For a memorable trip to the French Riviera, you’ll want a hotel as magical as your surroundings. The shimmering Mediterranean Sea and Alpine landscapes have made this coastline a favorite of sophisticated travelers for decades. The southern French flair, fantastic cuisine, and glittering cities like Cannes, Monaco, and St. Tropez are a haven for lovers of style, fashion, food, and design. The Côte d’Azur is also bursting with secluded, charming villages and a wealth of unique 4 star hotels, luxury hotels, and small romantic hotels.
With the release of the film, “And God Created Woman”, in the 1950’s, the city of Saint Tropez’s reputation as a seductive beachside haven was born. With not a whole lot else to do but sunbathe and enjoy the company of your sunbathing neighbors, Saint Tropez is mostly just about being there. The total glamor of this resort town is undisputed, in its boat-lined harbor and sparkling cobblestone lanes, it’s the most famous resort in Europe and it knows it. Set off for a day on a yacht leaving from your own hotel, chill in the suite with haute-cuisine room service, or savor a pastis at a bar on the coast. Pampelonne Beach is maybe the only real destination in St. Trop, as it’s affectionately referred; there you’ll find 27 bars and restaurants, and all the summery excess that you’d expect. Lovers of fine cuisine will be in heaven in the both historic and super-modern establishments here; pamper yourself with French cuisine as you’ve always understood it to be true, but never tasted yourself. Try poached eggs with foie gras, sugar-crusted cake, or even a caviar feast. The city also has a bustling LGBTQI-friendly scene, with a plethora queer bars and a generally gay-friendly nightlife in the Old Town.
The multicultural and multifaceted port city of Marseille has, after a cultural renaissance following its title of European Capital of Culture in 2013, proudly earned its name as France’s second city. The beating heart of the city, Vieux Port, has been on many trade routes for about 2,600 years, though most of the industry has now moved to the docks in the north and the port is mostly filled with boats-for-pleasure. A wander through this expansive and dynamic inner-city area is a destination in itself, especially when you manage to end at the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, a 19th-century monument that looms over the skyline. Make the trek to the top for breathtaking views, or opt for the tourist train that departs regularly from the Old Port. The hotels in Marseille are perhaps not as luxurious as some you’d find elsewhere on the Côte d’Azur, but well-equipped and well-designed, offering great views and service, as well as fine French cuisine and wines. For a day trip into nature, Calanques National Park is comprised of an exceptionally beautiful collection of terrain, just south of Marseille. If the city life doesn’t interest you at all on your trip to the French Riviera, head further south to the more unspoiled regions of Bouches-du-Rhône and Var. The modern beach hotels here boast floor-to-ceiling windows, trendy interiors, garden or sea views, and extensive spa and wellness centers, fit even for a honeymoon.
Getting there: The Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur is the main way in to the French Riviera. Once there, pick up a Ticket Azur for access to transit via bus all along the coast. If you plan on staying in one place, it’s probably not worth it to rent a car; the traffic into some of the more major cities can be quite bad anyway. If you do plan to bounce around, the Regional Express Train also connects major Côte d’Azur cities with one another and travels on a beautiful route, climbing to high altitudes with stops in charming mountain villages along the way.