Few destinations exude the joie de vivre for which the French are famous as their very own Côte d’Azur, where culture, glamour, and stunning natural beauty combine to create one of the world’s most unique and exhilarating coastlines. And you can experience it all firsthand during Discovery Tours’ new Treasures of Provence trip.
The arbiter of culture on these scenic shores is Marseille, France’s oldest and second largest city. The delightful Vieux Port, or Old Port, fans out into the harbor from the end of the Canebière, the historic street often compared to the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The Old Port bustles with fishmongers, locals out for a quayside stroll, and cafes crowded with diehard lovers of bouillabaisse, the fish stew invented here, and pastis, the celebrated 90-proof spirit. It all unfolds under the watch of two 17th-century fortresses, erected under Louis XIV after local citizens rose up against the governor. Perhaps more quintessentially Provençal than Marseille, Nice exudes small-town charm in a big-city atmosphere. The Cours Saleya in the Old Town is lined with market stalls purveying the treasured products of the countryside—from honey and flowers to cheese and lavender soaps.
Though not technically a part of France, the independent Principality of Monaco is every bit a part of the French Riviera. For a taste of the glamorous life, you will visit its smallest quartier, Monte Carlo. This is where Europe’s well-heeled come to see and be seen, whether lounging on their mega-yachts or dropping some coin at the roulette wheel in the gilded casino. But the center of it all is the extravagant Royal Palace and the St. Nicholas Cathedral, where Princess Grace and Prince Rainer are entombed.
All this glitz and richness of culture share a stunning backdrop of soaring mountains, forested capes that reach into the Mediterranean, and rock-strewn coasts. Indeed, the dramatic landscape adds immeasurably to the unmistakable spirit of the Côte d’Azur. Tiny medieval villages seemingly carved from the very earth are perched atop conical hills. The Mediterranean glitters like shining diamonds unfurling in the sun. White, craggy limestone rock walls (calanques) spill into the sea, forming tiny coves that embrace turquoise waters. The Côte d’Azur is sure to leave you spellbound.
Take in its glamour, culture, and beauty during our Treasures of Provence adventure.