Cote d'Azur Hotels
The Cote d’Azur has been a byword for chic elegance and bohemianism since the 1920s. Think Cote d’Azur and you think of Scott Fitzgerald, St Tropez and the Cannes Film Festival. Its draw for artists is reflected in the major art galleries dedicated to Matisse, Picasso and Chagall, among others.
It is home to the giant port of Marseilles as well as Nice. It offers historic attractions including Roman ruins and medieval buildings, as well as easy access to other cities further inland, including Orange, with its giant Roman amphitheatre, and Avignon, with the Palace of the Popes. Enjoy swimming and a range of water sports. Sample world-class cuisine, and sit back and watch the sun set over the sea.
Arts and culture
Explore the history, culture and civilisation of the Mediterranean at the stunning Musee des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Mediterranee in Marseille. This is split across two sites linked by a footbridge that is definitely not for those with vertigo, but does provide wonderful sea views.
Art lovers should make a beeline for Nice and the Musee Marc Chagall and the Musee Matisse, the latter housing 68 paintings by the artist as well as 236 drawings and 57 sculptures.
Over at Antibes is the Musee Picasso which has 245 works by Picasso including a number donated by the artist himself, and his second wife.
The Cannes Film Festival is held every year, but the area also stages a number of other high-profile events including The Nice Jazz Festival in July and The Festival of the Nights of the South, in Vence, in July.
Things to see and do
Head for Marseilles and explore the city by open-top bus. The Grand Tour operates from the Old Port, a definite must-see, and provides a hop on hop off service. Wander through the richly atmospheric warren that is Le Panier to the north of the Old Port. The area is home to the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts in France outside the Louvre, in the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology.
Nice is also well worth seeing, and a stroll along the palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais, particularly in the evening, is likely to be memorable. Negotiate Old Nice with its markets, bars and boutiques and pop into the cathedral, the Chapel of the Misericords and the Baroque Palais Lascaris.
Also recommended is a journey on the Train des Pignes, a narrow-gauge railway that runs from Nice to Digne-les-Bains and which provides panoramic sea views.
Eating and drinking
Tuck into Michelin two-starred cuisine at Le Chantecler, in Nice. Or try one-starred cooking at Sea Sens in the Five Hotel, Cannes. And for something less pricey but very fine, Restaurant Auberge le Robur on top of a cliff in Vallee de la Tinee has vistas as fine as the gastronomy. Reservation is required.
If you've ever wanted to try Absinthe, you can at a dedicated bar, Balade en Provence, in the basement of an olive oil shop in Antibes.
Have a flutter, or watch others, at the ornate gold and marble Casino de Monte Carlo.
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