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THE COTE D’AZUR

The luscious strip of coastline in the far south-east corner of France is officially contained within the département of the Alpes-Maritimes. The Côte d’Azur stretches from Théoule-sur-Mer in the west to Menton on France’s border with Italy. Along the way it takes in Cannes, Nice, Antibes and even another country, the principality of Monaco. The mention of such names evokes the sun-drenched and easy-going lifestyle on offer along the French Riviera – the alternative name for the Côte d’Azur. Whatever you call it, the “azure coast” provides all the glitz and glamour you could wish for – as well as beaches, dramatic coastal vistas, medieval villages and untamed wilderness.

Winter is an ideal time to visit, since the crowds of summer disappear by the end of September, yet the warmth and light, which has attracted everyone from aristocrats to Impressionists, remains.