Idyllic cove in the French Riviera 27 Jun 2016
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From Nice’s Belle-Époque promenade des Anglais to Romanesque cathedrals and medieval hill villages, the French Riviera offers a beguiling mix of the grandiose and the intimate along with a variety of architecture waiting to be discovered
It is the colours you notice first: stucco houses of all tones from cream via amber to deep russet; the white limestone crags of the Alpes-Maritimes against the blue of the Mediterranean Sea; and the red sandstones, grey schists, green serpentine and cork oaks of the Var. Together with the Riviera’s luscious vegetation, vibrant flowers, green-grey olive trees and diverse vegetables overflowing from market stalls, these elements create a brilliant palette of hues – offset by the southern sun – which has inspired Signac, Dufy, Matisse and countless other artists over the years.
Buy a book: Explore Nice and the French Riviera with 14 easy-to-follow routes
A Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers, mild winters and sun that shines for more than 300 days a year has always been one of the area’s attractions, although dramatic thunderstorms in late summer and in autumn, when torrential rain occasionally causes flash flooding, are not unknown. Global warming and overdevelopment have contributed to fears of rivers drying up, shortages of water and the risk of summer fires. While the French Riviera is now principally a summer destination, Nice is a fantastic city to visit all year round.
In winter or springtime, museums are less crowded, the arts season is in full swing, hotels and restaurants remain open and sunshine is still almost always guaranteed.
More tips for visiting France:
Grab a bargain: Where to shop in Paris
Where to sleep: Top 5 boutique hotels in Paris
It's not too late for a trip this summer: France features as one of our places to travel in June, July and August
How to find the city's best food: 7 unmissable restaurants in Paris
Explore further afield than the French Riviera: Where to go in September, October and November