Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for the most picturesque exploration the Côte d’Azur has to offer. This captivating journey is more than just a drive, it’s an immersion in the culture, history, and extravagance of the glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix, adding its electrifying touch to the already vibrant atmosphere of the Riviera.
It starts with the rumble of an engine, the one of the car as it launches onto the asphalt ribbon from Nice, a miniature echo of the excitement that reigns in Monaco during Grand Prix season. In the windshield will scroll some of the most beautiful landscapes of France, on three corniche roads heading towards Menton and, beyond, towards Italy. Breathe deeply, you are immersed in the eternal Mediterranean.
Safety first! Corniche roads can be twisty and challenging, so take it slow and savor the experience.
In the rearview mirror, images of some of the greatest films of cinema also unfold. Many directors have chosen these breathtaking landscapes of the Côte d’Azur for their backdrop. Some of France’s most beautiful scenery will flash across the windscreen as you drive along three corniche roads towards Menton and beyond to Italy, where the scents and colours are just around the corner… Welcome to the eternal Mediterranean! Starting with Alfred Hitchcock, who signs the unforgettable car chase of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in “To Catch a Thief” (1954). The cult scene haunts these three roads, which slalom along the coast embraced by the Basse Corniche up to the mountain flanks scarred by the Moyenne, then the Grande Corniche, perched at 400 m altitude.
The journey begins on the quays of Port Lympia, in Nice, where the Basse Corniche (nicknamed “the Basse”) is born. There’s no time to miss the gentle pace of life in this typical district, and the Belle Époque houses are already nestled in the greenery. Architectural extravaganzas, manicured gardens, and disheveled palm trees follow you all the way to Villefranche-sur-Mer, where the terrace of the Mayssa Beach offers a view of the harbor and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Then head to the most beautiful (public) beach on the peninsula, Les Fosses.
+33 4 93 01 75 08
At Paloma Beach, the deckchairs have seen the likes of Matisse and Cocteau, Sean Connery, and Tom Cruise. Each has their heroes, but for all, the same enchantment up to Beaulieu-sur-Mer, this chic resort that watches the cliffs plunge into the sea, as if to embody the name “Alpes-Maritimes.”
Return to Lympia portin Nice, to follow the Nationale 7 and venture onto the Moyenne Corniche. This is also the first “paid holidays” discovering, dazzled, these landscapes suspended between a shimmering sea and a vegetation of the first morning of the world. Plan a full day to savor the beauty of this road.
20 rue du Château
+33 4 93 41 10 30
Èze is not far away, this medieval village clinging like an acrobat to the mountain, where the paved alleys climb to the sky, at least to its exotic garden. Its cacti are reputed, but it is the view of the Côte d’Azur, grandiose, that memory takes away.
The road trip is not over: head for La Turbie, a perched village that marks the return to Nice via the Grande Corniche. Of the three roads, it is the oldest (built under Napoleon I on the trace of the Roman Via Augusta), the highest (400 m altitude), the wildest (protected by a departmental park) and, above all, the best known as it has been filmed: sports events, advertisements…, everyone wants it! It must be said that its panoramas are astonishing: in clear weather, the eye embraces the coastline from San Remo to Saint-Tropez, crowned by the snow-capped peaks of the Mercantour, a paradise for skiers and hikers. Plan another full day to savor the beauty of this road. A true star of the Côte d’Azur!
20 rue Comte de Cessole
06320 La Turbie
+33 4 92 41 51 51
For a gourmet break consider booking at Hostellerie Jérôme, this two-star Michelin Guide restaurant by Bruno and Marion Cirino. For the night, numerous picturesque hotels and bed & breakfasts punctuate the coast.
A true star of the Côte d’Azur! As you arrive at the end of your journey, the excitement of the Monaco Grand Prix still resonates in the air. The rumble of the racing car engines, the excitement of the spectators, and the glory of the winners permeate the atmosphere. This road trip is not just a visual exploration, it’s a dance with history and glamour, a true ode to the Côte d’Azur. With one last look at the shimmering sea, you take away not only memories, but also a piece of the eternal soul of the Mediterranean.