The Côte d’Azur; the French Riviera; the Blue Coast, however you term it, this spectacular region immediately evokes images of sublime rural beauty, charming towns and fine gastronomy. And it’s got the heritage to back it up. First marked as Europe’s premiere getaway by the British upper class in the late 1700s, the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century brought in aristocrats from as far afield as Russia. However, that’s not to say that its Provençal character is lost while Greek and Roman ruins memorialise a history more ancient.
Knitting it all together is a series of worldfamous ports. While the true extent of the French Riviera is much debated, it’s often said that Toulon to the west and Monaco to the east bookend its stunning geography. You might want to use dynamic Marseille’s historic neighbourhoods, upscale boutiques and atmospheric ‘Old Port’ as your gateway before drifting along