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Côte d'Azur
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Côte d'Azur
Map of Côte d'Azur

Baie de Cassis : Click to enlarge picture
Cassis
The Côte d'Azur polarizes opinions like few other places in France. For some, it is the quintessential Mediterranean playground – the glamour queen of the coast – for others, it has become almost a parody of its image, an overdeveloped expensive victim of its own hype.

But in the gaps between the uncontrolled and often eclectic developments, and on the offshore islands, the remarkable beauty of the hills and land's edge, the scent of the plant life, the mimosa blossom in February and the impossibly blue water after which the coast is named, the Côte d'Azur remains undeniably captivating. The chance to see the works of innumerable artists seduced by the land and light also justifies the trip: Cocteau in Menton and Villefranche, Matisse and Chagall in Nice and Vence, Léger in Biot, Picasso in Antibes and Vallauris, and collections of Fauvists and Impressionists at St-Tropez and Hauts-de-Cagnes. And it must be said that Monaco and Cannes, places you either love or hate, certainly have an entertainment value, while the two great cities of Marseille and Nice have their own special magnetism.

The months to try to avoid are July and August, when hotels are booked up, overflowing campsites become health hazards, the locals get short-tempered, and the vegetation is at its most barren.


Pages in section ‘Côte d'Azur’: Riviera, Resorts and islands, Marseille, Cassis & Bandol, Toulon, St-Tropez, Fréjus and St-Raphaël, Travel details.

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