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. The hotel basks in the scents of the maquis, perched on a hillside overlooking Palombaggia Beach. This is one of the finest beaches in southern Corsica, with its turquoise waters and white sands fringed by stone pines, and the Cerbicales islands in the distance. The elegant stone bastide boasts guest rooms overlooking the surrounding countryside which are simply decorated in natural colours and materials so as not to upstage its rare environment. La Table de Mina ("grandmother" in Corsican), the restaurant, offers an introduction to the cuisine and ingredients of Corsica. It occupies a peaceful terrace next to an infinity pool that reflects the sky and the stars. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. In a two hectare Mediterranean park full of hundred-year-old olive trees, on the doorstep of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Le Mas de Pierre overlooks hills and valleys. Provencal, romantic and colonial villas and rooms are hidden behind the red tiles and white stone of the bastides. When you cross the threshold, you will discover lovingly selected antique dressers and pedestal tables. As far as cuisine is concerned, our chef proposes a family cuisine with the flavours of the South, composed of the finest regional specialties. Other delights include a swimming pool, a spa, a sumptuous greenhouse with orchids and a deliciously fragrant garden. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Just 15 minutes from the Croisette – a spot where sea and mountains are at close proximity. The Tiara Yaktsa sits in front of a magnificent backdrop – the red rocks of the Massif de l’Esterel – and overlooks the indigo-blue creeks of the Mediterranean. The gently sloping espaliered restanque walls offer an opportunity for sunbathing; the scents of the maquis and the surrounding stone pines are serenely relaxing. In the languid summer heat, what better than the refreshing cool of Yaktsa Hotel, a luxurious Provençal mansion with an idyllic Oriental-style décor. Its Mashrabiya-latticed windows and sheer gauze curtains offer total seclusion while the hotel opens onto stunning views of Théoule-sur-Mer. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. A French General, who fell in love with a Punjab princess by the name of Bannu Pan Deï, built the Pan Deï Palais in 1835 in Saint-Tropez, as a token of their love. It is as if you are inside a maharajah’s mansion, with an exotic garden and rooms placed under the watchful eye of a Hindu god. The cozy spa and the hammam are a promise of serenity and well-being. Enjoy the peace and quiet next to the pool under the drapes of the Balinese beds. In the evening, this area becomes a lounge bar, just the place to enjoy a cocktail. The restaurant is a very sought-after spot in Saint-Tropez. Dishes of Indian, Asian and French inspiration take you on a genuine voyage of discovery. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. On the French Riviera, near Lavandou, this large Tuscan-style villa shines out against the magical background of the Mediterranean Sea. Imbued with charm, the Club de Cavalière exposes its ochre arcades and fragrant vegetation to the sun. Nestled among maritime pines, bougainvilleas and exotic gardens, the hotel is bordered by its own private beach of fine sand overlooking the Levant islands and has an array of sumptuous rooms and suites, and villas with patios right on the sand. This is the perfect place for a truly refreshing break. The restaurant features the flavours of southern cuisine, in the shade of mulberry trees and overlooks the magnificent bay of Cavalière. ... 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 in the country. Overlooking Vence, between Nice and Cannes, the Château Saint-Martin & Spa, with its fourteen hectare park, boasts exceptional panoramic views of the Mediterranean. This former residence of the Knights Templar, a place steeped in history, provides an awe-inspiring and serene setting. Discover gourmet cuisine and an exceptional wine cellar, which make for tasty moments to share. An infinity pool and the spa Saint-Martin by La Prairie are perfectly integrated into the landscape and offer absolute relaxation. Several villages in the surrounding area, which have served as a source of inspiration for talented artists, are now renowned for their museums and art galleries, like the Maeght Foundation. Also worth visiting: the Chapel of Rosary, which owes its fame to the works of Henri Matisse. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel 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
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Perched on a hill overlooking the Bay of Saint-Tropez, Gassin is one of the most beautiful villages in France. In the heart of a large estate with parasol pines, Villa Belrose, of Florentine inspiration, enjoys magnificent views of the village of Saint-Tropez, with 180° vistas of the bay from the terraces of its gourmet restaurant and its majestic pool. Its restaurant serves mouth-watering Mediterranean-style food and its beauty centre offers upscale treatments, with discrete and personalised service as a finishing touch. Villa Belrose also proposes a day on board an elegant yacht to enjoy the freshness of the Mediterranean. ... Learn moreless
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