"Cote d'Azur" Top 5 Page for this destination Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur by Goner

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Travel Guide: 6,948 reviews and 17,977 photos

The French Riviera

My first glimpse of the Riviera was from the plane before it landed in Nice. Even from the plane you can see something special is coming up with the bright blue water, the waffled coastline and mountains peaks in the distance. The Cote d'Azur or the French Riviera runs along the Southern coast of France for many miles. The beaches are are the playground for the rich and famous, but you don't have to be rich and famous to visit here and enjoy this magnificient coastline and it's spectacular beaches.

Cannes - the beginning

The first civilization here seems to date from the second century BC, when today's movie-star playground was a Ligurian outpost inhabited by the Oxybian tribe. Eventually the Romans found their way here.

Fourteenth-century Cannes survived the Plague and a plethora of pirates, but the Plague struck again in the sixteenth century, more deadly than the first time. Beginning with this period, Cannes's history blends into the history of Provence, and the annexation by France. The seventeenth and eighteen centuries saw various invaders come and go and sea commerce began to occupy a more important place in the little town's economy.

Besides Napoleon's stopping here in 1815 after his exile on the isle of Elba', the major event of the nineteenth century was the arrival of Lord Brougham in 1834, who took refuge from the cholera outbreak and decided to winter at Nice - but ended up near Cannes. The legend has it that his decision to stay on was clinched by a hearty bouillabaisse and a comfortable bed. Lord Brougham decided to settle here permanently. Soon a wave of British expatriates flooded to Cannes attracted by a moderate climate and natural beauty.

Soon Cannes was no longer a peaceful fishing village. The town was visited by some famous personalities such as Oscar Wilde, Baron Haussmann, the Rothschilds, and even the King of Prussia. Every winter, an international elite disembarked here in search of peace and good weather; their presence encouraged the development of the Croisette, where they would stroll along the waterfront, By the 1930s, Cannes's place became a fashionable destination and has re mained a favorite among the rich and famous.

Now a little history of Nice

Nice was settled 400,000 years ago, you can see the evidence at the prehistoric site of Terra Amata and the Musee Terra Amata. In the 4th Century BC the Greeks from Marseille named Nice “Nikaia” and it became an important Greek commercial trading post. The Roman occupation came in 14BC, they built their town on Cimiez hill where they left evidence of ruined amphitheaters and Roman baths you can see at the Musee archaeological de Cimiez. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the lower part of the town became part of the French empire continuing the importance of its port.

In the ensuing centuries, Nice was overrun by various civilizations. In 1543 when the Turks came to sack the town, as the legend goes a washerwoman, Catherine Segurane, made them flee by using carpet beaters and showing her behind (:(:.

In the 17th Century Baroque Art came to Nice, the facades were painted with red and yellow oxides, with ochers or Sienese earthy reds; the doorways contrasted strongly and the woodwork was painted in cold colors, greens or blues. The restoration of the facades over the last few decades have returned Nice to her former Baroque glory. The best examples of this artistic tradition are the churches of the old town such as the Cathedral Sainte-Réparate.

It was the 24th March 1860, that Nice became France for good, then a remarkable economic boom ensued; roads were built, the railway arrived, the population exploded and tourism began.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Changing Blue Waters, Sun-drenched beaches, Fabulous Hotels
  • Cons:?
  • In a nutshell:Playground not just for the Rich and Famous
  • Last visit to Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur: Sep 1998
  • Intro Updated Sep 10, 2004
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Reviews (18)

Comments (5)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2008 at 7:50 PM

    We visited this area last Summer & remember how brilliant the sun was at the beach in Nice. Liked Eze & Monaco too. Very nice page!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2004 at 7:06 AM

    Excellent page, Nancy. Great suggestions, amazing pictures, good advices. I chose the same places as you and loved Eze and St. Tropez (out of the season only!). Next time try Moroccan food there, better than Mexican, I think! Have a great weekend :-)

  • rozehill's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2004 at 5:01 PM

    Nancy your Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur page is simply excellent. Gorgeous photos and well wriiten tips. I can't wait to go to this region , it all looks so wonderful.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2004 at 8:49 PM

    Extraordinary intro! La Boca Beach is interesting. Monte Carlo is fabulous. Liked your personal specifics of the hotel. I would love Eze village. Super shopping tip & great warning.

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2004 at 7:40 PM

    Is this just a gorgeous area. Your hotel looked really nice. I wish I had a rental car to tour around in, that would have been great. I made some purchases at Fragonard.

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