features collections of paintings, sculptures and other artworks that are related to the sea, navigation and the local history.
Château Minuty is a winery well known for its premium rosé wines and is located in the Saint-Tropez district of the French Riviera. Wine tastings and tours of the vineyards and cellars are two ways that visitors can learn about the estate’s history and the winemaking process.
A typical tour to Château Minuty includes a walk through the vineyards, where visitors can discover the terroir and the grape varieties planted there on a mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The trip also includes a stop at the winery’s cellars, where visitors can see how wine is made and learn about the processes used to produce the winery’s products.
On the tour, guests can taste a variety of Château Minuty wines, including their famed rosé wines. After filling up on delicious wines, on our French Riviera road trip, we move on from Saint Tropez, and head further along the coast to Cannes.
The 14th-century castle known as Château de la Napoule is located at Mandelieu-la-Napoule on the French Riviera. The château is open to the public and offers tours of the building and its surroundings, wine tastings, and a dining room with stunning views of the Mediterranean.
The first stop on the wine tour at Château de la Napoule is frequently the castle’s cellars, where you will learn about the history of the estate and the wine-making process. A selection of red, white, and rosé wines made by Château de la Napoule will be available for you to sample.
After the tasting, you will get the opportunity to explore the castle and its gardens, which are home to a wide range of Mediterranean plants and flowers. The castle also has a restaurant that serves Mediterranean cuisine, with a terrace that offers a panoramic view of the region.
The Château de la Napoule wine tour is a unique and enjoyable experience that combines wine tasting, history, and breathtaking views.
The Palace of Festivals and Congresses of Cannes is a modern, multi-story convention center best known as the home of the Cannes Film Festival, which is held annually in May. The center was built in 1982 and features a large auditorium, several exhibition halls, and numerous conference rooms. This convention center is able to host a wide range of events, including conferences, trade shows, concerts, and more with a seating capacity of around 8,000 people.
One of the Lérins Islands, Île Sainte-Marguerite is situated off the coast of Cannes on the French Riviera. The island is renowned for its stunning natural surroundings, old fort, and crystal-clear waters. It is a well-liked vacation spot for people traveling to the French Riviera and provides a wide range of activities and attractions.
The Fort Royal, a fortification from the 17th century that was used as a prison in the 17th and 18th centuries, is located on the island. The “Man in the Iron Mask,” whose identity is still unknown, was the most well-known prisoner. A museum detailing the history of the island is now housed in the fort.
The island also has several hiking paths, including one that circles the entire island and offers stunning views of the coastline and the Mediterranean Sea. Visitors can also enjoy swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing along any of the island’s beaches.
You can reach the island by boat from Cannes. Boat trips to Île Sainte-Marguerite are available from the port of Cannes, which is located a short walk from the town center.
The Bay of Antibes Billionaires, located on the French Riviera, is known for its crystal clear waters and diverse marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling. The bay is home to a variety of fish and other sea creatures, such as octopus, sea urchins, and starfish. Please be mindful and watch out for any jellyfish. The bay is also home to many shipwrecks, which attract a variety of marine life and make for an interesting time snorkeling. It is also known for being a playground for billionaires to moor their luxury yachts so you best be wearing your best swimsuit as they may be paparazzi in the trees. After a wonderful day of snorkeling, on our French Riviera road trip, we move on from Cannes, and head even further along the coast to Nice.
Canyon Cians offers fun and incredible ways to enjoy the natural beauty that this region has to offer along with wonderful thrills. Embark on an adventure where you descend through narrow gorges, cliff jump from 30 feet, slide down natural waterfalls, rappelling down more waterfalls and go swimming in the stunning crystal clear water. They offer 30 different canyoning courses, 110 different climbing circuits, more than 24,000 feet of via ferrata and more. This is the ultimate adventure!
Castle Hill, is a stunning historic hilltop park in the French city of Nice. Both tourists and residents frequent the hill because it provides sweeping views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The remnants of an old castle, built in the 13th century by the Counts of Provence, may be found at the top of the hill. The remnants of the castle, which are still present and may still be seen today, were destroyed in the 18th century. The remains are surrounded by a park, a public garden with a range of trees and flowers along with a beautiful man-made waterfall and cafe. Visitors can either ride a bus or hike up a flight of steps to the top of the hill.
A French beachfront residence called Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild can be found near Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera. A famous member of the Rothschild banking family, Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, constructed the mansion around the beginning of the 20th century. It was created as a location to show off the large family collection of artwork and to host guests.
Located on a sizable property with numerous gardens in various architectural styles, including Spanish, Japanese, and rose gardens. Fountains, statues, and other features adorn each garden. With its pink and white details, terracotta tile roof, and center dome, the villa itself is stunning. For your convenience, there is a cafe and gift shop on the property. Please note that the villa is closed in winter- December through to end of February. Finally, on our French Riviera road trip, we head from Nice onto our last destination of Monaco which is not in France but still part of the French Riviera.
The Monte Carlo Viewpoint is located on a hill above the city and it can be easily accessed by car then a short walk on uneven, rocky ground. The viewpoint offers panoramic views of Monaco, France and the Mediterranean Sea. It is a great spot to stop in during the day or at night for a totally different view. It is just stunning. Try catching it at sunrise or sunset.
The Monte Carlo Casino is one of the most iconic, well-known and luxurious casinos in the world. Made famous by its grandiose architecture, elegant atmosphere, and high-stakes gambling. Built in 1863, it offers a wide variety of games, including roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat, and poker, as well as an array of slot machines. Visitors must be at least 18 years old and be dressed according to strict dress-code (no shorts, sandals or sportswear). The casino also has private gaming rooms for high-stakes gambling. It is this aspect that draws in the rich and famous. There is also a theater that hosts performances by world-renowned artists along with a variety of restaurants and bars to enjoy.
The Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One race held on the streets of the Principality of Monaco. Run annually since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world. The Monaco Grand Prix is an event held annually on the Circuit de Monaco, in late May or early June. If you can be there doing the race time you will see crowds flock to see the event. If you happen to be there on the off season then you can visit the track and see the surrounding statues.
The building that houses the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco is worth a visit alone as the iconic structure was built on the side of Le Rocher cliff. This area of Monaco’s old town is known for its medieval windy lanes and stunning views.
Visitors to the Oceanographic Museum can see over 6,000 specimens on display and learn more about the world’s oceans through its exhibits on sea-related objects like tools, model ships, weapons, sea animal skeletons, and more.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on a Road Trip Through The French Riviera. Download the Tripio app now and start creating your very own custom itinerary for your dream vacation. Travel has never been so easy. Get Tripio to generate a custom top 10 just for you. Your dream vacation awaits and it’s as easy as downloading the Tripio app. Our travel experts have spent countless hours researching destinations so you don’t have to. What are you waiting for? I will see you in our next destination, till then keep traveling!
Interested in more road trips, check out: A Road Trip Through The Amalfi Coast
-Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru