The natural beauty of the French Riviera is undeniable, with the Maritime Alps cascading into scenic beaches and rocky inlets along the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Also known as the Côte d’Azur, the coastline between Saint-Tropez and Monaco has been the playground of royalty, celebrities, artists and well-heeled travelers since the 19th century, when they were drawn to its mild winters as much as its scenery. Now it’s home to luxurious hotels, chic beach clubs, buzzy restaurants, fascinating museums and extravagant shopping. It’s easy to fall in love with the French Riviera on your first visit, but there’s always something fresh to discover, which is why I like to return as often as possible.
This year, a sprinkling of new hotels, along with major renovations of some classic properties, provided a good excuse to head to one of my favorite parts of Europe.
Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel
The scaffolding came off the iconic Carlton in March, ushering in a new era for the century-old grande dame. Built in 1911, the hotel has a storied — and star-studded — past, having served as a major filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief,” starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. (Later that year, Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco met at the hotel during the Cannes Film Festival, and in 2013 it was the site of its own real-life jewelry heist.)