The French Riviera is among the most visited places on the planet. It’s full of charm, romance, fresh sea breezes, ultimate dining and shopping experiences and a landslide of things to see and do.
Most elite travelers choose to visit these places during the height of the tourist season in the summer, but a luxury fall vacation in Cannes or St. Tropez and other areas of the Cote d’Azur can be just as – perhaps even more – rewarding. There aren’t a plethora of tourists meandering about, the energy is easier and it’s just more peaceful – ideal if you’re looking for a more sedate, restful getaway.
If you have been on the fence about visiting the French Riviera during the off season, perhaps we can help you make up your mind by offering some information on two of the most popular places – Cannes and St. Tropez. Following are some things you can choose to see and do on a fall vacation:
While you’re in Cannes in the less popular months, (incidentally, the temperature is between 17-20C during the day) visiting some areas around the city proper may be a terrific idea. Here they are:
Antibes is a resort town between Cannes and Nice. It’s known for its old town enclosed by 16th century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré overlooking luxury yachts moored at the Port Vauban marina. The forested Cap d’Antibes peninsula, dotted with grand villas, separates Antibes from Juan-les-Pins, a chic resort with buzzing nightlife and the Jazz à Juan music festival. It is also home to Musée Picasso.
Cannes la Bocca is a seven-kilometer coastal sand beach along Boulevard du Midi with Mandelieu La Napoule to the west and Cannes is to the east. The area is much less hectic than Cannes proper and has a distinctly different atmosphere. It is worth a visit to spend time on the glorious beaches where you can grab a bite at one the restaurants on the beach and have a look at several of the area’s nautical clubs.
The famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso called this area home in the 1950s. It was named for its lush greenery, similar to that of California. The Cannes’ affluent have their mansions and estates in this upscale neighborhood, most of which have incredible views of the French Riviera.
“Regal” comes to mind when describing Villa Mischa. Among the most elite of all Cannes luxury accommodations, this residence has eight sumptuous bedrooms for up to 16 guests. A custom levitating hexagonal fireplace offers a division between the lounge and media spaces on one side and the ultra-chic gourmet kitchen and dining areas. Amenities include a sauna, a fully equipped gym, wine cellar, and cinema room. This luxury villa offers no shortage of vantage points for soaking in stunning panoramas of the sea horizon and glittering lights of the city below.
Mougins is a gastronomic and art lovers’ delight. The village, which dates back to Roman times, is where Picasso spent the last years of his life. This small village has an incredible 30 art galleries and a number of fine dining establishments. Mougins is a wonderfully romantic place to have dinner, and just a 15- minute drive up the heights of Cannes.
Super Cannes is found in the hills of Cannes and Golfe Juan. This hotspot has some of the most impressive real estate in Cannes offering some of the most stunning views of Cap d’Antibes and the Lérins Islands. Super Cannes is actually on the hillside above Vallauris.
Vallauris is the center for pottery on the French Riviera. The town stretches along the Côte d’Azur where residents and visitors enjoy a sweeping azure view of the Baie de Cannes. The “Town of Arts and Crafts” offers plenty of cultural entertainment away from its sandy beaches. If you’d like to purchase something beautiful from the area, you need to head to Vallauris for its artisanal pottery.
A private full-day shore excursion from Cannes can be customized to suit your preferences. Visit Nice, Eze, Monaco, and Monte Carlo, or choose to stop at villages and beaches anywhere along the coast. A private shore tour is ideal for first-time visitors to the French Riviera since it gives you a personalized experience and the undivided attention of a knowledgeable guide.
St. Tropez is heaven if you love the outdoors. Even in the fall it can be remarkably comfortable – between 17-20C during the day. Following are a number of fine dining restaurants open in the off season and some things you might enjoy doing:
If you have a yen for an authentic French meal head to Au Caprice Des Deux in the heart of St. Tropez. The restaurant is owned and operated by brother and sister Sonia and Stephane Avelin. The staff is friendly, competent and unassuming. The ambiance is romantic and elegant. Try this off the menu: Fresh spinach salad with parmesan and truffles and on to perfect lamb cuts served with truffle mashed potatoes and vegetables. To conclude, savor the decadent chocolate fondant.
It’s la dolce vita in St. Tropez. Cucina Byblos is just a hop, skip and jump from the legendary Place des Lices on Hotel Byblos’ terrace. Guests will feel like they’re dining on authentic Italian cuisine in a small Italian piazza. The relaxed, warm and colorful atmosphere beckons unhurried dining at its best. Savor a white ham with truffle or let yourself be seduced by the Kristal caviar parmesan cheese wheel.
This restaurant is a veritable culinary blast. La Vague D’Or’s opulence is almost as famous as its three-Michelin-star Chef Arnaud Donckele who combines locally-sourced ingredients in mind-blowing ways. The seven course Balade Epicurienne tasting menu is best enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the ocean. Sommeliers are on hand to perfectly pair wines to cuisine.
Your St. Tropez luxury fall vacation merits staying in the best of St. Tropez’ luxury accommodations and Villa Bellazard, atop the scenic hills of the city overlooking the water, is one of the most elite and private. Just moments away from the city’s fine dining establishments, high-end shops and exciting nightlife, this contemporary residence is the epitome of elegance. Its ultra-luxe interiors offer show-stopping features, while its serene décor is composed of neutral, sultry tones. Nine luxuriously-appointed bedrooms are available to accommodate up to 18 guests. In addition, there is a wine cellar, hammam, gym, massage room and a library to enjoy. Outdoors, you have two pools – one of which is heated, a patio, terrace and dining area.
Soak up a little St. Tropez culture:
This newly-renovated, modern museum is housed in the dungeon of the village Citadel. Learn all about St. Tropez heroes such as Bailli de Suffren, General Allard or Hyppolite Bouchard, as well as thousands of the nameless who served the nation aboard the navy’s vessels or who faced stormy seas aboard merchant ships. Visitors will also broaden their knowledge of St. Tropez by learning about the town's daily life and relationship to the sea, through traditional fishing techniques and its history for the last 500 years.
Galerie Des Lices is the largest gallery in St. Tropez displaying works of some of today’s greatest modern artists. If you’re an art lover looking to expand your collection will have a grand time choosing just the right piece. Perhaps a sculpture by Armand or Cesar, audacious photography by Philippe Shangti or even a piece by the contemporary maestro, Damien Hirst? It will be enjoyable choosing.
At home inside a 16th century chapel, this small museum is a great example of how St. Tropez was an important avant-garde center at the beginning of the 20th century. The Annonciade museum was built in 1922 and houses impressive artwork from 1890 to 1950, including some of the greatest French artists such as Matisse, Derain and Marquet. Artists whose pieces are shown at the museum based their work upon the study of color, light as well as shape.
This museum has many surprises, each one as fun as the last! Visitors can see a replica of a 1960s-era police office, and enter a retro cinema entirely dedicated to the history of the Gendarmes, go along the Nationale 7 (the famous holiday route) riding shotgun in a 2 CV and Simca Aronde, party in St. Tropez, get acquainted with Romy Schneider and Brigitte Bardot in their digs during filming for And God Created Woman (1956) and The Swimming Pool (1968).
A fall vacation to Cannes or St. Tropez – or both – might be just what you need to wind down and reconnect. The autumn months here are less hectic and much more peaceful giving you the precious time to really enjoy things. We invite you to reach out to an LVH client relations professional who will assist you in building your ideal getaway which will not only include the finest luxury accommodations with full services and support, but also include a tailor-made itinerary for you. We understand that time is a priceless commodity and one you relish, so we ensure everything we plan for you to see and do will meet or exceed your every expectation. Just let us know your likes and we will turn them into wonderful experiences creating memories to last a lifetime.