Les Alpes Maritimes
There may only be 30km between Nice and Menton, but this short stretch of coastline packs a powerful punch. Nice, with its atmospheric old town, rich architectural heritage (baroque, belle époque, contemporary), raging nightlife, alfresco cafe life and culinary excellence is a natural queen of the Riviera.
Road-tripping east, the Grande and Moyenne Corniches (coastal roads) mesmerise with panoramic views of the Mediterranean, while the lower Corniche laces the shore with its sandy beaches, pretty fishing villages and fabulous belle époque follies. Monaco elicits mixed reactions: the world’s second-smallest country is a concrete jungle with a glitzy port, its own monarchy, throngs of VIPs and high-octane casino glamour. Yet it’s this very razzmatazz that enthralls, fascinates and entertains. And when you want to make a run for the hills, what better place than the Arrière-Pays Niçois, an unspoilt and tranquil hinterland of stark beauty.