Useful Info
Côte d'Azur
The south-east corner of France, referred to as Provence, is a sun-blessed region, edged to the south by the Mediterranean sea. The coastline, from Monaco in the east to St Tropez in the west, is known as the Côte d'Azur or the Riviera. It is the world's most popular tourist destination, and also the area most French people wish to live and work.
Beaches
The Côte d'Azur offers a wide variety of beaches : the trendy Tahiti-Plage in St Tropez; the family beaches of Agay and St Raphaël; the star-spotting water-front restaurants of Cannes; the teenager-friendly resort of Juan les Pins; the sport's enthusiasts beaches of Nice; the private hotel beaches of Monaco where the rich and famous relax - there really is something for everyone.
Provençal Villages
Inland, the visitor can wander round the tiny cobbled streets of the famous perched villages, built on hilltops in the Middle Ages to provide security for their inhabitants. Today many of these villages have been restored by a new generation of artists, craft-workers and holiday-makers. St Paul de Vence is one of the best known examples, with the original ramparts beautifully preserved. Roquebrune Cap Martin, Eze and Tourrettes sur Loup are also well worth a visit.
Golf
Most of the major resorts offer golf courses, with the best choice around Cannes, Mandelieu and Mougins. The most spectacular course is Monaco's, which was laid out at the turn of the 20th century, high over Monte Carlo.
Ski
One of the region's best kept secrets is the number of ski resorts within one to two hours drive of the coast. The biggest resorts in the Alpes Maritimes are Isola 2000, Auron and Valberg, and closest to the coast is the small family resort of Gréolières-les-Neiges. The season is open from December to April, so why not rent a villa and enjoy the winter sun and snow !
Food and wine
Eating is a real pleasure in the South of France, where fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs are in plentiful supply all year
round. The high quality of these fresh, native ingredients demands minimal preparation - Provençal is perhaps the leastfussy of any regional French cuisine, and, as an added bonus, epitomises the modern definition of a healthy diet, with the emphasis on olive oil, fresh fish, and salads. Some of the most celebrated restaurants in the world can be found in this region, but it is worth also trying some of the humbler establishments which offer excellent value for money. The wine of the region is Côtes de Provence, with rosé being the most popular. The Var department has a number of vineyards and châteaux which can be visited for wine-tastings.
Art
For art-lovers there is a great choice of galleries and museums, exhibiting the works of Marc Chagall (St Paul de Vence & Nice), Jean Cocteau (Menton & Villefranche sur Mer), Raoul Dufy (Nice), Jean Honoré Fragonard (Grasse), Fernand Léger (Biot & St Paul de Vence), Henri Matisse (Nice, Vence & St Tropez) Pablo Picasso (Antibes & Vallauris), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Cagnes sur Mer), and Georges Seurat (St Tropez), to name just a few. The region is also famous for it's glassware (Biot) and pottery (Vallauris) - you can see the artisans at work by visiting their ateliers which are open to the public throughout the season.
Transport
The main international airport is Nice Côte d'Azur, which is served by all the major international airlines in addition to the new budget airlines operating from the UK. Eurotunnel and the wonderful French high speed trains (TGV) make train

travel an attractive alternative to flying. Many visitors treat themselves to bringing their car down to the region by train, thus arriving refreshed for the start of their holiday.
Carte Blanche can arrange car hire for your holiday if you prefer to leave yours at home, and can ensure collection at the airport or delivery to the villa. We have access to a wide range of vehicles to suit your budget. We can also supply a limousine transfer or taxi to the villa - whichever you prefer.

If you want to travel fast and avoid the traffic jams along the coast, try one of the helicopter services which operate from Nice, Cannes and St Tropez. Alternatively, if you have the time, take one of the boat services sailing from Golfe Juan and Cannes to Ste Maxime and St Tropez.
Events
The Côte d'Azur has plenty of entertainment laid on by the local municipalities throughout the year who compete to offer the best concerts or firework shows. Information about these can be obtained from the local tourist offices, Nice Matin (daily newspaper), radio and TV stations. The English speaking radio station is "Riviera Radio" (106.5, 106.3 FM) where you can obtain up-to-date news of regional events in English.
Here are a few examples of events staged throughout the year on the Riviera:
January : Monte Carlo rally
February : Fête du Citron in Menton, Nice Carnival March : Fête des Violettes, Tourrettes sur Loup
April : Monaco tennis tournament
May : Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix, Fête de la Rose in Grasse
June : Fête de la Musique, Fête de St Jean in many villages
July : Jazz festivals in Juan les Pins and Nice
August : International fireworks festival in Monaco, Cannes & Antibes
September : Nioulargue yacht race in St Tropez
October : MIPCOM
November : Official start of the ski season
December : Christmas markets (marchés de Noël) in many villages
Euro
Since January 2002, France has adopted the Euro as it's currency. One Euro is the equivalent of 6.55 old French Francs (approximately £1 = €1.6, and $1 = €1.1), but most prices are still shown in both currencies. Any old French coins and banknotes can only be exchanged at the Banque de France. The Euro is in circulation in 12 European countries which have each minted their own coins which can be used throughout the Euro zone, and the banknotes are the same in each country.

Climate
Provence has a basically Mediterranean climate, with average temperatures in August around 26° C, 79°F. In January everyone flocks to the Alps to ski, and in February the mimosa and almonds bloom on the Côte d'Azur. In April and May you can sit on a restaurant terrace for lunch, and by June, the resorts start to fill up and walking is safe in the highest mountains. July and August are sultry and hot, perfect for water sports and beaches, and the great jazz festivals in Juan les Pins and Nice. Once French school holidays end in early September, prices and crowds decrease with the temperature. In October, the weather is mild on the coast, although torrential downpours and floods are not unknown. Nice has the same average annual rainfall as Brest or Manchester - but it all comes at once ! December brings the Christmas holidays and the first skiers hit the slopes once more.