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The Cote d’Azur is the name given to the stretch of coastline between Menton near the Italian border and St Tropez in the south of France, also known as the French Riviera. The area is very popular with tourists who enjoy beaches and is home to some of the most sophisticated parts of France, such as Cannes, Nice and Monaco.
One of the highlights of the Cote d’Azur is the principality of Monaco. On the cliffs overlooking the opulent yachts in the harbour is the old town and the palace of the royal family. Visit the cathedral where Princess Grace is buried and watch the changing of the guard before exploring the winding, narrow streets. Below, there is a swimming pool at the harbour and a number of bars and restaurants, although expect to pay a premium for the view. Up the hill on the other side of the port is the famous Monte Carlo casino. If you are over 21 you can go inside to have a look round without gambling any of your Euros while children will enjoy the botanical gardens and caves cut into the steep mountainside. The principality is most famous for the Grand Prix, which is held there every year. You can watch the race for nothing from the hillside and enjoy the crowds of celebrities.
There are many great beaches along the Cote d’Azur. The small sandy beach by the harbour in Antibes doesn’t get as busy as the main one in the town, or you can find your own spot on the long stretch of rocky beach between Juan les Pins and Nice. If you grow tired of just laying back in the sun, you can hire a pedalo to take out onto the Mediterranean, try windsurfing or something a little more exciting like parasailing. Most beaches have facilities like toilets and showers and bars where you can buy refreshments.
The smaller town of Antibes is home to a 17th century fortress on the headland which now houses an archaeology museum and a world-renowned Picasso museum with a selection of paintings and drawings. The old town is full of restaurants serving fresh fish dishes and local wines. The whole town is focused on the sea and you can spend hours wandering around the largest marina in Europe, admiring the expensive yachts. The lighthouse of Garoupe gives great views over the town and long the coast and is a short walk uphill from the Plage de la Salis.