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Get StartedAbout the Riviera
When to Go
Where to Stay
Nice to Monaco
Nice to Cannes
Where is the French Riviera?
The French Riviera is the Cote d'Azur in French. Most of it is within the Alpes Maritimes department which covers 4299 sq km but the western edges fall within the Var department. Both departments are included within the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) region. On French Riviera Traveller, I follow the common practice of considering as the French Riviera the entire coastline running from Monaco to St Tropez although some consider that it ends with Theole-sur-Mer. See a map of the French Riviera
French Riviera Culture
Over a million people reside along the French Riviera including many foreigners (Italian and British) and French people with second residences. Nice is the administrative capital of the department and its largest city.
Living is easy and pleasant on the Cote d'Azur. Almost any outdoors activity you can name is within easy reach from scuba diving to skiing, from hiking to fishing, canyoning and tennis. The Mediterranean sea is relatively warm and clean with its characteristic "azur" colour. There's an abundance of fine restaurants serving up delicious local produce and wines. Nightlife ranges from grungy to grand and the shopping is a fashionista's delight.
It's dangerous to generalize--but I will! People who live on the French Riviera tend to be in good physical shape; the life expectancy is the longest in France. They tend to dress up, especially young women who hope to find themselves installed in one of the Ferraris parked in Monte Carlo. Although there are plenty of cultural happenings, from the Cannes Film Festival to the Nice Jazz Festival, your typical Riviera resident is much more likely to be found in the mountains on weekends than in the opera house.
A good part of the allure of the French Riviera is its Mediterranean climate. Sea breezes keep the summers from being stifling while the strong and frequent sunshine keep the winters mild. On many days, it's not unusual to take a morning swim in the Baie des Anges and go up to the mountains to ski in the afternoon.
Although the population along the coast exploded in the postwar years, this part of the Mediterranean coast has been inhabited for millennia. More.
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