Nice, France & Monte Carlo, Monaco!
Few areas in the world offer the distinctive elegance, historical impact, and whimsical opulence of the French Côte d'Azur. In Nice, Baroque and Belle Époque architecture stand beneath a Mediterranean sun in the region that inspired artists like Matisse and Chagall, Nietzsche and Tolstoi, to name but a few. Quaint buildings stand on narrow streets lined with art, food and flower vendors, and the charming alliance of French and Italian culture is an affair of singular appeal for the discerning traveler.
The tiny sovereign state of Monaco exudes a peculiar aura of tasteful extravagance. World-renowned for its urbane atmosphere and chic nightlife, it's a playground for international aristocracy and the glitterati. The euphoric milieu of the Côte d'Azur is a peerless Eden for high-living players, art lovers, culinary connoisseurs, and romantics.
Best Time to Visit
Any time is a fabulous time on the French Riviera! Summer is particularly frenzied, with an explosion of visitors and activities to amuse them. July and August are high season, when the greatest number of people visit the Côte d'Azur. Low season, in April, September, and October, brings far less visitors though the skies are still flawlessly blue. Most businesses shut down in November, when locals take their own vacations.
Reasons to Visit
The Glamorous & Opulent High Life: Revel in the wealth of world royalty and celebrities. Roll for high stakes at the casinos, and shop for rare finds and delightful objêts throughout the cities in malls and boutiues. Wander ravishing gardens and admire the spectacular architecture.
Mediterranean Beaches: The French Riviera enjoys a fantastic beach scene and idyllic weather. The gorgeous warm waters of the Mediterranean are irresistible, and have inspired such artists as Matisse, Chagall, and Tolstoi.
Fine Food: France is known globally for its cuisine, and the French Riviera in particular attracts culinary artists and galloping gourmands from every corner of the world. The lush climate supports thriving citrus, olives, and herbs, the staples of the Provençal diet. Nice has made quite a name for itself with its distinctive dishes and elegant wines.
What to Do & See
Matisse Museum: Atop a hill in Nice's center lies a 17th century villa adjacent to a modern construction, inside of which resides a collection hand-selected by the painter himself.
Cimiez Museum of Archeology: Explore the secrets of the French Riviera's ancient civilization through artifacts that include jewelry, sculpture, and earthenware.
Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art: Focused on the development of the Pop Art phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s, this gallery houses works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Cesar, and many others, including examples of the New Realists from the same era.
Franciscan Museum & Cimiez Monastery: Splendid frescoes decorate this 17th century convent where a Baroque altarpiece stands amidst other examples of Franciscan theology.
Cannes: Just 18 miles from Nice, this glitzy town is famous for its Film Festival and its elite lifestyle. A completely modern civilization, Cannes retains a little history along Le Suquet, where the 12th century Tour de Mt Chevalier still shows its ramparts, and Notre-Dame-de-l'Esperence, dating to the 12th century, lends a touch of Medieval mystique.
Shopping: The entire Promenade des Anglais has fabulous boutiques. The Cours Saleya presents distinctive riches, especially on Mondays when it hosts the Marche a la Broncante et Antiquities, an enormous flea market. Mornings on the Ave Malaussena prove just as fruitful for rare finds and delightful objêts.
Monaco-Ville is the oldest quarter in Monaco, filled with sumptuously decorated buildings colored in capricious pastels, tiny squares, fountains, and a maze of hidden alleyways. Visit the Neo-Romanesque Cathedral where Princess Grace is laid to rest and relax in the Jardins St. Martin, a fragrant oasis of green with a hint of the Medieval.
Grottes de l'Observatoire: This extraordinary succession of caves marked by fantastic stalactites and stalagmites, luminous blue ponds, and natural sculptures is a creation that rivals the most surreal man-made art. Oceanographic Museum: Inquisitive visitors can witness aquatic oddities without getting wet by hopping aboard a submarine! Golf: The Monte Carlo Golf Club is almost a 100 years old and lives up to its heritage admirably. Poised atop the Mediterranean Sea and frequented by top players, it's difficult to top the club's superior character and world-class challenge.
Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo:The ultimate salon! Utilizing modern techniques and a variety of massages, this is the place to go for mind/body/soul rejuvenation. Adjacent is Le Salon Bleu, a full-service beauty salon with an Italian stylist who has worked with Versace and Armani.
There's no place like the French Riviera to celebrate life with panache. Dining under the stars, dancing until dawn, and strolling around the countryside that defines romance - this is the Cote d'Azur after dark! If you tire of these diversions, you can always immerse yourself in the bounty of cultural entertainment including opera, ballet and theatrical performances. For excitement and dazzling shows, head for a casino and let 'em roll!
Casino Ruhl: This hall has table games, a fine restaurant, and a high-energy discotheque.
L'Oxford: An intimate venue that brings you the best of Nice's up-and-coming avant-garde music and all of the hipsters who follow it.
L'Ambassade: The place to be for the 20-something crowd, complete with frenzied dancing and ultra-cool atmosphere.
De Klomp: Alocal favorite, this Dutch brewpub purveys over 100 beers to tantalize the connoisseur. Add that to the driving rock bands, and you have an all night party.
The Casino: Monte Carlo's most famous attraction is its Casino - with good reason. Graceful gardens and Belle Époque decor add style to the excitement, where you can game in the salons ordinaire or raise the stakes in the salons prives. The casino also houses Le Cabaret, festooned with pink velvet and the raucous stylings of performance artists. Les Prives restaurant affords a quiet dinner and drinks setting with a view of the sea.
The Salle Garnier: Enjoy world-renowned opera, ballet and concerts. People-watching is a secondary attraction, with elegantly attired gentlemen and bejeweled ladies.
The Living Room Club: At this piano bar and discotheque that's open until dawn, you'll favor the elegant cocktails, first-class service, and dainty snacks.
The Hotel De Paris: The Hotel De Paris Is The Epitome Of Luxury And Elegance Set Directly On The Place Du Casino, Right Across The Famous Casino De Monte Carlo, It Is The Ideal Place To Stay And Enjoy Monte Carlo At Its Best. - Historical - Hotel Year Built – 1864.
Carlton Inter-Continental-Cannes: Expect the finest in service and amenities at the deluxe Carlton Inter Continental. This 1912 palace hotel is located on the famous Croisette Promenade next to the old Congress Hall.
Radisson SAS Hotel Nice: Soak up the sun by the heated rooftop pool, with the city of Nice at your fingertips. Sea view dining and "Candy Shot" cocktails make this hotel a first choice for many vacationers.
Hotel La Perouse Nice: The Hotel La Perouse is located right at the end of the Promenade des Anglais, only a short walk from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town. Along with its welcoming, warm, romantic atmosphere, and friendly staff, the newly renovated hotel features rooms decorated in Provencal style.