Travelers in France are mostly drawn to mainstream destinations like Nice, Cannes, and St Tropez. However, French Riviera offers not only this part but also Cote d’Azur little-known for tourists with quiet medieval streets and cozy clubbish restaurants. Once these places inspired famous artists, and now you can enjoy them too.
Fréjus was founded by Caesar
The embankment is full of restaurants
Why it is worth visiting? Because there is a magnificent collection of antiquities. Fréjus was founded by Julius Caesar himself, therefore many ancient features have survived in its architecture. It is worth spending at least a day! Plan to see the five main attractions: the Roman Theater, the Amphitheatre (where concerts are often held), the Museum of Archeology, Fréjus Cathedral, and Chapel Notre-Dame-de-Jérusalem. By the way, the plan and decorative elements of the latter were invented by the poet Jean Cocteau, so the locals call this temple the Cocteau Chapel.
The Roman Theater
There is a magnificent collection of antiquities
If you want to take a break from the intense exploration of history, go to the embankment full of restaurants. For example, visit Le Jardin de l’Arena à l’Hotel Arena. They serve the best dishes of Provence cuisine here. By the way, local sweets can also be a serious reason to visit Fréjus especially if you travel with a little sweet tooth. We can recommend Les pavés du cloître confectionery. Remember these words: calissons (almond cookies), fruits confits (candied fruits), amandes (almonds), as they will become important elements of your culinary phrasebook.
In general, Fréjus is an excellent place to travel to with children. You probably already understood that this town is worth staying longer. If you do so, you will have a chance to visit Aqualand water park or walk in the zoo (so large that you can move by car there). Lovers of exotic places can visit the functioning pagoda-like Buddhist temple located at the intersection of the RN-7 and D-100 highways.
There is a magnificent collection of antiquities in this town. Sure! As it was founded by Julius Caesar himself
The best dishes of Provence cuisine
Le Jardin de l’Arena à l’Hotel Arena
Why it is worth visiting? Because Cagnes-sur-Mer is a very picturesque and atmospheric town. It is just a few minutes drive from Nice but is much quieter, more beautiful, and more compact than it. Climb up the steep hill, walk past the cute house, and you will find yourself in the High Cagnes picturesque medieval part with the Grimaldi Castle in the center. We mean Grimaldi Princes who now rule in Monaco. The castle was erected in the XIV century and was transformed into a museum in the 40s of the last century. We recommend you visit the section of the museum dedicated to olive oil and see the collection of portraits of the cabaret star of the 30s, Suzy Solidor. Do not forget to go up to the castle observation platform and admire the panorama of Cagnes-sur-Mer.
Very picturesque and atmospheric town
Impressionism lovers should not miss a chance to visit Auguste Renoir’s estate called “Colette”. The last 12 years of his life he lived and worked in a mansion amid an olive garden painting landscapes, still lives, and portraits. In short, this is a great opportunity to enjoy art and find out what life was like in Cagnes-sur-Mer a hundred years ago.
Finish your trip with dinner. We recommend visiting Le Blanc Manger for their snails in a garlic sauce, roasted duck or a rack of lamb traditional for this region. Try Michelin-starred cuisine at Les Terraillers and the best oysters at La Cabane de l’Ecailler.
Cagnes-sur-Mer is a very picturesque and atmospheric town just a few minutes drive from Nice
Auguste Renoir’s estate
The panorama of Cagnes-sur-Mer
Why it is worth visiting? Because of the most picturesque markets: flower, food, and antique. Decide for yourself where to start with but we would recommend to enjoy the tastes of the city first. Marche Provencal opens in the very early morning, so hurry up to see the show, which will both entertain you and be a great breakfast. Gourmets praise Provencal olives, which are added not only to the first and second courses, but also to desserts. And it’s just a paradise for cheese lovers. Tasting is a mandatory part of the travel program in France.
Narrow cobbled streets
Then, to lose extra calories, stroll in the large amusement park with a botanical garden or walk in the center of Antibes. Narrow cobbled streets edged by colorful houses with picturesque shutters are simply created for Instagram.
Pablo Picasso once said that only in Antibes one understands what joie de vivre is (that is, the joy of life). You will surely understand this if visit the castle where the famous artist lived, loved, and worked. Enjoy the works of Picasso, which are still in his studio. Another place to visit in Antibes is Fort Carré. It was a Napoleon’s prison for a short time at the beginning of the 19th century; and in the middle of the 20th century it was filmed in one of the Bondiana movies.
Pablo Picasso once said that only in Antibes one understands what joie de vivre is (that is, the joy of life)
Joie de vivre
Why are they worth seeing? Because only after driving along cornice roads, you can see all the dizzying landscapes, the riot of color and light, and to feel the energy of Cote d’Azur. When we speak about cornice roads, we mean three of them (Grande Corniche, Moyenne Corniche, and Inférieure Corniche) on the side of the cliff between Nice and Monaco. They are called so as they really look like a cornice winding along the mountain edge.
Driving along cornice roads
The dizzying landscapes
Grande Corniche is the highest one and most dangerous for those who like scorching. It was built in Napoleon’s times and later was transformed in the highway with amazing serpentines. Moyenne Corniche, the most comfortable and picturesque of all three roads, is lower than Grande Corniche. It was built specifically for cars so has smooth turns, a wider road body and tunnels, where you can drive out without extreme. It is best for driving an open-top car. Find time to stop at observation platforms where there are special parking. If you have time, come round to explore the medieval city of Èze. Finally, the lowest road, La Basse Corniche, follows the contours of the coast from Menton to Nice. It was built on the site of footpaths winding from town to town and from village to village. After all, you read, you can’t but agree that it will be hard to choose the way to go in search of adventure.
When we speak about cornice roads, we mean three of them (Grande Corniche, Moyenne Corniche, and Inférieure Corniche) on the side of the cliff between Nice and Monaco
Grande Corniche view