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On the South Coast of France, the “Riviera” is the focus of attention.
A long tracking shot across the mountains of the Var and the southern French coast, ducking under a clothesline full of laundry to focus on the skin of a young woman lying in the sun. The opening scene of the 1956 film And God Created Woman introduced both Brigitte Bardot and Saint Tropez. Of course, the site was known before Roger Vadim chose it as the location of his cult movie: an old fishing village on a hook of land jutting into the azure waters of the Mediterranean, a former privateers’ lair full of quaint little squares and ochre-tiled roofs, with its market at Place des Lices and its port lined with pointus – colorful fishing boats whose sterns are tapered as finely as their prows – bobbing gently in the waves.
Between Saint Raphaël and Le Lavandou, Saint Tropez is synonymous with carefree sunny days, with wild nights, the jet set and bohemian chic.
“Take pieces of turquoise, emeralds and lapis-lazuli: there you have the backdrop of the sky. Top it with diamond dust and Roman candles, for the two or three clouds that float above our mountain. And as for the sea – take nothing but the train to come here and see it.” The author Prosper Mérimée, who loved the region, wrote these lines to his friend Madame de Beaulaincourt in 1866. Nearly 150 years later, they are still an apt description of the French Riviera. The French call it the Côte d’Azur, the Azure Coast, bathed by the Mediterranean’s infinite palette of blues from Bandol all the way to the Italian border. The cobalt of the Baie des Anges is indelibly associated with Antibes, where Picasso was an honorary citizen. Between the port and Place du Safranier, the museum devoted to him spotlights paintings, drawings and ceramics by the great artist, who spent much of his life under the sunny skies of Antibes, Golfe Juan, Cannes and Vallauris. This is where, in 1946, he painted La Joie de Vivre, an ode to peace and contentment against a background of swathes of blue, not unlike the vivid compositions of Nicolas de Staël, another painter who loved the land and its light.
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Halfway between Nice and Cannes, in a setting where the Mediterranean takes centre stage, the Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel is a contemporary architectural jewel. Its minimalist lines are in perfect harmony with the lush Mediterranean vegetation, with the charm and freshness of a garden by the sea, a fine private sandy beach facing the Lérins Islands, and a delightful infinity pool. The original décor of the rooms and suites transports guests on a sensory voyage. The enchantment continues in the restaurant Les Pêcheurs, which looks out onto the sea and offers a feast for the palate as well as the eyes, with a view of the Esterel massif in the distance. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. This château, built on the steep slopes of the French Riviera, offers breath-taking vistas of the Mediterranean and has plenty of relaxing activities in store: swimming in the pool, fragrant gardens or Indian massages. The charming rooms are all different. The great classics of French gastronomy as well as Mediterranean specialties can be savoured in one of the four restaurants of the Chèvre d’Or, where the pleasure derived from the fine cuisine is enhanced by the stunning views. After the meal, you can stroll through the cobblestone streets of the medieval cliff-side village overlooking the grandiose panorama of the sea. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. Nestled in a six-hectare estate, only 300 m from the sea and surrounded by organic vineyards and Provençal countryside, Château de Valmer is a former family guest house which has, over time, been converted into a luxury hotel. Owners of the property since 1946, the Rocchietta-Montloin family has spent a lifetime cultivating the art of hospitality. Guests can enjoy chic and cosy rooms, tree houses, private residences, and a Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant whose cuisine is inspired by the estate's own organically grown produce. An invitation to relax and unwind, guests can take a path lined with majestic palm trees to bask on a private beach facing the Îles d'Hyères or pamper themselves in the large heated outdoor swimming pool and splendid spa that opens out to the park. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. The Grand Hôtel de Cala Rossa has dropped anchor in a sheltered bay in the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio. Toussaint Canarelli and his daughter Hélène have created a delightful, authentic spot where you can while away your days romantically in the languid torpor of its fine sanded beaches and the peace of its extensive gardens in the shade of the pine trees. Right next to your room, the Nucca Spa, a huge area with wood and water throughout, offers soothing treatments. In this land of fragrances, the chef draws on freshly picked vegetables from the hotel’s organic garden and produces gourmet menus with many ingredients from the island. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. A blue paradise, where the only sounds to trouble the peace come from the waters in La Garoupe bay which you can reach by a tiny private path. A fine villa stands in the midst of this unique landscape, with stone pines and ochre-coloured rocks, once an inspiration to Nicolas de Staël and Picasso, and is home to this characterful hotel. Tastefully appointed contemporary rooms, each with its private terrace or balcony, look out onto grounds planted with old olive trees and a pool and wellness area. The private beach, edged with succulents and bay trees, and the restaurant terrace in the shade of the mulberry trees provide the finishing touches to this cool oasis of peace and quiet. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. In the heart of a five hectare olive grove, an 18th century residence, La Bastide Saint-Antoine, awaits. The rooms are either Provencal or contemporary style and the gourmet restaurant has a wide terrace overlooking the Cannes bay. Chef Jacques Chibois creates an alchemy of authentic mediterranean flavours under 1,000 year-old olive trees. On the programme: wandering in the grounds, discovery of the botanical garden, reading, petanque and relaxation in the jacuzzi by the swimming pool. Between oenology, an initiation to perfume creation, or the culinary and aromatic tasting school, you will fall in love with Provence at this property imbued with the personal passion of Jacques Chibois. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. This is an elegant Mediterranean home, just a few minutes from the beaches at Ramatuelle and the port of Saint-Tropez. Far from the summer crowds, this magnificent mansion with its four Provencal mas invites you to unwind in the heart of its paradise-like grounds that are full of exotic fragrances. Beside the superb pool, in the shade of 300 year-old olive trees or in the winter garden, treat yourself to true relaxation. The Provencal cuisine, with its two restaurants, Le Bistro and L’Olivier, is a genuine reflection of the spirit of the South of France. The Bastide also offers its guests the option of hiring its magnificent 22 m long San Lorenzo yacht for a day. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Five minutes from downtown Calvi with its lofty citadel, La Signoria, an 18th century Genoese estate, is perfectly positioned at the foot of the Corsican mountains, but within close proximity to the beautiful sandy beach. The estate is set in a lush paradise of orange trees, palm and pine trees and gurgling fountains. Take in the intoxicating aroma of the maquis poolside, in the Jacuzzi or in the Spa Casanera. Guests will feel that they are vacationing at someone’s home. The charming, well maintained private beach “Signoria Mare” awaits them to sample the local flavours at the fisherman’s hut inspired restaurant. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. Bruno Oger left the kitchen of a palace hotel in Cannes and the hustle and bustle of the Croisette to move to the calm of Villa Archange and its shady courtyard in Le Cannet. This 18th century Provencal building, which has been masterly refurbished and tastefully decorated, reflects the sensitivity of the chef who celebrates the classics of French cuisine. With precise execution and skilful composition, his mastery is perfect, the presentation sophisticated. Marinière of Gillardeau oysters, cucumber, mint and caviar; langoustine ravioli with coral of sea urchin… followed by the angels’ delights with the aerial flavours of Sylvain Mathy, supported by the warmth of an impeccable service. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. A stay at La Villa is a statement. This hotel stands for good taste. It offers a particular art of living. La Villa, much like a private club, is a haven for lovers of beauty, tranquillity and culture. Art permeates the entire hotel, from the painter’s canvas to the violinist’s bow, not to mention the keys of the piano. Culinary art too has some well-tempered chords to play. The views over the Bay of Calvi, the scents of the sea and the pine forests, the sounds of music mingling with the song of the cicadas, the flavours of the local ingredients, beautiful plasterwork cool to the touch... Just enter La Villa, across from the Citadel, and all your senses will come alive. ... Learn moreless