Here's a list of other related guides that you may wish to discover.Cote D'Azur
Circus Festival, Monaco. If you've ever had dreams of running away to join the circus, this is one you might want to join. Hailed by many as the most famous in the world, the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival, held in January, is a true spectacle. Over ten days, a plethora of exciting acts show off their amazing skills at the circus’s permanent residence - the Chapiteau de Fontvielle. From flying acrobats to lion trainers, Russian clowns and daredevil motorcyclists, it's quite the spectacle. And, as the acts compete in the first few days for the Clown d'Or award, the atmosphere heightens, culminating in a glittering prize-giving gala attended by the Prince of Monaco and his family. Whatever your age, this is an event not to miss. Watch children's faces light up as the lion roars into the ring, magicians wow with their tricks, and perfectly choreographed acrobats fly past your heads. And expect to be amazed yourself, as this is where the creme de la creme of circus acts meet and perform. Well, what else would you expect from the magical place that is Monaco?
Truffle Festival, Grasse When you think of Grasse, its association with perfume might immediately spring to mind, but amongst the hills of jasmine, mimosa and violets, there are also truffles to be found. And this is reason enough to celebrate this humble delicacy amongst such inspiring surroundings. The festival takes place at the iconic Bastide Saint-Antoine, a beautiful eighteenth-century villa nestled in olive groves, owned by celebrity chef Jacques Chibois. And it is Jacques Chibois himself who puts on a gastronomic all-truffle lunch for guests - the highlight of the day for many. Gathering top experts from the world of truffles, there is much talk about the exclusive mushroom, which you may be lucky enough to catch snippets of, alongside truffle-dog demonstrations, prize-draws and even a truffle scrambled egg competition for the public. Fancy your chances? Then, of course, you can buy your own truffles. The advice is to get there early to select the cream of the crop. You can also buy pates, olives, cheese and jams to name a few. Finally, when you're feeling deliciously satisfied, take a walk around the historic town of Grasse with its pretty arches, perfect squares, old ramparts and celebrated Notre-Dame du Puy Cathedral.
Monte-Carlo Historical Automobile Rally. What better place to see some quality classic cars than in the glamorous city of Monte-Carlo. Well, if you're visiting Monaco in the winter, you can do just that. The Monte-Carlo Historical Automobile Rally, created by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1922, has become a popular winter road race. Starting in January, from six European different cities who celebrate the launch of the rally in their own individual way, the cars take to the roads, driving to reach 14 competitive stages, completing the race in glitzy Monte Carlo. Being a historic car rally, only cars manufactured from 1955 to 1980 can take part, including the Porsche 911, Porsche 356, Alpine Renault A110, Mini Coopers and the Lancia Fulvia 1600 amongst many other iconic vehicles. Watching up to 300 of these cars, driven by amateurs as well as former Monte-Carlo rally drivers, arrive in Monte-Carlo is thrilling. Followed by a black-tie dinner for the drivers, celebrations ensue, and there's a wonderful atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
Lemon Festival, Menton . Feeling fruity? There's only one place to go in February - the unique La Fete du Citron - that's the Lemon Festival to you and I. Every year, this incredible event attracts over 200,000 visitors, who are enthralled by the 10-metre tall floats constructed of over 140 tonnes of oranges and lemons. It is quite a sight to behold and a very important event on the French Riviera. Taking place in the little italianite town of Menton, where the sun shines for most of the year, it is quite a humble setting for one of the largest festivals in the region. Each year, the festival is based around a theme, whether it’s Disney, Around The World In 80 Days or Music, and out of this erupts a dazzling array of orange and yellow sculptures paraded on floats, accompanied by brass bands, dancers and folk groups. Look out for the floral processions running along the Promenade du Soleil, which are truly spectacular. Adults and children alike will love this colourful festival, and the town itself. Menton is quite charming, and when you're worn out with all the festivities, you can always relax with a refreshing glass of lemonade or orange juice, of course.
Nice Carnival Nice springs to life, literally from the middle of February with one of the most important events on the French Riviera, and if you're there to see it, you'll be in for a real treat. One of the oldest carnivals in the world, organisers have certainly mastered how to throw a party over the years. In fact, many say this could be the finest of its kind in Europe. Take to the streets and marvel at the parades of floats displaying 50 giant papier-mache puppets weighing over 2 tonnes, traditional stalls selling Provencal gifts and delicious food to tickle your taste-buds. As well as the much-loved carnival procession, there's the unique 'flower battles' that's not to be missed. Located on the Promenade des Anglais, floats decorated with the most extravagant and beautiful flower compositions are paraded, then flowers tossed into the crowds to much delight. And on the last night, a spectacular firework display is put on and the King Carnival burnt. Spring is a delightful time of the year to discover Nice, shake off the winter, and enjoy the warm southern sun.
Naval Battle of Flowers Imagine a parade of the most beautiful flowers, and then picture them on traditional fishing boats in the pretty port of Villefranche sur Mer. This is the Combat Naval Fleuri, or the Naval Battle of Flowers. To celebrate the arrival of spring, sailors bedeck their boats with flowers galore and file past spectators gathered along the shore of Port de la Sante. Consisting of mainly mimosas and carnations, which are in bloom at that particular time of year, displays of yellow, red and orange are exhibited before being thrown to those at shore. It's a wonderful display, and provokes a jovial atmosphere amongst all those who are fortunate enough to witness it. Running for 110 years, this is a popular festival, complete with a carnival parade at the end in the charming little town of Villefranche sur mer. And what a lovely town it is. This seaside resort boasts long, sandy beaches, welcoming cafes and restaurants with terraces looking out to sea. And, with the historical old town to explore too, strolling around here is one of life's simple pleasures.
Mimosa Festival, Mandelieu. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than the Mimosa Festival in Mandelieu. Every February, this little town in the Esterel Mountains makes the most of its beautiful, blooming mimosas surrounding it, and brightens up the town by dressing up fantastic floats and selecting a Festival Queen. Lasting ten days, the streets come alive as this pretty little yellow shrub, cultivated in the Massif du Tanneron - the largest mimosa forest in Europe - is celebrated. And if you want to know more about this flower you can even visit a mimosa grower or take a guided hike around the mountains to learn about it in all its glory. As the end of the festival approaches, after floats, fireworks and parties have taken place, visitors are showered with the flowers, and children relish running around in a carpet of yellow. Then, all that's left is to explore the lovely town of Mandelieu. Based on the French Riviera, just south-west of Cannes and north-west of Theoule-sur-Mer, it's a charming place to stroll around, and right on its doorstep are some of the most exciting towns, cities and beaches in the region.
Violet Festival For over 150 years, violets have bloomed around the pretty medieval village of Tourettes sur Loup in the south of France. So it's no wonder that the village hosts a festival every March, which marks the end of the violet season. To welcome the spring, Tourettes sur Loup is filled with the sweet scent of violets, as a floral procession winds its way around the narrow streets and live music plays. And at the end of the day, the fun really starts with the bataille-de-fleurs, or the 'flower battle,' where violets are tossed into the air and caught by adults and children alike. Today, only the Victoria variety of violet is produced in the little town, but it's these little flowers with their heady fragrance that are used in abundance, whether it's in candies, local goods or by the iconic perfume houses in Grasse. It's not all about the flowers though. The festival hosts a number of local and regional producers selling their wares at stalls. Honeys, cheeses, jams and even snails are on offer. And whilst you're there, try the Tourettes speciality - the tarte a l'orange. Mmm.
Journee Napoléonienne Vallauris – Napoleonic Culture Day. Vallauris Golfe-Juan isn’t just a perfectly located city with panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes, it isn’t just a city of ceramics, exquisite pottery, welcoming markets and old-world charm. It’s also the place where Napoleon landed after his escape from the Isle of Elba on March 1st 1815. And, it’s for this very reason that Vallauris commemorates this momentous event with a Napoleon Culture Day, staging a huge re-enactment of the landing. Boasting conferences, exhibitions and lectures about Napoleon, don’t be surprised to see soldiers dressed up in imperial costume parading the beach and even shop-staff dressed up. There’s wreath laying at the Napoleon column and imperial dancing. Attracting thousands of visitors, this historic event does not go un-noticed. Napoleon was not the only one to grace these shores - Picasso lived here and embraced the art of creating ceramics and re-introducing 17th-century pottery traditions. There’s a wealth of galleries and museums, and in the evening, the town’s restaurants and bars welcome you with open arms. It’s a charming seaside resort on the French Riviera that’s well worth a visit.
Monte Carlo Tennis Masters, Monaco What better place to see tennis royalty than at the exclusive Monte Carlo Country Club in Monaco. An annual tournament, this special event has attracted legendary names including Sampras, Federer, Agassi and Nadal, who has won the title eight consecutive times, to name a few. Watching great tennis on those iconic red clay courts whilst catching glimpses of the sparkling Mediterranean is a privilege indeed. If the sun is out, and you have a delicious meal in front of you, all the better. Now ranking as one of the nine ‘super tennis tournaments’ in the world, tickets are popular, but surprisingly affordable, especially for the kind of visitors Monaco usually attracts. Even though the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters is actually held in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, it’s Monte Carlo that draws the crowds daily. So, after a day spent watching the tennis, take time out to explore the joys of Monaco. From the legendary casinos to fine dining, visiting the Prince’s Palace and driving around the Grand Prix route, it’s an experience you’ll be glad you had.
Cannes Film Festival has to be one of the most prestigious events in France, if not the world. Created to draw attention and raise the profile of films, the festival’s aim is to boost the industry as a whole, and it certainly does that when the acting elite descends upon this stylish city on the French Riviera. And so it is, that every May, the town of Cannes is a hive of excitement, as films receive their first showing and directors, actors, producers and up-coming stars meet. The atmosphere is thrilling, and though it may be near-on impossible to get tickets to one of the film premieres, there are other ways of enjoying the event. Make the most of free movies on the beach every night, which require you to just turn up early enough to get in, walk along the Croisette - the substantial and iconic promenade, to soak up the atmosphere, or hang out by the red carpet where you certainly stand a chance of glimpsing some of the acting gliteratti. Then move on to a glamorous Cannes bar and enjoy the buzz of being at this momentous occasion.
Rose Festival, Theoule sur Mer Small and perfectly formed, Theoule sur Mer is an ideal place to celebrate the rose – a simple, elegant flower. As pretty as the rose itself, Theoule Sur Mer, tucked away in a sheltered cove on the Esterel coast, boasts stunning beaches – some of which are said to be the best on the Cote d’Azur. Set against a backdrop of the red rocky Esterel Mountains and a quaint marina, it’s a remarkably photogenic scene. With the dramatic contrast between the abundance of vegetation and plant life against the sparkling Med, nature lovers are attracted to this small hamlet, and of course the newly-formed Rose Festival, held here in May. With stunning displays, demonstrations and workshops, rose growers and producers come together to celebrate everything to do with this humble flower. And, with free exhibitions and tastings, include the most refreshing of rose wines, it’s a wonderful day out. Usually based around a particular theme, the overall effect is beautiful, and visitors can buy everything from single stems to bouquets, perfumes, soaps and sweets. Theoule sur Mer is well worth a visit anyway, but to do it around the Rose Festival is all the more special.
Open de Nice – tennis tournament Are there many spots in the world nicer to watch a professional tennis match than in the south of France? And the capital of the Cote d'Azur to be exact. The city of Nice, curved around the Bay of Angels is surely the most iconic city on this stretch of coastline. With stretches of golden sand licked by the intense deep blue of the Med, the renowned Promenade des Anglais to stroll along, the old town and its many boutique shops, and of course the glorious southern sun – it’s no wonder Nice's popularity never wanes. So, to come and watch the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur is the cherry on the cake. A men's-only tournament played on clay courts at the Nice Lawn Tennis Club, it's your chance to watch some of the finest international players compete for the ATP World Tour Title. Tickets include great individual and package deals, with a number of extra activities aimed at enhancing your experience - mini tennis courts to play on, book signings and places to test your skills - not that you will probably need much persuasion. A glass of something bubbly, the sun and courtside tickets to watch some of the most recognised tennis names in the world should just about do it!
Expo Roses in Grasse. There are few flowers in the world as iconic as the humble rose. And so it seems perfectly fitting that the perfume capital of France honours this glorious flower in one of the only way it knows how – with a festival. Set amongst hills, Grasse is a wonderful place to explore, with an old historic town bursting with narrow streets, arched tunnels, an attractive Cathedral dedicated to Notre Dame du Puy, and during May – the Rose Festival. From cut flowers, bouquets, blooming bushes, rose jams and other culinary delights, this is a true showcase for the pretty flower. Taking place at the Palais des Congres, the heady scent of roses descends upon the town as exhibitions, workshops, displays and rose-scented relaxation spaces spring up. As horticulturists compete for the best displays, the fountains and facades of the ancient city centre do not go un-noticed and are quite literally covered in thousands of roses – an enchanting sight. With this memorable aroma still strong in your mind, make your way to one of Grasse’s celebrated perfume houses to see how the flowers are used to make some of our most treasured scents.
International Horse Jumping of Monaco Think of Monaco and images of fast cars, casinos, fine dining and glamour may spring to mind. Well, there’s another glitzy event befitting this glitzy list – the International Horse Jumping Show of Monaco. Not the first place you’d think of for a horse show, Port Hercule is one of the few deep-water ports of the French Riviera, a natural bay, and magnet for some of the finest yachts. Also, where this now-celebrated horse show takes place. For three days every June it is transformed into an equestrian arena, where some of the world’s top riders take part in a series of challenging courses to compete for the biggest honours, and then relax on some of the most impressive yachts in the world. Between watching the different events, you can wander around the exhibitors stalls and mingle with the show jumping champions. Outside of the event, you’re in Monaco – enjoy stunning views of the French Riviera, visit the Opera or wander by the Palace. Then enjoy a fine meal before heading to the casino to try your luck. Monaco is pure magic.
Le Mois des Jardins, Menton – Garden Month in Menton Famous for its pretty gardens, Menton on the illustrious Cote d’Azur, is always a lovely place to visit. But, in June, this is even more so, as the town celebrates its exceptional gardens with a host of open days. Due to its microclimate, there are an abundance of plants, flowers and trees, making it a horticulturist’s paradise. And it’s during Garden Month you can see this in its full glory as you’ll get to stroll around some of the town’s most famous and beautiful gardens, many of them private during the rest of the year. Make sure you visit Jardin Fontana Rosa and Potager des Princes in the Palais Carnoles for a real treat. A number of amateur gardens also welcome guests, and sometimes it’s these that hold little surprises, as all manner of tropical and subtropical plants flourish here. Known as France’s most temperate garden, not only is it a sleepy, pretty town adorned with flowers and plants, but there’s a lovely coastline for you to explore. And there’s little better than gazing out on to the glittering Med whilst enjoying a delicious meal of locally-sourced produce. The lemons are a must – Menton is famous for them. Whilst you can visit many of the gardens all year round, June surely has to be one of the prettiest months to do it in, and celebrate all that is delightful about Menton.
Les Voiles d’Antibes an annual yacht race which takes s place each June. It is a five day event which catches the attention of everyone in the area at the time.
14 July fireworks. Amazing across the whole coastline. Don’t forget the firworks festival, during July/August, from Antibes-Juan-Les-Pins and Cannes, spectacular, dinner on the beach, music and fireworks….. a great night out. Keep a look out for the spectacular fireworks displays in the bay of Cannes in the summer (see posters or ask the local tourist office). It’s always a good idea to get to the beach early to get a good spot!
Nuits du Sud: Vence – Southern Nights Music Festival Vence, the ‘city of art,’ a place where artists, sculptors and writers abound. It seems only right then that this pretty little city welcomes another loved art form at its Southern Nights Music Festival from mid-July to August. Bringing together an eclectic collection of world music acts from all over the world, this lovely festival encourages visitors to open their minds and embrace different cultures. And what’s lovely is the whole family can enjoy it. Held in the main square, Place du Grand, you can watch the show and amble around. There’s no strict seating, no big queues. In fact, you can even do a spot of shopping around the delightful boutique shops in between acts. If you’re very organised, you can always try to book a table at one of the restaurants or cafes at the other end of the square and enjoy the show whilst eating. The Southern Nights Music Festival in Vence is so relaxed, and the real beauty of this event is its location, too. A town bedecked in flowers, full of galleries and exhibitions, squares with wonderful café terraces to watch the world go by and a charming market selling everything from fresh vegetables to fish and honey, it’s a true inspiration, and a must-see of the region.
Nuits de Guitares Beaulieu – Beaulieu Guitar Festival. Picture an ancient olive grove in a tiny French village, and then imagine the sound of an elecrtric guitar playing over a crowd of music lovers, out to sea. This is the scene that awaits you when visiting the Beaulieu sur Mer Guitar Festival. Set amongst the centenary olive trees in the delightful Jardin de l’Olivaie a combination of music genres takes place, but all dedicated to the wonderful instrument that is the guitar. From homages to Freddie Mercury to French indie pop, electric guitar and acoustic sets, for three nights in July you can enjoy an eclectic collection of music from renowned stars to young guitarists in this magical setting. An event that all the family can enjoy, it’s reasonably priced and children under 10 go free. Beaulieu sur Mer forms part of the golden triangle with Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villefranche-sur-Mer, where luxury properties are some of the most expensive in the country. It’s an extremely pretty village, just off the sea, with quaint little streets, beautiful parks and gardens, and great restaurants. It’s no wonder this is a place frequented by royalty and illustrious visitors, and though petite in size there’s much to do whether it’s water ski-ing, fishing, playing at the casino or just strolling along the sea front. A visit here is well worth it, and the guitar festival in such a perfect summer climate, is certainly the cherry on the cake.
International Firework Festival, Monaco It’s hard to think of a setting more inspirational for a firework display than Monaco, with its yacht-lined, illuminated glitzy bay looking out on the sparkling Mediterranean. And so it is, that this free event attracts spectators in its droves. Taking place in July and August, pyrotechnic specialists come together from all over Europe to show off their skills. Stunning, cutting-edge fireworks are set off from Fort Antoine and choreographed perfectly to music. This isn’t just an ordinary display though, this is a competition, and the countries that compete over the two summer months are hoping to be chosen as the winner, who will be invited back in November to re-create the display before the National Holiday. With that, the standard is extremely high and for best viewing, make sure you’re in the best position possible. Around the port, along the ramparts of Fort Antoine, the Casino terrace or relaxing at a café by the palace are great viewing spots to see what is hailed by many as the best firework display in Europe.
Juan les Pins Jazz Festival Famous for its connection with jazz, the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival is certainly a fantastic reason to visit this little seaside town on the Cote d’Azur. Located in the commune of Antibes, here you’ll find history, culture, beaches, wonderful seafood, beaches and shopping. So you’ll never be short of something to do whilst waiting for the evening’s performances.Taking place every July, near the Gould Pine Grove, the biggest names in jazz come together and put on an impressive number of performances each night. With a line-up of traditional jazz musicians that has included the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Diana Krall, musicians such as Stevie Wonder and George Benson also perform to an excited music-loving crowd. Apart from the main event, there’s also free street events as part of the fringe programme, known as Le OFF, and it’s just as delightful to wander the pretty streets soaking up the atmosphere. Stroll around near the festival and you may well discover the handprints of the jazz elite who have played here over the years. And with a delightful centre, covered market, promenade and peaceful beaches at Cap d’Antibes, this really is a joyful place to visit.
Nuit Musicales du Suquet Cannes – Suquet Musical Nights in Cannes Every July, a charming square, overlooked by the Church Notre Dame de l’Esperance, in Cannes, is transformed into a magical and atmospheric concert venue. Canne’s version of an ‘old town,’ Le Suquet is certainly medieval-looking, with narrow streets, ancient ramparts and a fantastic view across the port. And, in its public square you’ll be delighted to hear the likes of Mozart and Chopin performed by some of the best international and chamber orchestras, and be entertained by dance, theatre and operatic performances, with a different act every night. Established for more than forty years, as far as summer classical music events go, Nuit Musicales de Suquet in Cannes is the place to be.During the day you are spoilt for choice. Walk along the boutique shops and dine at the chic restaurants on La Croisette - you never know who you might bump into on this glamorous strip. Then there’s the famous harbour and small islands just off the coast waiting to be explored. The views from Cannes inland or out at sea are quite breathtaking and no trip to the Cote d’Azur is complete without visiting this jewel on the French Riviera.
The Jazz Juan Festival - the most famous of the festivals in Antibes which takes place each July. This festival has hosted famous jazz musicians including Ray Charles, John Coltrane, and Ell Fitzgerald and it also highlights the work of up and coming jazz artists. Even those who are not usually fans of jazz will appreciate the air of festivity in the city during this event. The only slight drawback, of course, is that its popularity means that the area is terrifically crowded during this time.
Cap d’Ail Jazz Festival. Sun, sea and jazz combine to make a feel-good event at the Cap d’Ail Jazz Festival. And who couldn’t fail to feel good at the Amphitheatre de la Mer. On a warm August evening, with the Mediterranean glittering away in the distance, new and established artists come together to perform a fusion of purist and eclectic jazz. This free event, held over three days, welcomes music lovers on to Plage Marquet, a beautiful beach that slopes gently down to the sea, making it ideal for families. This is just one of Cap d’Ail’s lovely beaches. A town famous for its secluded coves, striking Belle Epoque villas and famous residents, it may only be a stone’s throw from Monaco, but it is a world away from the hustle and bustle. Drawn by the sea, the enchanting beaches and lush vegetation, it’s no surprise the likes of Greta Garbo, Prince Charles and Winston Churchill have graced its shores. Superb views of Italy and the Var coastline, with Monaco as its neighbour, this is one hot address.
Festival des nuits de Robinson – Nights of Robinson Perfectly located between the Massifs of the Esterel mountains and the hilltop village of Tanneron, Mandelieu-La-Napoule is quite stunning. Backed by mountains and looking out over the Med, this attractive town has a small beach and several ports along this stretch of coastline on the Cote d’Azur, making it a lovely place to stroll along. And the little markets in the town centre are quite enticing. If you’re visiting in July and August, make the most of your visit and head over to the delightful Theatre Robinson for the Festival des nuits de Robinson. On the banks of the Siagne River that flows through the Var and Alps Maritime, is this open-air theatre where you can enjoy dance, music and theatre performances under a starry sky. Established and new talent have played here to an excited crowd, and with so much variety on offer, there’s likely to be something to suit your tastes. And, during the day you’re spoilt for choice. Take a boat out to explore the coast and nearby islands, hike through the hills or drive to some pretty illustrious spots along the glamorous French Riviera.
International Firework Festival in Cannes. It’s time to crane your head skyward and prepare to be amazed by the spectacular display of fireworks at the International Fireworks Festival in Cannes. As if the Bay of Cannes wasn’t stunning enough, a fusion of fireworks, choreographed music and lights reflecting off the sea is enough to arouse emotion in any of the 200,000 spectators who gather along the Croisette to see it. Over 6 days in July and August, pyrotechnics from 6 guest countries use the latest technology to create these exceptional firework displays in order to win the beautiful Silver Vestal de Argent. Each spectacle lasts about 25 minutes and you’ll be blown away by the amount of effort that goes into each one. You can also have your say by texting in and voting for your favourite display so one country will be awarded the Prix de Public – the People’s Choice Award. Pick a spot early on, take a picnic and get ready to enjoy the show. And during the day make the most of being in one of the most glamorous cities in the world. Walk along La Croisette, browse in the boutiques and enjoy a coffee at one of the many chic café whilst watching Ferraris and Porsches whizz past.
The Jasmine Festival in Grasse. It may be a small flower, but the heavenly scent of jasmine is hypnotically alluring. And let’s face it, if it’s good enough for iconic perfume Chanel no. 5, who are said to use only jasmine from the protected fields of Grasse, that’s good enough. To celebrate this pretty white flower, Grasse on the French Riviera, throws a delightful festival in August to mark the beginning of the harvest. Honouring this humble flower, which has helped shape the region’s perfume success, there is a lovely parade, flag throwers, firemen and women showering spectators with jasmine water, fireworks and even a public ball. But it’s wandering through the Old Town with its tall houses adorned in flowers where you can see the real charm of Grasse. The festival brings much joy for all the family. As the scent of jasmine floats through the air, children and adults enjoy running around the squares picking up flowers and watching flower-themed puppet shows. If you’d like a break from the festival, but still have perfume on your mind, you could head to Grasse’s International Perfume House. An 18th century mansion, this institution bursts with perfume paraphernalia, rare phials and exotic artefacts used by European aristocracy - indulgent, decadent and inspirational.
Fete Picasso, Vallauris Golfe-Juan. Perfectly located on the Cote d’Azur, the commune known as Vallauris Golfe-Juane, is not only right near Juan Les Pins and Antibes, but also between the illustrious cities of Cannes and Nice. Boasting narrow, sandy beaches, a beautiful port and an interesting town full of galleries and workshops, it is the association with Pablo Picasso, for which it is perhaps most known. When Picasso came to live in Vallauris in 1948 he developed a fascination with ceramics. During his time there he encouraged local artists to embrace ceramics, and re-introduced local pottery traditions that went back as far as the 17th century. Picasso produced over 4000 pieces, working at the Madoura Studios, helping to establish this lovely little town as the pottery capital of the Riviera. It seems only right then that Vallauris Golfe-Juan celebrates its association with Picasso at a festival in his memory. Every second Sunday in August, the Fete Picasso not only presents painting exhibitions, there’s workshops for children – which includes a huge pottery kiln in the open air, street festivities, dancing and candles lit as the sun sets. It’s a wonderful day out for the whole family, and to top it off, a stroll along the sandy beaches, whilst appreciating the stunning Bay of Cannes and Esterel mountains is something special.
Festival of Russian Art. Want to indulge in some Russian culture, without travelling all the way there? Then head to Cannes in August. To celebrate the strong bond between France and Russia, every year a festival is held in honour of Russian art. For five days, classical Russian ballet, symphonic music, arts, crafts and films of famous Russian Directors take place at the Palais des Festivals et des Congress – the very place where the legendary Cannes Film Festival is held. During the day, stroll around the exhibitions, watch music in the square of the Palais, hear film Directors discuss their love of films and let the children take part too. There are activities for everyone.
Menton Music Festival. As much loved for its setting as its music, this classical music festival in France is the oldest, and some would say, the most enchanting. Located right in the heart of the city, in the baroque square of the Parvis de la Basilique Saint-Michel Archange, this is an incredible setting for some of the finest classical voices of our time. Overlooking the pretty port, Mediterranean sea and with the glittering Italian Riviera close by, it’s a sight to behold, and it is no wonder that founder André Böröcz, felt this magnificent spot was made for music. During August, the Menton Music Festival hosts renowned orchestras, celebrated violinists, guitarists and sopranos at this captivating square, to the absolute delight of visitors. Other beauty spots including the Musee Cocteau and the Esplanade Francis Palmero in Menton also take part and host acts.
Festival Pyromelodique - Antibes Firework Festival Fireworks in August – that’s what you’ll see in Antibes. Located on the French Riviera, this really is one of the most stunning places to come and watch an amazing display of cutting-edge fireworks, choreographed perfectly to music. And what better place to settle down and watch the beautiful French Riviera lit up than the long stretch of sand that is Juan Les Pins Beach, or La Brague Beach in Antibes. Skilled pyrotechnics will have you entranced as fireworks explode above your heads in the beautiful clear sky. Make sure you get there early though for the best views. As a free event, spectators from far and wide come to witness this breathtaking display. It really doesn’t get much better than this. And during the day, you’re well-placed to enjoy the best of what the French Riviera has to offer. Antibes is charming. Cobbled streets, a fantastic port, a pretty town adorned with flowers, and an enchanting light that has attracted many artists. It’s no wonder the likes of Picasso and Graham Greene found solace here. And with a glittering nightlife, born out of the jazz era, Juan Les Pins swings into action, making this a truly wonderful holiday destination.
Cannes Yachting Festival. Some say happiness is a day of sailing, then watching the sun set. If that’s the case, the Cannes Yachting Festival will bring a smile to many faces the world over. One of the biggest and longest-running boating shows in Europe, this established event, held every September, certainly draws in the crowds. With almost 500 boats on display, it’s the perfect place for owners, visitors and prospective buyers to come together. There’s even mini sea-trials, offering a ‘buy before you try,’ experience to possible buyers. And who wouldn’t like to sail a yacht in these surroundings. As the impressive boats are lined up at Le Vieux Port, The Port Pierre Canto and the Palais des Festivals – the home of the celebrated Cannes Film Festival, sailing around this bay is nothing short of extraordinary. Yacht lovers and visitors alike are entranced by such a glorious setting. And if a day of sailing is perfectly set off by a sunset, whether you’re on land or sea, this is a magical place to see. Walk along La Croisette for an Instagram-worthy view of the yachts against the glittering Bay of Cannes, whilst enjoying a beautiful meal at one of the city’s finest restaurants or traditional bistros. Whatever you fancy, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
International Festival of Gastronomy, Mougins. France is no stranger to food festivals, but the International Festival of Gastronomy (Les Etoiles de Mougins) in the village of Mougins is something truly special. For three days in September the village comes alive as some of the greatest chefs in the world - many with Michelin stars - come to show off their skills and put on first-class cookery demonstrations. Why here? Over the years Mougins has become known as one of the 'gastronomy capitals' of the French Riviera and a number of top restaurants have opened up in and around the centre, making it a mecca for foodies. With a different theme every year, expect to see competitions including Young Chef, Young Sommelier and Bartender categories. There's workshops, demonstrations, book signings, and the chance to meet some of your food heroes. But, more importantly, you'll get to taste some exceptional cuisine washed down with a cocktail or two from the mixology bar. And don't forget to visit one of the little shops set up as part of the festival to take home a little slice of the French Riviera with you. Mougins is a particularly beautiful medieval village between Cannes and Grasse, and is just a delight to walk around. Art galleries, gourmet restaurants and artisan shops line its narrow streets, and if you're there during this fantastic food festival, all the better.
Feast and Harvest of Chestnuts, St Paul de Vence Autumn in France is heavenly if you’re a food-lover. As the leaves change colour and the harvests begin, the cherished food festivals emerge – one of them being the Chestnut Harvest and Feast in the arty town of St Paul de Vence. This much-loved event in October is a great opportunity for farmers to get together and celebrate the bountiful chestnut and grape harvest. Head for the pretty Place de Gaulle and whilst chestnuts roast on an open fire, take part in many of the tastings, browse the stalls and listen to the musical entertainment. Fancy searching for some yourself? Head out into the countryside on your own chestnut treasure hunt. Still used to make flour, spreads and even ice-cream, there’s more to these mahogany-coloured jewels than you might think!
NOV | DEC
Gastronomy Festival Monaco As if a trip to Monaco isn't exciting enough, when you visit in November you're in for a real treat, as foodies from far and wide gather for the Monte-Carlo Gastronomie festival. For three days you can have your taste-buds tickled and minds opened to an exciting array of the finest European products. From foie gras, truffles, seafood and cheese to Merlots, Rieslings and Champagne, you'll also find kitchenware treasures and gifts to take back, show-off and enjoy. Hosting some of the most prestigious chefs from Monaco and the Cote d'Azur, there's always a fantastic display of culinary skills, with some creating new recipes in front of your eyes. And all this from the iconic region of Monte Carlo, where glamour and gloss oozes from every winding street and hidden square. This is a region where people expect the best, and demand the same from their food. With access to fresh, local produce, restaurants conjure up Mediterranean delights that reflect the traditions of the area, and as expected, seafood is a staple on most menus. So, what better place for the discerning foodie to escape to just before Christmas. The Monaco gastronomy festival is a treat indeed.
Monaco Jazz Festival. Whether you're new to the world of jazz or a seasoned pro, the Monaco Jazz Festival is a treat indeed. Set, every year in one of the most prestigious buildings in Monaco - the Salle Garnier at the Opera de Monte Carlo - the festival gained instant success when it started in 2006, and has grown in popularity ever since. Under the patronage of Prince Albert II, Monte Carlo sees a truly spectacular number of established jazz legends and future stars come together under one roof. And what a roof it is! This magnificent hall, with an illustrious past is a venue that inspires musicians, aficionados and fans alike. And who wouldn't be inspired by some of the great names that have played here: Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Marcus Miller and China Moses to name a few. Monaco has a deep connection to music, and the Monaco Jazz Festival is an experience you'll never forget. The fact that you're in Monaco - home to glamour, style, iconic casinos, fine dining and fast cars - is the cherry on the cake.