|The Riviera, the seventy-odd kilometres of coast between Cannes and Menton by the Italian border, was once an inhospitable shore with few natural harbours, its tiny local communities preferring to cluster round feudal castles high above the sea. It wasn't until the nineteenth century that the first foreign aristocrats began to choose to winter in the region's mild climate. But the real transformation came with the onslaught of 1950s mass tourism. Nowadays, it's an almost uninterrupted promenade, lined by palms and megabuck hotels, with speeding sports cars on the corniche roads and yachts like ocean liners moored at each resort.|
Attractions, however, still remain, most notably in the legacies of the artists who stayed here: Picasso, Léger, Matisse, Renoir and Chagall. Nice, too, has real substance as a major city.
Pages in section ‘Riviera’: Cannes, Vallauris, Grasse, Antibes, Above the Baie des Anges, Nice, Corniches, Menton.