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 2023. You’ll find fabulous accommodations, unique tours, and unforgettable experiences.
What to Do in the French Riviera in 2023
Get to Know Saint-Tropez and its Fabulous Vineyards
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
No list of what to do in the French Riviera in 2023 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
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, Gigaro Beach.
The guest rooms and suites were designed by renowned architect Phillipe Starck with the condition that all buildings must blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings and nothing could be taller than the trees.
For a culinary delight, guest can choose between two restaurants. One specializes in a plant-based lean menu, since it’s in the health-focused haven that is the Wellness Village. There is also fabulous French fare at 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. It features 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.
For guests looking for more intimate stays, the Villas are perfect. They have one to three bedrooms with a private garden and pool. Located next to the beach, it’s the perfect location for a longer stay.
Enjoy the Sights and Scents of Grasse with a Private Perfume Workshop
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 choosing between over 100 essences that reflect your personality.
Explore an Authentic Market in Nice Followed By a 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
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
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 2023 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!