So what is the difference between the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera and Provence? It was confusing, but eventually we sorted it out. The Cote d’Azur in English is The French Riviera. Provence is the short form of the entire region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. There are still all kinds of regions, districts, departments and sub-divisions, all of which seem to overlap.
At any rate, the Cote d’Azur is that area between Cassis and the Italian border (see map below), literally translated as ‘the blue coast’ of the Mediterranean Sea.
The history of the Cote d’Azur goes back forever, and there is extensive information all over the internet if that’s what you’re interested in. Suffice it to say here that habitation goes back to Prehistoric times, over a million years ago. We only mention this because many of the most fascinating sites in France are ancient architectural structures that are still mostly intact, or have been restored.
So put on your floppy hat or your sharp driving hat, your cool sunglasses, put down the top on the convertible, and get ready to wave to the rich and famous as you drive down the incredible views along the coast of the Cote d’Azur.
Aside from thousands of yachts in the harbours of each town, hundreds of expensive shops, and even more expensive cafes, you will see hordes of tourists. There is a good chance that you will also see some famous rich people.
We took the coastal highway to see the most glorious cliff side panoramas, driving through Cassis, Saint-Syr-sur-Mer, Bandol, Toulon, Le Lavandou, Cavalaire-sur-Mer, Saint Tropez, Sainte Maxime, Frejus, Agay, Cannes, Antibes, and Nice.
Here is a slide show of the extravagant views along the Cote d’Azur… (We particularly enjoyed the dramatic panoramas between Saint Raphael and Mandelieu)
Cote D’Azur by Shirley Hollick, Travel To Little Known Places Slidely Slideshow