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 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 a vineyard. Cypress trees pick out Château de Berne at the end of a road that wends its way through 1,300 acres of preserved nature. For three hundred years, characterful Provence and fresh rosé wines have been aged in its cellar. Renovated in “country chic” style, the delightful rooms boast stunning views over the garden, vineyards, and forest. At the restaurant L’Orangerie, the cuisine abounds in the scents and flavours of Provence. This is a heavenly spot where heirloom varieties, flowers and garden herbs all grow together under the olive trees. The spa is located in a contemporary environment, which is marked by a zen atmosphere and focuses on products around the vineyard. ... 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
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. The Monte-Carlo Beach, a chic and timeless hotel built in the 1930s, has always been the epitome of glamour and "dolce vita". This palace, which has received celebrities from far and wide, has been renovated by architect designer India Mahdavi, and restored to all its former glory. Sea all around, and with an original terracotta façade and frescoes inspired by Matisse and Cocteau make it the perfect setting for an exquisite break. Located in a site of outstanding natural beauty, in the shelter of a pine forest, the Monte-Carlo Beach offers a “Cabanas” service, an Olympic pool, a La Prairie spa and its gourmet restaurant Elsa, certified as 100% organic by Ecocert. ... 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. 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
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
Restaurant on the seafront. Chef Mauro Colagreco has found the perfect place to exercise his talents in this majestic 1930s building with mountains as a backdrop and magnificent sea views. It boasts a superb terraced garden, with fabulous views over Menton and the Mediterranean. In the kitchens, a team is busy preparing the dishes dreamt up by this young Chef who draws his inspiration as much from the rare vegetables and baby salad leaves from the Mirazur’s gardens as he does from his Italo-Argentinian roots. His quinoa risotto, woodland mushrooms and parmesan cream, and catch of the day with celeriac and a smoked sauce are an invitation to the culinary experiences to come. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in a village. In the shade of the patio, surrounded by palm trees and exotic flowers or on the verandas of the conservatory, this lush green oasis is the setting for the renowned fusion cuisine of the Raimbault brothers. Depending on what catches their eye at the Forville market in Cannes, Chefs Stéphane and Antoine put together a menu that combines contemporary and Provencal flavours with infinite Asian flourishes, featuring “Lime-Infused Soufflé of Locally Caught Sea Urchins” and “Soleil Levant of Raw Fish”. But it is their brother François, the patissier, who adds the finishing touches to this magical and exotic symphony with his renowned “Caravan of Desserts”. ... Learn moreless