Our Guide to Living the Celebrity High Life on the French Riviera
When one superyacht just isn't enough...
The French Riviera has always been the playground of the rich and famous.
Back in the good old days, the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his socialite wife Zelda (not the video game character), hard man novelist Ernest Hemingway, painter Pablo Picasso, and broadway star Cole Porter all used to chill together in the beach side hotels and villas, sipping cocktails, whilst indulging in some subtle, ‘anything goes’ alcohol induced whoopee.
Whilst the south of France still gets super busy during the summer, and remains a popular indulgence for the Gigi Hadid’s and Brad Pitt’s of the world, it’s also a perfect destination for those in search of sun, sand and of course, glamour - without the crowds, and for much less cash.
First, Anchor the Yacht at Antibes
Nestled between Cannes and Nice on the Cote d’Azur, the harbour at Antibes is home to hefty multi-million dollar yachts, potential trillionaire business owners and occasionally Beyonce’s husband.
Yet away from the billionaires’ boats, you’ll find a quaint old town, enclosed by 16th century castle walls and some great boutique hotels and lively restaurants - making it a good base for those wishing to copy the swanky lives of the wealthy aristocracy. How posh.
Hideout On Private Beaches
The forested Cap d’Antibes peninsula provides lush greenery and spectacular, secluded sunny beaches, ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
Here you’ll find the newly refurbished Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel, which not only has a Michelin starred restaurant onsite, but also boasts its own private beach, an infinity pool, scorching sun terraces and shady gardens - so lie back, order a cocktail and pray you aren’t being snapped by the local paparazzi.
Saunter Through A Medieval Town
Although bustling on market days, the palm-fringed old town of Antibes is super chilled and packed with cozy street cafes and bars. Grab a coffee and a gluten-free cake at Choopy’s Cupcakes and Coffee Shop and then make your way to the Musee Picasso in Chateau Grimaldi, to indulge in some of the world’s greatest ever paintings by a true GOAT.
Next up is the Instagram-friendly Fort Carre; a star-shaped fort set in beautiful gardens with impressive views of the surrounding beaches and the distant alps. Or you can max' the relaxin at Plage de la Garoupe, a popular haunt for sun-seeking locals and tourists alike. For lunch, be sure to drop by a local food hut like Chez Josy for a pan bagnat (french egg sandwich) and excellent pommes frites (chips, obvs).
Yes You Cannes
Jump on your yacht for a short sail - or should we say, short drive in your hire car - to the infamous town of Cannes, famed for its film festivals and general bourgeois lifestyle. Walk around the harbour with your phone on mega-zoom, trying to spot exactly which celebs are partying hard on the several mega-yachts. If you’re lucky, you may be even be able to boat-crash a party, legendary.
Grin And Bare It All
Another essential hot spot along the Cote D’azur is Saint Tropez and the iconic, Tahiti Beach. Since the 50s, this 5 km stretch of sand is the place to be seen at but be warned, part of this coastline is 'clothing optional' (aka nude) so be prepared to bare all when mixing with the celebrity elite and bronzed locals.
Roadtrip in the Ultimate Sports Cars
If being nude in public isn’t your thing, then cruising through some of the world’s most beautiful roads in some of the world’s most beautiful cars may well be. On the many short road trips, the roads open up and you’ll be winding your way through spectacular mountain vistas and sea views.
This really is a driver’s paradise and once you’re behind the wheel, with the wind in your hair you’ll begin to appreciate why this part of the world is home to so many of the rich and famous.
Depending on your time and budget, we’d recommend these super glamorous road-trip destinations.
Saint Tropez to Plage de Pampelonne
Saint Tropez and the famous Plage de Pampelonne beach may have changed a bit since Brigitte Bardot used to tan here, but you can still find room on the public stretches of sand that nestle in between the 27 private beach clubs (Le Club 55 is the one to be seen in) if your credit card can handle it.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is just a few miles up the road from Nice and is a more relaxed alternative to it’s bustling neighbour. To keep things sophisticated, check out Plage de Passable for a sun lounger and exquisite seafood right on the beach, that’s more like it.
An iconic stretch of coast, notorious for its elite, extravagant spots, but it’s still doable on a budget. Hit Paloma Plage to hang out with locals at the Paloma Beach Club. When you’re ready to cool off, make your way on the public footpath around Paloma Point and dive off the rocks into the crystal clear waters of the Med.
When the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel aren’t speeding down them, the most iconic racing circuit ever is actually a series of public roads. With a little help from a map, navigate your way round this racetrack, reliving some of the most classic moments in motorsport history. You just won’t be able to time a lap, speeding is illegal remember!
No, not the naughty deer chasing dog Fenton, this is the pretty harbour town of Menton, the last French city before the Italian border. Set between the mountains and the Mediterranean and featuring perfect pastel-hued houses that spill down the hillside to the sea, this is yet another Insta-friendly seaside town.
If your new found jealousy of the glitterati doesn’t leave a sour taste in your mouth, maybe the Lemon Festival they host here in february will, who knew?
MTV Travelled With… Ford. We drove the Ford Mustang Bullitt 2018 for our stay 3 night stay. A tasteful homage to the original Mustang with a top speed of over 160mph and 0-62 in under five seconds, it’s difficult to find a car that’s more fun to drive on the open roads of the French Riviera. Prices start at £48,145.