Posted on 03 June 2010 by Dan Johnson
In a nutshell
The region of Côte d’Azur loves the limelight and is famous for its lively nightlife and glitzy reputation, but there are also a few publicity-shy places that are worth their salt. It has a star-studded history as the play place for rich tourists looking for a healthy winter retreat, and then for Kings, Queens and the glitterati of the early 20th century, an association that has been reinforced through the annual Cannes Film Festival, and from starts from Becks to Elton John who buy luxurious holiday homes on the coast.
The best value and indeed the most beautiful beach we went to was in St Aygulf – absolutely fantastic. Great early evening music and waiter service on the beach [TripAdvisor member, Waterford]
Families in Fréjus head to the long, sandy, sheltered beach that stretches to the next town.
Attractions and Adventure
For a more ‘epic’ experience visit the Gorges d’Heric; it is one of the most impressive and magnificent gorges in the region. This long deep crack in the ground is wild, lush and incredible.
For a fantastic day out with the kids then you can do no better than Aqualand (check out www.aqualand.fr and click through on ‘Frejus’). This is the biggest water park on the Cote d’Azur with slides, lagoons, spa baths as well as play areas, restaurants and bars. You can buy tickets on parc and it’s an easy 10 minute drive (approx).
Cities and towns
The seaside town of Fréjus is an historic port balanced on a rock plateau, and there are Roman ruins, sandy beaches and chic bars. There’s a typical Med coast holiday feel, with streets lined with ice cream parlours, souvenir shops and restaurants. The bustling town is filled with classical remnants and medieval ruins, contrasting with the modern marina of Port Fréjus.
Frejus itself is a very beautiful place to visit and we enjoyed exploring all the lovely bays and the wonderful mountains that surrounded this area [TripAdvisor member, Fife]
Port Grimaud is St Tropez without the fake tan. It’s a French version of Venice, with winding streets and canals.
St Tropez is a chic town where you can mingle with the ‘jet set’. Relax into one of the many cafés and spend an afternoon celebrity spotting, and watch your kids stare wide-eyed at the yachts.
Cannes is famed for its film festival, but you’ll also be impressed by the gorgeous sandy beaches and cafés on La Croisette; perfect for watching the world go by.
The locals whizz up and down Nice’s magnificent palm-lined ‘Promenade des Anglais’ on roller skates, but the trick to enjoying the star studded town is to take things easy and milk every last detail.
Monaco is home of the rich and famous and famed for its fabulous casino. Of course the beautiful people who hang out here have beautiful yachts, so the marina should be near to the top of your ‘to see’ list.
Food and restaurants
Frejus hosts two food festivals: the Fête du Raisin celebrates the arrival of the first grapes through the medium of wine tasting and traditional dances, and every September there is an Omelette Géante – that’s right, a giant omelette – festival.
Port-Grimaud has an organic bio market which takes place on Mondays and Fridays. There are organic fruit and vegetables, fresh products, food bread and bio wine, plus natural beauty products.
St Tropez is known for its tans, but every Tuesday and Saturday the Place des Lices in this famous town transforms into one of the biggest markets in Provence. Stalls sell a range of products, including fish and locally sourced food.
The pretty squares of Aix-en-Provence are transformed into a sea of colours, sounds and appetising smells as the Grand Marché sets up its stalls on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 08h to 12h30.
Marseille’s famous fish market on the Quai des Belges is a wonderful place to wander around. The local traders use the phrase Peché le nuit, vendu le matin to describe the freshness of their goods: “Caught in the night, sold in the morning”.
Where to stay
Le Montourey has been described as siblu’s most relaxed site ever; it’s very quiet and you can hear the birds chirping through the day. The parc is a great base for touring the region’s most famous towns, with St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Grasse nearby.