Every year, millions of people visit the French Riviera.
More precisely, 10 million tourists visit the Riviera every year, thus making it the second leading tourist destination in France, after the Parisian region.
Now obviously, if there wouldn’t be any reasons to visit the French Riviera, people wouldn’t be visiting, and so if there are reasons to visit the French Riviera, enough to convince 10 million people every year, you would think that there are reasons enough to convince yourself.
The French Riviera is one of the most iconic places in the world, having been the location for several iconic films as it offers incredible jaw-dropping scenery, beautiful landscapes, a wonderful atmosphere and much more.
The list of reasons to visit the French Riviera is never-ending, however, in this article, we’ll be sharing some of the top reasons to visit the French Riviera. Furthermore, we’ll also present the most common reasons why people find their way to the French Riviera outside of the regular tourist activities.
The French Riviera has a long history which stretches far back. Its history has contributed much to the great and prestigious reputation that the French Riviera has today. From sunbathing on the iconic beaches to the all-year around incredible weather, there are many reasons to visit the French Riviera. Let’s dig right in.
45 Reasons to visit the French Riviera
Is there anything that’s more iconic and closely related to the French Riviera than the stunning beaches?
The French Riviera is one of the most regarded places to go to if you are looking for a relaxing time on the beach, supplied with gorgeous scenery. The French Riviera has beaches for all tastes and preferences and they can be found all along the Riviera coast. For many tourists, this is one of the top reasons to visit the French Riviera. In fact, it is the main reason why many tourists choose to come to the French Riviera.
Countless hours on the beach under the pleasant Mediterranean sun is religion here, and you’ll especially be able to notice just that during the summer months as the beaches are packed with people. The French Riviera offers everything from large pebble stone beaches in Nice to cozy sand beaches in Cannes, and everything in between. And when you are feeling warm, you can just take a swim in the azure blue Mediterranean water.
Best of all? Experiencing the French Riviera beaches can be one the list of everyone’s plans of things to do on the French Riviera, as a day on the beach can cost as little or as much as you want.
In all waterfront cities and along the Riviera coastlines, there are public beaches that are free to use but also paid private beaches. On the Riviera, there are cozy public beaches free to use, but there are also top-class luxurious private beaches where you can enjoy wine and food and built up your bill.
The beaches on the French Riviera are many, and we listed 104 of the most amazing beaches on the French Riviera here.
Mediterranean cuisine is quite well-known for being absolutely delicious, fresh, and beautiful.
One of the more convincing reasons to visit the French Riviera is thus because of its amazing cuisine.
On the French Riviera, there’s a large number of Michelin-starred restaurants which create top-class food to perfection, but there is also everything in between.
While the Mediterranean cuisine is amazing, you might find yourself longing for a burger or a tasty taco, and best of all, despite the Mediterranean cuisine being dominant here, you can find dishes of all types from all parts of the world.
Furthermore, in terms of prices for eating out, they vary substantially. A dinner at the luxurious Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo might set you back 300 euros just for the food, but at the same time, a picturesque French Riviera restaurant in a small village might only cost you 15 euros.
The diversity when it comes to food is great on the French Riviera, however, it is the Mediterranean cuisine which the inhabitants are proud of, and tend to focus on, for natural reasons.
There are literally endless of restaurants on the French Riviera, so you’ll never have to go hungry. To widen your culinary experiences, you have to try the local French Riviera dishes, including Socca, a chickpea pancake, salads nicoise, and much more of the local dishes.
If you’re interested in fine art, you’ll find each of the pieces of art reasons to visit the French Riviera.
The art on the Riviera takes many shapes and forms, but it is especially the fact that some of the world’s most famous artists seemed inspiration from the Riviera, such as Matisse and Picasso, thus allowing some of the beauty of the French Riviera to shine through in their pieces of art. Especially when you’re aware of it.
Best of all is that there are numerous art museums on the French Riviera, some of which dedicated to the artists that seemed inspiration on the Riviera. As such, you can visit the Picasso museum in Antibes and the Matisse museum in Nice. The bottom line is that the French Riviera is far from lacking art galleries and museums, and these showcase a wide selection of pieces and are spread out throughout the Riviera.
How could we talk about the reasons to visit the French Riviera and not mention its climate?
One of the main reasons to visit the French Riviera for many tourists is that they are dreaming of a warmer climate, less rain, and more brightness.
After all, the mild climate that the French Riviera offers was the main reason why the aristocracy of England headed to the French Riviera during the dark and cold winters at home, in exchange for mild, bright winters on the French Riviera.
The region of the Riviera receives 300 days of sunshine per year, and the climate is known for its short mild winters and its long, warm summers.
What isn’t there to love?
With lots of sun, beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, tropical palm trees, and a relaxing atmosphere, what isn’t there to love?
During summer, the climate is often a retreat for residents of Dubai, as the heat is not too intense on the Riviera, but ideal for a summer vacation. The Riviera is among few places with can please people globally with its weather.
Maybe not the most natural thought about the French people according to many, as the Frenchmen and women can come off as rude or unwelcoming, but this mainly happens when the locals feel like you’re intruding on their privacy/traditions.
For example, if you forget to say ”bonjour” or ”Bonsoir” before asking a question, you’ll come off as rude, and unfortunately, they’ll tend to be rude and unhelpful back.
However, in general, the people on the Riviera are friendly and welcoming people, and this is definitely one of the reasons to visit the French Riviera.
It’s no secret that the surrounding nature of the French Riviera is absolutely jaw-dropping.
Palm trees that stretch far up in the sky, long and perfectly shaped pine trees, and a range of beautiful flowers in all shapes and colors.
Just walking around on the French Riviera will allow you to experience the beauty of the surrounding nature, but if you want to explore the Riviera nature, even more, you’ll be happy the hear that there’s a big selection of gardens, and several of them being ”garden exotiques” situated throughout the Riviera which showcases thousands of different flower species of all types of varieties.
The gardens of the private villas are trimmed to perfection, and so is the palm trees that are situated along the Croisette of Cannes and the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
You can do absolutely nothing, and enjoy sitting around a private beach all day, with drinks being served to your side, watching the view and time pass by!
You can even go and visit the best spa spots located in Cannes, where you can get a variety of treatments from full body massages to even a seaweed wrap.
If you’re interested in enormous private yachts, each and every yacht are reasons to visit the French Riviera, because when it comes to yachts, the Riviera has absolutely no lack of them.
Of course, that may not be very surprising considering the gorgeous azure blue Mediterranean, the stunning coastline, the beautiful surroundings, and the Riviera being home to some of the top yacht harbors around the Mediterranean.
In fact, the French Riviera hosts 50% of the world’s superyachts every year. Furthermore, 90% of all superyachts will visit the area at least once.
The sizes of the largest boats which you’ll be able to spot not only in the harbors, but along the coastline are enormous, and there really aren’t many places quite like the Riviera in terms of yachts.
It is a common spot that is known for its celebrities which can be spotted on a yacht on the Riviera, such as Leonardo Di Caprio.
The world’s largest yacht is regularly seen just outside of Monaco, and every now and then, the world’s largest sailing boat by the name ”A” which costs a staggering £260m, is 300ft high, has eight floors as well as an underwater observation room.
The French Riviera is notoriously known for being a place of glitz and glamour and of true luxury, and as such, you can expect the parties to be likewise.
Of course, the clubs on the French Riviera vary quite a lot, however, there’s a great selection of top-class and thus expensive clubs and club/restaurants on the French Riviera which will give you a night out of the ordinary.
When it comes to the nightlife, the more exclusive places are favored, however, that is not to say that there aren’t any places that are more relaxed and more laid-back.
From Saint-Tropez to Monaco, the most famous, hip places are many. From club 55 to Nikki Beach in Saint-Tropez, to Baoli in Cannes near the Croisette, as well as Gotha nightclub on Palm Beach. Furthermore, you have the iconic nightclub Jimmy’z in Monaco which essentially every celebrity has visited, but you also have more local places to experience the nightlife, for example, the absinthe museum/bar in old Antibes.
Have in mind that when you go out to experience the nightlife on the French Riviera, there’s a dress code for entering most bars, club-restaurants, and nightclubs, in contrast to the more laid-back atmosphere during the day on the French Riviera.
There really are an endless number of top-class bars and clubs on the Riviera, several of which welcomes some of the world’s top celebrities, but at the same time, the range of selections also vary quite a lot, which means there’s something for all preferences.
If you go to the more exclusive places though, be prepared that it’s not going to be cheap.
Unarguably, the French Riviera offers some of the most stunning views in the world. With the mountains at its back and the Mediterranean on the other side, it makes for some amazing views.
As you’re driving on the corniche roads along the coastline, you’ll be able to get some amazing views of the Riviera, but if you can get even higher up, on the highest driving road which stretches along the mountains, you’ll have a view that stretches kilometer after kilometer, contrasted by the azure blue water glistering, and the stunning nature along it.
Furthermore, you also have a great number of viewpoints along the Riviera which you can access without driving a long distance by car, but which you can instead walk to. This includes, for example, chateau hill in Nice, and Le Suquet in Cannes.
No matter where you look, it’s pure beauty in every direction.
The French Riviera is known for its glitz, glamour, and for attracting the world’s rich and famous, and accordingly, you can expect many of the stores here to be of the highest luxury and from the top brands in the world.
If you are looking to go luxury shopping, you’ll find no shortage of stores on the French Riviera. Cannes has the highest density of luxury shops per inhabitant on the whole French Riviera, but cities like Nice, Saint-Tropez, and Monaco also have a large number of shops from the world’s most exclusive brands, from Hermès to Gucci, to Rolex, to Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and many more.
If you aren’t really about the luxury products and are more about local and regional provencal items, there are a large number of local shops located throughout the Riviera which you can purchase regional products, such as perfume, soaps, Olive oil, and more.
There are several never-ending shopping streets on the French Riviera, with the main two being Rue d’Antibes in Cannes and the areas around Place Massena in Nice, including Avenue Jean Medecin.
If you’re amazed and inspired by culture and history, these are definitely reasons to visit the French Riviera for you.
The history of the French Riviera stretches far back, in fact, many years B.C, however, it was in the 18th and 19th centuries that the Riviera started turning into what you know it as today. The reason is that this was a time when the wealthy aristocracy from Europes started going to the Riviera during the cold and dark winters, in favor of the milder and more pleasant climate on the Riviera.
Until the end of the 18th century, the French Riviera was a little-known fishing region.
Nowhere could you see luxury shops, enormous yachts, supercars, or anything in between. The British aristocrats in particular, including the British royalty, fell in love with the area and the coast quickly became their health resort to escape the miserable British winters.
As the aristocracy came to the Riviera, it started developing into the first modern resort, and as Coco Chanel made sunbathing hip and trendy, the winter vacations soon because summer vacations, which meant packed beaches of people enjoying the Mediterranean sun.
The Aristocracy started building mansions, houses, and hotels along the Riviera, and during the Belle Epoque, many houses which can still be seen today were built, including the iconic hotel Negresco in Nice, hotel Carlton Intercontinental, and Hotel Martinez in Cannes, and many more villas situated throughout the Riviera coastline.
The culture of the French Riviera truly is something out of the ordinary, and it’s simply a must-visit to experience it. From the stunning Belle Epoque culture to the many historic museums, to the music, the food, and much more.
Every part of the French Riviera contains an interesting history and story. One might say that the whole Riviera is a movie set, as the location has been the set for many films throughout the years, including iconic films like James Bond and To Catch a thief.
Reasons to visit the French Riviera: The Cars
If you’re passionate about unique, fast supercars, the French Riviera is the place to go to experience them.
With the Riviera being a hideout place for the wealthy, you can expect the cars to be anything but ordinary.
You’ll have the most luck in seeing cars in the cities that are most closely associated with the rich, which especially includes Monaco, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez, but traveling along the Riviera, you’ll be able to see them quite frequently passing by.
For the highest success rate, visit the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo, Fairmont hotel, and the yacht club in Monaco. Outside of all the five-star hotels can almost always luxury cars be spotted, from Rolls Royces to Bentleys, to Ferraris, to Lamborghinis.
There are few other places in the world where so many luxury and supercars can be spotted in such a small area than on the French Riviera.
During winter, the luxury cars are less frequently seen, however, during summer, the stream of them is just never-ending.
Monaco is truly a place out of the ordinary, and there’s just not anything like it.
As such, if you want to experience something truly unique, Monaco and all the things you can see there are reasons to visit the French Riviera.
Being the second-smallest country in the world, Monaco is special in so many ways.
It has a zero-income-tax and is home to a never-ending list of celebrities as well as billionaires.
If you think Cannes or Nice screams luxury and glamour, wait until you visit Monaco, because it plays in a league on its own.
Regal buildings, luxury shops, luxury cars, and enormous yachts are just scratching the surface of everything that Monaco has to offer.
No matter if you have visited or not, Monaco is a huge reason to visit the French Riviera.
Music is a big part of the culture on the French Riviera, and best of all is that you’ll find music for all tastes. This allows people of all genres of music to enjoy the music that is offered on the Riviera. ‘Les Plages Electroniques de Cannes’, also known as Electro Plage in Cannes is a Cannes event where you can listen to the most upcoming electronic music on the beach. Another event on the French Riviera is the iconic Jazz a Juan Festival which is a festival located in Juan Les Pins.
The jazz festival has been home to a number of the world’s top stars over the years, including Stevie Wonder, Niall Rodgers, and Lionel Ritchie. THere’s a huge variety of both music and musicians on the French Riviera, so you can be sure to find something you like.
The French Riviera is closely associated with the beach life and soaking the sun, but as it is also a place of glitz, glamour, and luxury, laying on a public beach crowing with all the other people just isn’t good enough.
The French Riviera has a number of public beaches, but it is the private beaches that are all the fuzz.
Along the coastline on the Riviera, especially in the main cities, you’ll find endless of private beaches where you can rent your sunbed and relax for the day – some more luxurious and reputable than others.
The private beaches offer everything you may need for a day on the beach, and best of all is that you can get it without moving one meter. From enjoying delicious Mediterranean food at the comfort of your sunbed to delicious wine to snacks, and if you need to cool off, you have the sea just meters away.
To truly experience the French Riviera lifestyle, a day on the beach is necessary.
Reasons to visit the French Riviera: Beautiful architecture
One of the most important reasons to visit the French Riviera, if you enjoy architecture, is the stunning architecture you’ll be able to experience here.
As mentioned, there are numerous Belle Epoque buildings and villas on the Riviera which can still be seen today, which reveals the Riviera’s past.
And throughout the area, you’ll find a large number of palatial hotels and grand villas, and most associated with the Riviera: colorful shuttered buildings along medieval streets.
On the older streets of Nice, Cannes, and essentially all of the other cities on the French Riviera, you’ll find traditional French Riviera houses made in a stunning architecture, and painted in different kinds of colors, most occurring, orange, yellow, pink, and red.
The great and luxury hotels
The French Riviera has some of the most iconic hotels in the world, and what’s especially unique is that the most famous top-class hotels are set in some historic and iconic aristocratic, Belle Epoque buildings.
When it comes to five-star hotels, the French Riviera is far from lacking them, which might not come as a surprise considering the reputation of the French Riviera.
The list of jaw-dropping stunning hotels can be made never-ending, from Cannes’ Hotel Carlton, an Art Deco treasure, a hotel whose twin cupolas are modeled after a woman’s breasts.
Chateau Eza in Eze Village, a less famous hotel on the Riviera, but one that is equally charming and stunning, Hotel Negresco in Nice which is one of the Riviera’s most famous hotels, Belle Reve in Juan-les-Pins which was a favorite of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and lastly, of course, Monaco’s historic Hotel de Paris?
Its famous residents
The French Riviera is home to some of the world’s most famous individuals, and it has also been so throughout history, several of which have already been mentioned in this article.
The charm and beauty of the French Riviera seem to have been what made the celebrities fall in love with the areas, making it their permanent place of settling, or go-to place for summer hideouts.
Grace Kelly, Pablo Picasso, Matisse, and in more recent years, Roger Moore, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and many many more.
There just seems to be something special about the French Riviera which attracts the famous here.
What’s so special about its previous residents is that their legacy can be seen throughout the Riviera. From the museums belonging to some of the most famous artists living here, to Princess Grace Kelly’s own Gardens and streets, to villas which have now been opened for the public.
The French Riviera might not be the first place that you associate with family attractions, but the good news is that one of the reasons to visit the French Riviera is that it offers something for everyone, including families and children,
The French Riviera has many family attractions and places which are perfect to bring children to. Some of the places are Antibes Land, Cannes’ beaches where the children can play in the sand and water, carousels in Cannes, the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco. These are just some of the many family attractions which are sure to please the whole family.
The French Riviera is closely associated with glitz and glamour, and this makes the Riviera truly special to visit. And it is especially special to visit during some of the many iconic and glamorous events taking place throughout the year, with the Cannes film festival being the most glamorous. One of the most prestigious and oldest film festivals in the world is held every year in Cannes and this alone is a reason to visit the French Riviera
The French Riviera isn’t just glamorous in one aspect, but the glamour of the Riviera just shines through in everything here, and this is something that contributes o making visiting the French Riviera something that is truly out of the ordinary.