The first thought that comes to many people’s heads when you say France is Paris with its Eiffel Tower and beautiful lights, and rightfully so. France’s capital city is gorgeous. However, south of the capital, Paris, is an area that many have heard about but less people have ventured to — the French Riviera.
The French Riviera is a beautiful place and depending on which months you go, could even feel like an unspoiled land with amazing beaches, great food, and lush nature. While using Nice as a base, I managed to not only explore many of the quaint little villages along the coastline, but also ventured across to Italy to explore some of the Italian Riviera as well. Without further ado, here are some reasons why I think travelers to France should visit Southern France as well.
As usual, you can see more of my pictures in Southern France and around the world on my Instagram @gmr83.
1. Colorful Architecture: If you are flying into Nice, you will start seeing the colors as the plane begins its descent. Whether it is the brick roofs, colored walls, and the vibrant flower market known as Marché aux Fleurs, Nice and the south of France in general are pretty colorful!
2. Mediterranean Life: Life in Nice and Southern France is influenced by the sea, which means the pace of life here is very different from the rest of France and the rest of Europe for that matter. People here seem to enjoy life more, thus taking things slowly and being a bit more festive than their northern compatriots.
3. Menton: As I mentioned above, I did some exploring around the area as I was based in Nice and one of my favorite stops is the colorful Menton, which was simply a joy to get lost into for a couple of hours. Make sure you buy some lemon products here whether it is soap, limoncello, or even chocolate — yes, lemon chocolate!
4. The Beaches: Southern France is synonymous with azure waters, after all, it is called the Cote D’Azur! The beaches are indeed beautiful here and even more blue in person than you see in the most saturated picture online. Here are 10 of the best beaches to try when you visit.
5. Monaco: For many of us, Monaco is the land we can see but not touch! However, there is more to Monaco than the Forumla One Grand Prix, the casino, and the really expensive apartments! Monaco has a rich history and a beautiful royal palace which overlooks the rest of the principality, so why not venture out here for at least a day trip even if you cannot afford to stay for the night.
6. The Food: the food in Southern France is a culinary experience like no other granted that you stay away of the tourist traps and places with English menus only. The Southern French cuisine is influenced by French, Mediterranean, Italian and even African cuisines making it a sight for the eyes and a delight for the taste buds. Here is a great list of places to try in Nice.
7. Proximity to Italy: If you are feeling extra adventurous, why not take a quick short trip to southern Italy where not only you can compare and contrast between the two Rivieras but also do some shopping on the side as the markets in Italy are cheaper than their French counterparts.