Channel your inner film star and follow the red carpet from Monaco to Marseille


Nestled on the French Riviera, Monaco is a glamorous microstate renowned for its opulent coastal setting. Surrounded by France on three sides, it’s close to Nice and the Italian border. 

Along with the 12th century Prince’s Palace, Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, and the iconic Formula 1 Grand Prix, held every year in Spring, the city’s Casino de Monte-Carlo has been a playground for affluent vacationers since the 19th century. Historic venues such as Hôtel de Paris and Casino de Monte-Carlo exude grandeur, attracting celebrities such as Grace Kelly, Naomi Campbell and Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s no surprise that Monaco has featured in movies such as the 1955 hit To Catch a Thief and the 1995 James Bond GoldenEye, adding cinematic allure to its real-life charm.


Just 13 miles west of Monaco, Nice is the epitome of the Côte d’Azur.  The picturesque coastal city is best known for Promenade des Anglais, a four-mile pathway framed by palm trees that curves around a crescent-shaped bay. A magnet for artists such as Matisse and Matisse, as well as celebrities including the Irish U2 singer Bono and the British legend Elton John, historic hotels such as the five-star Le Negresco showcase Belle Époque elegance, while the Old Town comes alive with locals at its lively markets. Make time to explore the Marc Chagall National Museum and to walk up Castle Hill, home to an 18th century fort. Later, unwind on the beach and indulge in local dishes such as socca, a griddled pancake made from chickpea flour paired with a local red wine such as Château de Bellet.


Just 16 miles southwest along the French Riviera from Nice, Cannes is a vibrant beachside city that epitomizes sophistication. International filmmakers and screen stars visit every May for its prestigious film festival, but if you miss this cinematic extravaganza there’s plenty to experience all year round. 

Historic hotels such as the InterContinental Carlton add to the city’s appeal, having hosted numerous stars over the years. Other attractions include La Croisette boulevard and the farmers’ market Marche Forville. Browse upscale boutiques in the cobbled Old Town, or take a boat tour around Lérins, four nearby islands that are home to tranquil coves green with pine and eucalyptus forests.


Like Cannes, Saint-Tropez exudes Mediterranean charm. Just 45 miles west of its film star sister, this sun-kissed town has been a magnet for celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, who filmed the 1955 box office success And God Created Woman here. 

Pastel-hued homes shaded by shutters, superyachts bobbing in the marina and pavement cafés that glow golden after dusk attract visitors to the city year after year. 

Treat yourself to a stay in a historical venue such as the five-star Hôtel Byblos. During the day, take in the sun on the three-mile Pampelonne Beach or explore the town’s cultural attractions – notably the citadel and Musée de l’Annonciade, a gallery inside a 16th century former chapel. You can also peruse luxury boutiques, stock up on pastries, cheese and charcuterie at Place des Lices market or sample the city’s vibrant nightlife.


Marseille, a two-hour drive west of Saint-Tropez, marks the final stop on our south of France adventure. 

Crowned by the landmark Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde overlooking the city, Marseille is known for its rich maritime history and picturesque port. History buffs may wish to stay at the InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu. With foundations dating back to the 12th century, today the hotel showcases the city’s blend of tradition and modernity. 

With a few days to spare, you will have plenty of time to explore the city, which formed a backdrop to the 1971 action thriller film The French Connection. Photograph landmarks such as the green and white striped Cathédrale La Major, learn about Mediterranean culture through the ceramics, silver jewelry and photographs at the MuCEM museum, explore the island fortress Château d’If, and kayak in turquoise waters in the nearby Calanques National Park. After a day out, you’ll be ready for dinner – and you’re in the perfect spot to try marinated mussels or a black olive tart pissaladière, saving space for another local speciality, the almond-flavored shell-shaped sponge cakes known as madeleines.

Let our experts at Travel Leaders 365 arrange your dream vacation in the south of France.

Image Credits: Monaco by Damiano Mariotti © Shutterstock; View of Place Massena in Nice by Dzyuba © Shutterstock; Cannes harbour view by saiko3p © Shutterstock; Saint-Tropez by proslgn © Shutterstock; Marseille harbour at night by vichie81 © Shutterstock.

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