Our homes on the Côte d’Azur make summers feel as if they might last forever.


Published On

May 14, 2024

Our homes are well located for a trio of the Riviera’s finest places for a day trip. From shimmering Nice to underwater statues off the coast of Cannes, exploring offers joy galore…

Riviera fun year round

Summer sees festivals all over, from food to jazz, with fellow travellers loving the temperature and atmosphere heating up. All-year-round, the Riviera delivers as a destination, with its winters that feel like the UK’s spring and autumns where your sea dips are still balmy. In winter too, when it’s usually 15C in January. So that’s why we choose homes here which you’ll want to return to. For family trips, we’ve found some real highlights in Cannes, Nice and Grasse.


It’s smaller than Nice but oh-so sparkly in terms of glamour – and that’s not just in May’s film festival week. (Unless you’re attending your own premiere here, we suggest you stay away from the chaos of this week!)

One of our favourite August ethos is ‘live like a local’. For an authentic insider experience, why not contact Cannes Greeters? These are passionate locals who will show you around parts of Cannes you might otherwise miss, parts which maybe don’t get into the guidebooks. This is insider intel.

For a wider view of Cannes than glitz, they might suggest a ferry trip to one of the four little offshore islands, the Lérins. A 15-minute ferry ride takes you to the main two, Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite, and there are around seven trips daily all year round.

Île Sainte-Marguerite: Via ferry from Cannes, this island is full of forests, has 22km of walking trails (including an 8km loop of the coast), and is car free too. Its star attraction and family fun for all you snorkellers, is to head for the north shore. Then snorkel to the Underwater Ecomuseum: This is six artworks, which were sunk in 2021 by Jason deCaires Taylor.

The sight of these huge cement heads on the seabed will stay with you. They’re modelled on local people and the idea is to encourage the community and visitors to care for this fragile environment.

Shopping for your kitchen

The Forville Market open every morning is where to pick up tapenade for back at home. The finest French Med paste – olives, capers, olive oil, garlic and maybe anchovies crushed to be spreadable and paired with apéritif biscuits or vegetable dips. Plus it’s pretty great with a glass of pastis.

Most things are open out of summer season and walking the Croisette on a winter morning, with the Med sparkling and the sky a sharp blue, before a rosé on a terrace bar, is preferable to hugging a hot-water bottle in the UK.


Nice can be reached with a half-hour drive from your August home and this shimmering city is the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Azur. It’s where Matisse called home and has inspired the likes of Chagall and Renoir too. The Old Town provides ample opportunities to meander through daily markets and stop for coffee and pastries at a neighbourhood boulangerie.  People watching along the waterfront is always fun; the Promenade des Anglais - a 7km coastal boulevard that stretches along the edge of the city.

The famous Cours Saleya market  is known for its eye-catching flower stands and this niçois market claims to be the oldest of its kind. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Most locals will take their time choosing and comparing prices and quality of products. Go near to the closing time (usually around 12.30pm) for bargains on fresh produce – and there’s an abundance of it here. For a local staple snack, try socca - a chickpea savoury pancake which originated in Genoa but is now a Nice staple

Eat authentic cuisine nissarde at Chez Davia, opened in 1953. Her grandson Chef Pierre Altobelli continues Davia’s traditions with skills he’s picked up in some of the world’s best kitchens. Courgette flowers, petit farcis (meat-stuffed vegetables) and a silky smooth lemon tart is silky smooth. It’s also great value at €39 for the menu du jour.

Very few tourists know about the Train of Marvels, which runs daily between June and September from Nice to Tende in the southern Alps. It travels via the Mercantour National Park on a hundred-year-old route that gradually winds upwards. You’ll see vertiginous villages and finish in the Valley of Marvels, named for the bronze-age engravings found there.

In winter it becomes the Snow Train (Train des neiges) and runs from the end of January to the end of March on weekends and every day during French school holidays. A  winter wonderland way to spend the day.


Wild swimming and the scent of summer

Less than half an hour’s drive from home is Grasse is a trip for waterpark fans and perfume lovers.

Le Parfum Fragonard

“Perfume making is a lot like composing music,” says the team behind Le Fragonard perfumery, opened in 1926.. On two sites in Grasse, the museums cover the history of which have free tours and workshops on perfumery.  There’s a free game to ‘test your nose’ at the tour end too.

Beneath the perfumeries of Grasse, in thick forest, are the Gorges du Loup. A wonderful water park with numerous cascades, deep pools and some well-known high jumps. From Pont-du-Loup the best pools are 2km upstream along the road (D3), just as the first road tunnel emerges and 300m before the Cascade de Courmes waterfall.The south of France is such a special place, it captures your heart when you’re there and lingers in the mind when you leave. As a holiday home destination, it delivers with style. D’accord?

When you think of the south of France, a classic scene is conjured of a coastline gleaming in the sunshine, a beach full of chic parasols and perhaps pink rosé. It is synonymous with the spirit of summer, yet the region can be enjoyed in so many other ways year-round. Here, we look at some day trips and cities to explore.