The French Riviera is a 300 km long coastal strip of the Mediterranean Sea to the border with Italy (then the Riviera becomes Italian). France shares its Riviera with Monaco, a small European principality.
Many famous European resorts began with fishing villages: several houses by the sea, far from the bustle of the city, attracted the townspeople with their untouched nature, peace and quiet. So, for example, it was with Capri: stories about the rest in the village attracted other townspeople, the place was becoming fashionable, noisier and more expensive.
The difference between the French Riviera is that its "discoverers" are the European aristocracy, followed by not just drove - rushed! - crowds of people wishing to join the royal rest.
French Riviera: the most gentle climate and a vanity fair
The second name of the French Riviera - Cote d'Azur - came off the cover of the novel by a French writer. The novel was forgotten, but the name, invented by Stephane Liéjard, inspired by the landscapes of Hyères, remained.
More than 300 sunny days a year, warm sea until October, an abundance of flowers and other southern vegetation, ancient castles and monasteries: the Cote d'Azur is the best place to relax, but one of the most expensive. Just one listing of popular resorts can cause a fit of daydreaming:
Nice blossomed with the light hand of the Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. From the middle of the 19th century, the Russian aristocracy breathed sea air in Nice, contributing to local well-being. There is an Orthodox church and a 19th century Russian cemetery. In the 21st century, wealthy Russians also visit the Cote d'Azur and Nice - the most luxurious villas still belong to Russians.
Cannes as a resort was first settled by the British, who are also very well-born. And then, in the 20th century, the Cannes Film Festival appeared, and the Croisette became famous all over the world. Tourists come here to see the place where movie stars parade along the red carpet during the festival, so there is nowhere for an apple to fall during the Cannes festival. In addition to the film festival, there is an annual advertising festival and a pyrotechnics festival, but they are far behind in popularity.
Saint-Tropez became famous after the film “And God Created Woman” with Brigitte Bardot. The city has become a big summer club for a creative get-together, a platform for fashion shows, and a global vanity fair. Grasse meets French perfume lovers with perfumes and famous lavender fields, Monte Carlo (Monaco) - casinos and races.
And everywhere there are beautiful beaches, sea and mountains, restaurants and yachts, luxury hotels - everything for a carefree vacation. The beaches are free, but many of them belong to hotels, you just can't get there. There are also historical sights: castles, monasteries. It is recommended to start your acquaintance with Nice with La Colin du Chateau, a castle with a tower, from where the whole city is clearly visible.
There are also picturesque old villages (Eze), but they are not by the sea, but in the mountains. And on the coast there are now modern resorts, but even there they try to preserve the local identity.
French Riviera: Inspiration, where paintings are pay for the stay
In the XX century, the Cote d'Azur became especially loved by representatives of creative professions. For cinema, the French Riviera has become a favorite scenery.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian flower of Russian ballet and opera became frequent here: Pavlova, Nijinsky performed in Nice and Cannes, Fyodor Chaliapin was a frequent guest. They rested here, and many lived for a long time.
The artists also adored the Cote d'Azur, the local nature beckoned them with its colors. Picasso lived in Antibes for 27 years and painted over 150 works. Marc Chagall lived and died in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The impressionists were especially fond of the French Riviera: Claude Monet (Antibes, view from Cape Mistral), Henri Matisse (Odalisque series), Auguste Renoir, Paul Signac, Paul Cezanne. They all lived here for a long time, worked. There are museums of Matisse and Chagall in Nice.
In Saint-Paul-de-Vence, there is now the Golden Dove hotel, the owner of which allowed artists to pay for a room with paintings. Now it is an expensive hotel with works by Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani and other famous artists hanging on its walls. In the middle of the 20th century, the stars of European cinema fell in love with the Golden Dove: Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Yves Montand stayed here.
Writers did not bypass the Cote d'Azur: this is such a place where inspiration is poured in the air.
* French Mediterranean coast with the most fashionable resorts