The French Riviera
The French Riviera, or the Côte d’Azur, as many English and Americans know it, is part of the coast in the south of France which stretches from Marseille to the Italian border. This coastline on the Mediterranean Sea includes the sovereign State of Monaco and places like Saint Tropez, Cannes and Nice. It’s been a popular destination since the end of the 18th century and attracted the upper class of Northern Europe, especially the English and Russian aristocrats including royalty such as queen Victoria and king Edward.
Saint Tropez has a magical sound. Its harbour is always full of luxurious yachts. You can marvel at the wealth exhibited here. Take a stroll on the quays along the yachts and start dreaming of your own. Or rent a yacht or a sailing ship and experience what it feels like. It was in Saint Tropez where the sexual revolution started with a design from Rudi Gernreich who introduced the mono-kini or the topless bathing suit. The famous film featuring Brigitte Bardot ‘And God Created Woman’ was shot here on Tahiti Beach. Another movie featuring Louis de Funès was about the ‘clothing fights’ between the gendermerie, the French police and the nudists in Saint Tropez.
The principality of Monaco has a fairlytale of its own. The famous actress Grace Kelly married prince Reinier of Monaco, the monarch of the second smallest country in the world. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The Monte Carlo Casino opened in 1858 and has attracted tourists from all over the world. Many tax refugees have found a new home in Monaco because of its tax free income policy. Not only the casino’s and the jewelry stores attract so many people from all over the world but the car racing is another reason to visit Monaco. Since 1929 Formula 1 races have been held through the streets of Monte Carlo annually, and since 1911 the Rally of Monte Carlo.
The International Film Festival in Cannes has made the city world famous. Do you want to see Nicole Kidman, Steven Spielberg, Bérénice Bejo, Bruce Dern or Naomi Kawase in real life? Come to Cannes and get a chance to meet them in the street. The purpose of the festival, to gain attention for films, has been largely successful and although it’s a festival for professionals only, it attracts thousands of fans to Cannes who hope to get a glimpse of their idols.
Not only adults are well served in the French Riviera, but it’s a paradise for children as well. Marineland in Antibes, not so far from Cannes, is an exciting place for the whole family. You get to see polar bears, you can walk through a shark tunnel where you see these dangerous creatures swim above your head, there’s a show with orca’s in a 64 meter pool with a long panoramic underwater window and, last but not least and everybody’s favourites, the dolphins.
Do your children and yourself a favour and book a day or two at Aquasplash, the largest water park in the Côte d’Azur, which is right next to Marineland. This aqua paradise will keep your children busy all day with slides and a wavepool, special attractions like Spaceboat and Turbolance or the Side winder.
Nowadays, playing golf is no longer a sport for the elderly. It has become popular for all ages and there are many possibilities to play in the French Riviera. Furthermore, for children who love Harry Potter, ghosts and magicians you can visit ‘Le Labyrinthe des Sortilèges’ which will give them an exciting day.