The most beautiful driving routes on the French Riviera

driving route french riviera

The landscape of the Côte d’Azur has provided the backdrop for many a Hollywood movie driving scene. Experience its beauty for yourself with these five stunning routes. 

The geographical richness of the French Riviera, from the scintillating shores of the Mediterranean to the high peaks of the Alps and all the rolling hills between, has long made the region a favourite amongst drivers looking for a few blissful hours behind the wheel.  

The Grande, Moyenne and Basse Corniches between Nice and Monaco are well-known for their views, but if you venture just slightly further into the French Riviera, there are plenty more adventures to be had.  

The Corniche d’Or that clings to the edges of the iconic red rock of the Estérel, from Saint Raphaël to Theoule sur Mer, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this month. The combination of the rhyolite rock, the blue of the sea below and the green of the native shrubs that have colonised the range is simply spectacular. You’ll be hard pressed to resist stopping the car to check out the area on foot; 32,000 hectares of pristine nature await explorers on the many hiking and bikes trails that lead off the main road.  

driving route french riviera
A bird’s eye view of the Corniche d’Or. Photo: Estérel Côte d’Azur

Another favoured coastal drive is the Route des Crêtes between La Ciotat and Cassis. The road rises and falls on both sides of the Cap Canaille, and although it is a relatively short drive of about 15 kilometres, it is certainly worthy of a visit. To the east is Bandol and to the west are the Calanques de Cassis. On clear days, the islands off Marseille can also be spotted.  

While you’re in the realm of Provence, an excursion to the Chartreuse de la Verne in Collobrières is highly recommended. This Carthusian monastery is equidistant from the towns of Le Lavandou, Cavalaire sur Mer and Saint Tropez, so if you’re holidaying on the coast, make sure to add this destination to your list of possible day trips.

driving route french riviera
The hilltop gem of Chartreuse de La Verne. Photo: Xavier Larreur / Facebook

 Heading back towards Monaco, the Route de Napoleon technically begins in Golfe Juan, between Cannes and Antibes, but you won’t fully appreciate its beauty and scale until you reach Grasse and the hinterland behind the perfume capital. It marks the route that Napoleon took after leaving his exile in Elba in 1815, and twists through the mountainous backcountry of southern France, all the way to Grenoble. The stretch between Grasse and Castellane makes for the perfect family drive, and can easily be done in a morning if you allow for coffee and croissant stops in the little villages along the way.  

Our final favourite drive is a variation of the roads up to the Col de Turini. Beloved by cyclists for its intensity and reward, the pinnacle is the high mountain pass at over 1,500 metres above sea level. It’s a mainstay on the schedule of the Rallye de Monte-Carlo too. It can be approached from La Bollène Vesubie, Sospel or Lucéram, giving you plenty of options for a round route.  


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Main photo source: Estérel Côte d’Azur




Monte-Carlo Masters: Favourites Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas comfortbaly progress

Novak Djokovic at the Monte-Carlo Masters

The two favourites to win this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, both progressed with ease on Tuesday.

Tuesday was the day that Monaco’s tennis festival truly got underway. The big names were in action, and the large crowds accompanied them.

Novak Djokovic beats Russian Ivan Gakhov

Djokovic has already improved on last season’s performance at the Monte-Carlo Masters. The Serbian suffered a first-round exit at the hands of eventual finalist Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina.

Photo of Novak Djokovic by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

There were no such difficulties on centre court on Tuesday. Djokovic had to contend with difficult swirling winds in the first set against Gakhov. However, the Monaco resident prevailed at the end of a tight tiebreak (7-6).

Photo of Novak Djokovic by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Once in the ascendancy, Djokovic was ruthless. He wrapped up the second set in lightning-quick time, taking his opportunities to break when they came to progress to the second round (7-6, 6-2).

Benjamin Bonzi reitres hurt

Arguably Djokovic’s main rival in this year’s competition, Tsitsipas, had an even easier time on centre-court. As the Spring sun set on the stands, and the breeze off the Mediterranean picked up, temperatures dropped significantly, but fans didn’t have to endure them for long.

Photo of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Benjamin Bonzi by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Benjamin Bonzi was broken in his first game, and the signs were ominous. Just minutes later, the Frenchman was forced into a medical timeout, before being broken again. Bonzi wasn’t able to continue, and Tsitsipas, who is looking for a third consecutive victory on the Monte-Carlo clay, exerted little energy as he progressed into the next round after just five games (4-1).

Valentin Vacherot latest Monégasque to exit

Earlier in the day, there was yet more Monégasque misery on Court Two of the Monte-Carlo Country Club (MCCC) on Wednesday. Valentin Vacherot, Monaco’s highest-ranked player, and who was the recipient of one of the much-coveted wildcards, succumbed in straight sets against Italian Luca Nardi.

Despite being in Monaco, there was no question of receiving any home-court advantage, with Italian fans packing the stands of the MCCC. Those that made the short trip across the border and into Monaco were in good voice, as their man applied the pressure on Vacherot early on.

Photo of Valentin Vacherot by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Vacherot’s serve was frequently under threat, but when he was broken in the seventh, he immediately broke back. However, Nardi made the crucial break at the end of the first set to edge it (5-7).

A similar fate befell the Monégasque in the second set. Nardi made the initial break, but was pegged back. However, Vacherot, ranked 357th in the world had no response to his 159th-ranked opponent, who could count on the raucous support of his compatriots. Nardi ultimately prevailed (5-7, 5-7).

“It was great to play on Court Two, on which I’ve had success in the Davis Cup, in front of my family, my friends and coaches. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job done on the court. It was really a great experience, even if I didn’t have a lot of rhythm. I gave everything,” said Vacherot post-defeat.

Romain Arneodo, who competes against a team composed of Alexander Zverev in the doubles on Wednesday, is Monaco’s last hope of success in this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters.


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Photo of Novak Djokovic by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life. 

Monaco achieves full fiber-optic coverage

Monaco is now 100% covered by the fiber optic network, four years after the rollout of the high-speed internet service began.

According to a statement released by the government on Tuesday, Monaco Telecom has achieved full coverage of the Principality, excluding buildings under renovation.

“The fiber network, which is now offered to users and deployed as part of the territory’s digital transformation programme Extended Monaco, will be able to cover the volumes necessary to ensure high-performance telecommunications,” said the government in a statement.

Private users and companies are encouraged to contact Monaco Telecom to arrange connection as the copper network will be discontinued in December 2023 for consumer Internet subscriptions, in July 2024 for business Internet subscriptions, and in December 2024 for fixed telephony subscriptions.


Photo credit: Compare Fibre on Unsplash

Palace announces Kristel Malgherini as new Advisor to the Prince’s Cabinet

Kristel Malgherini

The Palais Princier de Monaco has announced that Kristel Malgherini, the former Secretary General to the Department of Social Affairs and Health, will replace Isabelle Costa as an Advisor to the Prince’s Cabinet. 

During the tense times of the Covid pandemic, Malgherini was a staunch advocate for the Principality’s vaccination programme in her role as Technical Advisor to the Department of Social Affairs and Health. 

Her handling of the situation brought attention to her professional competence, a skill that she will now bring to her newly announced role as Advisor to the Prince’s Cabinet for Social Affairs and Health, the European Union and legal affairs.  

She is replacing Isabelle Costa, who has taken up the mantle of High Commissioner for European Affairs for Monaco. 

Malgherini holds a Diploma of Advanced Law Studies from the Université Côte d’Azur in Nice. After graduating, she worked for the National Council before joining the Department of Health and Social Action as an administrator.  

She then joined the Department of Social Affairs and Health at the Ministry of State in 2014 to successively perform the functions of Division Head, Project Manager and Technical Advisor, before being appointed as Secretary General in 2021. 


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Photo courtesy of the Palais Princier de Monaco 

Picasso’s Mougins home to become international art centre

picasso art centre

50 years after his death, the last home of legendary artist Pablo Picasso is being transformed by its current owner into an international art centre with an estimated price tag of €114 million.  

Painter, sculptor, designer and ceramist Pablo Picasso had an enormous influence on art in the 20th century. A long-time denizen of the south of France, the artist was prolific throughout his lifetime and never ceased to create, even in his later years.  

Now, a half century after his death, the owner of Picasso’s last home in Mougins, formerly known as Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie, but now called Château de Vie, is undergoing a transformation even the great man himself would be astounded by.  

A global hub for artists and institutions

Current owner Rayo Withanage, the New Zealand billionaire who started Scepter, has laid bare his plans to convert the villa into a “global hub” where art will flourish through collaborations with “major artists and institutions from around the world”. 

Withanage, who bought the property complete with its 500-year-old olive groves and stunning orangery in a 2017 auction for €20 million, has pledged £100 million or €114 million to get the ball rolling on the project.  

“We invite the most iconic artists and creative institutions around the world to see the world as Picasso saw it, to work in his studio, and to consider the influence of his work,” he has said, adding that he envisions the villa to be a place where artists can work in-residence and that part of whatever proceeds are made from the sale of artworks will be donated to charities.  

Picasso’s time in Château de Vie coincided with some his happiest and most productive years. The house went to his wife Jacqueline Roque after his death in 1973. Jacqueline was bereft and reportedly left everything exactly as it had been the day he died, down to the place he last set down his reading glasses. She committed suicide in 1986. The villa then stood empty for 30 years.  


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Sixth victim of Easter Sunday avalanche found

Rescuers have found another victim of Sunday’s avalanche near Mont Blanc, bringing the total to six. Two guides and four clients were killed in the incident near Chamonix in southeast France.

The avalanche occurred at the Armancette glacier on Easter Sunday, when conditions on the mountain were described as “not particularly alarming” by Dorian Labaeye, president of France’s mountain guide union. Météo France had not issued any weather warning for the region, but a combination of warmth and wind is believed to be behind the disaster, according to local authorities.

It spread across an area of 1.5 kilometres, at an altitude of 3,500 metres. Searchers recovered the bodies of the guides and a couple in their 20s on Sunday, while a 39-year-old woman and a man in his early 40s were found on Monday. They are yet to be formally identified.

Another person suffered slight injuries while eight others who were swept away were unharmed.

Labaeye said that the group impacted was equipped with an avalanche detector, shovels, and probes, which he said “facilitated the work of the rescuers”.

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Photo of the glacier taken after Sunday’s deadly avalanche. Source: jpclement38/Twitter/Reuters