Nothing captures the essence of luxury quite like a vacation in the French Riviera...
Whether you visit the glamorous halls of Monte Carlo's many designer hotels and casinos, or the idyllic white-sand beaches of St. Tropez, there has never been a better time to tour southern France's premier vacation destinations. With so many incredible sites, destinations, and vistas to cover, a car rental in Monte Carlo is paramount in maximizing your French Riviera road trip potential. With Auto Europe's comprehensive one-way rental offerings, you can pick up a car in Monte Carlo, and drop it off, hassle-free, in St. Tropez - after a multi-day road trip adventure through the Côte d'Azur - without paying additional fees.
Below we have provided a multi-faceted, 4-day itinerary, detailing all the must-see attractions, luxury hotels, fine-dining restaurants, and scenic driving routes throughout the French Riviera. The journey begins in the affluence-soaked streets of Monte Carlo, making stops in Nice and Frejus, on your way to the world renowned sun-soaked beaches of St. Tropez. With such a comprehensive resource at your disposal, the only tough decision you need to make is when to take the trip-of-a-lifetime to the French Riviera.
Monte Carlo Events and Attractions:
Welcome to Monte Carlo! You've just arrived from a long journey overseas, and today, your road trip through the Côte d'Azur begins. Step off the plane into the elite atmosphere of Monaco, a world defined by red-carpet lavishness, and boundless cultural discovery. Beyond the overwhelming presence of VIP backdrops, high-stakes casinos, and fashion house storefronts, Monte Carlo is home to a variety of museums and historically relevant architecture - near perfect venues to satiate the intrinsic thirst for cultural exploration embodied by travelers around the world. An excellent starting hub for your adventure through Monte Carlo is Monaco-Ville - known to the locals as "la rocher" (the rock) - an immaculately maintained medieval village in the heart of the city, navigable via pedestrian walkways leading to and from nearly every major attraction, from the Prince's Palace and Monaco Cathedral, to the Oceanographic Museum Aquarium and Saint Martin Gardens.
Monte Carlo is a well-known location for professional racing, and if you find yourself in Monaco during the months of April or May, be sure to stick around long enough to catch some laps of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, or the classic Monte-Carlo Historic Vehicle Grand Prix. Other notable events include: The Rolex Tennis Masters tournament and Spring Arts Festival in April, the Rose Ball and Opera in March, and the International Circus Festival in January. Regardless of when you start your tour of the French Riviera, Monte Carlo will be alive with vibrant energy, and enough local events to satisfy even the most eager traveler.
Monte Carlo Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Monte Carlo is home to a wide variety of local, national, and ethnic cuisines perfect for the exploratory eater, though regardless of your specific preferences, be sure to save some space for an authentic French culinary endeavor, the preferred cooking of Monaco's social elite. Thanks in part to Monte Carlo's Prince Albert II, whose staunch support of arts and culture has led to an influx of reasonably priced restaurants, bars, and cafes to the city, the age-old adage that Monaco is only for the rich, is quickly fleeting. Monte Carlo's picturesque, Mediterranean beach-front locale makes it an incredibly attractive venue to experience the unique flavor profiles, and culinary concepts embodied by locally-sourced seafood and produce. On the expensive side of things, one stand out restaurant favored by nearly every culinary critic who's ever visited, is Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse at Hôtel De Paris. Le Louis XV is famous for its combination of traditional Mediterranean and experimental "haute" cuisine; it's distinction as the first ever 3-Michelin starred hotel restaurant, and its absolutely legendary wine selection featuring over 600,000 bottles, and over 950 rare vintages. I mean, take a look at their menu...Milk fed lamb cooked in the fireplace with stuffed vegetables, just wow.
In terms of bars and nightlife opportunity in Monte Carlo, the city is more subdued than other popular Côte d'Azur road trip destinations, though what it lacks in party-club vibes, it all but makes up for it with high-roller casinos and live music performances. Most famous by far is the Monte Carlo Casino, featured in the 2006 James Bond Film, Casino Royale. The high-stakes gambling scene reaches its pinnacle in Monte Carlo, a city defined by prestige, luxury, and affluence. Think you got game? No better venue exists to flex your gambling guile than the hallowed grounds of Monte Carlo many elite casinos.
Monte Carlo Hotels & Lodging:
As you may have expected, Monte Carlo is absolutely flushed with amazing hotel options, ranging from affluent yet affordable, to laughably lavish. Conveniently located within walking distance to the Monte Carlo Casino, Opera House, numerous retail offerings, and overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, sits the stoic halls of the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel. For a slightly more affordable option, Forum Hotel in downtown Monte Carlo is an attractive option. Regardless of which lodging establishment you choose, you can be sure that your stay in Monte Carlo will be enjoyable - no hotel is a bad hotel when you're in Monaco.
Monte Carlo Road Trip, Scenic Drives:
As mentioned before, Monaco is famous for its racing scene, from Formula 1 to Rally Cross, and after you drive the roadways, you'll know why. Nestled away in the Alps just outside of Monte Carlo, is the high mountain pass of Col de Turini, famous for being a hairpin-turn laden stage of the Monte Carlo Rally and Tour de France. The Col de Turini begins at a fairly low elevation, weaving upwards through a breathtakingly beautiful expanse of natural Alps-landscape, reaching its peak at an elevation of 4,827 ft. Nothing quite matches the beauty of Col de Turnini, and the sheer number of scenic viewpoints along its path.
Additional French Riviera Road Trip Resources From Auto Europe: Monte Carlo
Nice Events and Attractions:
You've made it to Nice, France, and day 2 of your France road trip in the French Riviera is officially underway! The natural beauty and mild Mediterranean climate of Nice makes it a major vacation destination for travelers from around the world, and the city accommodates accordingly with a variety of exciting attractions and events.
Nice is home to a number of impressive art collections and museums, including Musee Matisee, Musee et Site Archelogoiques de Cimiez, Museum of Asian Art, and Musee Chagall. If you're feeling in a more exploratory mood, eager to escape from the more tourist-y locations, then you're in luck. Tucked away among the many museums, restaurants, and major destinations, is the Nice Old Town (Vieux Nice) - a tightly woven maze of streets and alleys lined with unique architecture, boutique shops, and a daily flower/fruit market. In addition to the cultural-discovery potential of the Old Town, Nice is home to a variety of beaches, though most consist of large and flat stones as opposed to sand, so lounging can be difficult.
Nice Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
If Monte Carlo's nightlife options were too tame for you, you're going to love Nice, and its perfect mix of high-energy dance clubs, cocktail lounges, and hole-in-the-wall bars. Depending on your preferences, Nice has something for everyone. Looking for a champagne bar? What about a classic British Pub? Maybe underground dance music? Check, Check, Check, Nice has it all. As far as restaurant offerings go, Nice is well accommodated for all price ranges, culinary styles, and atmospheres. As expected, Nice's Mediterranean waterfront locale makes fresh seafood an incredibly popular cuisine option, and most menus will offer specials featuring the freshest fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, coming straight from the boats that day.
Nice Hotels & Lodging:
Much like its Nation-State counterpart, Monaco, Nice is full to the brim with hotel opportunities. Whether you prefer to splurge on the waterfront views, and heated rooftop swimming pool of Le Meridien Nice, or save some cash for your travels by staying at the more affordable (though no less accommodating) Apogia, Nice is has something to offer travelers of all styles and interests. Thankfully, the guess work has been taken out of the equation, as Auto Europe offers one of the most comprehensive hotel booking engines, allowing you to compare prices on over 100 hotels in Nice.
Nice Road Trip, Scenic Drives:
France is well known for having some of the best driving roads in the world, and the Côte d'Azur has no shortage of incredible drives. Just outside Nice, and Known as the "most romantic" road in the world, is the Grand Corniche - a series of 3 roads that weave along the coast at varying degrees of altitude, allowing you to choose your preferred vantage point of the crystal Mediterranean waters below. Not only is a drive on the Grand Corniche a beautiful way to spend the day, but also the most efficient method for entering and exiting Nice, making it a prime example of form and function working symbiotically.
Additional French Riviera Road Trip Offerings From Auto Europe: Nice
Frejus Events and Attractions:
Despite being notably smaller than the other destinations on this 4 day journey, Frejus has become something of a travel hot-spot - its blend of well-preserved Roman history and architecture, and quaint seaside resort feel, drawing year round visitors from around the world. One of Frejus' most prominent attractions is the Forum Julii, a network of ancient Roman structures including an amphitheater, aqueducts, and arcades, all exhibiting incredible archeological value and meticulous preservation.
Adjacent to the town, is Port Frejus, a local boat moor surrounded by small-grain sandy beaches, and relaxing opportunities abound. Unlike the flat stone beaches of Nice, the beaches of Frejus are soft, fine sand, perfect for lounging in the sun, playing volleyball, or having a breezy afternoon picnic.
Frejus Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Noticeably more tame than both Monte Carlo and Nice, your stay in Frejus provides an excellent opportunity to take a rest from the lively and wonderfully chaotic evenings you may have experienced in days previous. Not that bars and clubs don't exist, rather, the nightlife scene is hardly developed, and with such a wealth of incredible restaurants and seaside vistas, save the partying for the larger cities, instead basking in the intimate glow of Frejus on the low-key. Like the other destinations on the road trip, the Mediterranean supplies the most prevalent culinary offerings, seafood. Standout restaurants include: L'Amandier, a husband and wife owned/run fine dining restaurant serving traditional French fare, and Merou Ardent, a seaside restaurant famous for its fish dishes, and pleasantly quiet atmosphere.
Frejus Hotels & Lodging:
Part of Frejus' tourism appeal is its quaint, village-feel, without sacrificing easy connectivity to other larger, more populated cities. For this reason, the hotel offerings in Frejus are less abundant than you would find in Nice or Monte Carlo, though equally accommodating and pleasant. If you're looking for luxury lodging, in a convenient location near many sites and attractions, Arena Hotel is an excellent choice. Another good option is the Mercure Thalassa Port Frejus, nestled on the edge of the Mediterranean, and featuring a top-tier restaurant specializing in seafood with a experimental fusion twist.
Frejus Road Trip, Scenic Drives:
Keeping with the theme of scenic seaside cruises, your route from Frejus to St. Tropez is best accomplished along the D559 highway, weaving along the contours and cliff-sides of the Mediterranean coastline, affording savvy drivers with unabashed views of sea below, and access to a number of picturesque hidden vistas. As the D559 makes its final approach to St. Tropez, it follows the edge of the Gulf of St. Tropez, where a number of quaint restaurants and coffee shops overlook the bay - if you're lucky and catch the sun just right, be sure to bask in the warm glow and radiant colors of the light reflecting off the calm gulf waters.
St. Tropez Events and Attractions:
You've finally made it to St. Tropez, and after a multi-day journey through the French Riviera, there is no better location to end your journey than St. Tropez. St. Tropez absolutely breathes relaxation, and the quaint-village energy is instantly palpable, providing visitors with a quiet-yet-engaging locale to rest their travel-weary minds and experience southern France like it was meant to be experienced. A visit to the Musee de l'Annonciade is a must while in St. Tropez, the museum features a stunning collection of post-Impressionist work by Matisse, Derain, Bonnard, among many other modern masters. Set in the western end of the harbor, the Musee de l'Annociade offers patrons distinctive, and breathtaking views of the city and harbor, a perfect place for post-trip photos and introspective reflection of your journey through the Côte d'Azur.
Other in-town attractions include the St. Tropez Polo Club, an internationally recognized venue where the best Polo players gather each July for an international tournament and exhibition. Close by, at the waterfront, myriad shops and boutiques are available, offering a range of commodities, from luxury fashion to fromageries. If you head north, away from the waterfront, the shopping gets noticeably more affordable, and tends to be more relaxed.
St. Tropez Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:
Much like the road-trip starting destination, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez is well known as a playground for the wealthy, and it's distinction of affluence is easily noticeable from the many luxurious nightlife opportunities spread throughout the city. One of the most popular lounge/bars in St. Tropez is White 1921, a swanky club owned by Louis Vuitton, and known for its all-white interior decorations and champagne bottle-service. As a more modest offering - though equally fantastic - is Bagatelle Beach, a restaurant and club sitting directly on the shores of St. Tropez' Pampeolone Beach, offering a newly renovated, posh beach-front dining room, and a series of outdoor-on-the-sand lunch tables - all within ear-shot of in-house DJ's mixing calm, lounge beats to set the mood.
Again, like its other Côte d'Azur counterparts, St. Tropez's restaurant offerings are basically all great, mostly specializing in seafood, and traditional French decadence. Of the many food options in St. Tropez, the most notable seems to be La Vague d'Or, a 3-Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the harbor, and specializing in seasonal fare with the menu changing to accommodate whichever locally-sourced options are available and in-season.
St. Tropez Hotels & Lodging:
As the unofficial capital of chic, St. Tropez's hotel accommodations follow suit, and a number of lavish offerings populate this quaint seaside town. Only a short walk from town center is La Bastide De Saint Tropez, a luxury hotel equipped with all the amenities you could ever imagine, including an outdoor pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant. If you're interested in something a little more affordable, Brise De Mer comes to mind, a swanky hotel featuring on-site bar, restaurant, and other modern amenities including personal ocean-view terraces in almost every room. These are just a few of the many incredible lodging options available in St. Tropez, for further information, or to book one right away, be sure to check out our entire hotel listing.
St. Tropez Road Trip, Scenic Drives:
Day 4 of your French Riviera vacation is coming to a close, but that doesn't necessasarily mean you have to pack up and head home just yet. St. Tropez is a an excellent jump-off point for a continued holiday in France, whether you drive up to Paris, or maybe cruise up the Atlantic coast towards Brittany for another road trip. With a help from Auto Europe's services, from car and GPS rentals, to airfare and hotels, France and the world beyond are open for your own personal vacation exploration. Give us a call at 1-888-223-5555 today, and let one of our expert reservations agents help you plan the European road trip of a lifetime.
Further French Riviera Road Trip Resources From Auto Europe: St. Tropez