French Riviera: Top Attractions

Nice, France  (PhotoDisc)
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Oustaù de Baumanière (Provence)
At the foot of the Les Baux de Provence, this 16th- and 17th-century Relais & Châteaux property combines superlative cuisine with extravagant accommodations for the ultimate chic French country experience. The wine cellar features 100,000 bottles from various French wine regions, including a legendary 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pavillac. For something different, partake in a daylong cooking course under the tutelage of a master chef.

Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat (Provence)
Located on 14 acres of lushly manicured grounds on one of the world's most exclusive peninsulas, this stupendous hotel has entertained royals, aristocrats, and the über-wealthy for more than 100 years. The Belle Epoque palace boasts elegant guestrooms and suites with rare marble bathrooms and classic French designs. A fabulous heated seawater pool overlooks the Mediterranean. The innovative "Le Cap" restaurant is a gastronomic extravaganza showcasing dishes from around Provence.

Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc (Cap d'Antibes)
In ultra-ritzy Cap d'Antibes, this legendary hotel is romantic and elegant. Set on 22 secluded acres adjacent to the region's glamorous rocky coastline, Hôtel de Cap boasts fabulous sea views and a heated, seawater pool cut directly into the edge of the dark coastline. Private seaside cabanas are available, along with a staff to serve refreshments right to your easy chair. Guestrooms, some with private terraces, feature French countryside décor.

Hôtel Negresco (Nice)
Lillie Langtry, the long-time mistress of Britain's Edward VII, was one of many notorious figures to slumber in this lavish Nice escape during the Edwardian era. During its Jazz Age heyday, the château-style palace catered to the continent's most elite. Having undergone extensive renovations, it is even more elegant today—the interior resembles a museum, housing exquisite pieces from epic periods in French history.

InterContinental Carlton (Cannes)
The most celebrated hotel in Cannes, the InterContinental is the place to be seen. Middle Eastern princes, A-list celebs, and movie moguls are all regular guests at this luxury palace. The glitz factor is high, rooms emanate class, and a pool, casino, and spa provide entertainment. Boasting panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes, the posh hotel is located on the beautiful "Croisette," one of France's most famous avenues. Hotel staff will indulge your every whim, and privacy is of the utmost importance.

Opera de Nice (Nice)
Constructed in 1885 by the fabled architect Charles Garnier, the Opera de Nice is the Riviera's most important cultural center. Productions focus on serious, grand-old operas—from Verdi's Macbeth to Beethoven's Carmen. The hall also serves as a venue for the Orchestra Philharmonique de Nice as well as large concerts and recitals.
Opera de Nice: +33.4.92.17.40.40, www.opera-nice.org

Opera d'Avignon (Avignon)
Operas, operettas, plays, ballets, and chamber and symphony music are presented year round at this gracious Italian-style theater. First constructed in 1734 and rebuilt after a fire in 1846, its well-balanced production schedule appeals to a wide audience. The theatrical history of beautiful Avignon dates back to the 1700s when the city hosted Moliere's famous troupe.
Opera d'Avignon: +33.4.90.82.23.44, www.avignon.fr/en/tourisme/operaen.php

Cannes Film Festival (Cannes)
For 12 days in May all cinematic eyes focus on Cannes and the world's most exclusive film festival. More than 30,000 producers, stars, directors, distributors, journalists, and other powerfully connected folks flock to Cannes to promote, buy, sell, and review upwards of 2,000 films. Red carpets roll out and flash bulbs exlpode as couture-bedecked stars enter the Palais des Festivals. Festival week is magical, full of glitz and lavish parties.
Cannes Film Festival: +33.4.93.99.04.04, www.festival-cannes.org

Le Thermes Marins (Monte Carlo)
Overlooking the sea, this ultra luxurious spa is the kind of place where you'd expect to (and often do) find European royalty. Swim in the dreamy pool and melt into azure Mediterranean waters before settling into some serious pampering. Treatment regiments are customized, of course, and you can choose programs lasting one day or many. Marine treatments, with ingredients straight from the sea, are its specialty.
Le Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo: +377.92.15.49.46, www.montecarlospa.com

Château de Simone (Aix-en-Provence)
Producing well-respected wines, this beautiful vineyard just north of Aix-en-Provence grows row upon row of grapes that surround the small 18th-century palace. While you cannot tour inside, the exterior and surrounding countryside is postcard perfect. Recent crops of higher-end reds and whites are available for tasting and purchase, but since output is limited (making the varieties that much more exclusive), you'll be limited to purchases of three to 12 bottles.
Château de Simone: +33.4.42.66.92.58, www.chateau-simone.fr

Published: 25 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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