What’s the best time to visit the French Riviera?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Hayley Bosch

It's hard to say there's a bad time to visit a place as beautiful as the French Riviera, but there are definitely some months that are more popular than others — and I have to admit I’m a bit partial after spending a summer abroad in Cannes. Summertime is a must if you're one for the beach. With beautiful (though a bit rocky) beaches stretching along the coast from Monaco to St. Tropez, it's the perfect place to soak up the Mediterranean sun. Of course, because the French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur as it's known in French) is such a popular destination between May and August, you'll find that the hotels and restaurants are generally quite crowded. But with those crowds come plenty of parties — in mid-May, film stars flock to the Cannes Film Festival, while late May brings the crème de la crème to Monaco for the Grand Prix. The entire coast is lively and exciting during the summer months, and you can expect to pay a pretty penny for a lounge chair at one of the beach clubs (definitely worth it though).

Like I said before, the French Riviera is great year-round. Winter is a bit calmer, but it's great for those looking for a quiet romantic getaway. In February, Nice celebrates Carnival, which is always fun. And no matter what time of year you visit, there will always be fantastic hotels, restaurants and tons of shopping.

Thomas Samph

The most popular time to visit the French Riviera is July and August, when the hotels, restaurants and beaches are packed. If you’re looking for the famous parties and want to make the most of the beach, this is the time to go as long as you don’t mind paying the highest prices. If you’d prefer fewer crowds, either go earlier in the summer, or wait until fall. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors even recommend taking a trip in the winter months. There was a time when people visited the French Riviera in winter, since temperatures are fairly mild year round. (In fact, hotels used to close in the summer). The mild winter can be much less crowded if you’re looking to have a more peaceful getaway. If you’re visiting in February, you’ll be in time for the Fête du Citron in Menton or the Carnival in Nice; if you’re visiting later in spring or early summer, you’ll be in time to catch the Cannes Film Festival or the Monaco Grand Prix. There’s something for everyone at all times of the year on the French Riviera.

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