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									Fodors Côte d'Azur Overview
With the Alps playing bodyguard against inland winds and the sultry Mediterranean
warming the breezes, the Côte d'Azur is pampered by a nearly tropical climate. This
is where the dreamland of azure waters and indigo sky begins, where balustraded
white villas edge the blue horizon, evening air is perfumed with jasmine and mimosa,
and parasol pines silhouette against sunsets of ripe apricot and gold. As emblematic
as the sheet-music cover for a Jazz Age tune, the Côte d'Azur seems to epitomize
happiness, a state of being the world pursues with a vengeance.
But the Jazz Age dream confronts modern reality: on the hills that undulate along
the blue water, every cliff, cranny, gully, and plain bristles with cubes of hot-pink
cement and iron balconies, each skewed to catch a glimpse of the sea and the sun.
Like a rosy rash, these crawl and spread, outnumbering the trees and blocking each
other's views. Their owners and renters, who arrive on every vacation and at every
holiday -- Easter, Christmas, Carnival, All Saints' Day -- choke the tiered highways
with bumper-to-bumper cars, and on a hot day in high summer the traffic to the
beach -- slow-flowing at any time -- coagulates and blisters in the sun.
There has always been a rush to the Côte d'Azur (or Azure Coast), starting with
the ancient Greeks, who were drawn eastward from Marseille to market their goods
to the natives. From the 18th-century English aristocrats who claimed it as one vast
spa to the 19th-century Russian nobles who transformed Nice into a tropical St.
Petersburg to the 20th-century American tycoons who cast themselves as romantic
sheiks, the beckoning coast became a blank slate for their whims. Like the modern
vacationers who followed, they all left their mark -- villas, shrines -- temples all to
the sensual pleasures of the sun and sultry sea breezes. Artists, too, made the Côte
d'Azur their own, as museum goers who have studied the sunny legacy of Picasso,
Renoir, Matisse, and Chagall will attest. Today's admirers can take this all in, along
with the Riviera's textbook points of interest: animated St-Tropez; the Belle Epoque
aura of Cannes; the towns made famous by Picasso -- Antibes, Vallauris, Mougins;
the urban charms of Nice; and several spots where the per-capita population of
billionaires must be among the highest on the planet: Cap d'Antibes, Villefranche-
sur-Mer, and Monaco.
Veterans know that the beauty of the Côte d'Azur coastline is only skin deep, a thin
veneer of coddled glamour that hugs the water and hides a much more ascetic
region up in the hills. These low-lying mountains and deep gorges are known as the
arriére-pays (backcountry) for good cause: they are as aloof and isolated as the
waterfront resorts are in the swim. Medieval stone villages cap rocky hills and play
out scenes of Provençal life -- the game of boules, the slowly savored pastis (the
anise-and-licorice-flavored spirit mixed slowly with water), the farmers' market -- as
if the ocean were a hundred miles away. Some of them have become virtual
Provençal theme parks, catering to busloads of tourists day-tripping from the coast.
But just behind them, dozens of hill towns stand virtually untouched, and you can
lose yourself in a cobblestone maze.
You could drive from St-Tropez to the border of Italy in three hours and take in
the entire Riviera, so small is this renowned stretch of Mediterranean coast. Along
the way you'll undoubtedly encounter the downside: jammed beaches, insolent
waiters serving frozen seafood, traffic gridlock. But once you dabble your feet off the
docks in a picturesque port full of brightly painted boats, or drink a Lillet in a hilltop
village high above the coast, or tip your face up to the sun from a boardwalk park
bench and doze off to the rhythm of the waves, you will very likely be seduced to
linger.


Fodors suggested itinerary : The Cote d'Azur in 3 to 8 Days
3 Days
Base yourself in Antibes, exploring the Cap d'Antibes -- one of the few places in
the region where the legend lingers; rich and residential, this 3-km-long (2-mi-long)
peninsula is studded with private delights (great villas) and public wonders (the
Jardin Thuret). Make a day-trip westward to Cannes, a town that maintains its
grand-tour grace and glamour even after the film stars head home from its famous
film festival; then stop in Picasso country at Vallauris; or head inland for Vence and
St-Paul-de-Vence, two gorgeous hill towns famous for their art treasures (Matisse's
Chapelle du Rosaire and the Fondation Maeght among them). On day three explore
the museums and Old Town of Nice, where buildings are sumptuously adorned with
wedding-cake half-domes and cupolas.

5 Days
Spend your first day and night in St-Tropez, whose fishing-village cachet translates
into port-front cafés thick with young gentry affecting nonchalance but peeping
furtively over their sunglasses in hope of sighting a film star, then make an excursion
up to the hill villages of Ramatuelle and Gassin -- the latter has a fetching
medieval ambience. The next day drive the coastal highway N98, stopping to visit
Fréjus, home to Roman ruins and a fine cathedral. Still on N98, wind around the
dramatic Corniche de l'Estérel and make a triumphant entry into Cannes, straight
down La Croisette.
Spend your third morning in Antibes -- be sure to visit the famous Château Grimaldi
and Picasso museum -- then head inland for an afternoon in Vence or St-Paul-de-
Vence, both good stopovers. Day four could be spent in Nice, full of big-city
textures, scents, and history, rich with museums, and colored with its own cuisine
and patois. Then escape for a quiet night in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a lush peninsula
that shelters the lovely gardens of the Musée Ephrussi de Rothschild. On your last
day bet your return ticket on the baccarat tables in Monaco.

8 Days
Expand the five-day itinerary with a second night in Cannes so you can make a boat
trip to one of the idyllic Iles de Lérins. Spend two nights in Nice so you can take in
the Matisse and Chagall museums and see the Baroque churches in the Old Town.
Then spend two nights in Menton -- some say this is the most romantic townscape
on the Riviera -- so you can visit the market and make an excursion to Roquebrune
to see its château and walk the length of the cape.



Fodors suggested itinerary : The Scenic Route des Crêtes
On a scenic all-day drive along the Route des Crêtes (Route of the Mountain Crests),
you'll meander through hills woven with pine forests, needlepoint-neat olive
orchards, and groves of waxy-green orange trees, punctuated by a string of picture-
perfect villages.
Starting at Vence, continue past the Chapelle du Rosaire and follow D2210; it leads
toward the medieval village of St-Jeannet, draped at the foot of the magnificent
limestone cliff that rears 1,312 ft above, known as the baou (mesa, or butte). From
the top, you can look out over the Estérel and the Alps. Continue on to the tiny
hilltop village of Gattières, taking a break to explore backstreets and ancient
squares. Cut north on the narrow, wild D2209 to precariously perched Carros-
Villages, spiraled at the base of a four-square medieval château. At the top you can
look out over the string of villages and panorama of mountains.




Yahoo! Travel – Nice
The capital of the Riviera and fifth largest city in France, NICE scarcely deserves its glittering
reputation. Living off inflated property values and fat business accounts, its ruling class has hardly
evolved from the eighteenth-century Russian and English aristocrats who first built their mansions
here; today it's the rentiers and retired people of various nationalities whose dividends and
pensions give the city its startlingly high ratio of per capita income to economic activity.
Their votes ensured the monopoly of municipal power held for decades by the right-wing dynasty,
whose corruption was finally exposed in 1990 when mayor Jacques Médecin fled to Uruguay. He
was finally extradited and jailed. Despite the disappearance of 400 million francs of taxpayers'
money, public opinion remained in his favour. From his Grenoble prison cell, Médecin, who had
twinned Nice with Cape Town at the height of South Africa's apartheid regime, backed the former
National Front member and close friend of Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jacques Peyrat, in the 1995 local
elections. Peyrat won with ease, and, re-elected in 2001, he has lately made no secret of his
desire to have the new public prosecutor, Eric de Montgolfier – who made his reputation fighting
white-collar crime and political corruption – removed from his post, before his investigations into
the Riviera underworld put yet another city magistrate into prison.
Politics apart, Nice has other reasons to qualify it as one of the more dubious destinations on the
Riviera: it's a pickpocket's paradise; the traffic is a nightmare; miniature poodles appear to be
mandatory; phones are always vandalized; and the beach isn't even sand. And yet Nice still
manages to be delightful. The sun and the sea and the laid-back, affable Niçois cover a multitude
of sins. The medieval rabbit warren of the old town, the Italianate facades of modern Nice and the
rich, exuberant, fin-de-siècle residences that made the city one of Europe's most fashionable
winter retreats have all survived intact. It has also retained mementos from its ancient past, when
the Romans ruled the region from here, and earlier still, when the Greeks founded the city. In
addition, its bus and train connections make Nice by far the best base for visiting the rest of the
Riviera.
Information by Rough Guides


Yahoo! Travel – NICE popular attractions

       Promenade des Anglais
       Musee des Beaux-Arts (Jules Cheret)
       Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC)
       Colline du Château
       Cours Saleya
       Musee Matisse
       Arènes et jardins de Cimiez
       Place Massena
       Musee Marc Chagall du message biblique
       Castel Plage


LonelyPlanet.com

Nice
Nice's beaches are pebbly. On the other hand there are a lot of them, and most are
free, warm and clean as a whistle. The city itself is brash and bold (there's no such
thing as being too old to wear a bikini) and enormously popular, so if you're looking
for a place of serenity and Zen-like peace... move on.
Nice was once the haunt of wealthy aristocrats, but these days its population is
wildly varied. As the regional capital and the gateway to the beautiful Côte d'Azur,
Nice is in spitting distance of glamorous resorts like Cannes and Monaco, and
within easy reach of the rural villages of Provence.


Area: 72 sq km
Population: 342,000
Country: France
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 (Central European)
Telephone Area Code: 04


Orientation
Nice is in the southeast of France, perched on the Mediterranean coast halfway
between Monaco (of Grand Prix fame) and Cannes (home to the International Film
Festival). Paris is 931km (580mi) away, and it's 30km (18mi) to the Italian
border. The city stretches along the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), where the Alps
and the Paillon River meet the sea. The town is protected by wooded hills and the
Mercantour mountains to the north, and the Estérel range to the southwest.
The port and the old town (perched on a hill known as Le Château) are in the city's
southeast - a great quarter for sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife. In the
northeast is the wealthy residential neighbourhood of Cimiez, which is home to
some outstanding museums. The modern city stretches north and west of the central
square, place Masséna, behind the famous promenade des Anglais. The promenade
follows the crescent-shaped shoreline westwards from the port.


Getting Around
A bus service runs from the airport to Nice train station, where you can catch
another bus to promenade des Anglais or the beach. For other destinations in the
city check out the central bus station on Général Leclerc square. If you'd rather
drive, there are plenty of car rental companies to choose from. Exploring the centre
of town is best done on foot, but having your own wheels can be helpful for
discovering the rest of the Côte d'Azur. If you'd rather travel by sea, rent a yacht
and live the high life - if only for a day.
Station Centrale, Sunbus' main hub, takes up three sides of Général Leclerc square
and an information kiosk. Many buses leave Central for Gare Nice Ville and Vieux
Nice. At night, four Noctambuses run north, east and west from place Masséna.
Local buses are run by Sunbus. After you time-stamp your ticket, it's valid for one
hour and can be used for one transfer or return. The Nice by Bus pass, valid for
one/five/seven days, includes a return trip to the airport. You can buy single trips,
14-trip cards and a day card on the bus. The other passes are sold in tabacs and
kiosks as well as at the Sunbus information office (tel: 04 93 13 53 13; 10 ave Félix
Faure).
If you just want to take in the countryside for a day, several major car hire
companies compete for your euro in Nice.
Some taxi drivers in Nice can be dishonest. Make sure the driver is using the meter
and applying the right rate, clearly outlined in a laminated card, which the driver is
required to display. There are taxi stands right outside Gare Nice Ville and on ave
Félix Faure close to place Masséna.

Attractions (Nice)
Cimiez
Just north of the city centre is the wealthy residential suburb of Cimiez, crammed
with reminders of its Roman past. The ruined remains of the ancient city of
Cemenelum (Roman capital of the Alpes-Maritime province) are explored in the
archaeological museum and site, which includes an amphitheatre and public baths.
The olive grove behind the archaeological site is an evocative venue for July's jazz
festival. Nearby there's a 16th-century monastery which affords superb views of the
bay and displays some fabulous works of art. Painters Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy
are buried in the graveyard. A neighbouring museum unravels the history of the
Franciscan monks.

Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain
Nice's pride and joy in the architectural stakes specialises in French and American
avant-garde works from the 1960s to the present. Glass walkways connect the four
marble-coated towers, on top of which is a must-see rooftop garden. There's also an
auditorium that regularly screens art-house films.
New realists figure highly, with many pieces by Romanian Daniel Spoerri and Arman.
There's a gallery reserved for works by Nice-born Yves Klein (1928-62), and the
ground and first floors are taken up with temporary exhibitions. For a breath of fresh
air, the adjoining Jardin Maréchal Juin is worth a stroll.

Musée Matisse
Attracted by the weather, the scenery and the proximity of his friends (Picasso,
Renoir and Bonnard lived in neighbouring towns), Henri Matisse wintered in Nice until
his death in Cimiez in 1954. Well-known pieces in the permanent collection include
Matisse's blue paper cutouts of Blue Nude IV and Woman with Amphora.
The Matisse Museum is Cimiez' biggest draw card. The museum's collection spans
the artist's long productive life, capturing all of his creative phases and including
drawings, bronze sculptures, oil paintings and cut-out canvases. The permanent
collection is housed in a red-ochre, 17th-century Genoese villa overlooking an
ancient olive grove and the Parc des Arènes. Temporary exhibitions are held in the
futuristic basement building.

Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall
Housing the largest public collection of works by the Belarusian painter Marc Chagall
(1887-1985), the museum was built in 1972 to hold the Biblical Message Cycle, a
collection of 17 enormous canvases inspired by the Old Testament. Chagall's style is
nothing short of magical: brightly coloured goats, violins and floating humans.
Chagall lived in neighbouring St-Paul de Vence from 1950 until his death.

Promenade des Anglais
The pristine facades, palm trees and blue skies that feature on postcards of this
famous promenade are hard to believe - but the seaside walkway really is that
sparkling-clean and exotic. The promenade des Anglais was built in 1820 by an
Englishman, Lewis Way, for rousing afternoon constitutionals.
Today the pace has changed somewhat, and the promenade is popular with joggers,
rollerbladers and walkers. Ignore the sporty types and take a leisurely stroll via the
19th-century Jardin Albert 1er, stopping to look at the crumbling beauty of the Art
Deco Palais de la Méditerranée casino, derelict since it closed amid accusations of
corruption in the 1970s. The grand Hôtel Negresco (built in 1906) is the most famous
building on the promenade. Pop inside and check out the elegant Salon Louis XIV
and Salon Royale, but make sure you're wearing your glad rags or you won't get far.

Vieux Nice
Nice's old town is a delightful mish mash of winding streets, lively squares and
Genoese, Provençal, medieval and baroque architecture. It has plenty of cafés and
restaurants and comes alive in the evenings, with places to booze and boogie. Parc
du Château, a 92m (300ft) hill, overlooks the old town.
If you want to see baroque churches, St-Martin-St-Augustin (the oldest church in
Nice), St-François de Paule (baroque and classical), St-Giuame (also known as St-
Jacques, l'Annonciation and Ste-Rita) and the elegant Chapelle de la Miséricorde
should keep you busy. Cathédrale Ste-Réparate (1650-80) in the area's central
square, place Rossetti, was built in honour of the city's patron saint; the steeple
dates from the 18th century.
Palais Lascaris is a beautiful example of Genoese baroque architecture, and it's also
home to an 18th-century apothecary and a museum of local history. If you head past
the palace towards the sea you hit the bustling cours Saleya, with its flower and
vegetable market, and the Paillon gardens, which separate the old and new towns.
The belle époque Opéra de Nice is just off cours Saleya.
Discover the French Riviera




Explore the magnificent French Riviera! Your vacation begins in Nice where you will visit the
Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena and the Chagall Museum. Learn the secrets of perfume
making in Grasse and enjoy dinner in San Remo, the luxurious capital of the Italian Riviera. You
will also travel to St. Tropez and Cannes, where you will enjoy a cruise around the yacht filled bay
and explore the Boulevard de la Croisette. Finally, you will visit the principality of Monaco and
visit the fascinating Oceanographic Museum.

Attractions
     The Chagall Museum will thrill you with its outstanding collection of paintings, stained-
        glass windows and sketches.
     Soak up the sun and the sights as you enjoy a cruise in the resort area of St. Tropez.

                                             Tour Map




                                          Tour Itinerary
Day 1 Overnight Flight
The fabulous French Riviera awaits your arrival, complete with elegant coastal resorts, superb
dining, fabulous shopping and fascinating museums.

Day 2 Arrive Nice (French Riviera), France - Transfer to Hotel
Upon arrival in Nice, the remainder of your day is at leisure to relax or explore this Mediterranean
city.

Day 3 Nice
Begin your day with a tour of Nice. A visit to the local flower market is followed by a trip to the
lively seafront Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena, the town's center of activity. Next,
visit the Chagall Museum to see his celebrated collection of paintings. The remainder of the day
is at leisure for you to explore Nice and its lively atmosphere.

Day 4 Grasse - St. Paul De Vence
Learn the secrets of perfume making with a tour of the Fragonard Perfumerie in Grasse. Follow
the magnificent scenery along the Loup River to St. Paul de Vence, situated on top of a hill
overlooking the beautiful countryside. This medieval, walled town is filled with historic buildings,
hidden alleyways, fabulous restaurants and many specialty shops. (B)

Day 5 Ventimiglia, Italy
Cross the border into Italy and arrive in the charming town of Ventimiglia. Leisure time is available
to explore the lively Market Place, offering all types of local crafts and fresh produce. A wonderful
dinner awaits you this evening at a popular local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 6 St. Tropez - Cannes - Antibes
Today you are off to St. Tropez. Once an old fishing village, this scenic area is now a fashionable
resort frequented by movie stars, artists and writers. Relax and enjoy the sights on a delightful
cruise around the yacht-filled bay, before heading off to the popular resort of Cannes. Explore the
Old Town, Le Suquet, and walk along the elegant Boulevard de la Croisette. You then visit the
fashionable resort of Antibes for an interesting visit to the Picasso Museum, featuring over 200
pieces of his work. (B)

Day 7 St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat - Monaco
Travel the spectacular coastline, passing the charming town of Villefranche-sur-Mer to St. Jean-
cap-Ferrat, where you visit the impressive Rothschild Villa and Gardens. A panoramic tour of
Monaco features the famous Casino of Monte Carlo, the Place des Armes, Prince's Palace,
Avenue des Beaux Artes, and the Cathedral of Monaco, where Princess Grace is buried. A
highlight of your visit to Monaco is a visit to the fascinating Oceanographic Museum.

Day 8 French Riviera
Your day is at leisure to relax, shop for local crafts or watch the world go by from a sidewalk cafe.
http://wmcs.wordtravels.com/

The French Riviera is renowned the world over for its glamorous nightlife, glorious beaches and
gigantic gin-palaces; the chic resorts of Cannes and St Tropez have for long attracted Europe’s most
affluent, from Russian Tsars to the Hollywood stars. Along with neighbouring Monaco, the Côte
d’Azur retains its reputation as the playground of the rich and remains one of the most desirable
Mediterranean destinations.
The beauty of the hills and the lively towns has inspired several great artists and the area has
wonderful museums displaying their works. The quaint Provence hill villages abutting the coast, that
once attracted Picasso and Matisse, now draw French and international tourists by the planeload.
Centre of the Riviera is the pleasant city of Nice; like all the resort towns that run into each other
along this over-developed coastal strip it is packed with holidaymakers jamming its restaurants,
bars and beaches during July and August. Visitors are drawn just as much by the wish to see and be
seen in this desirable location as by the sultry sunshine, bright blue sea and luxurious facilities.

Nice                                                                           See full resort guide

With an international airport and the fast train from Paris, Nice is the first experience of the
renowned Côte d'Azur for many tourists. The city was established by the Greeks and named for
Nike, goddess of victory, but the Romans started the tourism
industry here when they popularised their mineral baths on
Cimiez. British and Russian aristocrats favoured Nice in the
19th century, but today it is more of a commercial centre and
not as fashionable as its smaller neighbouring resorts. Nice
still has excellent connections, but these are in the mode of
transport options rather than the pedigree of its visitors. In
spite of modernization, the city retains its medieval heritage
in the Vieille Ville (old town), with its closely-packed red-tiled
roofs and narrow winding streets packed with shops and small
restaurants. The Cours Saleya has a flower market and food
market every morning. There are scores of stands, from large, professionally displayed wares to
folding tables set up by family farmers with their produce directly from the farm. Separating the
Cours Saleya from the sea is a strip of low buildings. Once the repository for the fishermens' catch,
they have given way largely to seafood restaurants. The other side of the Cours Saleya is lined by
terrace cafés in lovely old buildings. Nice's beaches are shingle; only from the peninsula at Antibes
do they become sand. The Promenade des Anglais lines the shingle beaches for about five miles
(eight km) and has been a favourite for leisurely strollers since Victorian times.
Musée Matisse
Matisse spent the last few years of his life in Nice and he is honoured by this museum. The museum
has several permanent collections, mostly painted in Nice and many donated by the artist and his
heir. The better known paintings include Nude in an Armchair with a Green Plant (1937), Nymph in
the Forest (1935/1942) and Portrait of Madame Matisse (1905). There is also an ensemble of
drawings including The Créole Dancer (1951) and Blue Nude IV (1952). Seeing his nude sketches
today, you'll wonder why early critics denounced them as 'the female animal in all her shame and
horror.'
Address: 164 Av. des Arènes de Cimiez; Telephone: (0)4 9381 0808; Website: www.musee-
matisse-nice.org; Transport: Bus 15, 17, 20, 22 or 25; Opening time: Daily except Tuesdays
10am to 6pm; Admission: €4 (adults), concessions available
The Château
With wonderful views over the rooftops and gleaming mosaic tiles of Old Nice, along the sweep of
the promenade des Anglais and out to the Mediterranean, the Château park is good place for
visitors to orientate themselves with the city. The Château has long gone but with cool walks in the
shade of the trees, a large grassy park, Roman ruins and a waterfall it is a great place to spend an
afternoon. To reach the park, visitors can either climb the steps at the front, from the Quai des
Etats Unis, or for those who aren't up to it an elevator is available.
Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice
Outside Nice, near the airport, this vast tourist attraction includes a botanical garden and a bird and
insect zoo where visitors can tour a greenhouse full of wonderful butterflies. There is also a tacky
theme park with automated dinosaurs and mock Mayan temples but the highlight of the park is the
Musée Départemental des Artes Asiatiques, which houses a collection of ethnographic artefacts,
including silk goods and pottery, as well as traditional and contemporary art.
Address: 405 Promenade des Anglais; Telephone: (0)4 9229 7700; Opening time: Museum
10am to 6pm (May to September), 10am to 5pm (October to April); closed Tuesdays. Park 9am to
7pm (March to October), 9am to 5pm (November to April); Admission: €5.34 (museum); €6.10
(park)
Musée des Beaux-Arts
Housed in the former residence of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchubey is a fine collection of 19th- and
20th-century art, including works by Boudin, Ziem, Raffaelli, Renoir and Monet. The gallery also
includes great sculptures including works by J. B. Carpeaux, Rude, and Rodin. There's an important
collection devoted to the masters of the Second Empire and Belle Epoque.
Address: 33 Avenue des Baumettes; Telephone: (0)4 9215 2828; Website: www.musee-beaux-
arts-nice.org; Transport: Bus 3, 6, 9, 10, 12, 22 or 23 to Grosso stop, or bus 38 to Chéret stop;
Opening time: Daily except Mondays 10am to 6pm; Admission: €4 (adults), €2.50 (concessions).
Under-18s are free
Cimiez
In a residential area in the hills above the hustle and bustle of the city, the grounds of 'Cimiez'
include a large park set amidst olive groves, the Archaeology Museum, Matisse Museum and the
Franciscan Museum and Monastery. Also within the gardens the Musée National Message Biblique
Marc-Chagall displays some 450 of the artist's oils, drawings, pastels, lithographs, sculptures, and
ceramics. During a couple of weeks in August, Cimiez is the site of the Nice Jazz Festival, with music
being played every day until midnight and performed on three stages, in the olive groves and the
Roman Amphitheatre. It is an hour's walk, or a short bus ride from the town centre.
Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice
Outside Nice, near the airport, this vast tourist attraction includes a botanical garden and a bird and
insect zoo where visitors can tour a greenhouse full of wonderful butterflies. There is also a tacky
theme park with automated dinosaurs and mock Mayan temples but the highlight of the park is the
Musée Départemental des Artes Asiatiques, which houses a collection of ethnographic artefacts,
including silk goods and pottery, as well as traditional and contemporary art. Address: 405
Promenade des Anglais; Telephone: (0)4 9229 7700; Opening time: Museum 10am to 6pm (May to
September), 10am to 5pm (October to April); closed Tuesdays. Park 9am to 7pm (March to
October), 9am to 5pm (November to April); Admission: €5.34 (museum); €6.10 (park)




                                                                   Bay of Cannes, La Croisette
Cannes                     See full resort guide

Today it is hard to imagine that the quintessential glamorous French Riviera resort of Cannes was
for centuries a simple, sleepy fishing village whose only visitors were monks and wealthy pilgrims
who came to visit the monastery on the nearby Island of St Honorat. All this changed in 1834 when
Lord Henry Brougham, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, arrived and established the city
as a popular up-market holiday resort for the British upper classes. Soon the French and later the
Russian aristocracy also flocked to Cannes to while away their summers. Each May the world’s
press flocks to Cannes for it's annual Film Festival, which draws the world's celebrities and super-
stars along with the paparazzi and expectant fans hoping to glimpse the rich and famous at the
Palais des Festivals. Cannes may be synonymous with the annual Film Festival, however hundreds
of less exceptional international conferences take place here each year, making rooms hard to find
and restaurants hard to book for much of the year. Cannes is busy all year round, frequented by
hosts of business travellers off-season and besieged by tourists in the summer, when the long
sandy beaches, glitzy nightclubs, chic shops and the famous promenade are abuzz with beautiful
people flaunting the latest designer wear. Despite the city's pretensions and massive over-
development, Cannes is still an international city of charm and good cheer.

La Croisette
The long, shop-studded promenade of La Croisette, and its seven miles (11km) of beach, is Cannes'
major attraction. Palatial hotels line this strip each with their own private beach and this is where
you are most likely to spot a familiar face, or topless hopeful, especially during the film festival,
though you'll be lucky to see further than the sweating backs of the paparazzi. La Croisette is best
viewed from the highest point of Cannes' Old Town, Le Suquet, where the remains of the fortified
tower still stand, along with the 12th-century Chapel of St Anne. Le Suquet is a lovely place to
stroll, with its winding streets, small boutiques and restaurants. At the end of La Croisette is the
Palais des Festivals, whose endless Allées des Stars is imprinted with handprints and signatures of
the famous. Just beyond is the atmospheric Vieux Port, with its odd medley of luxury yachts and
tiny fishing vessels, and the rows of palm trees and fragrant flower market of the Allées de la
Liberté. Further west along the seafront are the free beaches (where the locals go), along the
Plages du Midi.

Ile St Honorat & Ile St Marguerite
The two islands of Lerins - Ile St Marguerite and Ile St Honorat lie within a 20-minute boat ride from
Cannes. Ile St Honorat is a tiny forested island, the smallest and most southern of the Iles de
Lerins. It has been the site of a monastery since the 5th century and today the Cistercian monks
are the only inhabitants on the island. Much of the monastery is surprisingly modern, with the
exception of the ruins of the 11th-century monastery on the sea’s edge. The monks organise tours
of the island and try to sell their produce to tourists including homemade wine, honey and lavender
oil. The monastery also welcomes visitors for week-long retreats. On the neighbouring Ile St
Marguerite is the fortress where the man in the "iron mask" was imprisoned.
Telephone: (04) 9299 5400 or 9298 7138 (boat trips); Transport: Boats run daily to the island;
Opening time: 8am to 6pm (summer); 8am to 5pm (winter); Admission: €8

Antibes
Antibes is a pleasant excursion a few miles east of Cannes. It has one of the best markets on the
coast and an excellent Picasso museum in its ancient seafront castle, the 16th-century Château
Grimaldi. Picasso was lent a room in the castle to use as a studio in 1946. Several extremely prolific
months followed before he moved to Vallauris, leaving all his Antibes output to what is now the
Musée Picasso. Although Picasso donated other works later, most of the collection dates from this
one period. The best known work is Ulysses and his Sirens. There are also works here by some of
Picasso's contemporaries including Nicholas de Stael. Picasso himself is the subject of some of his
paintings. Alongside the castle is a cathedral which dates from Medieval times; only the choir and
apse survive from the original Romanesque building, the nave and magnificent facade are Baroque.
Nearby is a market which is open every morning over the summer and overflows with local produce.
Opening time: Musée Picasso open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm (June to September); rest of
year 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm; Admission: €4.58

Monaco
An independent state at the west of the Côte d'Azur, the Principality of Monaco is the playground of
Europe’s celebrities and idle rich. They are drawn by the sun, glamorous lifestyle and, most
importantly, tax-free income, not to mention being in close proximity to one of the world's most
publicised and famous Royal families. Many of the elite have made the principality their home, with
true 'Monagasques' making up only about 15 percent of the population of this tiny country that is
jam-packed with opulence, wealth and the world's most expensive real estate. As anyone who has
seen the legendary Grand Prix will know, Monaco and its capital Monte-Carlo aren’t as good looking
as its sleek residents and visitors; most of the buildings are unattractive monstrosities, and the
tiered urban jungle is cut off from the shoreline by sweeping roads: the roads on which Formula 1
racing cars screech during the annual Grand Prix in the second week of May each year. If its open
spaces you are seeking, go elsewhere (apart from a few ornate parks); likewise, if your wallet is
light, stay away, unless you want to try your luck at filling it in Monaco's landmark Roccoco Casino.
Palais du Prince
Established in the 13th century, Monaco's royal palace has been the residence of the ruling Grimaldi
family ever since. The most famous resident was Grace Kelly, who was married to Prince Rainier III.
Every generation has left their mark on the place, and as a result this is not one of Europe's most
elegant castles from the outside. It is worth taking a look inside though - 15 rooms, including the
Throne Room, are open to the public. In the south wing of the palace is the Musée des Souvenirs
Napoléoniens, which contains a collection of Napoleon's memorabilia. The changing of the guard
takes place in front of the palace every day, it starts at 11.55am and is over in two minutes, so take
care to be on time.
Website: www.palais.mc; Admission: Free. Entrance to the museum is €4
St Tropez                                                                     See full resort guide
St Tropez has long held the reputation of being the "black sheep" of the renowned French Riviera
resort towns, where anything goes, the more sinful the better.
Sexy starlets were flaunting themselves topless here back in
the 1930s, long before the beautiful people dared disrobe
elsewhere, and St Tropez' reputation as a kinky carnival town
attracting the more bohemian members of the 'in' crowd
continues to this day. The fairly inaccessible fishing village of
St Tropez, sited on a peninsula, was 'discovered' late in the
19th century by a bunch of reprobate writers and artists, and
its reputation as a flamboyant and fashionable resort quickly
spread. There is little left of the medieval Provencal
atmosphere of the original town, but behind the rows of
yachts fronting the terraced cafes of the waterfront are some
narrow, picturesque streets full of shops. The hub of the town is the Place aux Herbes, a busy
enclave of fish, fruit, vegetable and flower stalls, where the tourism office is located.
Beaches
People don’t just come to St Tropez for the nightlife, it also has some of the best beaches in France.
Most are away from the centre; although the family beaches, Plage des Graniers and Plage des
Cannebiers, are within walking distance. The most serious collection of beaches are along the Baie
de Pampelonne, south of St Tropez, the best known is the Plage de Tahiti which has long been
favoured by exhibitionists wearing next to nothing. All beaches are lined with restaurants and shops
selling endless gifts or items to prove you've been there.
Around St Tropez
The area immediately around St Tropez is pretty grim; congested roads are lined with billboards and
neon signs. But the surrounding hills are almost uninhabited and make for a welcome excursion
from the masses and the mayhem. The best view of this richly green and flowering countryside is
from the hilltop village of Gassin, its lower neighbour Ramatuelle, or the tiny road between them,
the dramatic route des Moulins de Paillas, where among the vineyards are three ruined windmills
that were once powered by the dreaded winter mistral. Several vineyards offer wine tasting. Along
the coast there are a number of good walking trails. Maps are available at the tourist office.
The town centre
Behind the cafés, the small streets and old buildings of St Tropez form a picturesque scene, but
they are popular venues for their multitude of shops and restaurants rather than their historical
significance. Place aux Herbes is a lively square that has been a centre of activity for centuries;
today it is a busy enclave of vegetable, fruit and flower stalls. Every May the town centre bubbles
to life with the St Tropez bravade, a colourful festival dating back to the 15th century. It originated
as a procession in honour of the town's patron saint - whose bust is carried through the town,
accompanied by a guard of honour with gun salvos, and Provençal singing and dancing.


General Info
Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between last Sunday in March and last Sunday in October).
Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.
Money: The Euro (€) is the official currency in France. Currency can be exchanged at banks,
bureaux de change and some large hotels, though you will get a better exchange rate at the ATMs.
Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, particularly in major tourist
destinations.
Language: French is the official language.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals must hold a valid passport for entry to
France. A visa is not required for a stay of up to three months.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must hold a valid passport for entry to France. A
visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Passport/Visa Note: Visitors are advised to hold a return or onward ticket and proof of financial
means. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria,
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen
visa that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all.
Embassy or Consulate in UK: French Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7073 1000
Embassy or Consulate in Canada: French Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 1795
UK Embassy or Consulate: British Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 4451 3100
Canadian Embassy or Consulate: Canadian Embassy, Paris: +33 (0)1 4443 2900
Health: French hospitals and health facilities are first class. British, and visitors from other EU
countries, are entitled to heavily discounted medical treatment and medicines on presentation of
Form E111 (available at UK post offices). Otherwise doctors and hospitals often expect immediate
cash payment for health services. Medical insurance is advised. Pharmacies will provide some first
aid, but charge for it.
Tipping: Most restaurants and hotels automatically add a 15% service charge so a tip is not
necessary, although another 2-3% is customary if the service has been good. If service is not
included then 15% is customary. Taxi drivers expect 10-15% of the fare and hairdressers 10%.
Hotel staff generally receive €1.50 a day and tips of €1 are given to washroom and cloakroom
attendants and museum tour guides. Tour bus drivers and guides are also tipped.
Climate: A Mediterranean climate prevails along the coast of the French Riviera, with long hot
summers and mild winters. The region enjoys a pleasant, warm climate throughout the year. Strong
winds, known as la Mistral, can occur particularly during winter and spring (November to April).
Customs: French culture is of paramount importance to the French and in an increasingly
Americanised world they feel duty-bound to protect it. It is appreciated if visitors can speak a few
words of French; they do not respond well to being shouted at in English. While the food is second
to none, Americans will find the service in many restaurants sloppy; waiters can appear rude
(particularly in Paris) and take their time. This is just the way they are. Traditional games such as
pétanque (similar to lawn bowling but played on gravel) are popular in village squares, but the
national sports are soccer, rugby and cycling.
Communications: The international access code for France is +33. The outgoing code (if dialling
with France Telcom) is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United
Kingdom). Other codes are used if using different networks. Most public telephones accept phone
cards, which are available in most newsagents. Most hotels add a surcharge to all calls; the
cheapest way to call abroad is often with a phone card. The local mobile phone operators use GSM
networks and have roaming agreements with most international mobile phone companies. Internet
cafes are available in most towns throughout France.

Airports

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE)

Location: The airport is situated 4 miles (6km) west of Nice. Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 between last
Sunday in March and last Sunday in October). Contacts: Tel: +33 (0)4 9321 3030. Transfer
between terminals: A free shuttle bus connects the two terminals, which are also within walking
distance. Transfer to the city: Buses leave regularly for hundreds of destinations between
Marseilles and Genoa; details on the airport website. Trains go to Nice and Cannes and most other
main towns and cities. Metered taxis are available outside both terminals. Car rental: All major car
rental companies are represented opposite Terminal 2. Facilities: There are a number of
restaurants, bars and shops, banks and foreign exchange in both terminals. Other facilities in
Terminal 1 include a post office and business centre with meeting rooms, fax, photocopier and
Internet access. Disabled facilities are good, passengers with special needs should contact their
airline in advance. Parking: Plenty of short and long term parking is available at both terminals.
Departure tax: None. Website: www.nice.aeroport.fr

								
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