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.
Nice Carnival is a bold display of all things theatrical and attracts nearly 1 million visitors every year! The festival is often compared to Brazil’s Rio Carnival and although Nice’s carnival takes place in the winter months, the event still gathers large crowds and puts on quite a show for spectators. This year the theme is ‘King of Fashion’ and you can expect a flashy show of costume, colors, and culture.
When: February 15th - 29th 2020
Fete du Citron
Spread across 15 days and running night and day, the Fete du Citron celebrates the end of winter on the Cote d’Azur and every year thousands of spectators gather to watch the spectacular parade. The parade floats are famously made of lemons and oranges and represent the beginning of spring. The Exhibition of Citrus Patterns, Golden Fruit Parade, and Garden of Lights are festival highlights.
When: February 15th - March 3rd, 2020
Every year in February the small commune of Mandelieu-La Napoule, located just southwest of Cannes, celebrates the Mimosa flower which was first discovered here more than a century ago. Locals gather to celebrate the flowering of the Mimosa and festival highlights include a flower parade, an inaugural event in the chapel, and the election of the Mimosa Queen. The eight-day festival is quite unique and is the perfect way to soak up the local culture.
When: February 19th - 26th 2020
The Festival de Jardins is a garden party that stretches along the French Riviera throughout the month of April every year. In the cities of Cannes, Antibes, Grasse, Menton, and Nice over 200 events are organized and local gardens are elected by the public to be judged for the title of ‘Most Beautiful Garden on the Cote d’Azur’. Visit the coast at this time of year and you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of landscaped and manicured gardens.
When: March 30th - April 28th, 2020
Cannes Film Festival
Dating back to 1946 the Cannes Film Festival is an annual celebration of the big screen and takes a look at some of the best independent productions and international cinematography of the year. Film genres, writing, and production style all come under scrutiny at the festival which brings Hollywood’s elite to the glistening shores of the Cote d’Azur. While the festival is for film professionals only, the general public can enjoy the opening ceremony from the sidelines.
When: May 12th - 23rd 2020
Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix is an annual motor race that takes place at the Circuit de Monaco in the last weekend of May. The acclaimed formula one track is arguably one of the best technical tracks in the world and spectators can watch in awe as their favorite drivers navigate the tight hairpins and winding roads of Monte Carlo.
When: May 24th, 2020
Nice Jazz Festival
The Nice Jazz Festival is a legendary event and one of the oldest celebrations of jazz music in the country. Today the festival is an international gathering of old and new talent and boasts two stages where bands perform late into the evening for five straight days.
When: July 17th - 21st 2020
Jazz a Juan Festival
The Jazz a Juan festival is an annual jazz festival that takes place in Juan-les-Pins a small town on the Riviera. The town is the sister city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and as such the festival is an eclectic mix of both French and New Orleans jazz. Throughout the day, bands parade down the iconic Boulevard Edouard Baudoin past the famous handprints (think Hollywood Walk of Fame) of previous jazz performers.
When: July 9th - 22nd 2020
Dubbed as one of Europe’s biggest beach parties, Plages Electroniques is a summer music festival that takes place over three days in August. Attracting festival-goers from every corner of the globe, the electronic music festival invites guests to dance on La Croisette beach late into the night to a mix of minimal techno and funky house music.
When: August 7th - 9th 2020
Cannes Yachting Festival
The Cannes Yachting Festival is one of the most well-known events on the south coast and every year thousands of spectators gather in Port Pierre Canto to admire million-dollar yachts and witness some of the best sailings in the Mediterranean. The festival, which was founded in 1977, showcases over 600 boats including motor yachts, superyachts, catamarans, and sailing yachts. Make sure you catch one of the in-water shows that take place at both Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto.
When: September 8th - 13th 2020
Whether you want to party on a beach, catch a glimpse of A-listers walking the red carpet, or attend one of the best jazz festivals on the Cote d'Azur, the French Riviera’s events calendar has plenty on offer to suit all tastes. To ensure you have the summer of a lifetime, be sure to book event tickets, flights, transportation, and accommodation well in advance.
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.
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.
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.
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.