The Thoughtful Guide To The French Riviera
The French Riviera is home to glistening, azure seas, chic, luxury beachfront hotels and delicious local food: what’s not to like? This most glamourous of European destinations also offers lots of chances to make your break a mindful, low-impact one – read on for our guide to holidaying here sustainably.
WHERE TO STAY
The apex of Riviera luxury, this hotel has been a home-from-home for actors, artists and the jet-set since the 1910s; it was even referenced in F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel Tender is the Night. Order a drink and people-watch by its heated, salt water pool dug into the surrounding rock. The hotel has been certified as a sustainably-run resort by organisation Green Globe for six years in a row.
This Art Deco-era luxury hotel is a Cannes institution, nestled along the town’s famous La Croisette boulevard. It’s won Green Globe recognition for its sourcing of local produce and its work with local children’s charities. Come film festival season, it becomes fully booked by the Hollywood elite.
This chic Air BnB listing dubbed the ‘Red Carpet Apartment’ will set you right in the centre of Cannes. The bright, airy apartment can host up to six guests and the city’s major bus and train stops are just minutes away, should you choose to investigate more of the coast.
WHERE TO EAT
Michelin-starred Elsa in Monaco is a certified 100% organic restaurant with great beach views. Badaboom in Nice is a laidback vegan, organic café, while Tiffany’s Kitchen in Antibes offers imaginative veggie mains.
Organic markets are springing up all over the region. Look out for products labelled ‘bio’ to indicate they’ve been grown without man-made chemicals. Most towns have a market – pick up a baguette, some local charcuterie and a bottle of wine for a classic French meal.
WHAT TO DO
The Riviera is a temple to glamour and seaside pursuits – relax on the beach or take a fishing boat trip along the coastline, before dressing up and ushering in the evening with a cold glass of wine in one the region’s numerous local, family-run seafood restaurants.
Cannes Film Festival takes over the city each May. It’s an industry event, but there are plenty of opportunities to take in evening beach side screenings of classic films and soak up the atmosphere.
By day, get the wind in your hair and explore the Riviera by bike – just like Paris’ Velib system and London’s cycle hire scheme, the cities and towns of the south of France are full of easy-to-borrow bikes. Montpellier, Nice and Avignon all have public (and carbon-free!) bike rentals.
WHAT TO WEAR
A typical South of France summer is hot, dry and sunny. Pack light, glamourous pieces which can transition between beach and restaurant, from brands that are designing mindfully.
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Images: Shutterstock and main image of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc from Oetker Perowne International