Because of its balmy climate – which generally guarantees around 300 sunshine days per year – the French Riviera was initially a place of recuperation for Brits with tuberculosis. When a railway was built linking the Côte d’Azur with the rest of Europe in the late nineteenth century, however, the humble seaside resort became a magnet for millionaires, movie stars and other celebrity jetsetters.
Humorously dubbed ‘a sunny place for shady people’ by writer William Somerset Maugham, this strip of coastline stretching from Menton to Saint-Tropez has attracted celebrities ranging from Queen Victoria and Ernest Hemingway to Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso. And these days, not much has changed – this glitzy string of chic conurbations, scattered like gold-plated confetti along the Mediterranean coastline, still draws modern-day royals the Beckhams and the Kardashians.
Luckily, you don’t need to be a millionaire to have fun on France’s most exclusive coast – just step away from the seafront and you’ll find budget hotels and no-frills restaurants in spades. Explore our selection of the absolute best cities and towns to visit on the French Riviera and you’ll discover that France’s most elite beach haven is actually very accessible. Allez, vite!
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