Villa Fiorini - Visits and activities

Tourist information for the Cote d'Azur around Nice, Monaco, Menton and the inland areas

Something for everyone - there is always a place to see, something to do...
Here is just our small personal selection. Don't hesitate to go further with the links provided.
There are also lots of great ideas on the social wall Côte d'Azur Now (FR).
(FR) indicates a site in French, but you can use automatic translation.

Le village de La Turbie

The village of La Turbie and its suroundings

Situated on the former route between the Roman Empire and Gaule, the village has kept its beautiful medieval centre at the foot of the roman monument Le Trophée d'Auguste (see below). The main street is lively at any time of the day, with its many bars, resturants and shops and the traditional street market adds further colour on Thursday mornings. A park on the hillcrest over the valley stretches down to the rocky outcrop of La Tête de Chien above Monaco, whilst the heart of the valley offers wooded walks. A ideal base for exploring the Riviera coast, the lovely towns of Nice et Menton, the principality of Monaco and the inland hills marking the start of the Alps.

Websites :

Visits - history and monuments of La Turbie

Nearby coastal towns and villages

Video of La Turbie

Le Trophée d'Auguste - La Turbie

Le Trophée d'Auguste, La Turbie

On the highest point of the village, overloking the bay of Monaco, Le Trophée d'Auguste is one of the rare roman constructions of this type still visible today. Marking a strategic point on the roman route Via Julia Augusta, it dominates the French Riviera from Nice to the Italian border. The guided tour is recommended in order to have access to the terrace at the summit of the monument - a spectacular view. As well as the monument itself, there is a garden and a museum.

Opening times : Every day except Mondays.

Website : Le Trophée d'Auguste (FR)  |  Visits - history and monuments of La Turbie

Menton vieille ville

The town of Menton

One of the most charming towns of the Cote d'Azur, where your never tire of just strolling around in its unique atmosphere. The daily market is superb, with its beautiful market hall, surrounded by the stalls of the small local producers. The Rue Longue of the old quarter rises from the harbour through a network of tall narrow medieval buildings, amongst vaulted passages and steep flights of steps. Arriving at the summit of the old town you come to the ancient town cemetery offering an exceptional view over the Garavan bay towards Italy. Don't miss the St Michel basilica- breathtaking baroque decor. The yearly Lemon Festival (mid february to mid March) shows stunning constructions and pavilions made from lemons and oranges, on different theme each year, together with a lively carnaval through the town streets.

Websites : Menton  |  Video of Menton  |  Lemon Festival

Eze village

The village of Eze

Set in a unique position on the top of an impressive rock above the sea, this fortified village is a maze of tiny cobbled alleyways. Many art and craft shops and nice little restaurants. At the top of the village there is a cliff-side botanical garden where you can admire the fabulous view. Le village chuche dates from around 1770 and is worth a visit, even just for the novel feature on the pulpit... The gastronomic restaurant "La Chèvre d'Or" has spectacular terraces over the sheer drop to the sea (lunch from €50, open May to September, alfresco diner July- August).

Garden opening times: Every day. 9.00 to 17.00 / 19.00.  NB : The steep walks require a minimum of fitness.

Website : Photos of Eze village  |  Virtual Tour

Vieille ville de Nice

The town of Nice

This lively town is well know for its sea front La Promenade des Anglais, but has many other charms to discover. The old quarter, at the foot of the hill of Mont Baron, offers a unique evening ambiance and an endless choice of restaurants. The lovely square La Place Rosetti with its traditional buildings in yellow and orange limewash, its fountains, flowered balconies and baroque cathedral offers a lovely spot for a coffee break or an ice-cream. The market square Le Cours Saleya is rated as one of the best in France - daily market and and an antique fair on Mondays. There are around twenty museums in the town, including the excellent collections of the works of Matisse et de Chagall. Visit the Palais Lascaris, a remarkable building in genoese style.

One of the major attractions is the world famous Nice Carnaval, (second fortnight of February).  For music lovers there is the  Nice Jazz Festival in July, that was the first of its kind in France, dating back to 1948, as well as the "Crazy Week" - Nice Music Live (FR) for a festival of contemporary musical styles.

Websites : Nice  |  Photos of Nice  |  Video of Nice

La plage de Buse à Cabbé

La plage de Eze-Bord-de-Mer

La plage des Sablettes à Menton

The beaches

Cabbé
Parking at the Cabbé train station below Roquebrune village. A vast pebble beach, often used as a landing area for the paragliding enthusiasts who launch off the rocky summits above the bay - a novel beach distraction! (Check out this VIDEO and see the beach from the air...) Plus the small beach Buse, accessible by a steep flight of steps near the station carpark. With its charming sheltered cove, dotted with rocks, it's excellent for snorkling. There is a bar/restaurant on this beach, "Le Cabanon", which is listed in the Petit Futé guide.

Eze-bord-de-mer
A long beach, half sand, half pebbles, at the foot of some luxury beach-side villas (one owned by Bono). Lifeguard and watersports centre in the summer season. At the eastern end (accessed by the Chemin des Pins) the beach is wider, with a few pine trees for shade whilst around the rocks at the end of the beach naturism is tolerated.

Menton
Pebble beaches and some sand all along the sea front, well protected by rock breakwaters. Many bars and restaurants close at hand. Next to the harbour, at the foot of the old town is the Sablettes beach - gently sloping sand, completely cut off from the waves, so ideal for young children. Beach games and animations in the summer season. Bars and restaurants close by on the quayside.

Larvotto - Monaco
The only beach of Monte-Carlo, just 400m long and with sun-lounger hire at prices that match the reputation. However, a very pretty, well appointed beach including a children's activity area and beach-volley. There is also the small beach Plage du Marquet when leaving the town towards Cap d'Ail.

Mala - Cap d'Ail
A real gem, with its high cliffs surrounding the little cove, its rocky sea bottom and clear turquoise sea. Acces by a long flight of steep steps. The majority of the beach is occupied by the "private" beach of the restaurant, but there is a public area at the end.

Petit Afrique - Beaulieu sur Mer
A picturesque sandy beach with a few pine trees for shade, a children's games area, bars and restaurants nearby.

Villa Ephrussi-Rothschild à St Jean Cap Ferrat

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, St Jean Cap Ferrat

Built on the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsular, this vast italian style villa is one of the most beautiful of the French Riviera. Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild invested most of her fortune in her passion for the arts and the collections of this sumptuous villa. Designed around a spectacular pillared patio, the interior offers rooms kept in their historic style and some lovely collections of furniture and porcelaine. The gardens are fabulous.

Opening times: Every day, 10.00 à 18.00 / 19.00 (You can buy a combined ticket for this and Villa Kerylos)

Website : Villa Ephrassi de Rothschild  |  Video of the gardens

Villa greque à Beaulieu-su-Mer

Greek Villa Kerylos - Beaulieu su Mer

Built at the start of the 1900's, in the Belle Epoque, the Villa Kérylos is a unique reconstruction of an ancient greek home. Designed on the basis of the homes of the nobility of the greek island of Delos, recreating every detail, from the furniture to the mosaics and including a surprising shower. It gives you an excellent appreciation of greek life around 200 BC.

Opening times : Every day, 10.00 à 18.00 / 19.00 (You can buy a combined ticket for this and Villa Ephrussi)

Website : Villa Kerylos  |  Video

Musée océanographique de Monaco

Oceanographic Museum - Monaco

Set on the cliff face of Monaco, it was built over a hundred years ago by Prince Albert 1st, as a palace dedicated to art and science. A interesting mix of old-style museum presentations and collections and state-ot-the-art installations. A fabulous shark pool and a "tactile" pool that children love. Don't miss the roof-top terrace and bar with its superb view over the principality.

Opening times : Every day, 10.00 à 18.00 / 20.00

Website : Oceanographique Museum

La grotte de l'Observatoire à Monaco

Botanical gardens and caves - Monaco

This magnificant garden specialises in cactii and exotic plantes from all over the world. Set along a steep rock face with lovely views over the sea.

The caves of La Grotte de L'Observatoire start at 100m above sea level and offer some beautiful stalagmites, pillars and sheet formations in a series of spectacular chambers.  The visit drops into the rock down 300 steps (a minumum of fitness is needed). The guided visit is included in the ticket for the botanical gardens.

Opening times : Every day, 9.00 à 17.00 / 19.00

Website : Monaco botanical gardens

Le Jardin de Hanbury

The Hanbury gardens

On the sea's edge, just after the Italian border. Vast gardens around an impressive villa, with a huge variety of mediterranean plantes and a collection of citrus trees. Managed by a foundation dedicated to research and conservation.

Opening times : Every day, except Mondays from November to February. 9.30 à 18.00 / 19.00

Website : Hanbury gardens

Le Jardin de Val Rahmeh à Menton

Val Rahmeh gardens - Menton

A majestic property, buit in 1922 by Sir Percy Radcliffe, general of the British army, with a fine collection of rare plants from all over the world, plus a hillside olive grove. A lovely quiet spot amongst luxuriant vegetation, at just a short walk from the Garavan sea front and harbour.

Opening times : 10.00-12.30, 14.00-17.00 from 1st September to 30th April. 10.00-12.30, 15.30-18.30 from 1st May au 31st August. Closed Tuesdays and a few weekends in November and December.

Website : Val Rahmeh gardens (FR)

See also : Maria-Serena gardens  |  Serre de La Madone gardens

Le musée Jean Cocteau à Menton

The Jean Cocteau museum - Menton

Also interesting for its surprising archtecture, the museum houses, amongst others, the Séverin Wunderman collection, covering the whole range of the works of Jean Cocteau. Guided visits, a good bookshop and a nice café. For the Cocteau enthusiasts, you can also visit the Salle des Mariages at the town hall, decorated by Cocteau with impressive frescos.

Opening times : Every day except Tuesdays and some bank holidays. 10.00 to 18.00

Website : Cocteau Museum (FR)

Le Cabanon de Le Corbusier, Roquebrune Cap Martin

Le Cabanon de Le Corbusier

Fans of modern architecture will already of heard of "Le Cabanon", Le Corbusier's world-famous icon of minimalist habitation. Alongside there are the Unités de Camping, designed as a prototype of leisure accommodation, and Eileen Gray's "Maison Bord de Mer E1027". Situated on the coastal path around Cap Martin, the visit can be combined with a lovely walk around the peninsular (see below).

Opening times : Only guided visits, by reservation.

Website : Foundation Cap Moderne (FR)

Le Chemin du Corbusier, entre Menton et Cabbé

Randonnée Fort de la Revère et La Forna

Randonnée autour de St Hospice, St Jean Cap Ferrat

Walks and hiking

The choice is vast - here's just a few of our favourites

Around Cap Martin
The former customs patrol path, now named Le Chemin du Corbusier, offers a spectacular walk from the last beach of Menton round the headland to Buse beach at Cabbé. Rocky creeks, dominated by the exotic vegetation of the grounds of the chic villas above. Some lovely spots to stop and rest under the pine trees with a view towards Monaco. In one place there is a long narrow foot-bridge over the rocks below (might worry some with a fear of heights). 1 hour each way, but you can return in either direction by train ; Cabbé <-> Menton Carnolès. See details (FR)

La Turbie - Le Fort de la Revère / La Forna
Depart directly from the village of La Turbie for a walk of around 2hrs, 220m of ascension. Passing through some ruins from the battles of the 18th century, and with an indredible panoramic view of the mediterranean and inland towards the Alpine foothills. See details of this one (FR), starting from Eze (adaptable to start from the village of La Turbie).

La Turbie - Monaco
From the village of La Turbie, with a magnificent view over the principality, arriving at Monaco below. The ruturn trip can be done by bus. See details (FR) - This gives a departure from Monaco but can be done the opposite way. Or simple take the circuit round the Tete de Chien headland and back to the village.

Other walks starting from the village of La Turbie (FR)
Download the guide (French document)

Around Saint Hospice / Cap Ferrat
Discover the charms of the St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsular, between the prestigious villas and the luxuriant vegetation, and surrounded by the sea. Passing by an impressive 11 metre bronze statue of the Madonna. An easy round trip of around two hours. See details (FR). Whilst in this area, stop off at Villefranche sur Mer to visit the fascinating underground street.

Hiking guide for the area

Website Randoxygène - walks and hiking trails, coast, inland hills and the mountains (FR)

Download the guide to walks in the coastal area (French document)

Le village de Castillon

Le village de Gorbio

Hilltop villages

St Agnès
The highest coastal village in Europe (700m). A charming huddle of typical red-tiled stone houses, leading on to a bar/restaurant with a terrace with an exceptional view towards Menton and the sea. You can visit the ruins of the fort and there are also the 2nd world war underground fortifications that were part of the Maginot line.

Gorbio
Typical of the medieval village of the south coast and probably the most authentic of the area, with its network of cobbled alleys and vaulted passages. The community is well known for its olive production and there is a superb tour to do by car through the surrounding hills, with the endless olive groves.

We should also mention these villages, well worth a visit ; Castellar, Castillon, Monti, Peille, Peillon

See more information on nearby towns and villages

La ville de Grasse

Perfumeries

At Eze village you will find the two well known perfumeries of Fragonard and Molinard. Or you can go to the famous perfume capital of France at Grasse (under an hour from La Turbie). There you will be able to have a guided tour of the production process for these parfumeries and also for Galimard.

Websites : Fragonard  |   Molinard  |  Galimard

La ville de Vence

St Paul de Vence  and  Vence

At under an hour from La Turbie you will find these two places to visit, emblematic of "Provence".
St Paul de Vence is linked with the names of many renowned artists and the charming streets offer a large number of galleries. There are also several museums, including the Maeght foundation, where Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder and Fernand Léger benefited from an ideal creative environement. The old quarter of the village is surrounded by fortifications dating from the 14th to 16th centuries and the picturesque Place de la Fontaine has been a prized subject for many photographers.
The medieval city of Vence is full of authenticity and has some superb monuments within the 13th century city walls. One can mention the cathedral of Notre Dame de la Nativité, the many fountains, including La Fontaine de Peyra, and a number of historic chapels. There is also the town museum to visit, the Emile Hugues foundation, dedicated to modern art, as well as La Chapelle du Rosaire, designed and decorated by Henri Matisse - an artistic marvel, that the painter himself considered to be his greatest achievment.

Websites : St Paul de Vence  |   Vence

Breil sur Roya

The Roya valley

At the the start of the ascension from the Riviera coast into the foothills of the Alps, the Roya valley is a marvelous panorama of gorges and hills dotted with authentic villages.

Breil sur Roya, set in a meander of the river, is symbolic of these villages of the Alpes-Maritimes and in the past it boasted 40 000 olive trees and 9 oil mills. An attractive architecture, with its facades painted in trompe-l'oeil, its multi-coloured enamelled roof tiles and its roofs in rough-cut stone "lauzes". There are vestiges of its past as the frontier post of the Comté de Nice with ramparts and watchtowers. Some excellent hiking trails around the surrounding hills.

In a more untamed region, the village of Saorge has its buildings gripping onto the abrupt slopes above the Roya river. A fine example of medieval know-how, using the inhospitable terrain to create an unattackable site as one of the key defenses of the Roya valley. Classed and protected as a Monument Village, it is reputed to be one of the 40 most beautiful villages of France.

Along the Roya valley, other than the hiking trails in different grades of difficulty, you will find a variety of sports - including canyoning, rafting, climbing, paragliding and caving.

Websites : Breil sur Roya (FR)  |  Saorge (FR) | Video of Saorge

Le village de Bormes les Mimosas

Port Grimaud

Le port de St Tropez

The Var coast

Bormes les Mimosas
A large commune stretching from the start of the Massif des Maures down to the sea, with some of the nicest beaches of the Cote d'Azur, some excellent vineyards and the famous Fort de Brégançon, the summer residence of the French presidents. A pretty medieval village offering craft workshops and an art museum amongst the charming streets and squares. The surrounding Mimosa orchards provide a spectacular backdrop in the flowering season between December and March.
See the website of Bormes les Mimosas (FR).

Le Lavandou
This authentic mediterranean fishing port is facing the islands of Levant and Port-Cros and has 12 km of fine sandy beaches. Known for its lovely provencal market and with some attractive walks through the surrounding area.
See the website of Le Lavandou (FR).

Port Grimaud
This surprising canal-based village in the bay of Saint Tropez was conceived by the architect François Spoerry around 1966 but with a traditional architectural style. Port Grimaud has the particularity of being arranged in tenant management, looking after the preservation and maintenance of the site. The heart of the village is open to visitors and is entirely pedestrian, having a vast parking just outside. You can stroll along the canals or hire an electric boat to explore the whole village. It's worth climbing to the top of the church tower for a nice overall view.
See the website of Port Grimaud (FR)  |  Video

St Tropez
This emblematic village of the Var coast has retained a lot of its authenticity, despite the jet-set influence and the unbelievable yachts that fill the tiny port. The citadel and museum on the hill overlooking the village are well worth a visit. Tip : Carry on past the well-known bars of the port, to the end of the keyside, just by the foot of the Tour du Portalet - the last resturant is excellent and great value for money.
See the website of St Tropez  |  Video

A few more links for further tourist infomation on the area :

About France - French Riviera

Trip Advisor top visits and activities

French Riviera Tourism