Shopping on Cote d’Azur
It’s no secret that the South of France is an area well known for its acquired taste in luxury living, and when it comes to shopping this affluent region has a real flair for fashion and a lot to offer for shopaholics. Dare to drag yourself away from the alluring arrondissements of Paris’s fashion district and you’ll be rewarded with a sunsoaked shopping haven on Cote d’Azur and when it comes to shopping, the French Riviera does not disappoint. From upmarket department stores like Galeries Lafayette (whose flagship store you’ll find in Paris) to independent art galleries including the Sheun Gallery in Nice, the array of shopping available on Cote d’Azur covers a variety of tastes and, believe it or not, can be tailored to suit all budgets.
Clothing Stores in Nice
Arguably some of the best shopping on Cote d’Azur can be found in Nice, particularly if you’re looking to fill your suitcase with beautiful Provencal fabrics, chic bikinis, and artisan olive oils. This beachfront city is home to over 7,000 shops (including 50 of the world's most prestigious brands), a pedestrianized zone in the city center, and several daily markets where the local talent for artisan goods and homebaked delights are showcased with a bang.
So, where should you start your Nice shopping spree? Make a bee-line for Rue de La Liberte, a pretty street home to iconic French fashion brands including Chanel, Mont Blanc, and Kenzo or head to avenue Jean-Medecin and enjoy the likes of affordable high-street brands including Zara and QuickSilver. Nice is also home to a number of shopping malls and it’s here that you’ll find designer labels and high-street stores rolled into one impressive building. Nice Etoile is one of the larger malls and sits in the center of town and covers four floors while Nice TNL Shopping Center is a mix of fashion stores, grocery outlets, and restaurants.
If you’re looking to purchase a souvenir or two to commemorate your time on the French Riviera, head to the Marche Aux Fleur; the city’s iconic flower market which has served Nice residents since the late 19th century. While flowers might not last your journey home, the homemade olive oils certainly will! Another popular edible gift of choice is chocolate and you’ll find a number of independent chocolatiers down Avenue Notre Dame - we recommended a visit to JP Paci.
Luxury Shopping in Monaco
Monaco is well-known for being a tax haven and a glittering playground popular with the rich and famous, but is shopping in Monaco tax-free? Unless you see a ‘Tax/Duty-Free Shopping’ sign in a store's window you should expect to pay around 20% VAT on goods purchased in Monte Carlo (an area within the Principality of Monaco). While that may come as a slight disappointment, shopping in Monaco is still a popular pastime as the principality is considered to be one of the most exclusive shopping destinations in Europe.
So, where should you go shopping in Monaco? Start at the Golden Circle (the area surrounding Monte Carlo’s casino) where you’ll find designer brands including Hermes, Prada, and Christian Dior. Avenue Monte Carlo, Alleles Lumieres, and Avenue des Beaux-Arts can all be found nearby, each lined with luxury boutiques and high-end brands.
If you prefer the ease of a perusing a shopping mall, head to the Metropole Shopping Monte-Carlo. This sprawling shopping center boasts marble columns, period chandeliers, and offers multi-level shopping. Alternatively, check out One Monte Carlo, a new fashion district home to 24 high-end boutiques.
If you’re shopping for fresh produce, head to Marche de La Condamine on Place d’Armes and stroll around the colorful stalls that are bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’re not in the market for a DIY lunch or a healthy snack, we’d still recommend visiting La Condamine's market as it showcases traditional Mediterranean vendors otherwise unseen in the city.
Shopping in Cannes
If you’ve got money to spend then Cannes with its compact shop-lined streets is the perfect place to splash some cash. La Croisette Cannes is one of the most famous shopping districts in the city and it’s here you’ll find a number of upmarket stores including Rolex and Chanel. The neighboring street of Rue d’Antibes (which runs parallel to the seafront) is a little more affordable and houses high street brands like Faconnable and Zara. You’ll find plenty of cafes and bars lining Rue d’Antibes and Rue Meynadier and in the summer months, you’ll find refreshment pitstops a necessity.
If you’re a serious shopper, the Cannes Shopping Festival is an annual event that lasts around four days of summer and combines the luxury of retail with the indulgent lifestyle of the Cote d’Azur. Not only do some of the country's biggest and best brands come together to showcase the season's fashion hits, but you can also enjoy numerous exhibits and endless fashion parades!
While weeks could be spent delving in and out of French boutiques in Cannes, you might want to explore a little further up the coast and visit the resort town of Antibes. Here you’ll find luxury boutiques selling clothing, jewelry, and shoes - a shopping scene that dominates most of the French Riviera, but head to Antibes Old Town and you can enjoy the delights of independent book shops, browse handmade goods at artisan stores, and peruse French antiques at hidden furniture shops! To get to Antibes, consider taking a private car transfer with FranceRent, or arrive in style by sailing up the coast by boat or yacht.
If your idea of shopping involves strolling down sun soak boulevards, cutting left and right down side streets lined with boutique stores, and venturing to the Old Town to find an off-the-grid artisan store then shopping on Cote d’Azur will please you no end. Whether you're here to splash the cash on luxury labels or you’re looking for the perfect souvenir shop and affordable items, the French Riviera has a little something for every shopper. Also, if there was ever a time to indulge in a personal shopper to revamp your wardrobe then this would be it! Several independent personal shoppers located along the coast offer exclusive services including unique shopping tours and personalized re-styling. To make your Cote d’Azur shopping spree easier, rent a private car from FranceRent and fill the boot with your purchases!
Top activities on Cote d'Azur
The scenic stretch of coastline known as the Cote d’Azur winds its way along France’s south coast from Saint Tropez to Menton, encompassing the chic towns of Cannes, Nice, and Monaco along the way. The area is known as a playground for the rich and famous, and a glamorous holiday destination for those looking to soak up the very best of the French Riviera. When it comes to Cote d’Azur attractions, there are plenty of things to do and places to visit along the coast to keep all character types entertained. Whether you’re exploring Nice’s charming Old Town on a free walking tour, people-watching at Monte Carlo Harbor, or admiring 19th-century art in Cannes, the Cote d’Azur doesn’t disappoint.
Best restaurants on Cote d'Azur - France
Famous for its designer fashion brands, rolling vineyards, and historic monuments, France is a country with a lot to offer but it’s the nation’s gourmet cuisine that draws millions of visitors year after year. French dishes, which are usually full of flavor, made using simple ingredients, and boasting great finesse, have been replicated around the globe by passionate chefs aiming to try their hand at traditional dishes and haute cuisine. Below we’ve looked at some of the best restaurants in the south of France. Whether you’re looking for fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant (France is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world) or hearty French cuisine at an authentic bistro, we’ve covered all dining options to suit every taste in this restaurant guide.
Boat activities on Cote d'Azur - France
The French Riviera, also known as the Cote d'Azur, is found on France's south-east coast and overlooks the glistening Mediterranean Sea. Known for its dazzling sand beaches, upmarket resort towns, and glamorous casinos, the Cote d'Azur has been a popular holiday destination with some of the world's wealthiest travelers since the 18th century. While boutique shops and Michelin-starred restaurants are certainly points of interest on the coast, one of the biggest draws is the array of water-based activities available. From yacht rentals, private boat tours, parasailing excursions, water sport rentals, and jet ski hire, the list of aqua-excursions is endless! Our simple guide to boat rental on the French Riviera takes a look at the different watersports available along the coast and the range of yacht and boat rentals available. After all, no visit to the Cote d'Azur can pass by without a day at sea.
South of France by car
With 71 miles of winding corniche roads, numerous quaint Provincial villages to visit, and endless soft sand beaches to stop at and enjoy some sun-soaking, France’s Cote d’Azur is one of Europe’s dreamiest road trip destinations. Rent a car on the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea and the charm of southern France is at your fingertips! On your Riviera road trip, you’ll wind your way around a variety of landscapes, soak up a diverse range of cultures, and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. After all, there’s no better way to navigate the coast than to do so with the comfort and freedom of your own vehicle.
Nightlife on the French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
The French Riviera is renowned for its glitz and glam appeal, hedonistic summers, and over the top attitude to partying, all of which make it a popular destination with those looking for a lively social scene. Jazz cafes, trendy bars, and glamorous night clubs line the sparkling coast and visitors can choose between splashing the cash at an invite-only beach party or rubbing shoulders with A-listers at one of the best clubs in the world. Whatever your entertainment taste may be, the Cote d’Azur has a little something for everyone.
Events and festivals on French Riviera
The Cote d’Azur is abuzz with glitz and glamour all year round but it’s the summer months that really get the party started on France’s sought-after south coast. Events and festivals are held every month and range from theatre performances and music festivals to cinematography celebrations and yacht races. A-listers, millionaires, and outright party people flock to the shores of the Mediterranean for a summer to remember as seaside towns and secluded beaches become the stomping ground for a summer of fun. Below we take a look at some of the best events and festivals on the Côte d’Azur and provide a handy event guide to help you plan your dream trip.