The French Riviera (fr. Côte d’Azur) is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France.
The Côte d’Azur is a term coined in 1887 by Stéphen Liégeard in his book of the same name which was used to describe his trip on the coasts of Provence and Liguria, more precisely between Hyères and Genoa. Its first chapter on Hyères and the land of the Moors also speaks of Marseille and Toulon. The lack of general ignorance of the work of Stéphen Liégeard, as well as the desire of certain politicians to centralize tourism in specific territories, resulted in a variable number of boundaries of the Côte d’Azur generally excluding Liguria. The exclusion of the latter is explained because it is Italian and because, alongside the appellation of Liégeard, Liguria was created on the Ligurian Riviera. For Stéphen Liégeard, in his book, the Côte d’Azur goes from Marseille to Genoa: “from the Château d’If to the palaces of Genoa”. Nowadays, the limits of the Côte d’Azur are rather vague, especially the western limit represented most often by the municipality of Cassis.
This coastline was one of the first modern resort areas. It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the eighteenth century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II and King Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales. In the summer, it also played home to many members of the Rothschild family. In the first half of the twentieth century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans.
The most famous resorts on the Côte d’Azur, following the coast from south-west to north-east, include:
Inland – Mougins
Inland – Saint-Paul-de-Vence
Inland – Èze
Inland – Roquebrune-Cap-Martin