French Riviera - Where to Stay for first time travelers

Where to Stay in French Riviera for a first time visit? An insider’s guide 2024

French Riviera or as the French call it Cotė d’Azur is the coastline of southern France. The area is made of slow-living small villages and towns which, if you look at them from afar, appear like colourful buildings set on the hills and painted in all shades of orange, yellow and pink. The total population is over two million with the biggest city being Nice.

The terracotta roofs, in contrast with the turquoise blue of the sea, give you that charming vintage feeling you have longed for. The stunning beauty of the habitat set on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea will surely turn into a lifetime-lasting memory. So, now is the right time to start thinking about where to stay in French Riviera!

Where to stay in French Riviera for a first-time visit?

Deciding on the best places to stay in French Riviera can be challenging, especially for a first-time visit.

How can you just walk by that beauty and spectacular scenery?

I can bet that most of the ladies are simply fascinated by the iconic movie scenes filmed there and imagine themselves in a convertible as an actress. Wishful thinking in combination with authentic places and passing by or sitting next to the jetsetters who enjoy a champagne at sunset or simply being at the same place, does give a special feeling of status and uniqueness.

Some of the important towns in the French Riviera are Nice, famous for its Castle Hill; Menton, a great mix of Italian and French charm; Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the most expensive residential town and the most luxurious beach resort town. There’s also Èze Village, where you feel like you are in a time machine turned back in time immersing in the beauty of the panoramic views, and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a hillside residential town.

Why you should be looking at places to stay in French Riviera?

Because the warm breeze offers almost 300 sunny days during the year. The most famous casinos in Monte Carlo are forbidden for the local citizens and they are not supposed to gamble which is hard to believe, but true.

The strange tradition that the French are known for, has to be respected in this tourist worldwide area, so no food is served in the restaurants on the French Riviera between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Riviera is also famous as an inspiring getaway for many artists, especially during winter. Antibes is a famous spot where many artists used to reside and paint.

If you are wondering how to travel around while here,, there are 3 available options: by train, by car and by bus.

We know that different types of people require different advice on travel accommodations. This guide includes the best areas for

  • the first time visitor
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Luxury & Design
  • Solo-Traveler
  • on a budget

Are you more of a visual learner/travel planner?

Lucky for you, we’ve included a map with all of our favorite neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for all of your travel needs.

Check it out below to get a better idea of where you should stay for your first or next visit to the French Riviera.

Read more: We have a detailed guide to 7 days in France.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated July 2024.)

But, first things first:

Here is the question: Where to stay in French Riviera for a first-time visit?

The answer is simple: Nice

This is the largest town in Cote d’Azur and a very important place of culture for France. The port town spreads on a 7 km long promenade from Promenade des Anglais through breathtaking surroundings such as Old Nice, Gambetta, Cimiez and the port area.

There are a few museums and Castle Hill which you must not miss while here. Musée Nacional Marc Chagall and Musée Matisse are the most significant.

Being so rich, interesting and large at the same time, my suggestion would be that you settle here and spend each day in smaller towns which are easily accessible either by train or by bus.

Some of these areas include:

  • Promenade des Anglais
  • Vieux Nice (Old Town)
  • Place Masséna
  • Castle Hill (Colline du Château)

Why do we recommend these areas?

The Promenade des Anglais or simply Prom got its name from the English aristocrats who used to come to Nice and enjoy the mild climate, leisurely walking together with their wives. Many hotels still have English names. Many events are organised at this spot such as the famous Nice carnival.

Located below Castle Hill, it borders the Promenade in the south and catches the Promenade of Paillon in the north. It is a curiosity that the street’s names in Vieux Nice are written in French as well as in the local Nissart dialect. The main square is Place Massena and as you approach the sea, there is another square, Esplanade Georges Pompidou. The main street Saint-François de Paule leads to the main marketplace of Course Saleya where food and flowers are offered till midday, and at night, it converts into a big open-air restaurant.

Palace Masséna is the main city square in Nice and is now a spacious pedestrian zone. It is lined by palm trees and is used for big public events. It is spectacular for the 7 statues, made by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa in 2007, as an art installation which represents the 7 continents.

Castle Hill is one of the iconic places in Nice, consisting of ruins of the defensive walls, the artificial waterfall and an elevator which is built in a rock which now divides the seaside of Nice into two parts: the eastern Port part and the Old Town of Nice. To take the most fabulous photos of Nice and get to its top, you can either take the stairs or a lift.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Please note: those might not be the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

📍Best Area:Nice
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best for Families:Cannes Satellite
👩‍❤️‍👨 Best for Couples:Hôtel & Appartements Monsigny
💎 Best Luxury HotelHôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo
🤩 Best Design Hotel:Hotel Le Negresco
😎 Best for Groups:Hotel Florence Nice
🦸 Best for Solo-Traveller:Bohobos Hostel
💃 Best Hotel for Nightlife:Beautiful Apartment
🤑 Cheapest Place to stay:Blue Riviera Terrace Central Train Station
👌 Safest Area: Cannes

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for French Riviera

Below is a list of the accommodations that will answer to where to stay in Fench Riviera no matter the group of travellers you belong to!

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

Wondering where to stay in the French Riviera with your family? The area is known for its great beaches, family-friendly restaurants, many events, and places to visit on a sunny day. So, here are my suggestions for the best areas to visit:

Nice

There is a 7 km beach line in Nice and my pick for a family is Li Rateta, the sandy paradise, consisting of a pool and a variety of watersports like beach soccer and volleyball. The Coulée Verte park together with its botanical garden is a great place for the whole family to enjoy.

Cannes

The beaches are the most attractive for your young ones and there are plenty of water sports and other activities. The promenade offers many food options and cafes to take a short break during the day. Besides the beaches, there are many museums to visit or a day trip to take to the Antibes.

Handpicked accommodations for families

Charme et Confort pour vos vacances sur Nice, Nice

Besides the inner courtyard views, you can enjoy the balcony of Charme et Confort pour vos vacances sur Nice which offers 2 bedrooms, a living room, a private bathroom and a kitchen, so you can manage with your family as you do it at home. It has a perfect location close to beaches.

Book Charme et Confort pour vos vacances sur Nice here

Relax and unwind at Charme et Confort pour vos vacances sur Nice

Have a great time at Charme et Confort pour vos vacances sur Nice

Cannes Satellite, Cannes

Cannes Satellite is one of the best places to stay in the French Riviera for a family. It offers a home-like commodity for all of you in the spacious apartment that has a living room, a kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. There is also an outdoor dining area with a view of the courtyard. Beaches are near your accommodation.

Book Cannes Satellite here

Private room at Cannes Satellite

Have a pleasant stay at Cannes Satellite

 1.2 Couples

Dreaming of long romantic walks and charming vintage scenery? Well, your stay will be full of unforgettable memories, since each place is a storybook offering day trips, enjoyable sunny days to stroll through cobbled streets, indulge in food, views and your own company.

Nice

The best romantic getaway for couples no matter what the occasion. This is such a special place where you can chat and walk holding your hand at the Promenade des Anglais and sit in a nice restaurant for a relaxing meal. Or, you can go for wine testing since there are few wineries close to Nice, offering you an indulgent experience.

Cannes

Take leisurely walks along the city’s promenade La Croisette and enjoy the beach life with diverse water sports activities. Or, delve deep into the romantic mood Cannes offers together with many visits to significant places around.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Hôtel & Appartements Monsigny, Nice

Where to stay on the French Riviera? The rooms of Hôtel & Appartements Monsigny are cosy and offer a marble bathroom, air-conditioning, WiFi, a restaurant, a sun terrace and beautiful city views. With your beloved, you can always enjoy a drink at the bar.

Book Hôtel & Appartements Monsigny here

Make yourself at home at Hôtel & Appartements Monsigny

Enjoy your time at Hôtel & Appartements Monsigny

Eve, Cannes

At Eve Apartment, you will feel the breeze of the beaches and the fragrance of the Musee Internacional de la Parfumerie in your air-conditioned apartment. You will have a cozy bedroom, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and a convenient location to explore all the attractions of Cannes.

Book Eve here

Experience comfort at Eve

Have a wonderful stay at Eve

1.3 Luxury traveler

Coming to the French Riviera is a luxury and I doubt you can ask for more. Everything is stylish, and luxurious like you’ve seen in a movie. Here are the best places to stay in French Riviera as a luxury traveller:

Monaco

Known for luxury and prestige and many casinos, Monaco is a place of many extravagant residencies. Hotel de Paris, Marine Spa, as well as the Casino On the Golden Square in Monaco, are a real heaven if you want to immerse in glamour.

Cannes

Visit Cannes, make your stay a dream time, improve your well-being by indulging in everything, from villas and hotels to rent a Lamborghini or a yacht and make a lifetime memory of this stay.

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, Monaco

When it comes to the nicest places to stay in the French Riviera, Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo is a true Belle Epoque architectural symbol, designed by Gustave Eiffel. All 227 suites and rooms are modern and authentic, offering unbelievable commodities and a feeling of nonchalant elegance.

There are 13 Diamond Suites decorated in classic style. If you have been shopping immersed in the delicious gastronomy of Limùn bar or if you’ve been planning dinner, treat yourself to one at the Michelin Star, Yannick Alleno Restaurant. Despite the beachfront position, you can also use the indoor swimming pool.

Book Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo here

Private room at Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo

Have a pleasant stay at Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo

Five Seas Hotel Cannes, a Member of Design Hotels, Cannes

The contemporarily designed rooms and suites in Five Seas Hotel Cannes will add to your comfort including a minibar, bathrobes, five-style cosmetics toiletries and an opportunity to indulge in a Spa in a hammam and two saunas.

You can enjoy a breathtaking city view from the 5th floor where an innovative cuisine specially designed for sharing is set, while your breakfast is served in the breakfast room. Don’t miss to rent the hotel yacht for extra enjoyment.

Book Five Seas Hotel Cannes here

Enjoy your stay at Five Seas Hotel Cannes, a Member of Design Hotels

Have fun at Five Seas Hotel Cannes, a Member of Design Hotels

1.4 Design-lovers

Looking for places to stay in the French Riviera as a design traveller? What a stay you will experience here if only you imagine that the Riviera was a hidden getaway for many artists. Try a custom luxury experience, play an adventure for each day, visit the most beautiful French villages, and witness the charming aesthetics by strolling through the charming places.

Nice

Be a design lover and enjoy Nice in style. Meet the sophisticated past and innovative future. You are not supposed to miss, among all, one unique thing: the Sonso statue “The Square Head ”. The other must-see is the Rogue Bar and restaurant which offers a fantastic wine biodynamic and natural wines cabinet.

Cannes

Cannes was a fishing village that grew into a fascinating attraction. Home to the most famous world film festival, you are by no means at the nestle of glamour and exclusivity as well as sandy fancy beaches.

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

Hotel Le Negresco, Nice

Wondering where to stay on the French Riviera? Located 15 minutes walking from the Old Town Nice, Hotel Le Negresco is unique by all means. The rooms and suites are individually decorated, and air-conditioned and offer a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV.

You will get breakfast at La Rotonde restaurant, while the British-style bar is for snacks and drinks only. Do not miss Le Chantecler restaurant with Michelin star for the gastronomic indulgence.

Book Hotel Le Negresco here

Relax and unwind at Hotel Le Negresco

Have a great time at Hotel Le Negresco

Hôtel Martinez, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Cannes

When it was entirely renovated, all the rooms of Hôtel Martinez were made in Art Deco style. The rooms feature marble bathrooms, and seating areas, and a few have a terrace with a view of the Mediterranean.

Theme parties throwing the guests back in the 1930’s are a unique experience and fine dining is guaranteed by the Michelin star restaurant La Plage du Martinez. Spa service is available and direct access to the beach as well.

Book Hôtel Martinez here

Private room at Hôtel Martinez, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

Have a pleasant stay at Hôtel Martinez, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

1.5 Groups

The French Riviera is perfect to welcome a group with so much to be seen and experienced. It is a place for a never-ending stroll and exploring activities, a place where you can enjoy the beach, assume it a starting point for a group excursion through the Riviera and a hub of fascinating art and architecture. So, the question is, which are the best places to stay in French Riviera?

Nice

The town is great for group visits. Plenty to see, a lot to experience and everything you could possibly ask for. It can be a starting point for your group tour through the Riviera, a great day at the beach, or a nice dinner by the sea.

Cannes

You can join a visit to a winery, go for an excursion to Antibes, visit Monaco and Monte Carlo or enjoy the sunny days at the beach and explore the town.

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Hotel Florence Nice, Nice

Hotel Florence Nice is located in a pedestrian area, very close to a shopping centre and a beach. The rooms are air-conditioned and in a contemporary style, and offer a private bathroom and a mini-fridge. Your breakfast will be served in a breakfast room.

Book Hotel Florence Nice here

Make yourself at home at Hotel Florence Nice

Enjoy your time at Hotel Florence Nice

Appartement Cannes Centre, Cannes

Conventional and simple, but nice accommodation for a group, Appartement Cannes Centre offers a seating and dining area, equipped kitchen and a private bathroom. The neighbourhood is full of bars, shops and restaurants, so you can satisfy your necessities, perfectly answering where to stay on the French Riviera.

Book Appartement Cannes Centre here

Experience comfort at Appartement Cannes Centre

Have a wonderful stay at Appartement Cannes Centre

1.6 Solo-travelers

Being a solo traveller is an advantage from a certain aspect because you are free to choose the places you will go, join groups you want and all these at your own pace.

Antibes

This seaside city is between Nice and Cannes. It used to be a Greek town which is proven by lots of castle remains. Its most popular and attractive spots are Fort Carré and the Old Town showing itself off with narrow cobbled streets, lively and vibrant even because of the few small sandy beaches where you can enjoy.

Cannes

Cannes is declared safe, which is very important for a solo traveller. You will realise what a luxurious lifestyle really means, get an intro to the film festival, while the walks in the vibrant town and enjoying the beach will make you feel relaxed and tranquil.

Handpicked accommodations for a solo traveler

Bohobos Hostel, Antibes

Located in the centre of Antibes, Bohobos Hostel offers a garden and air-conditioned rooms. For your commodity, you will be able to enjoy the sun terrace. The lounge and the kitchen are shared, so you can make friends while at the property.

Book Bohobos Hostel here

Enjoy your stay at Bohobos Hostel

Have fun at Bohobos Hostel

Banana’s Camp, Cannes

Sharing everything is a key to making friends and not being alone at least in Banana’s Camp. You will be offered a shared bathroom, kitchen, terrace, and lounge, while your room will have a garden view. As for a solo traveller, this is one of the nicest places to stay in the French Riviera and be alone, but not lonely.

Book Banana’s Camp here

Relax and unwind at BANANA'S CAMP

Have a great time at BANANA'S CAMP

1.7 Nightlife Traveler

Clubs and bars are luxurious and simple, but still vibrant, and energetic. If you’re looking for where to stay in the French Riviera, the following areas offer a bit of everything for everybody.

Cannes

I will mention Gotha as one of the best nightclubs in the French Riviera. Many celebrities visit it. Cannes is widely famous for its glamorous nightlife. Choose between rooftop bars and celebrity clubs, but one is for sure, as it gets dark the party starts.

Saint-Tropez

One of the most spectacular nightclubs is located here. Les Caves du Roy, as many call it, is a playground for the rich and famous. It is a part of the Byblos Hotel and it has existed for almost 40 years. Can you imagine yacht parties, strip clubs and casinos? This is a world-famous scene for nightlife in the world.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

1 bedroom Forville, 4 min Palais,Plages,Croisette, Cannes

What will a nightlife seeker ask for in the morning? A fully equipped apartment, a cosy bed to have a good sleep and a private entrance, because being disturbed after a crazy night out is a bad idea. Additionally, you should know that it is a soundproof apartment.

Book 1 bedroom Forville here

Relax and unwind at 1 bedroom Forville, 4 min Palais,Plages,Croisette

Have a great time at 1 bedroom Forville, 4 min Palais,Plages,Croisette

Beautiful Apartment In The Heart Of Saint Tropez, Saint Tropez

Located in the centre of Saint Tropez, Beautiful Apartment offers air-conditioning, a private bathroom and a private kitchen. It is cosy and very clean. In my opinion, it’s one of the places to stay on the French Riviera that provides the optimal conditions for rest after a long night out.

Book Beautiful Apartment here

Private room at Beautiful Apartment In The Heart Of Saint Tropez

Have a pleasant stay at Beautiful Apartment In The Heart Of Saint Tropez

1.8 For the Budget Traveler

Fancy, visited by jet setters and celebrities, the French Riviera can still be a place to visit on a budget with all recommendations without breaking the bank. So, low-cost dining, low-cost accommodation, solo or free sightseeing tours. Decent spending is the secret formula to enjoy the most prestigious destination, and here’s where you can get that!

Nice

You may want to avoid coming here during the high tourist season and if you go, get around the Riviera by bus. Entry tickets don’t cost much and are sometimes free. There are many places where you can dine for a reasonable amount. In addition, there are also many hostels or self-catering apartments in Nice. So, it is possible to stay in the town on a budget.

Antibes

Stroll along the streets and explore! Visit museums on free-of-charge days or join a group for a discount. Some of the beaches are public, as Juan les Pins Main Beach is. The iconic Fort Carré and Parc de la Pinède are free to visit as well.

Handpicked accommodations for budget traveler

Blue Riviera Terrace Central Train Station, Nice

Wondering where to stay on the French Riviera on a budget? This place offers nice accommodation for a budget balance. Blue Riviera Terrace Central Train Station is fully equipped with an outdoor dining area. Many beaches and other important points are near the property.

Book Blue Riviera Terrace here

Enjoy your time at BLUE RIVIERA TERRACE CENTRAL TRAIN STATION

Make yourself at home at BLUE RIVIERA TERRACE CENTRAL TRAIN STATION

V2-Studio rénové au centre de la vieille ville, Antibes

This air-conditioned apartment offers a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and many places to visit in its surroundings.

Book V2-Studio here

Experience comfort at V2-Studio rénové au centre de la vieille ville

Have a wonderful stay at V2-Studio rénové au centre de la vieille ville

2. Best Neighborhood to Stay in French Riviera

Each of the places to stay in the French Riviera offers comfortable accommodations, promising an enjoyable stay for any type of traveller you might be. Anyhow, you’ll be able to explore different places and enjoy the charm of the region.

  • Nice
  • Cannes
  • Saint-Tropez
  • Monaco

FAQs

What's the ideal neighborhood for a first-time stay in the French Riviera?

Nice, specifically highlighting areas like Promenade des Anglais, Vieux Nice, Place Masséna, and Castle Hill, is mentioned as the top choice for initial visits.

Where might one want to avoid staying in the French Riviera?

While specific areas to avoid aren't mentioned, the content emphasizes the varied options in different towns and villages, catering to diverse preferences and travel styles.

What should I avoid in the French Riviera?

Although the guide doesn't provide explicit warnings, it mentions adhering to local traditions like the restaurant service break between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and respecting the distinctive atmosphere and traditions of the tourist area.

Where should I stay in the French Riviera for the first time?

Antibes is highlighted as a fitting destination for solo travelers, offering a safe environment and vibrant surroundings, making it an ideal choice for those traveling alone.

Map + All Sights

French Riviera is a region of glamour, culture, and natural beauty, attracting millions of visitors every year. If you are visiting the French Riviera for the first time, you might be overwhelmed by the variety and diversity of places to stay in this region. To help you out, we have created a map that shows you the best areas to stay in the French Riviera for first time travelers

Summary of where to stay in the French Riviera

According to the research I have done while setting this detailed guide featuring appropriate accommodations and nice towns, each of the places will allow you to enjoy your time in the French Riviera.

I do hope that these tips on where to stay on the French Riviera will be helpful for you. If you need more travel inspiration and advice, don’t hesitate to check out my blog page.

Other European Destinations

Before you run off, here is a few more handwritten articles for you. These will help you to find more unique experiences and enjoy your holidays at fullest.

Any Questions?

There you have it. I hope you have no questions and found your home in my home town.

However, please remember: I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

Therefore: Do you have questions? Is anything not clear?

Please please please drop me a comment below with your email! I will reply to you ASAP via email and here in the comments.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me.

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