My heart sings when I think of the beautiful places on the Côte d’Azur. Perhaps because I spent many childhood summers in St. Tropez and Port Grimaud, the language sounds like music to my ears and the view of the bay is balm for my soul.
If you’re thinking of exploring the region, here are the most beautiful places on the Cote d’Azur to visit.
Here’s a quick summary:
6 of the most beautiful places on the Cote d’Azur
Don’t forget to add a few of these places on the Cote d’Azur to your French Riviera itinerary.
Also check out: Best Things to do in Nice, France
1. Prairies de la Mer
There is a special magic that emanates from the tranquil place by the sea that I made the hub of my week-long discovery tour on the Cote d’Azur: The “Prairies de la Mer,” a Polynesian-style village of wooden huts.
I start the day here with my feet in the sand, I end the day here with my feet in the sand. I watch the sun sink slowly into the horizon, bathing everything in an orange-red light.
Dutch, French and Germans like to vacation in this village, which has 2 other offshoots on the famous beach of Pampelonne – the “Kontiki” and the “Toison d’Or“, which all together belong to the Riviera Villages. While the beach of Pampelonne has more of a “see and be seen” feel to it, the “Prairies de la Mer” is located right next to the lagoon town of Port Grimaud, designed by architect Francoise Spoerry in the Provençal-Mediterranean style and built from 1966.
Prairies de la Mer offers a meter-long sandy beach with water sports facilities, a large boating area, a spa, a children’s and teenagers’ area, shops and supermarkets, wonderful cafés, bars and restaurants, a show stage with evening concerts, tennis, paddle and volleyball courts, a fitness area, a pony club and bicycle rentals.
Even pets are welcome in this friendly and fun village.
2. Port Grimaud
Port Grimaud is one of my favorite childhood places in the Cote d’Azur because it’s small, colorful, sheltered from wind and waves, like Venice surrounded by water and a dream for every sailor’s heart. Because its architecture offers almost every inhabitant a dock for a boat right in front of the door.
Restaurants and ice cream parlors, a twice-weekly market on the village square and many small shops invite you to stroll and shop. Touristy, yes, I admit! But touristy with charm!
Especially in the evening and at night, the lagoon city with its bridges and boats is really fabulous.
A small runs between the vacation village of Prairies de la Mer and the mountain village of Grimaud six times a day.
Grimaud is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. Strolling here gives insight into the French way of life. Above all, the lavender fields around the village, the Romanesque churches and the ruined castle that towers over the village have a charm all on their own.
Beautiful and original with its cobbled and winding streets, Ramatuelle is also beautiful.
Located just a few kilometers from Port Grimaud and St. Tropez, this small town offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
From the linden tree, you enter the old town through an archway. There, you will be greeted by the most famous pâtisserie of the place, the café “La Tarte Tropezienne“. The famous Tarte Tropezienne, which looks like an oversized Berliner or Krebbel, is a “must” and a real treat in every imaginable flavor and size.
The morning is the best time to explore Ramatuelle, because at 11 o’clock the winding streets with their pastel-colored houses are still deserted.
5. Plage de Pampelonne
From Ramatuelle, it’s worth going to the Plage de Pampelonne. With its fine white sand and turquoise water, it gives a real Caribbean feeling.
Since the 1950s, the rich and beautiful of the world have flocked here, as well as anyone else who loves sun, sand and sea.
Plage de Pampelonne is one of the largest and most popular beaches of the Cote d’Azur – stretching for 5 kilometers. In addition to the holiday villages of Kontiki and Toison d’Or, you’ll also find well-known beach clubs such as “Club 55,” which offers sun loungers and beach life on the beach, or a little further away from the sea under pine trees for shady hours in the restaurant.
Although you might not expect it, there are still parking spaces available at lunchtime, just a few minutes walk from the beach. Parking at des Barraques is especially recommended. It is very close to Nikki Beach and Verde Beach.
A visit to Verde Beach is not only a treat for the stomach, but also for the eyes. It looks a bit like a movie set when the rich and beautiful arrive on boats at 1:30 a.m., causing a few waiters to secretly roll their eyes when tables are requested to be moved for the fourth time or shifted a few centimeters.
6. St. Tropez
From Port Grimaud, you can reach St. Tropez by boat every 1 hour in spring and fall and every half hour in summer from the Capitainerie.
Be careful, the return trip is much more difficult. Rather than choosing to return via the “Vieux Port,” go directly to the new “Estacade Port.” That way, you can avoid waiting in long lines in the blazing heat.
Gastronomically and in terms of the variety of shops, St. Tropez offers everything a vacationer’s heart desires. The market with its flowers and many handmade products, soaps, wood carvings and food is also an experience.
When there is no market on the Place de Lices. Instead, the famous French game of pétanque is played under the large plane trees, and the restaurants around the market square offer hearty meals.
Rue Georges Clemenceau is also home to one of the famous cafés, “La Tarte Tropezienne“. Not only are the cakes to die for, but being a customer there made me feel like a queen. With so much time, patience, leisure and love I have never had a cake wrapped for me and I still thank you for this great gesture of appreciation!
Even if you know that the restaurants in the harbor are often tourist traps, the little Italian corner restaurant “Sicilia” on the first line of the harbor is magical, and the pizza is super delicious!
But of course, there are many other wonderful gastronomic experiences awaiting visitors to Saint-Tropez once they climb the hill.
Parachuting in St. Tropez
A highlight in the truest sense of the word is parachuting into the Gulf of St. Tropez. Right on the beach of Port Grimaud, in front of the Club Prairies de la Mer, Riviera Water Sports offers single, tandem or even triple flights, in addition to many other water sports activities.
A rubber dinghy will take you directly to the parachute boat, where you will be equipped with a Go-Pro on a selfie stick and, after a little more than 15 minutes at a dizzying height – 100 meters are enough – you will be gently pulled back to the rear platform of the boat.
Seeing the white boats as small as pinheads in the middle of the blue sea and the view over the hills around the gulf was really something unforgettable.
I have been to the Cote d’Azur so many times, to a seaside campsite, a hotel or a club resort, but one thing is absolutely certain:
I will return to this special place many times, because for me, it is the melody of happiness.