The French Riviera (Cote d’Azur)
The French Riviera is a part of the coast of southern France, which stretches from Marseille (to the west) to Menton (near the border with Italy) to the east. It occupies the northern shores of the western Mediterranean.
History. This area has become popular in the early 19th century, when the wealthy aristocrats from across Europe and royalties began to arrive in these places, attracted by the warm Mediterranean climate and magnificent beaches. One of the most famous names associated with the French Riviera is that of Queen Victoria. Her Majesty loved to come every year on the French Cote d’Azur, and thus has initiated a tradition that continue for centuries. The Riviera became the most popular destination among the richest people in the world. The glory of this blessed Mediterranean coast, was not limited to the grandeur of aristocratic personages, who visited it in the 19-century. Later, the popularity of the Riviera increased strongly.
In the 20th century, the coast began to enjoys to one other stars – the Hollywood celebrities, who began coming to these shores to enjoy the lovely scenery and crystal clear waters. In 1964th was released the cult film “Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez”. The décor of this great comedy is the small coastal town of the French Riviera – Saint Tropez. This legendary film is the last drop, which creates a frenzy among the wealthy circles worldwide. It has become a matter of prestige to spend their summer vacation at a luxury yacht that carries at the blue Mediterranean waters, near the picturesque shores. Today in the 21st century nothing has changed. Here, on the Cote d’Azur you will find the most expensive and luxurious villas, hotels, restaurants and, of course, yacht, which swayed lazily under the strong Mediterranean sun.
Climate. French Riviera has a very mild subtropical, Mediterranean climate. It is believed that this part of France is one of the places in the world with the most lovely and healthy climate. The Riviera is wide open to the south and the warm air masses that invade from Africa make the local climate much sunnier and warmer than is normally for these latitudes. Côte d’Azur is located at 43° northern geographic latitude, ie at the same latitude, on which is also located the Canadian city of Toronto. The climate, however, has nothing to do. The French Riviera to the north is protected from the cold air masses through the Alps and the French Central Massif.
So even the daily temperatures in January in Nice are about 13 °C. Overall, the climate is quite mild. Rainfall is more plentiful in the autumn and winter, while the spring and summer are dry. Snow falls rarely, and when that happens usually the snow is very occasional and thin. With certainly the winter on the Riviera is quite different from that in the temperate latitudes of Europe. There are many greenness even in the winter, and the feeling is springlike. The maximum temperature is around the mid-August, when the daily were about 27 °C. The beach season lasts from May to October. In summer rainfall are rare. When it happens to rain, the precipitations are intense and often accompanied by thunders. This is typical for the summer precipitation, not only on the Cote d’Azur, but for the entire Mediterranean.
Nature. On the Cote d’Azur alternate mainly mountainous and hilly terrain. In this part of France lowland areas with insignificant altitude are rare. The banks are often steep and descend to the picturesque beach. This is particularly true for the eastern parts of the Riviera, where the Alps descend just to the coast. This is the case with Monaco and Menton. On the French Riviera will rarely find a very long beaches. Most of the beaches are small and secluded by coves and so the bays are small and adorable. In most places the sand is very light, almost white. The transparency of the sea water here is more than any other place on the Mediterranean. Here the majority of the vegetation is evergreen, but there are also and many deciduous leaved species. Date palm, King palm, Trahikarpus, citrus, olives, and hundreds of species of flowers, shrubs and conifers (mostly cypress) combine in a unique way to create the magic of the Mediterranean. Indeed, here you will find a lot more greenery than in other parts of the Mediterranean. The reason is that the local climate is not too dry.
Cities. Marseille, Toulon, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Menton, together with dozens of less known, but not less beautiful towns, form the world famous French Riviera. The largest city of the Cote d’Azur is Marseille. It has a population of 1 520 000 inhabitants. It has a very large port and performs basic business functions. Nice is the second largest city of the Riviera. It has a population of about 950 000 inhabitants. Although smaller, the city is richer than Marseille and the luxury is evident at every turn. The city serves as a major tourist center. Every year millions of tourists arrive here from all around the world. Monaco is a Kingdom, which gets into the borders of the Cote d’Azur. This is one of the richest and most exquisite places in the world. Luxury hotels, restaurants, casinos, boutiques and what not are available to affluent visitors from all around the world. Saint Tropez is a resort town, which in the 60 years caused a furor with the film “Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez”. Since then, the resort is a synonym of rich and famous visitors. Toulon is known for its yacht harbour, picturesque terrain and narrow streets, where you can find charming cafes and nice restaurants. It has a large marina. Cannes is very famous, especially among the film fans. Each year in May, is held a festival, during which, is given out one of the most important film industry awards – the Golden Palm. Menton is a charming town, situated close to the border with Italy. It has rocky beaches, making the sea water even more clear and transparent. The banks are very steep and the luxury villas are built on the slope, so that from each villa you have amazing view to the sea, although in front of it was built another one.
Economy. Overall, this is one of the richest areas of Europe. France has always been one of the leading positions in quality of life in the world, and this is one of the leading regions in the country. It is characterized by a very high standard of living, higher income and the sector of the services get the upper hand over the other sectors. The extractive industry sector is concentrated in other parts of the country and less in this part of France. Local economy, of course, relies heavily on highly developed tourist industry. Strong impact on the local economy has the fact that most goods consumed here of the visitors are French production. Besides tourism, the Cote d’Azur also relies on the production of high quality wine – one of the best in the world. The specific climate is ideal for the capricious vines, because it does not occur too large temperature amplitudes and has a large number of sunny days per year. At the Riviera you can also see large areas that are planted all sorts of varieties of aromatic flowers. They are used for perfumery. As is known, France is the undisputed leader in the producing of high-class perfumes. In this part of France also grow very well and citrus crops, as well as the very picky about the climate conditions olive trees.