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The Riviera and its hilltop villages

The French Riviera: A precious mosaic

There’s much more to the French Riviera than just its postcard appeal. Its natural beauty, charming villages and sunny climate make this region an ideal place to relax. The Riviera’s coast hugs the Mediterranean with its colourful old town, Belle Epoque palaces and Cap Martin. And all year round, the streets burst with aromas of citrus fruit and exotic flowers.

Carte de la Riviera et les villages perchésCarte de la Riviera et les villages perchésCarte de la Riviera et les villages perchés© Menton, Riviera & Merveilles
Marine PortraitMarine PortraitMarine Portrait

“The French Riviera is a contrast to the rest of the Côte d’Azur region. Protected from mass tourism, the modern coastline blends perfectly with traditional hilltop villages. Here you can experience ‘La Dolce Vita’ all year round, with each village offering unique views over the Mediterranean.”

Marine

5 great reasons to visit the Riviera and its hilltop villages

Its pleasant all-year-round micro-climate

The charm of its authentic villages

Panoramic views over the Mediterranean

Sunny walks and hikes to explore

Its medieval heritage, a true leap back in time

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Bridging the past and the present

Bordering the Mediterranean and sheltered from the winds by Mont Agel (1,145 metres), this region benefits from a wonderful climate and is home to an incredible abundance of flora. The commune has preserved the original village overlooked by its chateau. It also includes Cap-Martin, a natural extension of Roquebrune, dotted with splendid properties amid century-old trees, and the famous customs officers’ path, known as Le Corbusier.

Beausoleil

A cosmopolitan town

There’s much more to the French Riviera than just its postcard appeal. Its natural beauty, charming villages and sunny climate make this region an ideal place to relax. The Riviera’s coast hugs the Mediterranean with its colourful old town, Belle Epoque palaces and Cap Martin. And all year round, the streets burst with aromas of citrus fruit and exotic flowers.

La Turbie

A taste of Rome on the French Riviera

Perched above the Mediterranean on the Grande Corniche, La Turbie is the highest point along the Via Julia Augusta which once linked Rome to Gaul. Today, the town is famous for being home to the Trophy of Augustus, a testimony to its glorious Roman past.

The Hilltop Villages

Balconies overhanging the sea

These villages form a link between the coast and the mountains. Nestled high above the surrounding green hills, they often create a setting where time appears to have stood still. These medieval villages with their shady squares, winding streets and delicious aromas of yesteryear are peaceful havens, concealing their own little treasures! To discover them, set off from Menton and follow this scenic route.

Sainte-Agnès

Europe’s Highest Coastal Village

Perched at no less than 780 metres, Sainte-Agnès, listed as one of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ (the most beautiful villages in France), can also boast of being the highest village on the European coastline. The streets here are huddled together and run the length of the village, making the most of its rather steep natural relief! It offers an exceptional view of the entire Riviera coastline reaching as far as San Remo. What’s more, if you like gourmet food, you’re sure to enjoy one of the village’s excellent restaurants!

Castellar

The hilltop village with a flavour of Italy

The village of Castellar is 7 kilometres from Menton, at an altitude of 370 metres, and located at the end of an extremely winding road. The remains of the original village, dating back to the middle of the 15th century, are an hour’s walk north-east of the village today. The main streets are linked by beautiful arched passageways. The views of the Mediterranean are exceptional. As you explore this place, you’ll feel as if you were in Italy with its long, narrow streets, houses with yellow, ochre or orange facades, and covered passageways.

Gorbio

In the shade of an elm tree

Welcoming and lively throughout the year, Gorbio has managed to hold onto its authentic soul. Its celebrated elm tree stands in the village centre, a magnificent tree that is the pride of the locals and listed among the ‘100 most remarkable trees in France’. With its narrow pebblestone streets and houses featuring porticos, you can’t help but be captivated by its old-world charm. The entire village is adorned with giant succulents and Mediterranean flowers, adding a dazzling touch to these old stone buildings steeped in history.

Castillon

Along the Route des Grandes Alpes

The charming craft village of Castillon, perched at 706 metres above sea level, overlooks the base of the Menton Valley. Before reaching the village, you will naturally pass by the Caramel Viaduct with its impressive 13 arches. On arriving, you’ll understand how the village, with its stone houses and Provençal-style green shutters built midway up the mountain, earned itself the title of ” the most beautiful village in France ” in 1952. The magic of the place still lives on today, thanks, in particular, to the artists who have established their studios here. Meanwhile, the Castillon cliff attracts the stars of the rock-climbing world!

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In the French Riviera and its hilltop villages
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