The Côte d’Azur translates to blue coast and, I assume, refers to the exquisite color of the water and sky. From Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport, both public and private beaches line the seafront in both directions from Beaulieu-sur-Mer to Saint-Tropez. Most are easily accessible to visitors traveling by bus, train and car (drivers can park on the side of the seafront road, D6098, if they can find a space). At public beaches, sun-lovers carry their chairs, rattan roll-ups, net bags filled with beach toys and pique-nique on the pebbly shore. Private beaches, including those affiliated with haute hotels, charge a daily fee for a towel-covered transat (sunbed), umbrella and food and beverage service. They are ideal for those who prefer to sip a chilled rosé, while the kids play, then, linger together over a fabulous, even gastronomic, lunch. In September, after the August crowds flee, the beaches are particularly lovely.
The alluring Brigitte Bardot made Saint-Tropez such a legendary destination a Lebanese business tycoon built Le Byblos hotel in an extravagant attempt to woo her. French singer Johnny Hallyday also has a mythical reputation in the village (he’s the subject of an exhibit at the Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinema through June 2020). So does resident artist Paul Signac, who lured his avant-garde friends to paint in the village, and who is the subject of a show at the Musée de l’Annonciade.
The Algarve, on Portugal’s southern coast, is known for its beaches, but those are not the only beautiful beaches in the country. If you’re looking for sand and sea safe for children, and less filled with other tourists than the busy Algarve, Portugal has a lot of options.
By Hainan Airlines