The Côte d’Azur, a place that more and more holidaymakers want to discover for summer and winter holidays. Whether it’s the beaches and sunshine, the ports and luxury yachts or the nightlife, the French Riviera is a complete destination that travellers should visit at least once in their lives.
And to make you want to plan your next trip to the Côte d’Azur, I’ve come up with the idea of reviewing all the must-see sites of the destination. And if you are planning to go there too, I suggest you discover the places I liked the most!
Visit the Mercantour National Park
The last link in the Southern Alps, the Mercantour is a national park
in the heart of an exceptional environment. And this very rich heritage is explained by its proximity to the mountains and the sea. The point that surprised me most was the climatic influences which are at the same time Mediterranean, Alpine and continental. Having a very rich biology, very varied landscapes, a cultural and historical richness, this place is recognized all over the world as being the highest level of quality and protection of remarkable natural spaces.
Olive trees, mountain pastures, larch forests, snowy peaks…etc. The Mercantour
is home to a beautiful fauna, flora and very rich and varied landscapes, some of which are even very rare on a global scale. The Mercantour massif is the only French high mountain national park where you can find vegetation on all levels. With peaks of over 3000 m in altitude, multiple glacial lakes and the six valleys, this park is a unique pearl of preserved nature.
Let’s talk about the six valleys. With a length of 150 km, this territory extends over six valleys
in the Southern Alps. For efficient management, the park is divided into seven major sectors. Each of these sectors houses a team of technicians and wardens who are in charge of surveillance, animation as well as scientific and technical operations locally. I had the chance to meet them, and they were kind enough to tell me all the little curiosities of nature and even some unusual stories about the valley.
Like every French National Park
, the Park also has a park core and an accession zone. This core area covers almost 68,500 hectares. The role of the park is particularly focused on knowledge and protection of nature. This area is also subject to several regulations that every visitor must respect.
The Fort carré, a historical monument on the Côte d’Azur
Located on the peninsula of Saint-Roch
, this fort is built on a rock that rises to 26 metres above sea level. Its walkway reaches 43 metres and gives a 360 degree panoramic view. The fort is surrounded by a protected park of 4 hectares with typical Mediterranean flora and fauna. Today, this park is the property of the Conservatoire Du Littoral.
Built on the orders of King Henry II of France, the Fort Carré
was initially a border sentry and defence post. Operational in the 1585s, the Fort Carré suffered its first attack in the 1592s.
Classified in 1938 as a historical monument
, it was restored by volunteers of the Club du Vieux Manoir between 1979 and 1985. In 1997, the Fort Carré was bought by the City of Antibes and opened one year later. From that day on, all those who wanted to discover the architecture and the preserved environment of this place were allowed to visit it.
However, the Fort Carré site itself has always been closed to the public, even though it has a rich, varied and protected ecosystem
. During the rehabilitation work by the City of Antibes Juan-les-Pins, the main objective was to respect this fauna and flora.
So I had the chance, during my walk on the redeveloped promenade, to contemplate magnificent views of the old town or just to enjoy the view of the sea and meet turtle-doves and nightingales or hedgehogs, squirrels and foxes. I’m not much of a botanist, but I was charmed by the variety of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers.
The island of Porquerolles: a Paradise Island
I embarked for Porquerolles, whose charm is comparable to that of Greece. My shuttle went along the steep islets, the fine sandy beaches to finally arrive at the island. You will discover villages with a colonial look, a village which is a starting point for several hikes or bike rides. The northern side of the island is dotted with several fine sandy beaches, the most famous of which is the Plage d’Argent
. On the south side you will find cliffs and creeks. If you walk along the shady paths, you can discover a variety of Mediterranean flora and fauna.
is an island in the commune of Hyères. It is the most famous of the Golden Islands. Nestled on the same parallel as the Cap Corse, this island is one of the largest of the three islands with its 1254 ha of surface area. It forms an arc, with jagged edges, over a length of 7.5 km and a width of 3 km.
became a listed site in 1988. It offers visitors beautiful walks and cycle routes. But it is also an opportunity to enjoy attractive sandy beaches and beautiful views along the southern cliffs. In the distance, you will see a sea of shimmering colours. The temperate climate gives this place a special charm.
The island has also been influenced by many civilizations, and recent excavations have uncovered many archaeological sites. It also preserves traces of military architecture, such as Fort St Agathe, built on the ruins of the old castle.
What surprised me the most was that Porquerolles
has always kept its agricultural vocation. In the heart of the island, you will find 200 ha of vineyards which produce wine of great renown. The national Mediterranean botanical conservatory also has a wide variety of fruit trees. Once you arrive, the port will welcome you at the foot of the village. There you will find several craftsmen and restaurateurs. The most attractive thing is that you will only come across bicycles and walkers.
With almost 54 km of marked paths, the island offers many possibilities for beautiful walks. Among other things, you can enjoy a walk to the lighthouse. You can also walk on the side of the plain of Notre Dame or on the side of the Langoustier. If you have come to spend a unique moment, you will be satisfied. The turquoise sea and the white sandy beaches make the place a picture straight out of a postcard. You can also see steep cliffs on the south of the island.
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