Everyone knows the French Riviera (aka the Côte d’Azur) as the perennial playground of the rich and famous in France, hosting everyone from British royalty to Hollywood’s biggest egos on its silvery sand beaches. Certainly, as someone who grew in the more modest Loire Valley, I had always viewed the glamor, privilege, and extravagance of the French Riviera as far removed from the reality of everyday life.
It was only when I took a trip there for myself that I discovered its secret. No, not that the sea is still warm enough in October for a moonlit dip, although that was a nice surprise, too. The key, I learned, is to get away from the big resorts and delve a little deeper into the region. That’s where you’ll find the most beautiful and authentically French places -- perhaps at the bottom of a mountain gorge, or in a centuries-old hilltop village square. To find a hidden gem, you just have to know where to look.
Here are the best places to visit in the French Riviera on your next trip or vacation: