Elegant, dazzling, and seductive – the French Riviera (or the Côte d'Azur) is easy to fall for. From its sun-drenched Mediterranean coast to fields of lavender and olive groves inland to year-round warm weather, there’s a lot to love. For those looking for an alluring destination, look no further. Here are the 5 most romantic destinations on the French Riviera.
We’ll start off our French fling with the capital city of the region, Nice. It’s hard to find a more picturesque Mediterranean city, a perfect destination for romantic jaunts along the Côte d'Azur. This city has captured many an artist, composer, or writer, and it’s very easy to see why: the magical light is unlike anything else. Add in colorful, life-filled streets, the French passion for cuisine, and a worldly charm that’s hard to resist, it’s an obvious destination for a romantic vacation - but friendly enough for solo travelers in the Riviera as well.
With strong ties to Italy, the city is an anomaly in France. Its unique history conjures up a fine culture, perfectly balanced between French sophistication and the Italian joy for life. Romantics will love strolling along the promenade, visiting colorful food and flower markets, chatting away over coffee in the old town, or just lazing on the beach. Whatever you do, make sure to make time for the sunset, which will have you falling head over heels for this city.
Even the mere mention of Monaco conjures up images of chic, European style. The world’s second-smallest country (behind the Vatican) is famous for its old-world luxury, glitzy casinos, and scenic Mediterranean beaches - the perfect backdrop for a dreamy romance. Its annual Formula 1 race turns heads, as do the rich and famous who alight from their yachts to patron the world-class restaurants and enjoy a night out on the town. This hedonistic city has been enticing visitors for an age now.
Despite its strong commitment to the tall, somewhat ugly concrete apartment buildings, Monaco still retains a lot of charm. Peek behind the Ferraris and Porsches parked in the street to find enticing restaurants serving some of the best food in the Mediterranean, and a storied old town filled with an alluring mystique perched high on a rocky outcrop. Couples will also love just how quickly they can escape into the countryside; vineyards, mountains, and dramatic beaches are just a train ride away.
The dazzle and glam of Cannes don’t fade away after the city’s famous film festival wraps up. Instead, this is a year-round destination that impresses. After the world’s biggest celebrities and movie stars leave town, they leave in their wake an enchanting atmosphere, and as such, romantic sojourns in this city are in high demand. It’s a hot spot for newlyweds and old flames alike - an alluring destination for romance. In one of the most beautiful areas to visit in France, Cannes manages to stand out above the rest.
The city could be lifted straight out of a movie set, but it’s the beaches that are the star of the show here. Some of Europe’s oldest and most luxurious hotels boast their own private slice of sand, but everything else is fair game. Chic sun loungers make for the perfect romantic day, sunbathing and being served cocktails from snappy waiters. Later, visitors are tempted into town with the delicious smells wafting out of stylish bistros, wedged in between high-end fashion stores.
Saint Tropez was once just a peaceful fishing village, but the film And God Created Woman (1956) quickly put it on the map. It was a sexy affair of a movie, and since its release in the 50s, Saint Tropez has established itself as one of the most romantic places for couples to go in the French Riviera. Millionaire’s yachts softly bump against each other in the port, while the cobbled old town and port area transport you to another time. It’s exactly that contrast that makes it so enticing.
Despite the flood of summertime visitors, it’s hard not to have a romantic stay here - and easier than you think to turn up some hidden gems. The entire village is readymade for a lover’s stroll, linking arms and wandering through the maze of old streets hiding away old-timey cafés and upscale boutiques. The pastel colors of the Mediterranean are out in full force here, and despite the crowds, it’s easy to seek out a slice of privacy by striking out along sandy coastal paths in either direction.
Located just outside of gritty Marseille, Les Calanques is one of France’s natural wonders. This stretch of coast, designated as one of France’s national parks, features jagged limestone fjords filled with turquoise water and hidden beaches. Hiking, kayaking, and sailing are the best ways to enjoy this area - for couples who love to get active, this destination on the Côte d'Azur is hard to beat.
Basing yourself in the enchanting fishing village of Cassis is best, where there’s a heady amount of great restaurants, cafes, and bars to retreat to for candlelit dinners and glasses of good wine. Renting a kayak or a boat will help you get to some of the most secluded beaches in the area, a true adventure. Having a beach to yourself in the Mediterranean is a rarity, but in Les Calanques, a real possibility. What could be more romantic? We can’t think of much.
On top of some of Europe’s most enchanting and romantic cities, the French Riviera also boasts Roman ruins, a storied cuisine, and locals with a zest for life unmatched by anyone else. With no shortage of luxurious accommodation, this is old-world Europe at its aristocratic best, and the perfect destination for a romantic getaway.