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Think of the French Riviera and you’re instantly transported to daydreams of glitz and glamour on the chic beaches of the Cote d’Azur. In the 19th century, artists and writers were drawn to this southeastern corner of France by the warm climate and almost ethereal quality of the Mediterranean light. Then in the 1920s, the hedonism of the Jazz Age arrived, as the likes of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Rudolph Valentino, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein spent lazy days and crazy nights at places like the famous Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, perched atop a hillside in elegant Antibes. Brigitte Bardot sprinkled stardust over St Tropez in the 1950s and the Rolling Stones took decadent debauchery to new heights as they recorded their 1972 album Exile on Main St at the Villa Nellcote in Villefranche-sur-Mer. This glittering stretch of coast is firmly established as a favorite summer playground of the rich and famous where Euro royals, film stars and members of the international jet set go to see and be seen. So go to pose, go for the unutterably romantic scenery, for the gourmet food or for the 25 miles of beaches. But whatever you do, go.
The highlight of the summer season is, of course, the Cannes Film Festival. In early May, Hollywood descends on the city and red carpets are filled with stars sporting their summer finest as the cameras flash non-stop. But colorful parasols line the beaches of the famous Croisette all summer long, drawing an A-list crowd who sit and sip chilled rosé while checking out the competition on the loungers next door.
Further north along the coast is where the Riviera reaches its pinnacle of prestige. The city of Monaco is distinguished by the fact that it is its own Principality, with a royal family that has been the focus of both high romance and terrible tragedy. When Hollywood royalty Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco on April 19, 1956, she became Princess Grace of Monaco, in a fairytale wedding that was one of the most glamorous the world has seen. Sadly, it was also in Monaco that she died in a car crash at the age of 52, in 1982. Visitors can see Monaco Cathedral, where the prince and princess were married, as well as the Royal Palace with its 15th-century frescoes and ornate wood paneling.
Then there’s the lavish Belle Epoque Monte-Carlo Casino – make like James Bond as you try your luck at the roulette tables, martini in hand (shaken, not stirred, of course). In May you can witness the grand spectacle of the Monaco Grand Prix, while the biggest, baddest boats on the ocean sail into Monaco’s harbor for the Monaco Yacht Show in September.
But perhaps you long for something slightly removed from the hustle and bustle as the beautiful people parade past? Follow in the footsteps of Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, who upon inheriting the fortune of her father, the wealthy banker Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, built an exquisite villa in a dreamy setting on the tip of the Cap Ferrat. Today you can visit the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa and Gardens to swoon over its pretty-in-pink façade, Louis XVI furniture, rose garden, and of course the showstopper views.
You want more views? Even deeper peace and quiet? Then follow the winding hillside roads that lead to the village perché of Eze. Perched, as you might imagine, on a steep hilltop high above the Med, the pretty medieval village has views to die for. The narrow cobbled streets are also home to art galleries, boutiques, and a pretty 12th-century church, and there’s an Exotic Garden from which, on a clear day, you can see all the way to St Tropez.
A little inland from the well-worn coastal path is Grasse – a town that can lay claim to the title of perfume capital of the world. Grasse has been synonymous with scents since the 16th century and is still home to a large number of perfumeries, many of which offer guided tours. You’ll also find the International Perfume Museum here, and the Bastide du Parfumeur gardens, where you can wander through swathes of jasmine, tuberose, and lavender as you learn about the growing of fragrant plants in the region.
From Menton in the north to St Tropez in the south we have villas in more than 20 stunning locations on the glamorous Cote d’Azur. With properties sleeping anything from 6 all the way up to 34, there are options for everyone, whatever the occasion.
St Tropez has much to offer, from the charm of its cobbled streets to celeb-spotting and party vibes at Nikki Beach and the famous Club 55. Our St Tropez villas allow for easy access to the town’s charms, or you can choose to stay in and enjoy the considerable delights your vacation rental has to offer. An aquamarine pool is a given, and many of our properties have hot tubs too, so crack open a bottle of champagne and enjoy the bubbles.
If Cannes’ boutiques and beaches call, then one of our Cannes vacation rentals could be just the thing for you. We have a wide selection in this glamorous locale, with both traditional chateau-style architecture and sleek modern styles to tempt you. Ocean views, lush gardens, and sun-bathed loungers await, plus some of our properties offer a private chef ready to prepare the best French cuisine in your own vacation home.
If you want to live like a Rothschild, our villas in Cap Ferrat make a pretty good starting point. Located in the same gorgeously craggy hills as the glamorous Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa you’ll find spacious properties that offer rolling green lawns and seclusion and yet are only minutes from the lively restaurants and shops of the village of Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat. Sleeping anything from 10 to 24, these glamorous vacation rentals offer the perfect opportunity to entertain in high style.