Explore the Stunning Cities of the French Riviera:
The Côte d’Azur (French pronunciation: [kot daˈzyʁ]; Occitan: Còsta d’Azur; literally: ‘Azure Coast’), often known in English as the French Riviera, is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from the Italian border (Italian Riviera) in the east to Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Toulon, or Cassis in the west.
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 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria 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 20th century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edith Wharton,Somerset Maugham, and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans. After World War II, it became a popular tourist destination and convention site. Many celebrities, such asElton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region. Officially, the Côte d’Azur is home to 163 nationalities with 83,962 foreign residents, although estimates of the number of non-French nationals living in the area are often much higher.
Its largest city is Nice, which has a population of 347,060 (2006). The city is the center of a communauté urbaine – Nice-Côte d’Azur – bringing together 24 communes and over 500,000 inhabitants and 933 080 in the urban area.