Discover the French Riviera

K.T. Abdurabb I Arab News
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2009-06-10 03:00

A JOURNEY from the glamorous Cannes to the natural Nice through serene Monaco — the French Riviera is a magnificent place to visit with notable attractions. Côte d’Azur, known in English as the French Riviera, has more than 1,500 events in summer. The carnival is the most important in winter. In addition, it has mountains, sunshine and the sea within an hour’s drive.

The French Riviera receives thousands of visitors each year. According to a top Cannes tourism official, Nice-Côte d’Azur International Airport saw a passage of more than 10 million travelers last year. It is a legendary destination with close links in and out of the lives of great painters, sculptors, architects, actors, dancers, fashion designers and musicians since the end of the 19th century. Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, Cocteau, Leger, Folon, Hartung, Fitzgerald, Eiffel, Garnier and Le Corbusier all left their mark on the Riviera along with an unbelievable number of films and stage actors. Absolute serenity of the sky and low rainfall increases its scope as a tourist destination. Cannes, a beautiful city known for its film festival, is a symbol of wealth, splendor, history and greenery, but sadly is poorly known. On the heights of Cannes old Town, occupying what remains of the medieval castle of the monks of Lerins, the Musee De La Castre overlooks the bay and the island of Lerins. It has four museums — Musée de La Castre, Espace Miramar, Musée De La Mer and La Malmaison. All give a glimpse to the past.

It is a town of festivals, major conferences, exhibitions and trade shows. The city has succeeded in developing a range of delightful public entertainment and leisure activities, and colorful festivities. Diverse shopping, splendid dining and lovely art-deco façades are the main facets here.

The Palais Des Festival, a games show that happens for a week in February and March, opens its doors to more than 80,000 people. In June they hold the Horse Festival, which continues for 10 days. During these days, Cannes becomes the European capital of high-level equestrian sport. Classical music is at the top in July. Mid September’s a five-day boat show ends with the famous Royal Regatta. Greater Nice encompasses the sea with the International Reserve for Marine Mammals, as well as mountains with their protected flora and fauna. We can dive with dolphins and follow the last wolves in the French Alps in the huge Mercantour Park. Trees, shrubs, bushes and flowers, over 2,000 plant species, have been identified out of the 4,200 known in France.

With a breathtaking natural setting, Nice also has several festivals like jazz, classical, baroque, mediaeval, scared, contemporary and world music. All these genres come together all summer on the Riviera. About 1,000 cultural festive and sporting events are scheduled here every year.

Cannes has 34 beaches where tourists relax in royal blue chairs lining the shore.

Cours Saleya Flower Market, the Matisse Museum, ancient Roman ruins, the Russian Cathedral and its several historic buildings will be valuable for any visitor to Old Nice.

Cours Saleya is one of the liveliest parts of Old Nice and its edges are lined with cafés and souvenir shops. The vast Matisse museum shows Matisse’s works from his more traditional early days to the end of his career. There are numerous restaurants in the area, as well as nightclubs. The Russian Cathedral, traditional Russian onion towers in the background, and the tropical palm trees in the foreground is just one of many Russian attractions in the city.

Other most visited sights here are the Picasso Museum, Foundation Maegth, Changll Museum, Monaco Exotic Garden, Jean Cap and Ferrat Zoo.

When we drive from Nice to Monaco, enjoying greenery, we can see a number of villas and mansions that cost from five million euros to 500 million euros.

Getting there: Emirates operates two daily flights to Paris CDG from the Gulf with attractive holiday packages ( ) in collaboration with different hotels including Sofitel Le Faubourg, Le Meridien Etoile in Paris.

Emirates has five weekly flights to Nice and offers holiday package tours. Radisson SAS ( in Nice and Martinez Hotel ( and The Grand ( in Cannes are located in front of beaches and have excellent facilities.

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