Things to do
FOOD & DRINK
From Michelin stars in Saint-Tropez to local haunts in Alpine villages, expect technical verve, imagination – and a huge side order of passion. Italian and Spanish flavours spill over the borders, and the long coastline fills menus with the freshest seafood. Bouillabaisse – a rich fish soup brimming with the day’s catch – originated in Marseille but can be found in almost every port town. For something lighter, try a platter of Bayonne ham with a glass of cool white wine.
Hugging the coast between Nice and Cassis, the French Riviera is home to many of the region’s best beaches. Relax in utter luxury in a boutique beach club, dozing in the shade of white linen umbrellas. Or discover deserted coves, their crescents of silver sand sheltered by rocky outcrops. With the Mediterranean stretching to the horizon, the aptly named Cote D’Azur (Azure Coast) is simply paradise.
Forming a dramatic border with neighbouring Spain, the Pyrénées is a region ripe for exploring. A dense network of hiking trails lead through lower foothills cloaked in vines, before carving a path through fragrant thyme and broom shrubs. Follow the coast east and you’ll reach Camargue – a wild stretch of ruby-red salt flats, reed marshes and flocks of flamingos. It’s an uncanny landscape, and provides an awe-inspiring escape from the bustle of the Riviera’s resorts.