Summer In The South: 5 French Summer Destinations

Here are five dreamy cities in the South of France that are all guaranteed to show you why generations of artists, writers, voyagers and romantics have chosen the Côte D’Azur to holiday in!

By Lauren Malestic
August 2, 2020.

To put it simply, the French do summer so well. From rooftop apéros in Paris to summer villas in the French countryside of Provence, every destination makes you want to pack up your espadrilles in a suitcase and book a flight immediately, so let’s get started. on y va?

1. Nice

Photo: Lauren Malestic
Photo: Oscar Nord on unsplash

Nice is a perfect starting point in the French Riviera, and the name is very fitting. Nice is the dreamscape that everyone would like to retire to. Whether you are staying in a cozy flat in “Old Nice” or waking up to your waterfront villa, it is timeless, notable and absolutely stunning. Filled with endless history, breathtaking landscapes and panoramic views of the pebbled beach, as well as classic architecture that blends vibrant colors of oranges, yellows and lavenders with almost an Italian flair. Something interesting about the entirety of the French Riviera is that due to its close proximity to Italy, I find that the cities’ architecture and art very beautifully represent a mix of French and Italian feel. A trip to Nice can be spent sunbathing on the main beach, strolling along Promenade des Anglais, going to the Musée Matisse and ending the day with a Chateaubriand dinner at Le Siècle.

 2. Menton

Photo: Norbert Széplaki on unplash

Menton is known as the last stop in France before Italy, and it shows. Menton is a picturesque Franco-Italian town, with a beautiful layering of staggered rooftops and a Cathedral bell tower, creating a ménage of terracottas, reds and warm lavenders. The city is famous for a rich abundance of not only culture, but citrus fruits! A must-buy while visiting Menton is some delicious lemon soaps for a souvenir or citrus gelato to stroll with after a pasta lunch during the town’s daily sieste. The best view of Menton can be seen from the main landing that allows the traveler to walk down the strip to a small bridge to watch locals have diving contests into the Mediterranean while the sun begins to fade behind the rooftops. 

3. Antibes 

Photo: Andrey Sharpilo on Unsplash
Photo: Lauren Malestic

When ranking destinations based on charm, Antibes takes the prize! Just a short train trip from Nice, Antibes first welcomes you with grand and luxurious yachts. However, in just a few steps beyond the walls of old Antibes, you are instantly transported into a charming and rather quaint feel. Antibes will make you feel like you are in a classic French novel, with picture-perfect window seals and small, winding roads and whimsical corridors decorated with greenery and subtle shadowing from the French sun! Don’t let the quiet charm of the town fool you though, Antibes is beating with life and activity, from outdoor markets, live accordion-music in front of Cafe Clemenceau to partnered-dancers twirling in a main square.

4. Monte-Carlo & Èze

Photo: Eze by Lidija Jakovljevi on Unsplash
Photo: IG @kiwi.capture

When you think of Monte Carlo, a montage of glamour and glitz floods into your mind. From the Monaco Grand Prix to the elegant characters gracing the main room of the Monte Carlo casino, it seems like a destination truly worlds away. But in truth, Monaco’s jewel of Monte Carlo is just a stone throw from the other Riviera cities such as Nice! It is an easy ride on the public bus system, train route, etc. and allows for a beautiful, scenic trip along the French coastline. Once in the principality of Monaco, Monte Carlo will dazzle any and every traveler. Visit the world famous aquarium, try your luck at the famous casino and reward yourself with a drink, or even take a dip into the historic and iconic life of Princess Grace, formerly known as the American actress Grace Kelley! From the luxury shopping quarter and the lines of exotic cars, to the shimmering hues of blue water that can be spotted from the endless panoramic lookouts in the city, it will have something to please everyone. 

5. Cannes

Photo: Lauren Malestic

Yes, Cannes. The home of the famous film festival that attracts millions of stars, film fanatics and travelers from all over the globe each year during the month of May. However, to visit Cannes during other summer months, or even the winter months sheds a new and beautiful light on this renowned spot for bronzing on the beach and bathing in the sea. Admire famous hotels and their gorgeous facades, take a turn down the luxurious shopping streets, or enjoy a cold drink along the main strip to catch a little taste of both the beautiful views and energy that Cannes offers! 

Route Map

  1. Cannes, 2. Antibes, 3. Niza, 4. Éze, 5. Montecarlo & 6. Menton