in the middle
From the rugged calanques (inlets) of Marseille to the Ferrari-spotted streets of Monaco, the palatial promenades of Nice to the blooming flower beds of Gassin, there's hardly a moment of respite for the wide-eyed traveller on the French Riviera. Famed for its handsome beauty, the region has long been a magnet for jet setters and their swanky yachts. Take St Tropez, where jewels jangle in the boutiques and cocktails slosh along the sea. Take Cannes and its star-studded film festival, or palm-shaded Juan les Pins, land of Louis Vuitton. But it's not just for the 1%, mind you. Search dealchecker for the top deals on cheap hotels on the French Riviera, and you can explore sands and sunny peaks for less…
Lined by the famous Promenade des Anglais, where palms sway in the breezes of the Med and cafes bustle with chatter, the beautiful – and ancient – city of Nice promises a cocktail of sun and culture. It's also got some of the most affordable places to stay on the French Riviera – think family-owned bed and breakfasts and simple hotels close to the sea.
To rub shoulders with the jet setters, there's arguably nowhere better to stay than St Tropez. You can expect to pay bloated rates, but there are some fantastic restaurants, art galleries and fashion boutiques to balance that out.
Then there's the big city of Marseille. Offering easy access to the rugged clifftops and hidden beaches of the Calanques National Park, it also bursts with Greek and Roman history, culinary gems (expect lots of seafood), and enthralling tales of Dumas's iconic Count of Monte Christo.
For stays close to the iconic beaches of the French Riviera, travellers on a budget might be better off leaving behind famous spa resorts like Juan Les Pins and star-studded Cannes, and heading instead to more rustic sections of the Cote d'Azur like eucalyptus-scented Porquerolles and its campsites, hidden La Ciotat and its wide bays and Toulon with its urban vibes.
If you're determined to keep company with the A-listers in St Tropez, then you could consider staying in one of the nearby towns. There's sandy St Maxime, just across the bay, or impossibly handsome Gassin village, famed for its flower blooms and warren of winding cobbled streets.
High season can also be a bank breaker. Be sure to avoid the summer months of June, July and August if you want those euros to go further. Look to holiday sometime in early spring or autumn for the best deals on French Riviera hotels, and – usually – still plenty of sun.