Spring Break? You 'Cannes' Count on the Cote D'Azur!

Spring Break? You 'Cannes' Count on the Cote D'Azur!

France's sensational south coast is home to both the glamorous playgrounds of St. Tropez and Cannes and the authentic hilltop villages of Eze and Haut-de-Cagnes. While I was whizzing along the French Riviera in May, it struck me as a perfect time to visit. Here's why...


Avoid the Crowds

July and August is peak season in St. Tropez, which can lead to hoards of tourists, hour-long traffic queues and beaches jam-packed with loungers. Instead, while visiting in spring, I explored the sleepy medieval village of Eze, just a 30 minute traffic-free drive from Nice. Blissfully calm, with whisper-quiet winding alleyways, this 14th century village is perfect for a spot of relaxation. I stayed at the charming Château de la Chèvre d'Or, which is perched on a cliff face with spectacular Amalfi-like views over the sea (but with almost no boats on the water). I felt like I was stepping back in time while wandering along the hilltop without bumping into a single tour group or fellow traveller - utterly dreamy.


Sightsee...Heat Free

Temperatures in July and August can see highs in excess of 30°C, whereas in spring you can expect closer to a cool 20°C - the perfect temperature for exploring. A hidden gem I visited in May is Chateau Le Cagnard, nestled in the authentic village of Haut-de-Cagnes (think Saint Paul de Vence, but more off the beaten track). Love art history? The Renoir museum lies just outside Haut-de-Cagnes. Spend a morning there and then wander back through the cool streets like a 19th century flâneur, arriving back at the hotel in time for lunch on the sun-dappled terrace.


Me' Time

Hotels along the coast are generally less busy around May meaning more space and time to yourself during your visit. I stayed at the contemporary La Reserve Hotel, Spa and Villas, a peaceful oasis in Ramatuelle. Boasting a 1,000 square metre spa with 11 treatment rooms - all with sea views - you'll leave feeling perfectly pampered (FYI, the full body massage is a must)! I had a delicious lunch at their new beach club (La Reserve a la Plage) before relaxing on a free sunbed. For the more active types, try one of their fitness programs or a guided Nordic Walk where you'll hike around the secluded provincial hills and soak up plenty of spring sunshine.