A Local Photographer’s Guide for Experiencing the Best of the Region
It’s no secret that the French Riviera is one of the most popular regions for tourism in France. From beautiful beaches to world-renowned nightlife to stunning art and beautiful villages, it is truly a great place to explore. The French Riviera is also a very popular place for engagement pictures and even for wedding ceremonies.
As a photographer in the area, I commonly book photography sessions and weddings with people visiting the area and they almost all ask for tips for traveling the French Riviera.
While beautiful, the French Riviera can be a bit overwhelming to visit.
Whether you are traveling the French Riviera for a vacation, an engagement session, or a wedding, I am sure you will find these tips for traveling the French Riviera useful.
Tips for Traveling the French Riviera
Pack Appropriate Clothing
While the French Riviera is known for its beach life and summer-scene, keep in mind that it is also known for its high-end restaurants and vibrant nightlife. While you’ll want to bring some more casual attire for during the day, don’t forget to bring something more formal for your evenings out.
If you are planning a photoshoot while you are there, make sure you plan ahead to pack coordinating (not matching) clothing that fits the colorful, Mediterranean feel of the region.
Get Moving Early in the Morning
While it may be tempting to sleep in late, it is your vacation after all, consider getting up early to truly experience the French Riviera.
Unsurprisingly, the area can get overwhelmingly busy but if you get an early start on the day, you can see the best of the area without having to contend with the crowds.
In the same light, if you are planning a photography session, getting up early can allow for amazing, soft light. If you can’t plan something early, sunset is the next best time.
Research Your Transportation Options
From local buses to water taxis, rental cars to guided tours and private drivers, you have a wide variety of options when planning how you want to see the most of the French Riviera.
Personally, I think renting a car is the best way to experience the region. You get complete freedom to explore and experience how you want and what you want. The bus system is also a good, reliable option.
Regardless of what transportation works best for you, make sure you research each option ahead of time so you can make the best decision for your experience and know where (and how) you are getting from place to place.
The French Riviera is known for its luxury but it is also laid back and slow-paced … so make sure you are too! Be flexible with your itinerary and don’t try to plan every moment of your trip.
Maybe you’ll want to spend more time at an especially beautiful beach or explore a little town you just happen across … if you don’t leave time for the magic, you are less likely to find it.
Remember, embrace spontaneity and live in the moment.
Appreciate the Arts
The French Riviera may be widely known for its opulence and trendy nightlife but there is also a thriving and historic art scene present. As you travel around, look for opportunities to immerse yourself in the local art scene.
Revel in Nature
The French Riviera is home to some of the most breathtaking and stunning landscapes in Europe. Make time to appreciate the beauty with a hike or exploration of hidden beaches. Another option is to take a boat tour around the coast, seeing The French Riviera from the sea.
Search for Local Festivals and Markets
The French Riviera is home to many festivals and markets — and all it takes is a quick Google search to find one during your visit. Local festivals and markets are the perfect way to immerse yourself into the culture, enjoying the local cuisine and soaking up the vibrant lifestyle.
Be an Adventurous Foodie
The French Riviera is known for its cuisine. Take every opportunity to sample all of the wonderful regional dishes, from small plates to elaborate seafood dishes. Try something new and don’t be afraid to ask locals for some of their recommendations.
Spend Time in the Smaller Villages
While the larger cities like Cannes and Nice are magical and swoon-worthy all on their own, there is a lot of magic to be found in the smaller villages that dot the coast. In these smaller villages, you’ll find interesting history, grand architecture, and fun, paste-colored homes.
Eze is a perfect example of a quaint French Riviera village that exudes charm and beauty.
Book a Spa Day
Travel can be stressful. Reserve a day at one of the many spas and indulge in a little pampering and self-care.
Invest in a Travel Pass
If you want to see a lot of the main sites in the area, consider investing in the Côte d’Azur Card which allows access to several museums, kayak rentals, and boat tours. It is a great way to save money and make sure you experience the best of the region.
When to Visit the French Riviera
The French Riviera boasts a Mediterranean climate year-round so there really isn’t a bad time to visit. Most people prefer to visit from May-September when the water and weather are both warm. June-August, especially August, is the busy season so expect crowds and higher pricing. Visiting in shoulder season, April-May & September-October allows for warm waters, less people, and lower costs.
Plan a Photo Session
While I photograph a lot of weddings and engagement sessions in the French Riviera, you don’t need to have a major occasion to book a photo session in the area. I truly believe that every stage in life is a good occasion to document and preserve. Visiting the French Riviera is such a beautiful and exciting experience, having images to document this special time is an easy decision.
Contact me today for more information on booking a photo session; I’ll also be happy to share more tips for traveling the French Riviera.