5 secret places on the Cote d'Azur

a house on a rocky coast blue water in the calm sea and small boats sailing

Secret places on the Cote d'Azur - Credit: Evancy

Who has never dreamed of going to the South of France? Provence, the sea, the olive groves, the small villages full of charm... Would you like to visit the French Riviera? Then you've come to the right place! Come away from the crowds and meet the authentic Provence and the France we love so much. We want you to discover the Cote d’Azur as you have never seen it before, far from the hotel complexes and the blinged-out cities like Cannes or St-Tropez. Are you ready? Let's go!  

Let's discover together five secret places on the Cote d'Azur: places you should absolutely discover during your next stay in France! And for those of you who already know the region very well... you will see that you still have lovely places to discover!  

The village of St Paul de Vence

The village of St Paul de Vence - Credit: Evancy

1. Discover Vence, a village not far from Nice  

Staying in Vence is always a good idea! It is a small town located only 20 minutes from Nice. It is a charming and historic town that you will love to discover. It is a little less well known than Saint Paul de Vence which is another village only a few kilometres away. Both are beautiful and it can be interesting to visit them in the same trip or even in the same day. The cobbled streets and fountains are everywhere in Vence and there are many restaurants and terraces to enjoy a coffee or even lunch. Here you are far from the glitter and folklore of the Côte d'Azur, you find yourself in a typically Provençal atmosphere. 

In conclusion: Vence breathes everything you love about French life and Provence: it is the ideal place to stay on the Cote d'Azur, where you can enjoy the tranquillity of the area, a glass of rosé on the terrace and the Mediterranean sun.  

2. Sainte Marguerite Island: a treasure to discover  

Sainte Marguerite Island is located less than a kilometre from the Croisette in Cannes. It is part of the Lérins archipelago. It is a real hidden treasure that must be discovered during a stay on the French Riviera. From the pier in Cannes, it takes only 15 minutes by boat to reach the island. 

After that, there's plenty of time to explore the island's nooks and crannies. You can easily spend a day on the island as there are so many things to do: stroll through the village, go for a walk on the many hiking trails (on foot or by bike, it's up to you!), or simply sit and sunbathe in the creeks. Some will even take advantage of the beauty of the waters of the Lérins Islands to go snorkelling. That's it, you don't need to go to the Caribbean to find turquoise and heavenly waters...  

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On your way back from the island of Sainte Marguerite you can even make a stop in Antibes: its port and old town are worth a visit!  

3. Let's meet at Mala Beach in the Cap D'Ail  

What can you expect when you come here? This beach is one of the most beautiful on the Côte d'Azur even if it’s not as famous as other ones. To get to the Mala beach you will have to take a path that is a little steep but still accessible to most people. And because this place is a little more difficult to access than other beaches, it is still a hidden and preserved place on the French Riviera. 

Here you are far from mass tourism, and you will discover an exceptional spot. You can relax on the beach, swim, and just enjoy the moment. There is even a restaurant on the Mala beach where you can eat. In addition, Cap d'Ail is located less than 5km from Monaco and 20km from Menton.  

house and sea view

Prepare for amazing sea views - Credit: Evancy

4. A preserved nature in the Massif de l'Esterel  

Welcome to the Massif de l'Esterel! You are here between Saint Raphaël and Mandelieu la Napoule and it is the perfect place if you like both nature and proximity to the sea. You will discover many hidden places where you will be able to bathe in all tranquillity. The area is often very busy during the summer months, but there are always nice places to stay. There are also beautiful views to discover: between the rock, the Mediterranean and the trees, the colours are splendid. 

Don't hesitate to discover the treasures of the Côte d'Azur in the off-season: June or September, for example, are perfect months to visit the region.  

5. The regional natural park of the Préalpes Cote d'Azur 

Do you like the mountains? It is always possible to combine a stay on the Côte d'Azur with discoveries at high altitude! Here you will find mountain passes, breathtaking viewpoints, and perched villages. It is possible to do many hikes: some are accessible to most people (to children and elderly people for example) and others require a good physical shape and a minimum of equipment. The good news is that you can discover this national park only one hour from Nice and 2h30 from Marseille. 

Every year, millions of visitors come to the Côte d'Azur to discover the most popular places. But experience your stay in the region in a different way by visiting the places we have mentioned above: believe us, you won't be disappointed! Your stay on the Mediterranean coast is likely to be unforgettable.