The department of the Alpes-Maritimes is located in the most south-eastern part of France, bordering the Italian border, and the departments of Var en Provence. It has an area of 4300 km2. Together with the aforementioned 2 departments, the region is known as the French Riviera, or the Côte d'Azur. The Alpes-Maritimes have both mountains, with the Cime du Gélas as highest peak at 3143 meters, as a long coastal strip, where the popular resorts of Nice, Cannes and Antibes can be found. The famous perfume town of Grasse is also located in this department, and the ski resort Isola 2000. The main source of income for the Alpes-Maritimes is tourism.
Discover a selection of the most beautiful places and attractions in Alpes-Maritimes Vacation rentals
The district of the Alpes-Maritimes was first formed by the Romans in the year 14 BC. and it was then called the Maritimae Alps. It became a French département in 1793, although the borders were not equal to the current borders. Grasse did not belong to the region then, but Monaco and San Remo did. The current border was created in 1947, with the Treaty of Paris.
The current number of inhabitants of the Alpes-Maritimes is 1,100,000
It is not possible to provide temperatures for the Alpes-Maritimes, due to the difference in geography. The coast has a Mediterranean climate, with average day temperatures varying between 10 and 24 degrees, while inland has a mountain climate with sunny cold in winter, and stormy in summer.
Alpes-Maritimes is the department situated in the south eastern corner of France bordering Italy. It is a department of great contrasts as it contains the Côte d'Azur, the beautiful towns of Nice and Cannes, Alpine mountains, craggy scenery, hill villages and beautiful beaches. Alpes-Maritimes is the one of the most scenic and diverse departments in France and the perfect setting for a holiday... Whilst the coastal areas do get busy in the summer months, it is still well worth enjoying the beautiful beaches and the numerous little fishing ports. In sharp contrast, just a few kilometres inland, there is peace and tranquillity with beautiful countryside, pretty villages and historic towns just waiting to be explored. The countryside changes dramatically with lush hillsides covered in umbrella pines, laurel, wild thyme and giant cactus and the unmistakable sound of the cicadas in the trees. These rural areas are particularly beautiful during the spring and autumn months. There are different events taking place in the region all year through and these include the Mardi Gras in Nice, the popular jazz festival in Juan-Les-Pins and the world-famous film festival in Cannes. Whilst you are planning your holiday, you need to build in plenty of time for sitting and soaking up the atmosphere over a good cup of French coffee and giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy some of the Provençal food specialities that include tapenade – olive paste mixed with capers, olive oil and fresh herbs, Pissaladière a pizza-like onion pie and of course bouillabaisse the superb local fish soup.
The department is fringed by the Mediterranean along its southern edge and includes the popular resorts of Nice, Antibes and Cannes. Nice is one of the most attractive places in France with its famous Promenade des Anglais, beautiful beaches and twisting narrow streets in the old part with a surprise at each turn. The famous flower market in Cours Saleya in Nice is one of the many 'must do’s' in this wonderful city along with exploring some of the many art galleries! Antibes is a popular coastal town, with winding streets and pretty houses, designer shops and boutiques. Its impressive castle is still surrounded by defensive ramparts. Antibes’ covered market is one of the best as it has traditional cheese, sausage and spice stalls. Cannes needs no introduction as it is beloved by the rich and famous, its harbour filled with luxury yachts and its sandy beaches with sunbathers in bright coloured bikinis or bathing trunks. Le Suquet, its charming old quarter, and the lively broad avenue Promenade de la Croisette, which is as famous as 5th Avenue, are huge attractions!Close to the Italian border lies Menton. This delightful village was founded by in the 13th century and ownership passed to Monaco within 50 years. Menton was controlled by Monaco until it came under French rule again in 1860. Protected by the mountains, it has a lovely sunny climate and is filled with parks and flowers. It is very Provençal in character with lovely houses and an excellent daily market held in a hall in the old town. It’s very nice to visit with it’s historic town centre and the small independent principality of Monaco which is the playground of the rich and famous very close by.
Monaco is famous for its upscale casinos, harbour of super yachts, restaurants, boutiques and its prestigious Grand Prix which is organised each year and which sees the drivers racing through the streets! There are towns like Villefranche to explore. There are often cruise ships moored out in the bay in front of the town with numerous tenders transporting the passengers to the harbour to begin their excursion of the town. With small cobbled streets and pretty pastel-coloured houses, it takes just ten minutes to walk into the central square – Place des Marinières and from here there are restaurants, street cafés and traditional shops to enjoy. Other scenic places to explore along the coast include Roquebrune-cap-Martin and Cap Ferrat. There are lesser known places to visit too, including Mandelieu-la-Napoule. Situated between Théoule-sur-Mer and Cannes, Mandelieu-la-Napoule has a pretty port and good beaches – including one with an 11th century château at one end. There are plenty of boat trips on offer in the harbour for those who enjoy exploring in a leisurely fashion! There is an attractive coastal footpath leading to Théoule-sur-Mer which can be followed. For those who enjoy walking there are plenty of opportunities in this area. One popular route leads to the summit of the old vulcano of San Peyre which overlooks the coast and has an interesting “table d'orientation” showing all the points of interest that can be seen in each direction. The main town of Théoule-sur-Mer is situated just inland and is perfect for those who enjoy markets as there are four a week -all held in different locations! The red colored hills of Massif de l'Esterel form an attractive backdrop to the town.
In the marina you will see the brightly painted traditional jousting boats and there are jousts throughout the summer – the Théoule team is one of the best! Pierre Cardin is the town's most famous summer visitor. Further inland, Le Massif de l'Esterel and Massif du Tanneron both have good hiking routes with panoramic views of the coast. The drive along the coast westwards to Saint Raphael is also very special as it has great views of the red slopes of Massif de l'Esterel. When you travel inland you definitely leave the crowds of the Mediterranean behind you as you travel past numerous small villages with olive groves and natural views. In places the roads are steep and twisting as they pass through the rocky forested countryside. Inland from Nice there are some lovely villages including Biot and pretty Gourdon, the historical town of Vence, Saint-Paul-de-Vence and La-Colle-sur-Loup. Further north still, there is the Vesubie valley and the Mercentour National Park which covers 68,500 hectares and is home to so many rare plants and animals. The village of Utelle is well worth a visit as it has amazing panoramic views of the area. Just inland from Cannes is the village of Mougins, which was home to Picasso for the last 12 years of his life until his death in 1973. This pretty village with its narrow-cobbled streets and central fountain has numerous flower gardens, trees and green gardens. Many painters have settled there since Picasso’s passing and there are a number of different galleries in the village plus a photographic exhibition of portraits of Picasso. This village is also well known for its exceptionally good restaurants.
The surrounding area is part of Valmasque Park and has a variety of walking trails. The observation point on the lake at Étang de Fontmerle is well known by keen ornithologists. The town of Grasse is just a short distance away from Mougins and 16 kilometres from Cannes. Although the town was originally known for its leather tanners, it is famous for its perfumes now. There are four big perfume houses in the town, and it is interesting to take a guided tour at Parfumerie Galimard, which is the oldest of the four, being founded in 1747. Interestingly, the town has many tall buildings and narrow lanes, so many of the buildings have been painted pale orange to brighten the place up! Between Grasse and Nice are two lovely towns – Pergomas and Tanneron, which are both really pretty in the early spring when the mimosas are in flower. Two interesting villages that are situated inland from Nice and Menton are Coaraze and Sainte-Agnes. Coaraze is a pretty 'perched village' that clings to a hillside with a backdrop of mountains. It has the nickname 'Village du Soleil' as it has more than 320 sunny days each year. With its medieval cobbled streets, it is perfect for a stroll, but pause in the square next to the village square and admire the view of countless olive groves. Sainte-Agnes is just inland from Menton – right on the Italian border - but it is a challenging drive that takes 20 minutes or more. Standing at an altitude of 800 metres, the village claims to be the highest coastal village in Europe. It certainly has a long history as it has been proved by archaeologists that the area was first inhabited 3,000 years ago and was a Roman defensive point 2,000 years ago.
It has the ruins of a 12th century castle that was used as a retreat from Saracen raiders. Today it has cobbled streets, pastel painted houses and plenty of old-world charm. Gorbio and Castellar are two other little villages that are worth exploring. In the north of the department lie the Alps with their sunny snow resorts, in fact 80% of Alpes-Maritimes is mountainous. As well as great skiing there is 328 kilometres of navigable waterways which is perfect for those who like messing around in boats or kayaks. In this part of the department there are 25 mountain trails of varying lengths and for those who enjoy being active there is mountain biking, caving, rock climbing and hang gliding. The best-known ski resorts are Isola, Auron and Les Launes and each resort has good chalets and facilities for fun mountain holidays. With the ski resorts of the Alps in the north of this beautiful department just one hour's drive from the coast with its lovely beaches, for many holidaymakers there is one BIG decision to be made....ski or swim?
Haute Cuisine, 1 Michelin star in 2019
350 ROUTE DE SAINT-PAUL, 06480 LA COLLE-SUR-LOUP
+33 4 93 32 02 93
Haute Cuisine, 1 Michelin star in 2019
71 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
+33 4 93 76 50 50
Haute Cuisine, 1 Michelin star in 2019
21 GRAND-RUE, 06140 TOURRETTES-SUR-LOUP
+33 493 58 87 04