10 Day French Riviera Tour Itinerary
Tailor your 10 day itinerary to suit you
Our best of the French Riviera tour itinerary has been designed to show you the glamour and luxury of the Cote D’Azur, its sunkissed beaches, crystalline waters, and underrated history and heritage of the region.
Read on for our best of the French Rivera in ten days itinerary, or get in touch for a complimentary Riviera tour plan handcrafted to your tastes and ideal length of stay.
What is included:
Understanding the French Riviera
Today we start on our 10-day luxury driver guide tour of the French Riviera.
While the region is now synonymous with glitz, style, and celebrity, The coastline is steeped in history and is believed to have been inhabited as early as Neolithic times, when the Celts and the Greeks lived here until the area was finally conquered by Rome in 2 BC. The province as we know it now really only became French about 400 years ago.
More recently it is a combination of British gentry and royalty along with other European nobility and latterly American A-List celebrities that catapulted this part of France to be a destination for the rich and famous and every season the best hotels in the area will be home to hundreds of film stars, musicians, artists and royalty who come to be seen in this most glamorous setting.
The Riviera has something for everyone – for sun worshipers and beach lovers this area has some of the best beaches with sparkling turquoise seas and golden beaches and all the watersport toys you can think of.
For those of you who are wine connoisseurs, the Riviera has a long history of winemaking and produces 90% of Rose wine produced in France as well as home to some of the most famous reds around the Chateauneuf du Pape region.
This stretch of the Mediterranean is also steeped in history and has beautifully preserved Medieval hilltop villages that sit alongside impressive Gothic cathedrals with immaculately manicured formal gardens – a great place to explore and learn the history of this beautiful corner of France. It goes without saying that wherever you are in France, you are never far from delicious food – this part of France has a definite Italian twist on local produce and some wonderful artisan food producers are creating stunning dishes.
The 10-day Riviera tour will be tailored around your exact requirements, the tour below is perfect for those who want to experience a bit of everything the Riviera has to offer.
Day 1: Arrive in Nice
Your chauffeur will be waiting for you in the Arrivals Hall and take you and your luggage to your hotel.
Relax in the back of your perfectly air-conditioned luxury vehicle and let your chauffeur navigate his way to your hotel in Nice which will be your base for the next 3 days.
Nice was originally named after the Greek Goddess Nike and so was possibly the original Nike Town! Nice was an Italian city until relatively recently (1860) when the Italians gave the City to France as recognition of French support in helping the Italians against the Austrians. The strong Italian influence can be seen throughout the city and many of the locals speak both French and Italian.
Depending on what time you arrive we start your tour in the old town of Nice, which is a myriad of winding narrow streets leading to gilded shaded squares with little bistros and cafes.
Your private tour will also include a visit to the magnificent Opera house and the Town Hall and Rosetti Square, home to Nice Cathedral. The Cathedral is unlike many French Cathedrals rather modest from the outside, but once inside admire the lavish Baroque designs, gilded ornate chapels, sculptures, and paintings, all with a distinctly Italian feel.
Day 2: St Paul de Vence
Nestled in the hillside above the coastal towns lies St Paul de Vence, one of the oldest Medieval villages in the region. Many of the buildings in the village date from the 16th Century and the city walls were constructed in 1528 by Francis Valois I, the then King of France.
This old town is picture perfect with winding cobbled streets that are flanked by half-timbered houses containing art galleries, artisan craftsmen, and of course traditional village cafes. Today your guide will take you on a private tour of this stunning hilltop village where you will spend the day. Visit a few of the art galleries and stop for lunch in one of the pretty cafes in the place de la Grande Fontaine where ( as the name would suggest ) there is an impressive fountain.
When you have finished your private tour your driver guide will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in Nice. In the evening let your driver guide take you off the beaten track to one of the local fish restaurants where you will mix with the locals and taste freshly caught sea fish.
Day 3: Nice - Markets & Wine Tour
This morning we head out with our driver guide to visit some of the many open-air markets Nice has to offer, from the world-famous ‘Marche aux Fleurs’ flower market to the ‘Puces de Nice’ ( flea market ) there is always a market open and worth visiting in Nice.
Head away from the more touristy markets and let your driver guide take you on a tour of the Marche de la Liberation – not unlike the flower market but significantly bigger and a favorite with the locals. Sample local artisan-produced bread and cheeses and grab a coffee in one of the pretty bars adjacent to the market.
In the afternoon your driver guide will take you west towards the area that produces Cote du Provence rose.
Today your tour will give you a complete behind-the-scenes look at the planning and work that is involved in creating delicious crisp rose wine – pink, sparkling or still there is no better place to enjoy rose than in the stunning setting of Provence.
Your sommelier will give you a masterclass on wines from this specific part of Provence. Your workshop ends with a food/wine pairing with locally selected award-winning cheeses, pates, and charcuterie.
Day 4: Antibes - Juan les Pins
Antibes and its close neighbor Juan Les Pins became fashionable, unlike Cannes or neighboring Nice by the British, but when the combination of a prominent American railway magnate and the designer and developer of the port of Deauville in Brittany decided to create a resort in Juan Les Pins.
Frank Gould, the US millionaire, had seen the potential in the amazing coastline around Antibes and the beauty of the region and so collaborated with Edouard Baudoin and developed the old casino by the sea. The result was a new glittering casino to rival any in Paris. Gould then went on to build the first super luxury hotel in the resort – Le Provencal. Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Picasso were some of the most famous names to visit Juan Les Pins.
Today we head towards the golden sandy beaches of Antibes and spend the day exploring the beaches and coves in the area including Juan Les Pins and Cap d’Antibes. Your driver guide will take you on a tour of the coastline and then take you for lunch in one of the chic private beach clubs.
In the afternoon, if you don’t fancy staying on the beach your driver guide can take you on your private tour of Castle Grimaldi. This impressive building was built on the site of the Ancient Greek Acropolis of Antipolis and was owned until the early 17th Century by the Grimaldi family until 1925 when it was bought by the city of Antibes.
Picasso worked in the castle for almost 6 months in 1946 and during this time he created many drawings, paintings, and sketches, including the famous Keys of Antibes which covers a complete wall.
Today the museum is home to many of Picasso’s works, including a large donation by Jacqueline Picasso as well as permanent exhibitions from modern French and European artists.
Day 5: Cannes
Known as the Beverly Hills of the Riviera, Cannes is an elegant coastal city located just west of Nice.
The stunning beachside city became popular in the early 19th Century when Lord Brougham, an important British statesman who was also Lord Chancellor discovered the city and helped make it a resort for the upper classes of British society- there is a huge bronze statue in his memory right in the city center to celebrate the importance of this man (he also was instrumental in banning slavery in the UK).
Today it is like many other cities along the Med and is home to the rich and famous and not just whilst the festival is on. We start your tour of Cannes with a visit to Le Suquet, the original Roman hillside settlement of Cannes which is filled with pastel-colored houses and cottages and narrow cobbled streets, and stop for refreshments in one of the many hillside cafes that overlook the Bay of Cannes.
We then head to the home of the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Auditorium, for a private tour. Your driver-guide will even take a photograph of you on the famous red-carpeted steps outside the building. The history behind this famous film festival was born out of controversy.
In 1938 at the Venice Film Festival a German propaganda film was awarded the prize rather than the favorite and a highly deserved French anti-war film. This clear bias towards the Fascist Alliance led to many jury members resigning and a complete withdrawal of the French from the festival. It was Biarritz that originally won the nomination from the French government to host the film festival following the withdrawal from Venice, however, last-minute negotiations moved the festival to its current location, Cannes.
Later stroll along the iconic La Promenade de Croisette, this famous beachside road is lined with the world’s most famous luxury brands and 5 and 6-star luxury hotels with Michelin *restaurants This promenade runs the whole length of the seafront – an incredible 1.6 Km.
This evening dine with the rich and famous at one of the many fine dining restaurants.
Day 6: Frejus
Our next stop is the fashionable beachside town of Frejus which is built on the site of the first naval base built in Roman times by Julius Caesar around circa 50 BC.
There are many buildings and ruins dating back to the Roman occupation which we will explore today with our driver guide as well as the beautiful Old Town with its incredible cathedral, the font dates back to the 5th Century and is said to be one of the earliest examples of Christianity in France.
Starting at the Old town your driver guide will take you on a private tour of the Cathedral where you can learn about why the church has two knaves and the secret behind ornate paintings on the ceilings of the cloisters. The 1,600-year-old font itself is spectacular and was only discovered in 1925 during some restoration work.
Following our private tour of the cathedral, we walk through the old town and have lunch in one of the shady squares lined with Cypress trees.
Frejus has a wonderful selection of sandy beaches and coves, perfect for an afternoon spent on the beach.
For those of you wanting to learn more about this part of France your driver guide will take you on a tour of the key Roman sites in the area starting with the remains of the 40 Km aqueduct which can be found in the Parc de la Villa Aurelienne and including a visit to the now renovated Coliseum.
Before dinner, have a private boat tour starting from the marina at Frejus and have an apero in St Raphael, the neighboring and equally chic town before returning to the harbor where your driver guide will take you to one of the beautiful restaurants that line this stunning harbor.
Day 7: St Tropez & Port Grimaud
Heading westwards this morning your driver guide will take you to probably the most famous part of the Riviera, St Tropez synonymous with glamour, riches, and fame- the playground of the rich and famous! St Tropez is named after Saint Tropes/Tropez and the legend is that this saint was decapitated by the Romans for his Christian beliefs. His body was thrown into a small boat which eventually came ashore in what is now called St. Tropez back in 68 AD.
St Tropez became famous in 1956 when the film ‘Et Dieu Crea la femme’ was released. The film was a huge success notably because it starred the 21-year-old Brigitte Bardot and was set in St Tropez. Since then the popularity of this town has continued and global celebrities such as Neymar, Samuel L Jackson, Leonardo de Caprio and Jennifer Lopez all of whom own properties here.
We start our private tour of St Tropez in the magnificent Old Town, which is known to the locals as ‘la Ponche ‘which is located just above the port and below the citadel.
This charming old town is a maze of narrow cobbled streets filled with designer boutiques, art galleries, bars, and restaurants. We head first to the Eglise de Notre- Dame, an 18th Century church with an imposing Italian Baroque bell tower that dominates the skyline. Inside there is a magnificent statue of Saint Tropez, the namesake for the town as well as beautiful intricate wooden carvings around the interior.
Our next stop is to visit the Musee de l’Annonciade – the building itself dates from the 16th century and inside there is an incredible collection of post-impressionist art including works from Klee, Signac, Matisse, Seurat, Braque, Bonnard, Gauguin.
Stop for lunch at one of the busy cafes in the old town and sample Bouillabaisse, a local fish stew made with freshly caught fish.
Stop for lunch at one of the busy cafes in the old town and sample Bouillabaisse, a local fish stew made with freshly caught fish.
In the afternoon we head to Port Grimaud. This little town is only a few Km away from St Tropez, but it feels more like an Italian port with its canals and bridges, which is why it is also known as the Little Venice of Provence. The port was created entirely by the architect Spoerry who was a qualified sailor and wanted to create the perfect space to moor his boat. Inspired by his travels around the Mediterranean Spoerry dreamed of a town where the ‘land would dip its toes in the sea.
Discover the many legends of the port and why there are so many prehistoric menhirs in Grimaud as well as explore the pretty brightly colored houses and modern architecture of the port -which has a total of 14 bridges giving access to 12 islands.
Following your tour, your chauffeur will take you back to your hotel in St Tropez and then take you later in the evening to the port where you will enjoy an elegant fine dining cruise.
Day 8: Marseille
Marseilles ‘ position as a key strategic port goes back to 600 BC when the Greeks first created the port and are steeped in history – even the French National anthem: le Marseilles is based on Marseille.
Our tour starts at the Basilica Notre – Dame de la Garde which was built by King Francois I to protect the city and is the highest building in Marseille standing at an impressive 490 feet above sea level. On top of the Basilica is a statue of the Virgin Mary which is said to protect the city and its inhabitants. for those of you less mobile there is a train from the Vieux port that goes directly to this amazing Byzantine monument. From there admire the view across the city and the Mediterranean.
Your next destination is just a short walk away to the Vieux port – the real heart of Marseilles. This is where locals and tourists mix – sample some delicious Bouillabaisse ( a local specialty) with freshly caught seafood at one of the many fish restaurants dotted about the port.
In the afternoon we have a private tour of the Mucem (Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean) which is Marseilles’s newest museum and was opened in 2013 to commemorate Marseille being recognized as a European City of Culture.
The museum itself is a contemporary design that is in stark contrast to the historical buildings in the rest of Marseille and is built on the site of the original Fort of St Jean. There are close to a million exhibits on display that show how civilizations in the Mediterranean and North Africa have developed over the past centuries.
Day 9: Aix-en-Provence
Today we head slightly north of Marseille and visit the Aix-en-Provence. This city is often referred to as the city of a thousand fountains, and one of the most famous is the Fontaine Moussue on the Cours Mirabeau. It is fed by a hot spring and so it is not unusual to see steam coming out of the fountain in colder months and harsh winters and the odd icicle.
Aix along with many cities in this part of France was and still is hugely popular with artists and was the hometown of Paul Cezanne, many of his works are housed at the famous Mussee Granet alongside works from artists such as Ingres and Rembrandt. We start our private tour of Aix with a visit to this museum, before moving to another museum – the Caumont art center which is housed in a stunning 18th Century mansion and was painstakingly restored and opened in 2015.
This beautiful building houses regular exhibitions and is home to a formal garden, which alone is worth a visit. Follow the Cezanne trail with your private guide and see where this amazing artist lived and how he lived his life in the streets and buildings of Aix.
In the afternoon we head to the famous Cours de Mirabeau a beautiful tree-lined boulevard that is at the heart of Aix en Provence. This avenue is home to a wonderful selection of cafes and bars and restaurants filled with locals and tourists alike and perfect for shopping and also maybe a late lunch.
When you have finished exploring your private tour of this magical city your chauffeur will be waiting for you ready to take you back to Marseille for dinner in the old town.
Day 10: Airport Transfer or Next Destination
Your chauffeur will be waiting for you in your hotel reception ready to take you on the next leg of your travel adventure.
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