Places at a glance:
The Côte d’Azur has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most popular seaside attractions in the world. But with its nearly 50 diverse locations, it can be difficult to choose the best place to live (or, for starters, to stay) in French Riviera.
If you’re searching for a hotspot to enjoy a relaxed, coastal lifestyle and the unique Cote d’Azur vibe, you’ll be satisfied with the following selections. In this article, we have listed the best villages, towns, and neighborhoods: 7 locations with the most beautiful beaches and views along the coast.
Located west of Cannes, Théoule-sur-Mer forms a part of the Estérel Coast which offers gorgeous azure water, sandy beaches, and scenic orange cliffs–rare sights for the Cote d’Azur. The area is popular among Americans, both tourists, and expats.
Plage d’Abel Ballif and Plage de la Pointe Notre Dame in Théoule-sur-Mer are among the most beautiful seaside spots on the coast. Many small, hidden beaches also can be found along the coast from Théoule-sur-Mer to Saint-Raphaël.
Le Trayas viewpoint on the Routes de Calanques, just above Plage de la Pointe Notre Dame, offers one-of-a-kind views in the French Riviera. If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Théoule-sur-Mer, take a look at villas positioned at higher altitudes: they enjoy phenomenal, panoramic sights.
The beach with a view
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is one of the most prestigious (and picturesque) locations in the French Riviera, and Paloma Plage is the most legendary of its beaches. It reportedly is named for Paloma Picasso, a daughter of the well-known artist.
A secluded place, it offers scenic views of Cap d’Ail and Beaulieu and glimpses of snow-white yachts gliding past pine-covered cliffs.
Right on the edge of Cap d’Ail sits the unique Villa Santo Sospir, painted with frescoes by famous artist and poet Jean Cocteau. If you’re in the quest for the best place to stay in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, there are a lot of stunning properties next door to this villa on JamesEdition, sharing the same picturesque views.
The forested Cap d’Antibes peninsula, dotted with grand villas, separates Antibes from the chic beach resort of Juan-les-Pins. Both places, no doubt, are worth visiting. But if you’re looking for hidden, Instagrammable beaches, opt for Cap d’Antibes.
Port de l’Olivette Beach is the Instagram hotspot of the area. And Plage de la Garoupe is a treasure located in a small, picturesque cove. In the 1920s, this beach became the favored site for glamorous parties hosted by Fitzgerald, Picasso, and Hemingway.
Cap d’Antibes enjoys unparalleled sea views. We especially recommend taking a walk along Le Sentier du Littoral, the lovely, coastal pedestrian path, which begins at Plage de la Garoupe and leads to Villa Eilenroc.
Along the way, you’ll find two, architectural masterpieces: Villa Doran and Château de la Cro, rising amid the beautiful scenery of the coast.
If you’d prefer to relax while viewing the magnificent grandeur of the Mediterranean Islands with a glass of wine while enjoying gourmet cuisine, we highly recommend the Michelin star Restaurant Eden-Roc.
The Saint-Tropez coastline comprises the largest hub of the best beaches in French Riviera, with Pampelonne Beach as its main gem. The beach is located in the peaceful, medieval village of Ramatuelle, a few miles away from the hustle and bustle of Saint-Tropez.
Pampelonne Beach is divided into various luxury beach clubs, ranging from the oldest Tahiti Beach to the legendary Club 55–as well as the new Nioulargo-Kai Largo Beach with two high-quality restaurants. It’s impossible not to mention the secluded Plage de l’Escalet nearby– perfect for a private rendezvous with its hideaway atmosphere.
By the way, JamesEdition offers a villa with private access to that precise beach. The property is exclusive and provides spectacular views over the sea.
What is better than the sea views from the Moorea Club’s iconic Claudy’s bar? Take a look around. The place is much appreciated and frequented by celebrities, such as Hugh Grant and Dame Joan Collins.
Mere minutes from Nice sits Villefranche-sur-Mer, a cute village with a wide variety of beautiful places to fully enjoy your sunbathing.
We’d recommend not to walk around the bay to reach the well-known and rather busy Plage des Mariniers, but instead to visit Plage de la Darse (near Nice and its prestigious Mont-Baron area). It’s smaller, quite chic, and is surrounded by celebrity homes, such as Nelcotte, Keith Richards’ old mansion, and Tina Turner’s villas.
Villefranche-sur-Mer has an incomparable advantage. The views here are not simply beautiful, but also unique–especially those overlooking luxurious Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat. Some of the best views are in the elite, high-end area of Avenue Leopold II, where the most expensive villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer (and in the world) can be found: Villa la Leopolda. An excellent example of the Belle Époque style, the property features in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Catching the Thief.
Since the most desirable houses on the coast are located here, we confidently tell you that the best views of the French Riviera are available from the private terraces of the stunning villas in Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Nice needs no introduction. And, for inveterate travelers, it might not seem the most exciting spot to visit. Still, the city remains one of the best places to live in French Riviera. A significant cultural center, it also prides itself on having some of the best public and private beaches on the Cote d’Azur.
Our first recommendation is Coco Beach, a tiny, sandy beach hidden among the cliffs of the prestigious Cap de Nice. Next to the beach, you will find the Coco Beach seafood restaurant and a scenic, pedestrian path along the sea.
As a second recommendation, we suggest sandy Fabron Beach, located on the opposite side of the city, near the respectable Fabron neighborhood. Part of the beach area along the Promenade des Anglais, Fabron is farther away from the city center, less crowded, and more relaxed.
As you search for the best views of the French Riviera in Nice, we’d recommend taking a closer look at the two most upscale and elite areas: Mont Boron and Cimiez.
Cimiez is located slightly north of the city center, and it has a rich concentration of Belle Époque villas. The most spectacular views are from the Cimiez Monastery gardens on the eastern side of Park Arènes.
Mont Boron is a hilltop, residential neighborhood: home to some European and Hollywood celebrities. The area boasts unparalleled views over the city, the Bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Cap Ferrat; it also has a beautiful, public park.
Eze village offers million dollar views both from a height of almost 500 meters above sea level and from the fantastic Eze coastline.
Our primary tip is to make sure you visit the unique and gorgeous Jardin Exotique which is filled with a wide variety of plants and trees and offers the best Eze overlook. Or you can simply relax and enjoy the mountain and seascape panorama via the floor to ceiling windows of the 2-star Michelin restaurant, La Chèvre d’Or, nestled at the top of the Le Château de la Chèvre d’Or.
Criques du Cap Estel is a tiny beach surrounded by ancient (but nicely renovated) walls and cliffs with palms and pines. The location boasts scenic views of Bay de Saint-Laurent.
Cap d’Ail is perfect for catching the view over Monaco with its noted Monte Carlo Yacht Club seemingly floating on the deep, blue waters of the Cote d’Azur. We highly recommend the hill of Tête de Chien: a spectacular viewpoint, providing one of the most scenic panoramas in the area.
Plenty of Belle Époque villas complete the atmosphere. Many eminent people have called Cap d’Ail one of the best places to live in the French Riviera. Greta Garbo, Edouard Herriot, and even Winston Churchill often spent the winter at Cap d’Ail.
Plage La Mala is a small and secluded beach with two excellent restaurants Port de Cap d’Ail. This beach is an excellent place to enjoy yourself while your yacht is being prepared for offshore sailing or to relax after seafaring.