French Riviera

Ready, Jet Set, Go

When you think of the French Riviera, you see yourself languidly sunbathing on sugary, white beaches with turquoise waves battering the chic shoreline. You are wearing the latest beach attire, or nothing but a string bikini bottom, and champagne is on its way to you on a silver tray. If this is what you envision, you are not very far from the truth.

Known as the Cote d'Azur, the French Riviera lies on the southeast coast of France. Home to jet-setters, artists, and internationally successful retirees, it is also the destination for a dream vacation. Comprised of several sybaritic cities, the French Riviera is easily accessible by train. One can travel from Nice to Cannes in a half hour, to Monaco in just under a half- hour, and to Marseilles in two and one-half hours. The train will whisk you through smaller seaside villages, too – all surrounded on one side by the Alps and the other by the sea.

When you arrive at the station in Nice, it's hard not to notice the stunning landscape of the region. Adorned with beauty, energy, and charm, the city houses several important museums and galleries. Taste of the local restaurants and explore the Vieux Nice (Old Town), with its narrow streets, French Mediterranean architecture, quaint shops, and access to the infamous Promenade d'Anglais where people watching is an art form.

Back on the train, we arrive in Cannes. Known the world over for its glamorous Film Festival, the city is all you've heard it to be. Stroll La Croisette, the waterfront avenue lined with palm trees wearing oversized sunglasses, secretly staring at the surrounding excess. The city has been a luxe hub since 1870. Today, there are more luxury boutiques and exclusive brands per square foot in Cannes than in Paris.

Looking for something with a little less bling? Less than two hours from Cannes is Marseille. While large in area, it can seem like a quiet fishing village. It's been an inspiration for artists for centuries, thanks to the fresh sea air, ancient architecture and colorful atmosphere.

For a dose of fast cars, high rollers, haute couture and hot yachts, look no further than Monaco, This tiny principality is the second-smallest country in the world. Here the ultra-rich and uber-stylish come to stay, play and bank.

Nestled between Nice and Cannes, Antibes is a less pretentious city and has long been an important trading center. It's most famous landmark, Château Grimaldi, formerly inhabited by Picasso (which now houses much of his works). It's easy to see how the Spanish artist was inspired while staring out at that incredible view.

Far less quiet and contemplative, St. Tropez draws a younger crowd. Arriving with their yachts and sports cars, it's a "scene." Here's where you party relentlessly at night and rest up on the Bay of St.Tropez.

The French Riviera is a Côt e of cashmere, caviar dreams and champagne wishes. Where the warm sun makes you feel all bubbly, and the azure sea foams at your feet. Take it all in with a France Rail Pass.

To learn more about preparing your trip to France, visit Atout France by clicking here if you’re a US resident or here if you’re a Canadian resident

Contributed by: Melanie, Marketing Project Manager, French American with Swedish and Italian origins, who comes from the Entertainment business and truly believes that traveling by train is the best entertainment experience ever!


Baie des Anges, Nice and Quai des Etats-Unis are lined with palm trees.

Baie des Anges, Nice and Quai des Etats-Unis are lined with palm trees.

The town of Nice and the Promenade des Anglais at nightfall.

The town of Nice and the Promenade des Anglais at nightfall.

Pétanque player at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Pétanque player at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Enjoy a visit to a pavement café by the harbour in Nice.

Enjoy a visit to a pavement café by the harbour in Nice.

The Carlton hotel on La Croisette, facing the sea.

The Carlton hotel on La Croisette, facing the sea.

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