The French Riviera is known the world over for its glamour and beauty. From the see and be seen beaches and boardwalks of Cannes and Monaco to the lavender fields of Grasse, where our candles are produced, and the medieval village of Èze, there's a whole heap of places to explore throughout the summer and beyond. We are so happy to share some of our off the beaten track favourite finds with you:
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The town of Menton has all the beauty of the better known coastal villages, but a fraction of the crowds. Its few beaches are all but empty in the quieter seasons, and boutique filled alleyways are relatively free of bargain hunting tourists. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, exceptional gardens and quality Italian cuisine due to its prime position on the French-Italian border, it is the perfect spot for a day trip.
For an amazing gastronomic experience, find your way to Mirazur, a three star Michelin restaurant that earned the number one title in the World's 50 best restaurants list in 2019. In February, the town goes all out with its Lemon Festival, a celebration of Spring and a throwback to the town's past when it survived on citrus production. Find more information here https://www.fete-du-citron.com/
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Gourdon is a quiet village perched on the edge of a rocky area above the Gorge du Loup, there are some incredible views up there. The sleepy streets are lined with beautiful boutiques, perfume shops, and flower lined patios to explore at that perfect holiday pace. The village is perched at 760 metres on a dizzyingly high, rocky outcrop. The panoramic views stretch over the entire Riviera.
Are we in Italy? This is the French Riviera's own Venice, in the bay of Saint-Tropez. It is of course, a purpose built copy of the original built in the 1960's, but Port Grimaud is still a very lovely town with beautiful and colourful canal side buildings and boutique shopping. Naturally, we think the best way to experience it and take it all in is a boat ride through the waterways, but you can also catch the Petit Train from the port up to the medieval town of Grimaud. Climb the castle tower for sweeping views of the glittering Mediterranean.
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THE LÉRINS ISLANDS
It turns out a fifteen minute boat ride is enough to keep most tourists away. That’s all it takes to get from Cannes to Saint Marguerite, the biggest of the largely unspoilt Lérins Islands. When you arrive, head to the fort museum, which contains the cell of the 'Man in the Iron Mask' and this could be the closest you’ll ever get to Leonardo Di Caprio! The smaller, less touristy, and in some ways more charming of the two islands is Saint Honorat, which has been home to a community of monks for over 1,500 years. Lérins Abbey and the 15th-century fortified monastery are open to visitors, and you can buy delicious homemade wine and honey.
Les Gorges du Verdon lies right in the center of the Provence region of France, and it is an easy day trip from the French Riviera. While you can get there and back in one day, we recommend staying in the area for a couple of days rather than rushing back to the Riviera. Also known as Verdon Gorge in English, this iconic spot is a dramatic line of limestone cliffs that make up the deepest gorge in France. It is breathtakingly beautiful, see the crystal clear aquamarine water flow through a steep canyon. It is known as the Grand Canyon of France and we loved it!
Try to get there early if you are there during the peak times to avoid the busy crowds. Another tip, bring your own food and drinks if you plan on spending some amount of time here.
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For more quaint cobblestone streets and small village ambiance, visit this gorgeous port city Villefranche-sur-Mer. The seven centuries old town was once the only natural harbour on Mediterranean waters, and the deep harbour is perfect for anyone who loves sitting and relaxing by the sea. Villefranche-sur-Mer is located near Monaco's border, and the old towns within it are quaint, picturesque, and look straight out of a storybook.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is so picturesque that it’s been home to many movie sets, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, An Affair to Remember, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Bourne Identity, just to name a few! Now a regular visiting place for royal visitors, Villefranche-sur-Mer offers many beautiful events at its historic ports. Check ahead so you can plan your trip.
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This beautiful village dates back to the middle ages and clings impressively to the mountainside above the Mediterranean Sea, between St Jean Cap Ferrat and Monaco. Panoramic views, ancient facades, and an unbelievable attention to detail are some of the most memorable features of this lovely village. Upon entering the village you will feel as if you have been transported back in time.
Ensure to visit the Botanical Garden in Éze. Perched above the village on top of the mountain, feels like a little oasis. Walking through the garden’s stone and curvy path, you will find sculptures, several cacti species, as well as regional plants. The best part of the garden is the panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea and the hills below. Even if you don't have a huge interest in gardens, paying the entrance fee to enjoy the view is well worth it.
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Of course we had to feature Grasse, where our luxurious candles are produced! Home to many native flowers and the centre of the world’s perfume industry, Grasse has a rich history within the area. While famous perfumeries like Fragonard offer free tours of their factories, one of the main reasons to come here is to take in the amazing fields of lavender that dominate the area’s hilly landscape.
Museums, luxury hotels, and shopping boulevards make Grasse much more than just perfume. Grasse is conveniently located between Cannes and Nice, so a quick stop here is worth your while, if only to pick up a few bottles of perfume and stop to smell the lavender!
Fancy a luxurious and peaceful place to stay and an unforgettable gastronomic experience? Check out https://www.jacques-chibois.com/fr/