French Riviera

The French Riviera conjures up thoughts of the rich and famous at film festivals and sunning on beautiful Mediterranean beaches. You too can experience this lifestyle. Come visit Cannes, Fréjus and Sainte-Ràphaël.

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Côte d’Azur Coastline in French Riviera, France

In French it’s called Côte d’Azur, in English it’s called the French Riviera, and in any language it is called beautiful. This marvelous coast of the Mediterranean starts at Monaco in the east and covers several delightful resort towns along southeast France to Toulon. Over 14 million visitors a year are attracted to the year-round mild climate and scenes like this one.

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1 Bonbon Drapeau France Sculpture in Cannes, France

Apparently, local artist Laurence Jenkell has a real sweet tooth because this 6.5 foot sculpture of candy wrapped in a French flag called “Bonbon Drapeau France,” is just one example of his twisted plexiglas specialties. A highlight of his artistic career was in 2011 when he created 55 of these candy wrapper sculptures representing the flags of the nations attending the G20 conference, an annual summit of the world’s finance ministers and central bankers.

Mairie de Cannes 1 Place Bernard Cornut Gentille, 06400 Cannes, France
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2 Hôtel de Ville Façade Detail in Cannes, France

The Hôtel de Ville was designed by one of the most important theorists and educators of architecture in the early 19th century: Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand. Built in 1876, the coat of arms for the city of Cannes is above the clock. What I enjoy most about this Neoclassical building are the six Caryatids or female figures that act as columns.

Mairie de Cannes 1 Place Bernard Cornut Gentille, 06400 Cannes, France
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3 Intercontinental Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France

Cannes is a delightful resort town on the French Riviera along the Mediterranean coast. It is famous for hosting the annual film festival in May when actors and celebrities are invited to the screening of new movies. And the biggest stars and honored guests stay at the Carlton Hotel which is considered the epicenter for the event.

58 La Croisette, CS 40052, 06400 Cannes, France
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4 La Malmaison Art Museum in Cannes, France

This building is all that remains of the prestigious Grand Hotel that was built in 1860. Today, the blue carpet welcomes you to La Malmaison, a contemporary art museum. It is located on the Boulevard de la Croisette. This is the main promenade along the waterfront beach that’s lined with luxury hotels and stores that cater to celebrities when they attend the annual Cannes Film Festival nearby.

47 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France
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5 Double-head Hermes Fountain in Fréjus, France

Julius Caesar called this town Forum Julii when he founded it around 50 BC. Today, this double-head Hermes fountain greets you at the boarder of Fréjus. On the left is the Pan, the Greek god of wisdom and the father of Hermes. On the right is Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. They act as ancient guardians of entrances and exits. However, some speculate this statue represents the Roman god Janus who looked into the past and future. The month of January was named in his honor.

Rond Point Place de la Porte d'Hermes, 83600 Fréjus, France
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6 Neon Jester Sign at Gelateria Stand in Fréjus, France

When you get hot from sunning on a beach in Côte d’Azur, find a Gelateria stand like the one below this neon jester sign, select your favorite flavor and watch them scoop the cold treat into either a coppa (cup) or cono (cone). Then enjoy the Italian version of ice cream but with a lot less butterfat than American style.

423 Boulevard de la Libération, 83600 Fréjus, France
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7 Tree-lined Promenade in Saint-Ràphaël, France

Tourists often go to Saint-Ràphaël for its wonderful beaches without the high cost and crowds of several other, more famous towns along the Côte d’Azur. After you’ve had enough sun, stroll along this tree-lined promenade called Commandant Guilbaud that hugs the coastal port and try to decide which of the fabulous restaurants you’ll select for dinner. Then order fresh fish or, better yet, mussels in garlic butter. The perfect way to end your day.

14 Prom. Commandant Guilbaud, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
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8 Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire in Saint-Ràphaël, France

In the Judeo-Christian religion, the Archangel Raphael is responsible for healing. He is also the namesake for Saint-Ràphaël which is a seaside town located near the center of the French Riviera. This is the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire. The two bell towers, rose window and red, Esterel sandstone façade were built at the end of the 19th century. On top is a gilded statue of the Madonna holding the Christ Child.

158 Boulevard Félix Martin, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
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