Cote d Azur - Abbey Travel, Ireland

Cote d Azur


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Welcome to Cote d Azur

Cote d Azur

The French Riviera is renowned the world over for its glamorous nightlife, glorious beaches and gigantic gin-palaces; the chic resorts of Cannes and St Tropez have long attracted Europe's most affluent, from Russian Tsars to the Hollywood stars. Along with neighbouring Monaco, the Côte d'Azur retains its reputation as the playground of the rich and remains one of the most desirable Mediterranean destinations.

The beauty of the hills and the lively towns has inspired several great artists and the area has wonderful museums displaying their works. The quaint Provence hill villages abutting the coast, that once attracted Picasso and Matisse, now draw French and international tourists by the planeload.

The centre of the Riviera is the pleasant city of Nice; like all the resort towns that run into each other along this over-developed coastal strip it is packed with holidaymakers jamming its restaurants, bars and beaches during July and August. Visitors are drawn just as much by the wish to see and be seen in this desirable location as by the sultry sunshine, bright blue sea and luxurious facilities. However there are a few villages and sights tucked away in less fashionable areas of the Côte d'Azur that are worth visiting for those looking for a quietly authentic holiday.

Information & Facts


A Mediterranean climate prevails along the coast of the French Riviera, with long hot summers and mild winters. The region enjoys a pleasant, warm climate throughout the year. Strong winds, known as la Mistral, can occur particularly during winter and spring (November to April).

French is the official language.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in France. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some large hotels, though you will get a better exchange rate at the ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, particularly in major tourist destinations. Foreign currency is not accepted.

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between last Sunday in March and last Sunday in October).

The village of Bio is over 2,500 years old, and retains much of its medieval charm in the 15th-century architecture and narrow, winding streets. The town has been a hub of craftsmen for centuries, and is known for its pottery and blown glass, making it a popular shopping destination for tourists in the French Riviera. There are several glass-blowing factories that offer tours, allowing you to watch the age-old process in action. Biot is also the site of an ancient volcano, and geology buffs will enjoy hiking the scenic rock formations. Located only 2.5 miles (4km) from the coast, Biot makes an excellent day trip when you're tired of the beach.

In a residential area in the hills above the hustle and bustle of the city, the grounds of Cimiez include a large park set amidst olive groves, the Archaeology Museum, Matisse Museum and the Franciscan Museum and Monastery. Also within the gardens, the Musée National Message Biblique Marc-Chagall displays some 450 of the artist's oils, drawings, pastels, lithographs, sculptures, and ceramics. During a couple of weeks in August, Cimiez is the site of the Nice Jazz Festival, with music being played every day until midnight and performed on three stages, in the olive groves and the Roman Amphitheatre. It is an hour's walk, or a short bus ride from the town centre.

Perched on a mountain 1,400 feet (427m) above sea level, the medieval town of Èze is a popular stop on the route between the French Riviera and Monaco. The winding cobblestone streets lead you to the ruins of a 12th-century castle, the terraced Exotic Gardens and their spectacular views, and also to the many shops, which is the most popular reason for visiting Èze. The streets are dotted with tiny boutiques and shops selling a variety of French souvenirs.

France has long been associated with fine perfume, and Grasse is where those heady scents are born. The small town in the French Riviera isn't on the coast, so tourists who are tired of the beaches come for the famous perfumeries like Molinard, Fragonard, and Galinard. Each factory offers tours and a gift shop, and several allow you to try your hand at creating your own scent; for a more comprehensive experience you can also visit the International Perfume Museum.

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