Côte d’Azur, or the Riviera, is that grand sweep of Mediterranean coast that stretches from just east of la Ciotat, all the way to the Italian border. It is a large area with dozens of beaches and, despite the coast’s reputation for toney glamor alternating with brash vulgarity, it’s a great location for watersports, boating, parascending, climbing, hiking and gliding.
The Côte d’Azur is a deeply indented coast, characterized by many small towns, miles of sandy beaches, and three great mountainous headlands, called massifs. The Massif des Maures, Massif de l’Estérel and Massif de Tanneron foreshadow the march of the Alps to the sea farther east along the Riviera. They offer stunning long-distance views and provide miles of good walking.
For years, French vacationers kept the region their secret, staying in their holiday homes or with friends and family. As a result, the massifs remain largely undiscovered territory for foreign visitors, who usually race around and between them on roads heading for the coast. If you stop to enjoy this region, you’ll find it has its own personality and surprises.
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