Where you should visit…
There are few places in the world with more romance and glamour than the Côte d’Azur. At least, you might think that is the case until you visit Saint-Tropez or Monte Carlo in high season… there is nothing romantic or glamorous about €30 pizzas and drive-through McDonald’s. Unfortunately, much of the French Riviera has been commercialised to within an inch of its life, thanks in part to the glory years of the 1950s jet set, who immortalised this slice of Europe as the place to be. Part of the original attraction of the Côte d’Azur was the mystery and intrigue of this beautiful stretch of coast, with its impossibly blue seas and untouched, cobbled villages. It is still possible to find all this; you just have to look a little harder.
Many would argue the best way to experience the Côte d’Azur is by boat. And they’re right. Think Plein Soleil but more French. A good option would be to sail from the port of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to the paradise island of Porquerolles. Forget Antibes, skip Cannes and Saint-Tropez, and make a beeline for this little island, which the French state bought in the seventies to preserve it from development. There’s not much to do here except relax on the white-sand beaches, the best of which is the Plage de Notre-Dame, mostly because it has the appearance of a remote desert island. It is said that exploring Porquerolles is like perusing the Côte d’Azur of centuries ago, as dense forests, olive trees, lavender and rosemary line the island in place of the expansive mansions and fancy restaurants of nearby resorts. And there’s no McDonald’s in sight.