The Magic Of The Côte d'Azur: 5 Luxurious Nights In The French Riviera

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The Cote d'Azur or the French Riviera is the glorious Mediterranean coastline of the south of France and could easily have been a figment of the imagination of a gifted poet. With the city of Nice, the sovereign state of Monaco and luxurious seaside resorts such as Cannes, Antibes and Saint Tropez, the Riviera is one of the most beautiful places in the world given its azure waters, pebbly-white beaches, rugged cliffs, grand boulevards, flower markets, chic boutiques, iconic hotels and a multitude of tanned legs. Using the word 'glamorous' to define these resorts dotting the Cote d'Azur would be a colossal understatement. You could sip on several glasses of wine, get a foot massage or two at the spa, snack on the juiciest of olives, discover palaces, spoil yourself in casinos and perhaps even appreciate a classical concert at the Opera; all of this while rubbing shoulders with your favourite celebrity! What more could one possibly want?

If in case you are travelling with kids, the French Riviera is exceptionally family-friendly, contrary to popular perception. And how could it not be? Children have all the space in the world to play around, build sandcastles in the sand, swim like fishes, eat an array of exotic fruits, ice-cream and local fried goodies and visit fascinating museums and parks among a gazillion other things they could do. This blue paradise is certainly the perfect recipe for happiness. So here is a 5-day luxury itinerary to help you explore the best of the French Riviera, with your family. Bonne journee!

Getting Around in The French Riviera

France has a great network of flights, both domestic and international and an equally intricate system of public transport. Nice has a pretty fantastic airport to itself and the easiest way to get there is by hopping on a flight from Paris, by booking your tickets a lot in advance, of course. Alternatively, the TGV long-distance, high-speed trains connect Paris to all of the coastal towns (by virtue of Marseille) and also help you save money. In order to go around the French Riviera, renting and driving a car is an absolute boon owing to the fact that all of the resorts are less than a few hours away from each other and the drive is picturesque. If not, you always have TER (regional) trains and buses which are obviously cheaper and even faster. While reservations on trains are not compulsory, purchasing a ticket in advance is recommended and so is owning European train passes/the SNCF Pass, all of which allow you massive discounts. The local transport around these resorts, if in case you do not have a car, is limited to taxis and public buses.

Places to Visit in The French Riviera: Saint Tropez (Day 1)

In order to experience the hallowed chicness of Saint Tropez, you could take a flight from Paris to Marseille and then either drive from Marseille to the resort or take a TER train. The journey should be around two hours long.

Amazing Things to Do in Saint Tropez (Parent Edition)

1. When in Saint Tropez, you must shop till you drop at the Places des Lices. This delightful open-air market is just the perfect place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, breads and olives coupled with exotic soaps, antiques and even clothing for that matter.

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2. Let your hair down in Les Caves du Roy, which is perhaps the best night club in Saint Tropez. The icing on this decadent cake is the fact that you might just spot a celebrity!

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Amazing Things to Do in Saint Tropez (Kid Edition)

1. Explore the wonderful waterfront of Saint Tropez and watch your kids run around and play. The massive and pristine yachts, motorboats, cafes and bars will give you an idea of how fascinatingly chic this resort is.

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2. Let your kids discover the fantastic world of butterflies at La Maison des Papillons. Created by Dany Lartigue, this museum represents some 35000 extinct and protected species of butterflies, including some of the most beautiful ones known to mankind.

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Best Rated Places to Stay in Saint Tropez

1. Hotel La Tartane Saint Amour : Rs. 25388

2. Villa Marie Saint Tropez : Rs. 33439

Best Rated Places to Eat in Saint Tropez

1. Gandhi : If in case you're craving good old Indian food, Gandhi should be your stop. The prices are pretty reasonable and meat-free options are plenty considering how Saint Tropez is an expensive resort where vegetarian food is almost impossible to find. Yet another plus is the friendly staff.

Places to Visit in The French Riviera: Cannes (Day 2&3)

You could either drive from Saint Tropez to the gorgeous escape that is Cannes or take the TER train. The journey should last around 90 minutes.

Amazing Things to Do in Cannes (Parent Edition)

1. Discover the fantastic world of designer boutiques, fancy interior design stores and tea parlours at the Rue d'Antibes. This charming street is as French as it could possibly get.

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2. The party just does not stop at Cannes' premier nightclub, Baoli. This beach club and restaurant is the favourite haunt of some well-known supermodels and fashion designers.

Image Credit : Justina Greičiūtė

Amazing Things To Do in Cannes (Kid Edition)

1. Walk around the Promenade de la Croisette with its glittering bars and restaurants in order to savour the real essence of Cannes and let your kids build sandcastles on the city's impossibly beautiful beaches.

Image Credit : Matthieu Imbert
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2. The venue for the Cannes Film Festival, the Palais des Festivals et des Congres is the right place to introduce your kids to the magic of cinema.

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Best Rated Places to Stay in Cannes

1.Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes : Rs. 16444

2. Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez : Rs. 16899

Best Rated Places to Eat in Cannes

1. Arcimboldo : This basic yet lovely restaurant is perfect for those who like Italian food and are vegetarians. The staff is attentive and can modify your order as per your needs and the desserts served here are almost otherworldly.

2. Le Maschou : A quintessential French bistro, Le Maschou surprisingly has a truckload of vegetarian options on its menu. And right from their crudites (salad) and jacket potato to their sangria, everything is sumptuous.

Places to Visit in The French Riviera: Nice (Day 4)

The TER train from Cannes to the extremely popular city of Nice is merely 30 minutes long. If you happen to be driving, the landscape/waterscape will take your breath away.

Amazing Things to Do in Nice (Parent Edition)

1. Watching a ballet performance at the Opera de Nice is an experience like no other. Additionally, you can expect the classical concerts to put you in a state of trance.

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2. Easily the best bar in town, Wayne's Bar is the place where bizarre things such as this are totally legit:

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Amazing Things to Do in Nice (Kid Edition)

1. Watch your kids run and play around Nice's most popular address, La Promenade des Anglais. You could also rent a bicycle or a skateboard and let them have all the fun in the world while you stroll down this beautiful stretch.

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2. Meandering through the narrow lanes and alleyways of Vieux, with its delis and quaint boutiques, is an extremely memorable affair. It will help your kids learn the art of discovering new facets of a place because not all those who wander are lost.

Image Credit : stephane martin

Best Rated Places to Stay in Nice

1. Hotel Negresco : Rs. 24896

2. Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee : Rs. 27177

Best Rated Places to Eat in Nice

1. Alounak : An absolute delight for vegetarians and vegans, Alounak serves delectable Mediterranean cuisine and is pretty darn cheap. Make sure you polish off your meal with a helping of saffron ice-cream.

2. Le Soleil d'Asmara : This exotic restaurant specializes in delicious African (Ethiopian) cuisine and comes with a separate menu for vegetarians. The ambience is very traditional and so is the food.

Places to Visit in The French Riviera: Monaco, Monte Carlo (Day 5)

The regal city of Monaco is less than 20 minutes by the TER train from Nice. The scenic drive along the coast should take around 45 minutes.

Amazing Things to Do in Monaco, Monte Carlo (Parent Edition)

1. This giant of an entertainment complex, known to the world as the Monte Carlo Casino, is a gambler's paradise. Have all the fun you can but remember that exercising caution is imperative. Interestingly, the casino is not open to the residents of Monaco.

Image Credit : Harm Rhebergen

2. The breath-taking Monte Carlo Opera has an extremely ornamented past considering how several classic lyrical works originated here. If you are a connoisseur of art, culture and the finer things in life, you must attend a performance.

Image Credit : Pablo Fischer

Amazing Things to Do in Monaco, Monte Carlo (Kid Edition)

1. Let your kids learn more about royalty by showing them around the Royal Palace of Monaco and the luxuriant state apartments of the Prince.

Image Credit : Rashi Kalra

2. And then let them explore the (exotic) pearls of nature in one of the finest botanical gardens in the world, the Jardin Exotique.

Image Credit : Jurgen Mangelsdorf

Best Rated Places to Stay in Monaco, Monte Carlo

1. Le Meridien Beach Plaza : Rs. 17654

2. Fairmont Monte Carlo : Rs. 36396

Best Rated Places to Eat in Monaco, Monte Carlo

1. Constantine : This cozy little restaurant serves organic Italian and Mediterranean fare and also caters to vegans and vegetarians. Their pasta dishes are great and their selection of wines is pretty impressive.

2. Eqvita Restaurant : Eqvita is all about healthy, vegan food and was launched by none other than Novak Djokovic! With an array of soups, smoothies and organic coffee on their menu, this place is doing all it can to prove that vegan food can actually be delicious.

Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania
Photo of Place des Lices, Rennes, France by Sumedha Bharpilania

The name Saint Tropez brings to mind images of pristine white luxury yachts, golden beaches, shining gems of the glamour industry and an array of bottles of wine. The resort certainly is a sinful delight and an ideal vacation spot, especially if you are flush with money. Relax in one of its many outdoor cafes, stroll down its charming lanes and people-watch like it's nobody's business. And if you have kids travelling with you, you could engross yourself in games like "spot the celebrity".

Undeniably the second-most popular destination in France (after Paris, of course), Cannes is a perfect amalgamation of glamour and luxury. Synonymous with the annual film festival it plays host to, this seductive beach resort is replete with palaces and high-end boutiques, pimped rides and high heels. Yet, a short walk around the Promenade de la Croisette will make you realize how it is nothing but an incredibly relaxed little town. You absolutely 'Cannes-not' miss this beauty!

Nice is a little mix of sugar, spice and everything 'nice'. It is appropriate for everyone - right from those looking to spend a few days in the lap of luxury to shoestring backpackers looking to explore the south of France. The pebble beaches look almost heavenly, if not entirely comfortable and the nightlife is fantastic. Right from open-air markets and musical performances to a promenade right out of your dreams, Nice is the ultimate getaway.

The sovereign city-state of Monaco (incidentally the second smallest) with its district Monte Carlo is undoubtedly one of the most elegant vacation spots in the world. And how could it not be, given the fact that it is so deeply embedded in royalty. Home to a multitude of luxury hotels, fancy boutiques, palaces and opera houses, yachts and casinos and of course, the Grand Prix, this destination is perpetually bustling with activity. You will, no matter what, go home with a lot of incredibly amazing experiences.

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