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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 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
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 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 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 Clarins 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
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
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