A Weekend Getaway to the French Riviera

A weekend getaway to the French Riviera is a lovely addition to any vacation. The stunning turquoise waters along the Côte d’Azur glitter and dazzle year long. It’s the perfect destination to enjoy a combination of relaxing and sightseeing. Take in the magnificent surroundings including fabulous architecture, picturesque beaches, remarkable gardens and more.


A Weekend Getaway to the French Riviera

How to Get to the French Riviera

a weekend getaway to the french riviera

Reaching the French Riviera is simple. Many major cities offer direct flights into Nice. If you are flying into or connecting through Paris, the flight to Nice is just under 90 minutes. From other parts of France, it is possible to reach Nice and the French Riviera by train. From Paris, the high speed TGV train takes about six hours. For a weekend getaway, staying in or around Nice is a very central option.

Day One: Discover Monaco and the Côte d’Azur with a Full Day Luxury Charter

a weekend getaway to the french riviera mala beach

There’s no better way to begin your weekend getaway to the French Riviera than with a day on the water. The luxurious boat will have everything you need including a cabin, bedroom, bathroom, refrigerator, music equipment and drinks.

You’ll board in Cannes and then head towards Monaco, which takes approximately 90 minutes. Disembark and head into the legendary Monte-Carlo for some shopping and to see the highlights of the city. For lunch, stop at a restaurant in the famous Port Hercule to enjoy the views of the impressive yachts.

After lunch, you’ll reembark and go to Mala Bay for a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. You’ll find plenty of snorkeling equipment stocked on board. Following your swim, you’ll cruise at a leisurely pace towards Villefranche-sur-Mer. Enjoy the beautiful view over the port and the colorful village. The day will end as the sun goes down. You’ll take in the spectacular view of the sunset over Cannes before disembarking.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera
le negresco hotel nice

Le Negresco

This famous 5-star property has overlooked one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful bays for a century. Unique and timeless, it is one of the most elegant hotels in Europe. Facing the Mediterranean Sea on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the hotel has a perfect location.

The hotel has attracted the “who’s who” of international clientele including Salvador Dalí, Grace Kelly, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and Elton John. Staying at this hotel is truly stepping into French history and culture.

The perfect combination of historic and contemporary is the property’s trademark. Each one of the 128 rooms and 26 suites draws inspiration from the most remarkable French art periods. From Louis XIII style to modern art, five centuries of history are represented. Every room and suite is equipped with a television and wifi.

Have your breakfast under the copolla designed by Gustave Eiffel. Lunch can be in the Rotonde, the restaurant surrounded by white horses. Have dinner at the Chantecler, the Michelin-starred restaurant. And in-between, why not having a drink at the warm and welcoming bar.

When booking an exclusive suite, enjoy a private guided visit of the hotel.

Day Two: Private French Riviera Architectural Tour with a Licensed Guide

villa ephrussi de rothschild

Allow your expert guide to transport you through time as you enjoy a full-day tour of architecture, art and culture. From the middle of the 19th century until World War II, the French Riviera was the pinnacle of elegance in terms of architecture and lifestyle. The various styles of architecture include Victorian, Belle Époque, Roaring Twenties, Art Nouveau, and Modernism. There is truly something for everyone.

This storied and legendary version of the Riviera still exists, although it is hidden away and well-preserved. Highlights of the day include seeing the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, the Cap d’Ail and Cap-Martin Seaside Trail, Villa Kerylos and Villa E-1027.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, also known as Villa Île-de-France, is one of the most beautiful Renaissance-style palaces on the Côte d’Azur. Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild built it on a summit of the Cap Ferrat peninsula between 1905 and 1912. Villa Kerylos, an original reconstruction of an ancient Greek residence, was imagined by Theodore Reinach, who was fascinated by Greek civilization. A true icon of modern architecture, Villa E-1027, Eileen Gray’s first architectural creation, is a testament to her careful thought in the design of every detail. Tour these villas and more as you soak up the unimaginable beauty of the Côte d’Azur.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera
hotel lily of the valley

Hôtel Lily of the Valley

Set on the Mediterranean coastline in La Croix Valmer, this 5-star hotel welcomes guests to a year-round wellness sanctuary. The stunning property is a short 20 minutes from Saint-Tropez and features breathtaking views of the sea. From its position atop a hill surrounded by protected nature reserves, guests are only a few steps away from the sandy, five-kilometer Gigaro Beach.

The guest rooms and suites were designed by renowned architect Phillipe Starck. All buildings blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings, and no building is taller than the trees.

For a culinary delight, guests can choose from two restaurants: one located in the health-focused Wellness Village haven which specializes in a plant-based menu. There is also fabulous French fare in the other restaurant, which has a star sommelier to encourage decadence.

At the heart of the hotel is the 2,000-square-meter wellness center complete with seven cabins, two steam rooms, a snow-shower, sauna and 25-meter swimming pool. The wellness offerings range from detox programs to energy treatments and immersive sport and yoga retreats.


A weekend getaway to the French Riviera is always a good idea, any time of year, but especially in the warmer, less-crowded months. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

France from the Water: Cruises in Every Region

For a unique perspective of France, one of the best things to do is take in the scenery from the water. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of fabulous cruises in every region.


France from the Water: Cruises in Every Region

Full-Day Cruise Along the Côte d’Azur

cote d'azur cruise france from the water

Embark in Cannes for a fabulous full-day cruise along the Côte d’Azur. Here you will truly see the best of France from the water! Travel to Monaco where you’ll disembark and have time to enjoy. Discover the city, do some shopping, and enjoy a fabulous lunch in the port. After lunch, head towards Mala Bay for a relaxing afternoon swim in the crystal clear waters. Pass by the stunning Villefranche-sur-Mer bay with views of the port and colorful village. The special cruise will culminate with a view of the sun setting over Cannes.

Traditional Pinasse Boat Tour from Arcachon

arcachon cruise

Enjoy the highlights of the breathtaking Arcachon Bay on a traditional pinasse boat. Sail through the small channels, past oyster beds, picture-perfect beaches, l’Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island), and Lège-Cap Ferret’s charming villages. While on board you’ll be able to sip champagne and enjoy a fabulous picnic of local dishes. It is sure to be a memorable day!

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
les sources de caudalie
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Les Sources de Caudalie

Located between vineyards and forests, just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, this 5-star hotel was designed using recycled local materials to create a collection of state-of-the-art buildings that are perfectly in tune with the idyllic surroundings.

Each of the rooms boasts a unique decor, featuring antiques, collectible furniture, and fine draperies. Most of them have a terrace or a balcony with a beautiful view on the vineyards or on the lake.

Set in a former orangery, modeled on an ornamental, 18th-century glasshouse, the two Michelin-star restaurant invites you to savor the chef’s brilliant cuisine. On nice days, enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunshine, on the terrace overlooking the lake and the vine-covered slopes.

The spa offers unique treatments combining the virtues of natural hot spring water with the most recent scientific discoveries of the benefits of grapes and grapevines.

Private Champagne Cruise along the Marne River

champagne cruise france from the water

Experience the Champagne region differently: while sipping Champagne and cruising in a lovely wooden boat from the 1920s. Your local, knowledgeable skipper will take you along one of the great French rivers to meet France’s most celebrated wine. Travel from one village to the next as you discover a serene and peaceful way to see the vineyards from a different angle. There will of course be plenty of Champagne included with the cruise, but you will also get to enjoy a picnic with regional specialties.

Discover Cassis and the Calanques on a Luxury Boat with a Skipper  

calanques

Enjoy full-day aboard a luxury boat as your skipper takes you to see the fabulous Calanques National Park and Cassis. The Calanques are white limestone cliffs interspersed with secluded coves and beaches. The National Park stretches between Marseille and Cassis’s coastline and offers a playground for hiking, snorkeling, sunbathing, and, of course, sailing. Afterwards, discover the gorgeous Cassis port. Stop for lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a breathtaking view over Cap Canaille. During the afternoon your skipper will show you the best places to snorkel and swim in the area!

Experience the Loire Valley’s Domaine de Noiré Vineyards with A Picnic and Boat Cruise

gabare cruise loire valley

This unique experience will truly immerse you in the best of the Loire Valley with fabulous scenery, an up-close look at a vineyard, a picnic with local products, and a cruise on a traditional boat. Start with a visit of Chinon before arriving at the Domaine de Noiré to get to know all of the work that goes into producing wine. You’ll take a carriage ride through the vineyards to reach a gastronomic, chef-prepared picnic along the banks of the Vienne River. After lunch, cruise the Vienne River and take in the unusual views from a traditional gabare boat.

Cruise on an a Traditional Sailboat from Cancale

france from the water cancale saint malo

Your expert local guide is a dyed-in-the-wool Breton passionate about sailing. He will take you aboard on his traditional Breton sail boat. The boat is one of the first copies of the legendary regional fishing boats that date back to the 18th century. Your captain is not only a skilled and certified sailing instructor, but is also passionate about Breton history. On this authentic and quite atypical cruise, discover an unusual look at France from the water. Take in the the regional heritage, listen to historical anecdotes, relive the 18th-century lives of fishermen, and observe the flora and fauna from the unique perspective off this magnificent bay. Cancale is the self-proclaimed oyster capital of France. You should not miss the occasion to treat yourself to a tasting paired with a fine glass of white at one of the many stalls on the harbor!

Where to Stay in Brittany
villa tri men

Villa Tri Men
This lovely 4-star property is surrounded by magnificent grounds, overlooking the estuary of the Odet river, next to Sainte-Marine port.

An elegant bourgeois house originally built in 1913 and transformed into a hotel in 2003, this villa offers decor to perfectly match its history. The villa was renovated in 2018, adding more charm and comfort to a place with so much character and history. There are 16 rooms and three cottages and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Trois Rochers.

Sainte-Marine is a small welcoming port between wild nature, magnificent beaches and local culture. It possesses a unique atmosphere that will make you come and come back.

The Ultimate Dinner Cruise in Paris

ducasse sur seine paris

Enjoy a unique six-course meal experience aboard the most prestigious boat on the Seine River, beloved chef Alain Ducasse’s Ducasse Sur Seine. Your table is reserved with the most beautiful view on the entire boat. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of Champagne on the deck of the boat overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Soon you’ll be off, quietly cruising along the Seine River in a 100% electric boat. Throughout the entire cruise you’ll delight in spectacular views over the most beautiful landmarks of the capital along the journey.

In-between courses take a moment to step outside on the deck of the boat and enjoy the amazing scenery as you pass by. You’ll see it all from the Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Louvre, and Notre Dame to the famous bridges of Paris, and of course the Eiffel Tower. True Parisian romance at its best, this exceptional cruise and experience is sure to be one you’ll never forget.


We hope we’ve inspired you see France from the water. Fabulous cruises await you in each region! French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

France by Bike

In the past, discovering France by bike used to be reserved only for the adventurous. Now, with the rising popularity of e-bikes, it’s possible for almost anyone to enjoy biking in France, families included. Read on to discover the best ways to experience the gorgeous scenery and culture in France by bike.


France by Bike

Discover Nice’s Fabulous Panoramic Views from an E-Bike

france by bike nice
Paul Foulonneau | 3SO L’Agence

This bike tour will bring you to Nice’s most beautiful viewpoints. It’s usually a place that’s difficult to reach, but thanks to your electric bike you’ll be able to easily climb to one of the most magnificent panoramic views along the Côte d’Azur.

The ride is not only filled with scenery, but will give you a wonderful overview of the city of Nice. Start the tour at the Port of Nice. You’ll then ride uphill on the “Castle Hill,” from where you can admire the beautiful views of the City and the Italian Alps. Next, pass by the lovely Place Masséna located just at the gates of the old town. Finish with Place Garibaldi before heading back to the port.

Provençal Charm Bike Tour with Wine and Olive Oil Tastings

provence bike

The day begins in the fabled town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The town is renowned for its most famous visitor: Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh spent the last year of his life in Saint-Rémy, tirelessly painting the countryside and completing some of his most important works.

After discovering Saint-Rémy, cycle along the base of the Alpilles mountains where the chiseled limestone cliffs meet vast olive groves. Stop for a tasting of some of the region’s most coveted olive oils. Rounding the mountains, you’ll pass the sleepy villages of Saint-Étienne and Fontvieille. The charming square in Fontvieille practically begs for a pause café. Afterwards, take seldom-used roads to climb through the heart of the Alpilles.

You’ll then reach the perched medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, listed among the most beautiful villages in France. Take the time to visit the village and enjoy a leisurely lunch before the real fun begins: enjoy a wine tasting at a small, family-run estate before cycling back to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

Where to Stay in Provence
villa gallici provence hotel

Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some also include a terrace.

Guests can enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool. There is also a gourmet restaurant onsite, which combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.

Private Guided Bike Tour Along the Banks of the Seine River in Paris

france by bike paris

Take in the most iconic sights of the French capital while cruising along the banks of the Seine River, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting on the Rive Droite (Right Bank) of the Seine. Cross the Pont Notre-Dame to kick off this adventure and discover Paris’ winding history. From Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower and from the Palais de Chaillot to the Musée du Louvre – you will enjoy the most beautiful perspectives that the city has to offer.

During the tour, your professional guide will point out the prestigious monuments and multiple treasures of Paris. Discover fascinating facts and trivia about the beautiful old streets, monuments, and people. There will be plenty of opportunities to take photographs along the way.

Full-Day of History and Wine in Saint-Émilion

saint emilion bike tour

The day begins with a guided walking tour through the charming UNESCO World Heritage classified village of Saint-Émilion, which dates from the Middle Ages. You’ll discover much of its fascinating history. Then, it’ll be time to start pedaling to the first château: a beautiful and charming family-run estate located in the heart of Saint-Émilion vineyards.

After a delightful lunch, visit the vat house and cellar where you will discover the traditional way of making wine. Afterwards, you’ll take an easy ride through the beautiful vineyards and see prestigious properties such as Château Pétrus or Château Cheval Blanc – regarded among the best wineries in Bordeaux. Stop for a visit and tasting at a Classified Growth château on the edge of Saint-Émilion to learn more about the winemaking process from grape to bottle. Enjoy a final tasting to finish off the day.

Discover the Châteaux, Wine, and Scenery of the Loire Valley by Bike

loire valley bike tour

Discover some of the most incredible châteaux in France by bike. Visit the Château de Villandry, one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period, where you will see one of the finest examples of Renaissance garden design in all of France. Afterwards, bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village. Stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and wine.

Next, play amateur photographer in Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre is quite simply stunning. At the end of the day, stop in one of the vineyards in Vouvray to visit a cellar and taste the delicious local sparkling wine of the Loire terroir.

Biking and Kayaking in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

isle sur la sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antique capital of Provence, is also known as the Provençal Venice. Its quays are lined with ancient waterwheels, and the whole village is set on a tiny island surrounded by the emerald waters of the Sorgue River. After taking in the town’s picturesque streets, ride into the heart of the countryside. Quickly the town gives way to farmland: ancient farmhouses are surrounded by apple and pear orchards. You’ll be completely off the beaten-path. The guide will lead you through small and flat country roads with very little traffic.

Stop for lunch at a restaurant in Fontaine de Vaucluse, a pretty village centered around a beautiful greenish-blue pool water from the Sorgue River. After lunch, ride to Lagnes where you’ll descend the clear emerald colored Sorgue River by canoe before returning back at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. 

Where to Stay in Burgundy
hotel le cep burgundy

Hôtel Le Cep

Ideally situated in the heart of medieval Beaune, just minutes away from the famous Hospices de Beaune and the Notre-Dame Basilica, this 5-star hotel is a genuine institution. The hotel owes its charm to the merging of two private mansions and their historical 16th century courtyards.

The 62 rooms, of which 32 are suites, are all decorated with antiques collected throughout the years and each room is named after a Burgundian village or Grand Cru wine.

The restaurant proposes a cuisine that is mainly influenced by the region as well as traditional dishes from Burgundy that are revisited by the Chef. The setting is heartwarming, refined and the decor contemporary.

At the end of the day, guests can settle down to enjoy a drink or regional Cru. In the winter, enjoy the comfortable atmosphere whilst sipping a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, and in the summer relax in the sun-bathed 16th century courtyard. The hotel’s luxurious spa offers a wide range of treatments and massages.

Full-Day Private Wine and Bike Tour in Burgundy

burgundy biking

Discover the terroir and vineyards of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy by bike. You’ll pedal through the vineyards and experience the wine and terroir of the region. Cycle through some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world while admiring the authentic and traditional landscapes. Between châteaux, estates, and vineyards you’ll absorb plenty of history and culture thanks to your wine and cycling professional guide.

Start the day with a visit and tasting at Château de Chassagne-Montrachet. Next, bike to Puligny-Montrachet for lunch at a traditional restaurant, or enjoy a picnic outside weather permitting. Afterwards, continue your journey back to Beaune with a stop at Pommard for another tasting. Throughout the day you’ll see some of the most beautiful landscapes and villages in Burgundy such as Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and more.


We hope we’ve inspired you to discover France by bike. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part Two

A wonderful way to get a look into life in France is by visiting local food markets. French Side Travel has a fabulous network of expert guides and professional chefs to show you the best of the each market along with regional and seasonal specialties. Read on to discover part two of the ultimate foodie experiences in France.


The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part Two

Marseille: Gourmet Walking Tour

marseille market

Savor Marseille’s unique culinary delights on a fabulous gourmet walking tour. The bustling port city is 2,600 years old, so it’s had a lot of time to develop a fascinating history, culture, and food traditions.

The walking tour starts in the emblematic Vieux Port. See the vibrant fish market before exploring hidden treasures in the Noailles. The neighborhood is a true melting pot of cultures and languages. Its lively and colorful market offers a diversity of food for every taste. Sample Provençal and Mediterranean specialties. Panisse, a chickpea flour fritter, and pastis, an anise-flavored spirit, are two local favorites.

After, head to Le Panier, France’s oldest neighborhood. Hidden gems, street art, and artisanal food shops fill the narrow pedestrian streets. Your guide will introduce you to its important sites, artisans’ workshops, and local specialities. Stop for a pastis aperitif and learn about its production. The tour ends with a tasting of local wines.

Nice: Market Tour, Cooking Class and Lunch

nice ultimate foodie experiences in france

Start your day at the famous Cours Saleya market. The narrow maze of centuries-old streets in Vieux Nice opens up onto this splendid market space lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants on either side, with market stalls down the center. You will get to shop like a true Niçois, sample locally-grown produce, and meet the farmers.

Though the bigger stalls are the most eye-catching thanks to their bright colors, what is really interesting are the small producers’ stands. The fruit and vegetables are not as uniformly shaped, but every ingredient is local and much of the produce is organic. Choose a menu focused around the best seasonal produce. Of course, there will be cheese and wine to make the meal complete!

After the market visit, it’s time to head to the cooking studio where you will help prepare the meal. No need to worry if you are a beginner – the atmosphere is relaxed! After cooking, sit down to an authentic Niçois meal and toast your efforts with a glass of local wine. This experience will truly give you a hands-on introduction to Nice’s cuisine and culture.

Where to Stay in Nice
hotel negresco nice

Hotel Negresco

This famous 5-star property has overlooked one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful bays for a century. Unique and timeless, it is one of the most elegant hotels in Europe, and it has been classified as a historical monument. Facing the Mediterranean Sea on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from Nice’s historical center.

The hotel has attracted a veritable “who’s who” of international clientele, kings of the old and the new world, and many of the world’s rich and famous have signed the guest book: Salvador Dali, Princess Grace of Monaco, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and Elton John. Jeanne Augier, the owner of the Palace since 1957, has devoted her life to the preservation and the development of this unique heritage. Staying at this hotel is stepping into French history and culture.

The perfect combination of historic and contemporary is the property’s trademark. Equipped and personalized with exceptional period furniture, each one of the 128 rooms and 26 suites draws its inspiration from the most remarkable French art periods from Louis XIII style to modern art.

Have your breakfast under the copolla imagined by Gustave Eiffel, have lunch in the Rotonde restaurant surrounded by white horses and have dinner at the Chantecler, the Michelin star restaurant. And inbetween, why not having a drink at the warm and welcoming bar.

Lyon: Private Full-Day Cooking Class with Lunch to Discover French Gastronomy

lyon cooking class

Any list of ultimate foodie experiences in France has to include Lyon! Begin your day with a delicious breakfast at a gourmet cooking school in Lyon. After breakfast, visit Les Halles Paul Bocuse, which contributes to the internationally renowned gastronomy in Lyon. You will receive a kitchen kit consisting of an “Institut Paul Bocuse” apron, Opinel knives, and a recipe booklet. A chef and a kitchen will be privatized and dedicated to your group. Prepare a starter and a main course while receiving expert advice and tips from the chef.

Sit down for lunch and enjoy the dishes you prepared including a dessert from the pastry chef, wine, and coffee.

Paris: Private Tour of the Best Foodie Shops in Paris

pierre herme ultimate foodie experiences in france

This gourmet guided tour in Paris is an excellent opportunity to discover the history of French food as well as spotlight French chefs. Your food expert guide will share with you this savoir-faire that has forever defined French gastronomy.

Discover the best pastries in Paris and the latest trends in pastries with chefs like Pierre Hermé, Christophe Michalak, Thierry Marx and Philippe Conticini. Of course, you will get to sample their “signature” recipes, which are a mix between culinary tradition and innovation.

During this food-centric walking tour, you will enter in some Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’s shops, a title which since 1924 has been awarded to the best French craftsmen including butchers, bakers, ice cream makers, chocolate makers, confectioners, cheesemakers and fishmongers.

Provence: Luberon Villages and Markets Tour

provence market ultimate foodie experiences in france

Explore the Luberon’s charming markets and villages and enjoy an authentic Provençal market experience. The market schedule changes based on the day of the week, but you can expect the itinerary to include a combination of the best sites and villages like Gordes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the Abbey of Sénanque, and Apt. 

The area is stunning. Take in Rousillon’s vibrant ochre-colored homes, the lavender fields in Senanque in June and July, Gordes’ medieval streets, and L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue’s gentle canals. Of course, this tour will also engage all of your senses and include wonderful tastings of local specialties.

Market days are as follows: Gordes on Tuesdays, Roussillon on Thursdays, Lourmarin on Fridays, Apt on Saturdays, L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue on Sundays.

Where to Stay in Provence
château la coste provence

Hotel Villa La Coste

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix-en-Provence, home of Cezanne, and the famous Luberon Nature Park, this Palace hotel is set in the midst of the Provençal landscape, in the heart of a biodynamic vineyard. It is an international destination for art, architecture, and natural beauty.

The property features 28 Villa Suites, surrounded by gardens, herbs and flowers and each opening onto a spacious terrace offering expansive views over vines and valley. The hotel’s contemporary architecture is emphasized by local materials and embraces the natural setting.

The close-to-nature philosophy runs through in each of the four contrasting restaurants, all of which feature organic produce.

The Spa with its clean lines, natural stones and light wood convey contemporary elegance in keeping with the spirit of the property. 100% natural treatments featuring regional ingredients: oils from Provençal plants and flowers, mineral salts, clays and more are used.


We hope part two of the list of ultimate foodie experiences in France helps to inspire future travel. Click here to read part one. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Most Beautiful Beaches in France

With the arrival of summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan a beach getaway. The French coastline is sprinkled with fabulous beaches: some in iconic locations like along the Côte d’Azur and others in more unexpected places like Normandy and Brittany. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of the most beautiful beaches in France.


The Most Beautiful Beaches in France

Plage du Plat Gousset

granville beach landen kerr

Known as the “Monaco of the North,” most visits to the Normandy town of Granville start with the beach. The Plage du Plat Gousset is a long beach with crystal clear turquoise waters on a clear day. You might actually mistake it for the South of France! At the end of the beach, climb the staircase that leads to the gardens of the villa Les Rhumbs. The Belle Epoque clifftop villa overlooks the sea and was Christian Dior’s childhood home. It is now a museum that bears his name.

Côte d’Émeraude

emerald coast most beautiful beaches in france

The Côte d’Émeraude (Emerald Coast) falls into two departments of Brittany: Ille-et-Vilaine and Côtes-d’Armor. It takes its name from the emerald color of the sea under certain conditions. Here you’ll find some of the most dramatic and strikingly beautiful coastlines in all of France dotted with charming villages and wonderful small beaches. While there are too many beaches to mention individually, you are guaranteed to discover something delightful.

Archipel des Glénan

glenan archipelago

The Archipel des Glénan is accessible by boat just off the southern coast of Finistère. With gorgeous white sand and transparent water, it might be hard to believe that these magnificent islands are in Brittany rather than the Maldives! The archipelago is classified as a Picturesque Natural Site. Feel free to spend your day swimming, snorkeling, relaxing, and simply taking in the surrounding beauty!

Beach Hotels in Brittany
domaine de rochevilaine

Domaine de Rochevilaine

A visit to this stunning hotel is a deeply moving experience. It will surprise and leave you in wonderment. The location of this hotel is at a rare site: a rocky peninsula over one hectare in size, including a 300 meter private marine façade.

Architectural buildings steeped in history are dotted around the gardens. A monumental thirteenth-century porch opens out onto a group of historic dwellings amidst a sea of flowers. Standing at the water’s edge, with your eyes fixed on the horizon, the time has no hold on you.

37 rooms and suites all offer stunning views. The Spa of the hotel with a dedicated 14 000 ft² devoted to your wellness will truly pamper all your needs. To top it all, the gourmet restaurant will cater to all your taste buds.

Côte de Granite Rose

pink granite coast most beautiful beaches in france

The Côte de Granite Rose in Brittany is famous for its romantically-colored pink rocks. This sculpted shoreline and colorful landscape is a paradise for birds and walkers alike. All along the coast you’ll find small coves filled with white sand and turquoise water sheltered by pines, wild natural landscapes, and the famous GR 34 trail.

Biarritz

biarritz most beautiful beaches in france

Despite its small size, Biarritz has some of the most beautiful beaches in France. For surfers and water sports enthusiasts, it really is a paradise. There are six beaches in Biarritz. A few of our favorites include the Grand Plage, Plage du Vieux, and the Plage de la Côte des Basques. Thanks to its strong waves, the Grand Plage is considered to be one of the best surfing beaches in the world. The Plage du Vieux is a small, sheltered beach on the Old Port of Biarritz. With its calm waters, it is a popular seaside resort for locals and is also perfect for families with children. The Plage de la Côte des Basques is very popular with locals for swimming, with surfers, and celebrities alike.

Porquerolles

plage notre dame most beautiful beaches in france

Porquerolles off the coast of Hyères is a true paradise. Azure blue sky and water, picturesque creeks and bays, and fine sandy beaches are surrounded by charming Provençal scrubland. Plage Notre Dame is the most popular beach on the island. It’s the perfect place to soak up the sun, scenery, and breathtaking surrounding nature.

Beach Hotels in Saint-Tropez
jardin tropezina

Château de la Messardière

This nineteenth-century chateau is a majestic much-loved 5-star palace hotel perched on a hilltop on the outskirts of Saint-Tropez, between the village and the famous Pampelonne beach. The property, with its trademark domed cupolas and turrets, has undergone extensive renovation over the last two years and is reopened since the beginning of the summer season of 2021.

Following the renovation of some rooms, the hotel has reduced its room count to 103 rooms and suites, each with their own private terrace. And has created two signatures’ suites boasting over 50sqm of living space and one Duplex Villa with three bedrooms and a private swimming pool ideal for families.

This hotel also offers wellness Valmont Spa, yoga platform, two tennis courts, two restaurants, a bar as well as a beach club.

Plage de Pampelonne

plage de pampelonne

The iconic Pampelonne Beach is perhaps the crown jewel of beaches in Saint-Tropez. Approximately three miles of fine, white sand borders the Mediterranean Sea in Ramatuelle. Pampelonne Beach is also home to some of the most famous beach clubs in France. During the summer, undoubtedly one of the most glamorous places to be in France is at a beach club for lunch on Pampelonne Beach.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

villefranche sur mer most beautiful beaches in france

The picturesque harbor and setting of Villefranche-sur-Mer are a highlight of exploring this part of the Côte d’Azur. The town, built on terraces up a steep hill, overlooks Cap Ferrat and the azure blue sea of the Mediterranean below. The port is predominantly now a pleasure port, but a small fishing fleet does still operate. The harbor is a popular and bustling part of the town with many bars and restaurants along the waterfront and in the small square. The main beach is to the east of the town center and a wonderful place to spend the day. The best view across Villefranche-sur-Mer and the harbor is from the corniche road above the far end of the beach, ideally seen in the morning when the sun is on the front of the buildings.

Saint-Florent

saint florent corsica

During the summer, Saint-Florent springs to life as a bustling, rather upscale holiday destination. Described as a Corsican Saint-Tropez, it attracts visitors with a string of restaurants, a marina full of pleasure boats, and beaches. The nearest beach is Plage de la Roya, a fine sandy beach with a lovely view of Saint-Florent and the Cap Corse. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle, take a boat to discover the more remote beaches: Plage de Saleccia with its fine sand and crystal-clear water, or the Plage Loto.

Porto-Vecchio

porto vecchio corsica
Copyright: ©Eva Bocek – stock.adobe.com

The old fishing town of Porto Vecchio (old port) is located on the southern part of Corsica. Hidden behind a mountain and therefore not visible from the sea, Porto Vecchio has never shown the typical signs of a Genoese settlement. Take a stroll along the old port, and immerse yourself in the Corsican ambiance on one of the many café or restaurant terraces. Nature lovers may want to hike through the nearby woodland of Ospedale. If you want to relax on one of the many spectacular beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice!


We hope this list of our the most beautiful beaches in France helps inspire future travel. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part One

Visiting France in the summer is always a popular choice thanks to mild temperatures and an endless variety of activities, both outdoors and indoors. Every year there are numerous special events not to be missed. Read on to discover part one of French Side Travel’s list of five unique summer experiences in France.


Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part One

La Fête de la Musique

la fete de la musique france

Each June 21st in France is La Fête de la Musique, the same day as the summer solstice and longest day of the year. 2022 marks the 40th edition of this free event that takes part all across France – in both major cities and rural communities. La Fête de la Musique celebrates live music of all kinds and is open to both amateurs and professionals alike. People gather in the streets to enjoy concerts and performances that go well into the night. If you are in France on June 21st, celebrating La Fête de la Musique is a must!

Château de Versailles Gardens: Music, Fountains, and Fireworks

versailles musical gardens five unique summer experiences in france

The world-renowned gardens at the Château de Versailles take on another dimension during the warmer months. On almost every day of the week there is something special going on.

During the Musical Fountains Show, visitors can follow several paths to both masterpieces and secret spots in the gardens to see the fountains spouting water in sync with baroque music.

On Musical Gardens days, enjoy your walk through the garden to discover groves that are exceptionally open to the public, along with music.

On Saturday evenings, along with a few select dates, the Night Fountains Show is the main attraction in the gardens. This show of light and sound is accompanied by water features and ends with a dramatic firework show in front of the Grand Canal. If you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, the Royal Serenade might be of interest: a French-style ball in the golden Hall of Mirrors.

You can see the full schedule here.

Where to Stay in Arles
hotel particulier arles

Hôtel Particulier Arles

This intimate 5-star hotel is set in a historic mansion in central Arles. This is the perfect spot from which to discover the charming city and the Camargue National Park.

The hotel’s lush garden and terrace feels particularly Provençal, and is a shady oasis during the summer months. Relax in the heated outdoor pool or in the spa and fitness area.

The spacious rooms and suites evoke a bygone era. They are bright, decorated with white fabrics, and feature modern amenities.

Photography and Theater Festivals in Arles and Avignon

les rencontres d'arles five unique summer experiences in france

In 1970, Les Rencontres d’Arles was founded. It highlights eclectic and contemporary photography in Arles, the international capital of photography. Numerous exhibits take place throughout Arles in emblematic locations, many of which are usually closed to the public. A must-see is the Luma Museum, an architectural wonder designed by Frank Gehry and filled with contemporary art. This year, Les Rencontres d’Arles is from July 4th to September 25th.

Also in July, in neighboring Avignon, is the Festival d’Avignon. The city of Avignon transforms into a theater as a celebration of contemporary performing arts. Performances take place throughout the city in both iconic and unexpected locations. There is a focus on sharing contemporary and living culture, so along with the shows there are also readings, exhibits, films, and discussions. This year’s Festival d’Avignon runs from July 7th to July 26th.

Where to Stay in Avignon
la mirande avignon

Hôtel La Mirande

Built by one of Pope Clement V’s cardinals, this 5-star hotel dates back to 1309. It enjoys a privileged location in Avignon’s city center.

Rooms feature decorations like wall tapestries, oak-wood flooring, and silk-lined curtains. All rooms have a private bathroom featuring marble. Some offer a view of the Palais des Papes.

Enjoy gourmet cuisine at the in-house Michelin-star restaurant. Culinary enthusiasts will also want to book a cooking class in the hotel’s rustic kitchen. Spend a few hours around the vast, wood-burning oven and use local produce to craft a delicious meal. You’ll enjoy an aperitif in the cellar before sitting down for lunch.

See the Vibrant Lavender Fields in Provence

provence lavender fields

The world-famous lavender fields are among the most beautiful landscapes in all of France. Throughout the years, lavender has held a prominent place in the history and culture of Provence. The lavender fields start blooming in June each year and usually by mid-July reach peak bloom. By the middle of August the lavender is usually harvested. Some of the best places to see lavender include Valensole, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, Sault, and Drôme. Visit a distillery to bring some of the scents of Provence home with you in the form of essential oils, soaps, or honey.

Dinner Cruise with Fireworks on the Côte d’Azur

cannes firework show

For a special summer experience on the Côte d’Azur, consider taking a dinner cruise complete with a firework show. Cruises depart from Cannes and feature a cruise around the Îles des Lérins with a stop on Île Sainte Marguerite. Dinner will be served on board as the boat heads back towards the Croisette to watch the dazzling firework spectacle. It is also possible to go on a cruise to watch the fireworks without a meal from Nice.


We hope part one of this list of five unique summer experiences in France helps inspire a trip later this year. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

What to Do in the French Riviera in 2022

The French Riviera is one of the most requested regions to visit in France, and rightfully so. It’s a paradisal area filled with old-world charm, glamour, and dazzling views of the sparkling Mediterranean. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of what to do in the French Riviera in 2022. You’ll find fabulous accommodations, unique tours, and unforgettable experiences.


What to Do in the French Riviera in 2022

Get to Know Saint-Tropez and its Fabulous Vineyards

saint tropez what to do in the french riviera in 2022

The name Saint-Tropez evokes images of sunbathing celebrities, designer boutiques, and luxury yachts. It’s hard to believe this glamorous town was once just a humble fishing village. Visitors will enjoy the idyllic scene of small fishing boats and fashionable yachts docked in the harbor, lined by pastel-colored Mediterranean houses and lively cafés with outdoor terraces.

Discover the hidden side of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez with a fabulous day exploring the oldest wine-growing region in France. These exceptional terroirs are located just a stone’s throw away from the world renowned beaches. Most of the wines produced in the area are rosés, but there are also powerful reds and tangy whites. You’ll be able to walk through the vineyards with a local expert guide and learn all about the region, its history, and all about the winemaking tradition. A highlight of the day is always a picnic among the vines with regional specialty foods and wines!

Spend a Day Cruising on the Sparkling Mediterranean

what to do in the french riviera in 2022 yachting

No list of what to do in the French Riviera in 2022 would be complete without a cruise. Undoubtedly, some of the most stunning views of the Côte d’Azur come from the water. Climb aboard a private chartered yacht for an unforgettable day filled with sunshine and French Riviera glamour.

You could start your day by heading from Cannes towards Saint-Tropez. On the way, stop for a late morning swim in front of Cap Dramont. You’ll get to take in the beautiful views of the red mountains in the nature reserve as well as Pierre Cardin’s famous Bubble House. Then you’ll be off to Saint-Tropez, where you’ll arrive just in time for lunch at one of the fabulous beach clubs like Le Club 55 or Nikki Beach. After lunch, cruise into the port of Saint-Tropez to see more of this famous town. On the way back to Cannes, enjoy the beautiful sunset views.

Alternatively, you could also cruise towards Monaco. Enjoy a morning visiting Monte-Carlo and getting some shopping done. Indulge in an incredible lunch overlooking the famous Port Hercule. After lunch, cruise towards the stunning Mala Beach where you can stop for an afternoon dip in the crystal clear waters. Next up is Villefranche-sur-Mer where you’ll enjoy the beautiful views of the colorful village and can take another swim before heading back watching the sunset.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera
hotel du cap eden roc

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc

This amazing 5-star hotel on the southern tip of the Cap d’Antibes, between Nice and Cannes, gazes out over a magnificent Mediterranean Sea. Twenty-two acres of mature gardens and a green pine forest surround the hotel. Built in 1869, it was intended as a haven for writers starved of inspiration. By 1887, it had become the hotel that turned the French Riviera into a summertime destination.

The hotel has 118 gorgeous guest-rooms designed with French panache. Built with unsurpassed views of the sea, the holiday abodes have state-of-the-art amenities, private bars and marble bathrooms. Delicate decor throughout provides a fresh and airy atmosphere.

The hotel’s restaurants are a delight to any taste buds. The Michelin-starred chef combines a contemporary approach to Mediterranean and Provençal cuisine. Each restaurant has its unique style, echoing the day’s different rhythms and moods.

The hotel is also known for its saltwater swimming pool carved out of the rock. In addition, the hotel’s spa offers treatments with Bamford 100% organic botanical products.

Enjoy the Sights and Scents of Grasse with a Private Perfume Workshop

what to do in the french riviera in 2022 roses international perfume museum
The roses of the gardens of the International Perfume Museum-© Valentin Pacaut – The Explorers

Discover one of the most beautiful landscapes of the entire Riviera along with the traditional perfume making process. You’ll get to see the charming old-world villages close up as well as create your own signature scent. The Grasse region is famous thanks to the numerous flowers that grow here, making it perfect for perfumes. You’ll have the chance to explore perfumeries of different sizes, as well as visit the International Perfume Museum.

During your visits, you’ll learn about the history of perfume and how a perfumer, or “nose,” masters the art of fragrance creation. You’ll then be able to customize your own Eau de Cologne with different scents and essences that reflect your personality.

Explore an Authentic Market in Nice Followed By a Cooking Class

nice market tour cooking class

The best way to get a hands-on introduction to the French Riviera’s unique cuisine and culture is by shopping alongside the locals in Nice at the Cours Saleya market. The narrow maze of centuries-old streets that make up Vieux Nice opens up onto a splendid space lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants on either side, with market stalls down the center. You will get to shop like a true Niçois, sample locally-grown produce and meet the farmers.

Meet with farmers to pick out fresh seasonal and local products for your lunch. There’s a fabulous selection of fish, meats, vegetables, fruits and cheeses. Afterwards, head back to the cooking school to help prepare your lunch. The experience is suitable for all levels of cooks from beginners to veterans. Like most things on the Riviera, the atmosphere is relaxed. Sit down to enjoy the meal with a glass or two of rosé. You’ll then have the rest of the afternoon to explore Nice’s Old Town or head to the Promenade des Anglais and beach!

Where to Stay in the French Riviera
chateau de la messardiere

Château de la Messardière

This nineteenth-century chateau is a majestic and beloved 5-star palace hotel perched on a hilltop on the outskirts of Saint-Tropez, between the village and the famous Pampelonne beach. The property, with its trademark domed cupolas and turrets, has undergone extensive renovation over the last two years and is reopened since the beginning of the summer season of 2021.

During the renovation, the hotel decided to reduce its room count to 103 rooms and suites, each with their own private terrace. This allows for larger rooms and a more intimate experience. The two signature suites boast over 50sqm of living space. The fabulous Duplex Villa has three bedrooms and a private swimming pool, making it an ideal French Riviera escape for families.

Wellness lovers will enjoy the Valmont spa, yoga platform, and two tennis courts. There are also two restaurants within the hotel, a bar, and a lovely beach club with a restaurant and chairs exclusively reserved for guests.

Discover the American Riviera and Italian Riviera, All from the French Riviera

italian riviera

For lovers of art, culture, and history, there’s nothing better than discovering the story behind the American Riviera. During the roaring twenties, a whole generation of American writers and artists left the US for Europe. For more than a decade, many of them considered the French Riviera their second home. These Americans created the summer season on the Riviera in 1925 and thus, changed the character of the seaside with the development of Juan Les Pins, the construction of dozens of villas, the beach and sun culture, and the creation of the largest film festival in Cannes. You’ll get to see the famous Belle Rives Hotel, where Fitzgerald once lived with his wife and daughter. History fanatics will enjoy the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial near Draguignan which commemorates the military who fell during Operation Dragoon, the liberation of the South of France in August 1944.

Just past Menton is the Italian Riviera. It didn’t take long for Monet to fall in love with the Italian Riviera, only a few minutes in fact. Spend a day following the footsteps of the great master to discover the magic of the Italian side of the Riviera which, as you will discover, starts before the border. Some of the highlights include Old Bordighera, Monet’s painting path in Bordighera, and Dolceacqua Village where you’ll stop at a local winery for a visit and tasting.


We hope this list of what to do in the French Riviera in 2022 will help inspire future travel to this wonderful region. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France in the coming year with a custom itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Bordeaux, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Spring Break in France: Our Top Destinations

Spring Break is a popular time to visit France. Mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and fewer crowds than during the summer are just a few of the reasons why it’s a great time to travel. French Side Travel is sharing our top destinations for spending a Spring Break in France that will be a hit with the entire family.


Spring Break in France: Our Top Destinations

Paris

spring break in pariis

Visiting Paris in the spring really is as wonderful as it sounds. To see the city covered with blooming flowers in various shades of pinks will make you feel like you are living la vie en rose. A spring break trip to Paris will please the whole family thanks to the large number of different museums, tours, and activities.

Please the history buff with private guided tours to museums. French Side Travel can arrange an exclusive visit to the Louvre where you will be welcomed by the head of a department in the museum and accompanied by a security guard throughout your visit to facilitate access.

We can also arrange a special VIP tour at the Château de Versailles. You will discover the classic Versailles experience covering the most famous parts of the Palace: the Chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, the Queen’s apartment and the gardens. You will also have private and VIP access to places that are not accessible to regular visitors, including the Louis XV and Louis XVI’s apartments.

For an authentic look into the French art de vivre, don’t miss a market visit, cooking class, and lunch or dinner. You’ll get to go to a local Parisian market and shop for the ingredients to prepare your meal. You’ll learn about the specific Parisian market culture, seasonal produce, and food in France. Afterwards, you’ll return to the cooking school to practice both basic and advanced French cooking techniques while creating a three-course meal. Finally, you’ll sit around the table to savor your creations with wine, and hear stories all about French culture and gastronomy. It’s truly a unique experience!

Where to Stay in Paris

hotel monsieur george paris

Monsieur George Hotel and Spa

This 5-star hotel has 46 rooms and suites distributed throughout six floors. Each floor has its own ambience and decor, with adjoining rooms available for families. Suites on the upper floors have views that capture all of Paris with merely a glance. Closer to earth is the Garden Suite, a lush duplex sanctuary.

The restaurant and bar invites guests to enjoy special moments with refreshing breakfasts, lunches, snacks, aperitifs, dinners and night-caps. The menus are constantly updated by a young, enthusiastic head chef, with a focus on freshness, creativity, and tradition.

The hotel also has a spa and a famous yoga club, hailed as the ultimate benchmark for health and well-being. It offers custom services including special in-room yoga courses, fitness and massage sessions, and a wide variety of aesthetic services.

Normandy

honfleur spring break in france

Whether you have several days to dedicate to the region or just want to take a day trip, Normandy is a fabulous Spring Break option. Visit the charming coastal towns like Honfleur, Deauville, and Trouville and indulge in the delicious local seafood. The half-timbered architecture is picturesque.

Take a full day to see the profound and impactful World War II D-Day landing beaches and memorials. There are both private and shared tour options that depart from Paris daily, or you could spend the night in an authentic château just outside of Bayeux.

Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the most popular places in France to visit. It seemingly rises out of the surrounding bay. Climb to the top for a tour of the Abbey and incredible views. You can even spend the night on Mont-Saint-Michel to experience the magic without crowds.

Bordeaux

arcachon

In just two and a half hours via a high speed train from Paris, you can be worlds away in beautiful Bordeaux. Explore the lovely city with its rich history and allure. We recommend discovering Bordeaux with a gourmet walking tour – you’ll see all of the fabulous highlights as well as sample some of the region’s specialty foods and of course taste wines.

The city of Bordeaux is also a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside. Take day trips to renowned wine regions like the Médoc or Saint-Émilion. Or head west towards the Atlantic to discover the picturesque beaches of Arcachon. Visit the Dune de Pilat, which is the tallest sand dune in Europe. You can spend a lovely Spring Break day on a boat exploring the Arcachon Bay, and even visiting with an oyster farmer for a tasting.

Provence

saint remy

For art, wine, and culture lovers, Provence is a must. Spring Break is a wonderful time to visit before the crowds set in – the area truly feels untouched. Enjoy the relaxing place with great weather, incredible history, and a fantastic art legacy.

Nestled between the sea and mountains, Van Gogh and Cézanne immortalized Provence’s beauty on canvas. Throughout the year you’ll find striking colors: azure skies, bright pastel facades, and deep purple lavender fields and vibrant yellow sunflowers in the summer.

Wine fanatics can’t miss the powerful Côte-du-Rhône reds and the refreshing Aix-en-Provence rosés. History buffs should explore the exceptional Roman ruins in Arles and Saint-Remy, and the Gothic Palais des Papes in Avignon. You’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible during your stay!

Where to Stay in Provence

hotel villa la coste

Villa La Coste

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix en Provence, home of Cézanne, and the famous Luberon Nature Park, this 5-star hotel is set in the heart of a biodynamic vineyard. It’s an international destination for art, architecture and natural beauty.

The property features 28 Villa Suites, surrounded by gardens, herbs, and flowers. Each opens onto a spacious terrace offering expansive views over vines and valley. The hotel’s contemporary architecture is emphasized by local materials and embraces the natural setting.

The close-to-nature philosophy runs through in each of the four contrasting restaurants, all of which feature organic produce.

The spa conveys contemporary elegance, keeping with the spirit of the property. Treatments are 100% natural and feature regional ingredients. Think oils from Provençal plants and flowers, mineral salts, clays, and more. The perfect destination for a Spring Break and retreat in France!


We hope this list of French Side Travel’s top Spring Break destinations to visit will help inspire a future trip. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France in the coming year with a custom itinerary. Some of our favorite regions in France include Bordeaux, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Five Most Romantic Things to Do in France

In honor of the upcoming Saint-Valentin (Valentine’s Day) we’ve put together a list of the five most romantic things to do in France. Paris specifically is known as the City of Love, but there are plenty of other dreamy corners of France to discover as well. Whether a honeymoon, anniversary, or simply a special trip with someone you love, France is filled with romance.


The Five Most Romantic Things to Do in France

Check in to A Secluded Hotel

One of our five most romantic things to do in France is heading to the French countryside and checking in to a superb hotel away from it all. The options are plenty from just outside Paris to Champagne, Provence and beyond. A few of our favorites to add to your list include:

Les Maisons de Bricourt

les maisons de bricourt

Two of the boutique hotels form Les Maisons de Bricourt in Brittany have sweeping panoramic views of the sea.

Château Richeux, built in the 1920s, faces Mont-Saint-Michel. The endless hues of blue, green and grey of the sea, sky, and earth merge into one. The restaurant features products from local small-scale fishermen and farmers. The bread served is made with local organic flour and is kneaded and baked in-house. This culinary commitment earned the chef two Michelin stars in 2019. Take a walk in the park, which runs downhill towards the beach and enjoy the magic of the Mont-Saint-Michel bay.

Les Rimains is a haven located on the cliffs of Cancale. Four romantic rooms bask in Mont-Saint-Michel Bay magical light. Simple and elegant, each room faces the sea. There is a coastal path known as the Lovers’ Trail. It offers the most beautiful views over the bay and the oyster beds, which are clearly visible in the translucent water. Bordered by yellow flowers, pines, and fragrant eucalyptus, the path offers a look into local life.

Les Sources de Cheverny

les sources de cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel in the Loire Valley is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, this striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby filled with soft light from tall, gothic windows. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored.

Spend your days touring the surrounding Loire Valley châteaux. Or simply enjoy relaxing by the pool and indulging in treatments at the Caudalie spa. When the sun starts to go down, head for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then finish your evening at one of the two restaurants featuring menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Les Sources de Caudalie

les sources de caudalie

Just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, Les Sources de Caudalie is located between Grand Cru vineyards and forests. This 5-star hotel features a special Vinothérapie Spa, a two Michelin starred restaurant, a casual restaurant in the old washing house, a wine bar, a lounge and more.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Les Sources de Caudalie. Enjoy the spa with unique treatments using water from the natural hot spring. Take a cooking class with a two star Michelin chef. Enjoy a wine tasting with the head sommelier at the wine bar or take a mixology class at the bar. And of course, use the hotel as a base to explore the fabulous Bordeaux region.

hotel de paris monte carlo
Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo

Valentine’s Day in Monaco
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a romantic dinner in Monaco? Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer is rolling out the red carpet, ready for your very own love story.

Picture your intimate dinner: a celebratory atmosphere, maybe? Or perhaps a cozy alcove or a luxury dining experience? When it comes to bringing you joy, the creativity shown by Monaco’s top restaurants knows no bounds.

Whether you prefer an intimate in-room dining experience, a mix of gourmet food and gaming, or perhaps a gastronomic experience, there is something to delight surely every couple.

Take a Private Champagne Cruise Down the Seine River

seine river cruise five most romantic things to do in france

Another of our five most romantic things to do in France is take a Seine River cruise. Not many people can say they’ve had the opportunity to see the Seine River from a beautiful Venetian water taxi. The cruise offers you a unique, tailor-made look at one of the most beautiful waterways in the world. Enjoy the unforgettable views of Paris including the Musée du Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and bridges from aboard your private boat.

Step inside the private salon, with tinted windows to respect your privacy, and pop a bottle of Cristal or Dom Pérignon champagne to mark this special occasion. Private breakfast cruises are also available if you’d like to have your morning croissant, coffee, and fresh-squeezed orange juice aboard.

Take a Drive Along the Côte d’Azur Coast in a Classic Car

rent a classic car on the riviera: one of the five most romantic things to do in france
Copyright Christian Horan Photography

Enjoy your time in the French Riviera as it was in years past with an exciting sightseeing tour in a vintage convertible car. Your drive can be chauffeured or you can be the pilot. We suggest a drive from Nice to Monaco with stops along the way in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and Èze to name a few.

You’ll see beautiful seaside resorts, towns with Belle Époque charm, medieval villages filled with quaint shops and restaurants, and pure Côte d’Azur luxury. French Side Travel can arrange for a professional photographer to meet you along the way for a special photoshoot to document the old-world French Riviera magic.

Spend a Weekend in Champagne

wekeend trip to champagne five most romantic things to do in france

The perfect romantic excursion from Paris is a weekend trip to Champagne. Taste world-class Champagnes, soak in the unique history and culture of the region, and relax and unwind at a fabulous hotel. It has all the makings of a wonderful, intimate getaway.

Take a full-day private guided tour of Champagne. Enjoy a commented drive along the Champagne scenic roads and discover the villages that are part of the Champagne appellation area. Stop at the charming UNESCO-listed small town of Hautvillers, where you can visit the church where the famous monk Dom Pierre Pérignon is buried. You’ll then visit a family-run boutique Premier Cru winery to learn about how the well-known beverage is made and enjoy tastings. Next, uncover the secrets behind the signature taste of Dom Pérignon in an exclusive visit. You will taste some of their finest Champagnes in a private salon. Finally, visit the oldest producer of Champagne: Ruinart to learn about the fascinating history.

royal champagne hotel and spa
Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa

Where to Stay in Champagne: Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa
In the heart of a vineyard, this former coach house (one of Napoleon’s favorite stopovers) is the perfect base from which to explore the glorious Champagne wineries. Be sure to visit the wine cellar, which boasts no fewer than 220 exceptional brut and rosé vintages and crus. The best place to taste them is on the terrace overlooking the vines, which extend as far as the eye can see.

All the 47 luxurious rooms have magical Champagne views. The interiors take inspiration from the natural and cultural heritage of the region. Traditional materials are favored to create a sleek and graphic mise-en-scene.

Vegetables are grown in the gardens and meat is delivered daily by local farmers. This commitment makes fine dining in the Michelin-starred contemporary restaurant exciting. Be sure to take time to indulge in the spa, which overlooks the vines.

Indulge with a Private Seaside Cabana on the French Riviera

private cabana club dauphin

With a guestbook signed by everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Winston Churchill, and an enviable perch overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the palatial spread of the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat has been the epitome of Côte d’Azur chic for more than a century. Make the most of the hotel’s luxurious grounds and fully experience all the beauty of Cap-Ferrat, a wooded peninsula that juts out into the glistening blue waters of the Mediterranean.

A highlight of the property is the Club Dauphin, one of the world’s most beautiful swimming pools. The infinity pool overlooks the sparkling Mediterranean Sea just below. For an extra special experience, treat yourself to a private seaside cabana to enjoy a moment of solitude amongst the tranquil setting. You can also reserve the Dauphin Lounge to enjoy the service of a dedicated butler who will prepare cocktails and serve lunch in your own private outdoor dining room.

fireworks in cannes
Dinner and Fireworks Cruise from Cannes

Summer Catamaran Cruise with Dinner and Fireworks from Cannes
Spend an incredible evening on a three-hour catamaran dinner cruise departing from Cannes. Imagine sipping on a glass of wine and taking in coastal views as you sail across the Bay of Cannes at twilight. Take in views of the Lérins Islands archipelago and the Riviera coastline as the color fades from the sky and lights sparkle along the shore. 

You’ll then enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner on board. For a dazzling finale to the evening, watch a firework display from the deck with the twinkling lights of the Riviera coastline as a backdrop. This is surely an unforgettable addition to a romantic Côte d’Azur trip.


Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, anniversary trip, birthday trip, or simply a special trip with someone you love, we hope this list of the five most romantic things to do in France inspires you. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Normandy, Bordeaux, the South of France, the Loire Valley and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

A Winter Getaway to Nice

For a winter getaway filled with sunshine, a trip to Nice and the surrounding areas is a great option. Travelers have a chance to experience the Côte d’Azur without an abundance of tourists. French Side Travel’s co-founder Mark Bonte spent time in the area following the ILTM Cannes conference is sharing his findings.


A Winter Getaway to Nice

Visiting Nice in the Winter

nice carnival parade

Nice has mild temperatures year round, making it an ideal place to visit in cooler months. In fact, the famous Promenade des Anglais was built in the early 19th century when the English upper class began coming to the French Riviera for the winter.

Take in the impressive backdrop of soaring hills and the famous blue waters of the French Riviera. The Cours Saleya is the main street in the old town and hosts a daily flower and vegetable market. You can find top-notch seasonal produce here, and there is a good selection of other local souvenirs.

Nice Market Tour
cours saleya market nice winter getaway

Cours Saleya Market Tour and Cooking Class with Lunch in Nice

The day begins at the famous Cours Saleya market, while there is still a fresh morning breeze. The narrow maze of centuries-old streets opens up onto a splendid space lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants on either side and market stalls down the center. You will get to shop like a true Niçois, sample locally-grown produce, and meet the farmers.

Though the bigger stalls are the most dazzling thanks to their array of colors, what is really interesting are the small producers’ stalls. The fruit and vegetables are not as uniformly shaped and the variety not as great, but every ingredient is firmly rooted in the region. Much of it is organic! The meal will be made around the best of the season’s produce. And not to forget cheese and wine to make the meal complete!

Next you will head to the cooking studio, where you will help prepare the meal. Afterwards you will sit down to an authentic Niçois meal and toast your efforts with a glass of local wine.

From the harbor, you can climb to the Colline du Château for great views of the city. There is a beautiful park with views of the beach stretching along the Baie des Anges (Bay of the Angels). There are also several festivals and carnivals that take place in February on the French Riviera including the Lemon Festival in Menton, the Nice Carnival, and the Mimosa Festival in Mandelieu.

a winter getaway to nice

Excursion from Nice: Saint-Paul-de-Vence

No winter getaway to Nice would be complete without seeing some of the area’s most breathtaking hilltop villages. There are more than 120 scattered through the area. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a perennial favorite for art lovers thanks to its numerous galleries. This village is among the most beautiful and most visited in France. It is best summed up by the sign at the entrance to the village which reads: Authentic and touristy, quiet and buzzing, Saint-Paul is proud of its paradoxes – they are the key to its charm and identity.

The beauty of this perched village has attracted many artists during the last century, including Modigliani, Picasso, Braque and Miro. It now has a very regarded reputation as an artistic village, as well as a place of great natural beauty.

Wednesday and Friday are especially nice days to visit so that you can enjoy the small local market. Here you can taste the flavors of the Mediterranean: fruits and vegetables, confectionery and pastries, teas, oils, meats, cheeses, and socca, a cross between a flatbread and a pancake.

Where to Stay near Saint-Paul-de-Vence
chateau le cagnard hotel

Château le Cagnard

Built in the 13th-century, this stylish château not far from Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Nice in Cagnes-sur-Mer was later converted into a 4-star hotel.

Completely renovated in 2012, visitors find the hotel more glorious than ever. It offers 28 rooms and suites with beautifully restored period furniture in Provencal style, full of charm and character.

The restaurant is an absolutely magical place. The main dining room is renowned for its sliding ceiling. The ceiling opens up to reveal the blue sky and extends the beautiful terrace and its sublime view over the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding hills. The cuisine is a mix of local and seasonal products served with a brilliant wine list.

Excursion from Nice: Art and Culture Tour of the French Riviera

villa ephrussi de rothschild

From the middle of the 19th century until World War II, the French Riviera was the worldwide standard of elegance of architecture and lifestyle. There is a broad range of different styles of architecture to enjoy: Victorian, Belle Époque, Art Nouveau, Modern and more. This former version of the Riviera still exists, although hidden away. During this day you’ll see it all from Cap d’Ail, Cap-Martin, Monaco, and more.

A favorite of the tour is a stop at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Known as Villa Île-de-France, it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance-style palaces on the Côte d’Azur. Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild built the mansion on a summit of the Cap-Ferrat peninsula between 1905 and 1912.

Nine gardens surround the villa on over 17 acres. In addition to the French, lapidary, Japanese and rose gardens, there are also the Spanish, Italian, Provençal, and exotic gardens, reminiscent of the Baroness’ travels. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild will be a highlight of your winter getaway to Nice!

Where to Stay in Nice
hotel laperouse nice

Hôtel La Pérouse

Set on the cliffs of the Colline du Château and overlooking the Baie des Anges, this hotel offers a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is also in the heart of Nice, close to the Cours Saleya flower market and just behind the old port, giving it a perfect location.

Highlights of this 56-room boutique property include its sunny rooftop terrace and heated outdoor pool set against an impressive limestone cliff. Sit in the shade of the lemon trees and feel the gentle sea breeze while enjoying exquisite Mediterranean cuisine at the outdoor restaurant Le Patio.

All of the rooms are spacious, bright, cheerful and beautifully decorated in an elegant Mediterranean style. Most offer amazing views.

At the foot of the hotel, you have access to a private beach for sunbathing or a dip in the sea.


Don’t miss out on an opportunity to experience the glorious French Riviera in the winter with a getaway to Nice. Many of our travel designers are based locally in the South of France and will be able to provide fabulous insider suggestions to make your trip exceptional. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

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