Ville et Village - European Vacation Rentals
Riviera Information


The Riviera is the coastal area of France, extending from the Italian border east towards St. Tropez. This is a beautiful region with the Alpes Maritimes, a massive mountain range that in some places extends to the sea. It is a spectacular geographic setting. The views of the mountains from the sea are wonderful. The seashore has sheltered inlets and blue water.


Understanding what the Riviera has to Offer

The Riviera has a lot to offer, but it is often not what the inexperienced traveler to France might expect. Understanding the pros and cons will help you select the location that best meets your needs. The seaside, although lovely, can be densely populated. Some beaches, like in Nice, are composed of small pebbles not sand. Others in popular locations may have "elbow to elbow" sunbathers. Autoroute exits leading to famous beach resorts can have traffic jams at certain key times. Some cities by the sea are very cosmopolitan, and locals might exhibit impatience with tourists.


How best to Enjoy its Splendors

Select a charming seaside town and expect it to be lively and vibrant. Enjoy the daily markets where locals shop for produce and become part of this daily morning pattern of living. Seek out the natural side of the mountains to experience the countryside. Visit the remarkable private gardens that were built in the early 1940s and enjoy the lush flowers. Participate in the life of a resort destination. The French themselves vacation along the Riviera and the local activities flourish in the summer months; long strolls along the sea in the early evening, jazz concerts in Juan-les-Pins, fabulous designer and boutique shopping in Nice-the streets are just teeming with life.


Art & Museums

This is a region that was embraced by many famous artists who were inspired by the colors of the land, sea and sky. They lived and created their artwork here, and their work remains. Check out these sites: the Picasso museum in Antibes....the Matisse chapel in Vence.....the Léger museum in Biot, the Chagall museum in Nice, the Maeght Fondation at St. Paul-de-Vence, and many more. This bounty is unique to the Riviera. It is such a treat to go to a small museum whose walls are covered with Chagall's dramatic brush strokes. Or to visit Matisse's chapel where the stain glass windows installed by the artist still rest.

Why not combine an early morning visit to the market in Antibes, with a visit to see Picasso's work at the Grimaldi Chateau? Then perhaps lunch by the sea at Juan-les-Pins and a lazy afternoon on the beach? Or perhaps spend the morning on a hike in the mountains, a lazy afternoon in a quiet restaurant under a spreading plane tree, and the early evening explore an ancient hilltop village with a view of the sunset. These are just some of the special jewels the Riviera has to offer.


Towns & Villages - Where to stay by the seaside

There are many beautiful towns and cities along the coast. Our properties are located in and near those towns that provide the most characteristic experience. For a large city, I adore Nice. With its elegant Promenade-des-Anglais that stretches along the seaside and the lovely Belle üpoque buildings facing the sea, it is striking. There is a charming old city and port which both evoke a sense of history. Cannes with its Croisette that parallels the sea also offers an ambiance of elegance. For small seaside towns, I love Beaulieu-sur-Mer with its mountains that go to the sea. Antibes and Juan-les-Pins share a peninsula that provides breathtaking views of the sea and the coastline. They have tree-lined streets and pretty parks. Our rentals extend just until St. Tropez to the southwest. This village was once a sleepy fishing port. Its gorgeous setting on the tip of a peninsula alongside a bay attracted the film industry in the 1950s. With Brigitte Bardot came popular fame, and it is now a vacation destination. The beaches nearby are sandy, the water clear-blue, and the inland countryside is fragrant with pine forests.


Towns & Villages - Where to stay in the mountains

My favorite towns and villages inland are those that provide a characteristic French experience, are in beautiful settings and are centrally located to tour the region. Surrounded by lush, tree-covered mountainside, Vence is one such village. Located due inland from the Nice airport, it gives easy access to the mountains and to the coast. It has a beautiful center with cafés whose tables spread out under shade trees. The old city has narrow windy streets for pedestrians only. Tourettes-sur-Loup is perched nearby on a rocky outcrop. Grasse, famous for its perfumeries and just inland from Cannes, is located on a steep slope of the mountains. These villages create the sense of a mountain community each connected by a network of small roads.


Food & Markets

As this is a resort area as well as an area with many local inhabitants who enjoy the good life, there is a huge selection of elegant and simple restaurants to choose from. Many of the more famous restaurants can be located in rather beautiful settings...sometimes on a hillside, sometimes on a terrace at the sea, sometimes in a garden in a lovely town. These can make for very special occasions.

There are also some very wonderful outdoor markets to visit. Nice with its daily food market and flower market is worth a special trip. Antibes with its ancient covered market, is also worthy of a visit. And many of the smaller villages have outdoor markets as well as food stores with impressive products.


Sport & Recreation

This is an area for hikes in the mountains. There are designated trails described in maps from local Tourist Offices or in guidebooks bought at the bookstore. However, you do need to get away from the coast and the more built-up areas in the foothills to reach more primitive and natural preserves.

Along the seaside in the early mornings or on weekends, you'll see bikers out in full biking gear. There are many lovely seaside routes.

Call or email us. We look forward to helping you plan your trip!

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