The Completely Baller, Ultra-Luxury Itinerary
Welcome to the most top-tier of luxury on the French Riviera, in the South of France. It
doesn’t simply can’t get better than this. This tour of the French Riviera is best experienced over a period of at least two weeks, plus another two weeks for Provence, but can be adjusted based on your schedule.
About this Guide
This guide was written by a UHNW Monte-Carlo resident who personally frequents everything mentioned below, and continues to edit and update the guide regularly.
By following this guide, you’ll be starting on the east end of the French Riviera and moving westward…. This itinerary is for in-season (May through September) only, as some of the hotels and restaurants mentioned are closed in the winter. Click the blue links to read more detailed guides.
Make sure to check our events calendar, so you know what events are happening, in case you want to participate.
Monaco & Nearby South of France
Fly into Nice airport, either private or La Compagnie airline (which is a first-class-only airline with direct flights to NYC). You can take a helicopter to Monaco, or rent a car at the airport (it’s about a 25 minute drive to Monaco), as it’ll be good to have a rental car or a driver (Monaco doesn’t allow Uber pickups).
Where to Stay
The elegant 1864 Belle Époque palace, Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo , was recently renovated and is the height of luxury. It’s in the center of Monaco, in Monte Carlo right next to the Casino de Monte Carlo.
The Monte Carlo Beach Hotel , is actually not in Monte Carlo — it’s on the far east side of Monaco. It’s great if you want to be seaside and hear the waves, eat organic, have access to a large outdoor pool, and walk from your room to the beach club in seconds. Here’s a profile of the hotel in Vogue.
If you have more time, also stay at the opulent La Reserve de Beaulieu in the tiny-but-charming Beaulieu sur Mer (a 20-minute drive to Monaco). Or the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in Cap Ferrat (a 30-minute drive to Monaco), where the vibe is ultra-exclusive and you can get a suite with a private infinity pool (aptly named ‘The Pool Suite’) or your own luxurious villa, also with a private pool. They also have numerous ‘wellness’ offerings.
All of these hotels are great, and ideally you’d stay at least a few nights at each Monaco hotel, then a night or two at the hotels in Beaulieu and Cap Ferrat. If you can only pick one, then choose Hotel de Paris, as the location is the most convenient and you should definitely spend most of your time in central Monaco, so you can walk to restaurants, the beach, and shops. As always, use a Virtuoso travel agent to get a free room upgrade and other perks.
Where to Eat
There are many incredible restaurants in the area. Make sure to book a reservation well in advance.
Monaco has a very high concentration of luxury gastronomic restaurants. In fact, there is possibly no place in the world with a higher concentration of exceptional restaurants in such a small area. Most of the best ones are walking distance from your hotel, in Monte-Carlo and Larvotto. This is not a complete list of fantastic restaurants in Monaco… there are too many to mention here. Here are some of our favorites:
- Monaco (lunch & dinner): All of the restaurants at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo and at Hotel Metropole , Cantinetta Antinori (has a great live band on many evenings), Cipriani (a familiar favorite), Gaia (Greek cuisine in a glam setting)… and any of the restaurants on Monaco’s Larvotto beach (for holiday beach vibes).
- Monaco (dinner only): Song Qi (incredible Asian cuisine), MayaBay (ask to be in the Thai side), and the 100% organic 1-star Elsa (both seaside at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel), Blue Bay (has a Michelin star and a great vegan tasting menu), Maya Jah (Indian cuisine; party atmosphere for 9pm seating), Coya (seaside; 9pm seating is a party scene), and the infamous Sass (only after 9pm and only for the party, as it’s quite the scene).
- Monaco (for all-day drinks & snacks): Have drinks at Trinity Bar (a polo-bar style lounge), Bar Americain (which has great cocktails, a comfortable terrace, and a live band in the evenings), and have a James Bond-style martini at the bars in the Monte Carlo Casino (just to see them once). Have afternoon coffee and snacks at Pasticceria Cova Plage , MadaOne , Horizon (overlooking the sea) or the outdoor summer bars: Veuve Cliquot and Mada Lounge in the square.
- Nice: For a unique dining experience steeped in history, go to Le Plongeoir , which is perched above the sea. They also have a bar, where you can enjoy snacks and cocktails while listening to the waves crash below you. JAN restaurant is cozy and charming. For trendy, check out the rooftop at Hotel Amour . La Petite Maison is a secret local favorite. Nespo is a trendy spot. While the Negresco Hotel isn’t luxurious enough for an overnight stay, they do have two fantastic bars (an outdoor summer bar and a cozy indoor bar, both open all day) and couple of upscale restaurants that are worth dining at: Chantecler and La Rotonde . La Petite Maison (a favorite with the Monaco crowd) and, in the old port, By PM (which has only 10 tables) are secret local favorites.
- Menton: Perhaps the most famous restaurant in southern France, Mirazur Restaurant is a Michelin 3-star masterpiece, with a set menu and has consistently been rated one of the best restaurants in the world. Because they were booked up for months, they opened a casual, sister restaurant across the street called Casa Fuego (“House Fire”), which is also excellent.
- Beaulieu: The restaurants at hotel La Reserve de Beaulieu : Le Restaurant des Rois has a Michelin star, or if you prefer a sunny terrace and ocean view, go to Le Vent Debout. But first, have drinks at their bar, which opens onto an exquisitely landscaped patio during warm weather, the Gordon Bennett Bar. In the port, African Queen is a secret local favorite.
- Cap d’Ail: Do the Cap d’Ail walk (a must-do) and have a fruit plate at Naos Beach (the start of the walk), then lunch at Le Cabanon , which overlooks the sea. You can continue on the walk after lunch and go to Plage Mala , or retrace your steps back to Monaco.
- Eze-sur-Mer: Go to Anjuna Beach restaurant , which is beach-side in Eze-sur-Mer, for a weekend party brunch (dancing on tables) or relaxing seaside dinner. (Note: the food is family-style and wasteful and they are very un-woke, with teenage girls Go-Go dancing in string bikinis and black men in American Indigenous people’s headdresses.)
- Eze Village: Le Mas Provencal is a luxurious fairytale-land restaurant that is completely one-of-a-kind. The views from Hotel Chevre d’Or are must-see; have dinner at their Michelin 2-star restaurant and lunch or drinks on the terrace at one of their two casual restaurants. Another hotel in the village, Chateau Eza , also has a restaurant and a bar with great views.
- Villefranche: Mayssa Beach (ask for a table on the edge of the terrace overlooking the water).
- La Turbie: Hostellerie Jerome‘s gastronomic restaurant (with a set menu) is so beautiful you’ll want to eat there twice, just so you can experience both their incredible dining room and their beautiful terrace.
- Cap Ferrat: Hotel Royal-Riviera and the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat both have wonderful restaurants. At the Royal-Riviera’s Jasmin Grill & Lounge, you can enjoy live music every Tuesday and Friday evening from 8pm. Also lunch at Anao Plage , on the beach in Beaulieu right next to the Royal-Riviera.
Things To Do
You could dedicate a day to each of these activities.
- Cap Ferrat: Park at the Four Seasons’ Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat and have lunch or lounge at the Club Dauphin beach club, then do the Cap Ferrat seaside walk (this can’t be missed!) by exiting the hotel by the water (get the gate code first) and turning right.
- Eze & Villefranche: Spend a day in Eze Village (15 minutes from Monaco and a must-see) and have drinks on the terrace at Chateau Eza . Do the Nietsche hike and cool off in the waterfall, for a good workout. You should still have time to also go to Villefranche and explore that town (another must-see town). Have dinner seaside in Villefranche.
- Roquebrune & Menton: Lunch and spa at The Maybourne Riviera (a luxury hotel perched on a cliff above Monaco), then check out Roquebrune‘s old town and Menton‘s seaside boardwalk and Jean Cocteau museum .
- Nice: Go to the market in Nice (drive along the coastal road) and spend an afternoon walking around Nice. Go to the Negresco beach club for drinks or lunch.
- Cap Estel: Go to the spa, have a swim, then have drinks and dinner at the ultra-exclusive Hotel Cap Estel .
- Monaco: Get to know Monaco. Go shopping in Monte Carlo, have lunch on Larvotto Beach . Go to the St-Martins Gardens park on The Rock and tour the Prince’s Palace and the Oceanographic museum . If possible, make sure to see a show at the stunning Monte Carlo Opera house.
- Corsica: Charter a yacht and visit Corsica island for a day (or a week). Stop in Calvi and explore the town.
- Italy: Go to Italy to shop at the uber-luxury Mall Sanremo where you can buy designer clothing (Loro Piana, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Brunello Cucinelli, etc.) at 50+% off. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Monaco. You can stop and check out some of the Italian towns on the way.
Vence & Inland South of France
This is a more chill, country-side part of the trip, with Provence vibes.
Where to Stay
Formed out of the remains of a 12th-century Knights Templar castle, with siege-thick walls, and original chapel and tower, Chateau Saint Martin & Spa , is in the countryside near Vence, with great views. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Monaco and a 10 minute drive to the famous Saint Paul de Vence.
Where to Eat
- Cagnes sur Mer: The restaurant at Chateau Le Cagnard in the medieval town center.
- St Paul de Vence: The restaurant at Colombe d’Or has an upscale courtyard terrace. Have a casual lunch at the chic Byro Alle (healthy and creative cuisine in a chic setting) or at Les Remparts (great cocktails on a bobo-chic terrace with expansive views) in the heart of St Paul de Vence. Alain Llorca is just outside the old city.
- Countryside of St Paul de Vence: Au Jardin de la Vague is a modern and minimalist restaurant that’s great for lunch.
- Tourettes sur Loup: Spelt is a charming restaurant with a terrace that looks out over the hills.
- Vence: L’Ambroisy in Vence.
What to Do
There are a lot of fun day trips you can take to explore nearby towns.
- Mougins & Valbonne: Take a day trip to the charming towns of Mougins and Valbonne , about 30 minutes drive (check traffic conditions on Google Maps before leaving). Walk around the pedestrian-only area.
- St Paul de Vence: Spend a day exploring St Paul de Vence (the most visited town in France). If you are into art, go to Fondation Maeght .
- Cagnes: Spend a couple of hours wandering around the old medieval town of Cagnes sur Mer , and visit the Chateau Museum and the Jewelled Art Museum . Pickup something precious at the cute jewelry shop in the square . Then go to dinner at the charming hotel Chateau Le Cagnard . This hotel is very charming and a nice place to spend a night. Note: entering the old town requires parking just outside and you can either have the hotel shuttle you or you can take the very short walk into the old town.
- Vence: Spend a few hours walking around the old center of Vence (only the pedestrian city center, as the surrounding area is nothing special) and eat at L’Ambroisy .
Antibes, Cannes & the Esterel
Two fun cities, a red rock mountain range, and a couple of islands.
Where to Stay
Stay at the spectacularly-situated seaside Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on Cap d’Antibes. Since it first opened its grand doors in 1870, this hotel has welcomed a sophisticated parade of creatives, royalty, and glamorous jet-setters. A jewel of the French Riviera, the palatial resort attracted such visitors as Pablo Picasso, Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among many others, and for decades it has been the favorite playground of movie stars in town for the Cannes Film Festival.
Where to Eat
- Cannes: The many beach restaurants along La Croisette are also open (and crowded) all year round, and a fun place to have lunch or dinner. The charming Villa Archange is a 10-minute drive inland. Housed in a Provencal-style villa, there’s a gastronomic restaurant with 2 Michelin stars, and in an adjoining villa they have a casual bistro with terraces that will make you feel like you’re in Provence. At the end of Pointe Croisette, La Petite Maison is known for its Sunday Brunch with live music.
- Esterel: The Roches Rouges hotel has a bar and two restaurants: a Michelin-star restaurant called The Reef (open Wednesday to Sunday for dinner), and La Plage, an elegantly casual poolside restaurant with live music every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday evening. Closer to Antibes, La Marea is a friendly, family-owned gastronomic restaurant with a terrace and a view. Another charming boutique hotel in the town of Saint Raphael in the Esterel, La Villa Mauresque , also has a gourmet restaurant.
- Antibes: Hotel Belle Rives’ La Passagère and Maison de Bacon both have chic seaside terraces. The Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel has a casual seaside bar and restaurant, Les Pêcheurs , with a Michelin star. Restaurants le 44 and le Vauban are local favorites.
- *Will add more options shortly – check back*
What to Do
- Antibes: Spend half a day checking out the old town. Visit the Picasso museum .
- Cap d’Antibes: Do the Cap Antibes coastal path walk.
- Lerins Islands: Charter a yacht for the day and see the islands. Scuba or snorkel and see the underwater museum. Make a reservation at La Guerite for brunch on the island.
- Cannes: Spend a full day in Cannes and go shopping, check out the old area on the hill, hang at a beach club. Here’s an itinerary.
- Esterel: Spend a full day or two in the Esterel, go hiking using the All Trails mobile app. Drive along the coast one way, then through the forest. Have lunch at Roches Rouges hotel , or La Marea . Tour the seaside castle in Theoule sur Mer.
- On the water: Go paddleboarding around Cap d’Antibes or in the Esterel.
- Golfing: This area is one of the best in the world for golfing. Here are the best courses.
If you have a driver, get them to go to St-Tropez by car while you charter a yacht and go by boat (assuming the weather is good). This way you can skip the traffic, which can get very congested closer to St-Tropez, when several roads merge into one local road (the drive time can range from 1 hour to 3 hours from Cannes to St-Tropez, based on traffic).
Make sure to read our detailed guide to the beach clubs of Pampellone, so you’re prepared.
Where to Stay
If you’re okay with being inland, Chateau de la Messardiere is an incredible hotel with two restaurants. It’s on a lush estate, a 30 minute walk or 5 minute cab ride into town.
If you’re looking for something a bit bohemian, stay at Épi 1959. It’s a beach club tucked behind the dunes of Pampelonne beach that has 10 bungalows where you can step out of your bungalow right to the pool and then walk straight to the beach.
Much like in the Hamptons, when visiting St-Tropez, many people also opt to rent a villa in Ramatuelle with a private chef. There are many services available to help arrange this. We recommend you do not use any of the agencies that also sell villas, as they often rent villas that are for sale and then do showings while they are rented (sometimes without the renters knowing).
Where to Eat
- St-Tropez (lunch & dinner): Dior des Lices (also great for breakfast) and Le Petite Plage are open all day. Byblos Hotel has a poolside lounge bar, and two restaurants: Cucina Byblos (which is romantic in the evening, when the lanterns in the trees light up) and the poolside Arcadia, which is in an interior courtyard. Want something casual? Have a pizza at Nano .
- St-Tropez (dinner only): Salama is Mediterranean with a Moroccan twist, and has a great cocktail menu. The spectacular 3-Michelin-star La Vague d’Or at the Cheval Blanc is a memorable treat. In the courtyard of the Yaca hotel, Italian restaurant Le Yaca is a casual place to have a cocktail or dinner. Le Tigrr Ermitage is a sexy spot for dinner.
- Ramatuelle: Dolce Vita at Villa Marie has a charming terrace and bar. La Reserve Ramatuelle has 3 great restaurants. Chez Camille is a secret local favorite. You can dine beside a vineyard at Fondugues Pradougues’ Le Chai (by reservation only). Lily of the Valley has a chic, bohemian restaurant.
- Pampellone: Lunch at the beach clubs. If you’re in the mood for a less beachy vibe, Matoba is an excellent sushi restaurant.
What to Do
- Ramatuelle: Do organic winery tour (with a driver) in Ramatuelle and have lunch at Fondugues Pradugues (say hi to Stephen & Laurent, the owners).
- Medieval towns: Visit Port Grimaud and the old towns of Ramatuelle, Grimaud , and Gassin . Have lunch or dinner in Gassin at Bello Visto (for lunch, ask for a table with a view, at the edge of their terrace.)
- Pampellone beach: Spend a day or two at the famous beach clubs.
- St Tropez: Go to the Saint-Tropez market early in the morning, stroll through the old town, taste a Saint-Tropez tart and have an espresso or aperitif on the terrace of the famous Café Sénéquier , overlooking the port. Wander around and go shopping.
- The islands: Charter a yacht and go to the Porquerolles islands and the Calanques .
- Cassis: Day trip (or, better yet, overnight) to Cassis. Eat & stay at hotel Les Roches Blanches .
- Sports: Go horseback riding or attend a polo tournament at the Saint Tropez Polo Club . There’s a real atmosphere of glamour and pomp on the tournament days held on Sundays during summer; dress up and order a glass of champagne. Play tennis or go paddleboarding at EPI 1959 . The spot between Cap Camarat and Cap Taillat is ideal for snorkelling or paddleboarding. Take a walk along the coastal path, which belongs to the Port-Cros National Park.
- Party: If you’re looking for a party, visit the famous nightclub Les Caves du Roy , which is a popular choice for celebrities like Leo DiCaprio, P-Diddy, Beyoncé and many more. You’ll need to bribe the bouncers to skip the long lines.
Now would be a good time for a mid-trip detox and wellness reboot, before heading off to Provence. And, of course, there are two incredible detox, fitness, health & wellness-focused resorts that perfectly blend being on the coast with the countryside of the Ramatuelle wine country:
- Choice #1: La Reserve Ramatuelle is a wellness resort (here’s a detailed review) with 3 restaurants, on the coast a 10-minute drive from Pampellone’s beach clubs. They offer 3 or 6-day bootcamp wellness programs. You can get your own private villa, and their spa uses only organic products. Naturally.
- Choice #2: Lily of the Valley is a small luxury detox & wellness-focused resort (here’s a detailed review) on the coast about 30 minutes from St-Tropez or Pampellone. They have one large restaurant, a tiny café, and a beach club about 15 minutes away. They claim that the dishes made with produce from local farms and their own vegetable gardens, but in reality only a small portion of it is (their club sandwich, for example, uses grocery deli meat). The decor is stellar, but the food and service could be improved. Make sure to get a “nature view” room so you’re not stuck overlooking the pool. They have a spa and exercise classes.
Coastal South of France & Provence
From here on, you can continue on to Cassis . Stay at hotel Les Roches Blanches and see the amazing Calanques .
Next, go to Aix-en-Provence and stay at Villa Gallici , which is walking distance to Aix. Aix-en-Provence is a wonderful city with a very large pedestrian-only city center.
Just north of Aix, stay at Villa La Coste for a night (the hotel’s grounds are spectacular and full of sculptures, but the surrounding area isn’t very exciting).
A bit farther north, in a much more beautiful part of Provence, you can stay at Capelongue (which has a modern take on Provencal charm) or Coquillade (where you can stay in a large suite with a private pool). From there you can discover the magnificent villages of Lourmarin, Lauris, Ansouls and Cucuron, or cross Lourmarin valley to access North Luberon: Bonnieux, Gordes, Lacoste, Roussillon.
- Lourmarin : The most typically-Provencal town you’ll find, with an excess of charm. The winding streets house many authentically French boutiques. This town is a great place to have a meal on a terrace, or pick up souvenirs. It’s the perfect place to rent a bike and ride around the countryside’s gently rolling hills.
- Lacoste : A medieval hilltop town that has been transformed into a charming artist’s residency run by a college exchange program group (that picks talented American student artists to set up shop in Lacoste), with the Marquis de Sade’s chateau . Make sure to buy some art from the students, at SCAD’s incredible boutique (one of our favorite shops in France) in the middle of town.
To further explore Provence, stay at the quintessentially-Provencal Baumaniere . From the hotel, you can walk to Les-Baux-de-Provence (have lunch at Les Baux Jus ) and visit Saint Remy . Have lunch or dinner on the terrace at Château d’Estoublon .
Bonus: If you love nature and animals, you’ll really enjoy staying at (or just enjoying a meal at) Le Domaine du Castellas , a chic and remote hotel / restaurant where friendly goats and chickens are likely to gently interrupt your meal.