Besides its beaches, bars and restaurants, the French Riviera is host to some great annual events throughout the year. We’ve picked out some of the best events you won’t want to miss while on the French Riviera.
Probably the most famous of all the events taking place during the year on the Riviera is the Monaco Grand Prix. Cars have been racing around the streets of this small city annually since 1929 and you don’t have to be a millionaire to experience it. Besides the race itself, the qualifying can be very exciting to watch. Buy a ticket to see each team battle it out for the best places on the starting grid during the days leading up to the race. Tickets purchased for one of the qualifying rounds are just 32 euros if you don’t mind sitting on the grass on the ‘Rocher’ (the side of the rocky hill on top of which stands the Palace of the Prince himself) A steal considering prices for other areas around the track go from 200 to 6000 euros!
Another big event taking place on the French Riviera, but no less famous, is the Cannes film festival. The picturesque small town of Cannes has been welcoming the biggest stars of cinema to the French Riviera since 1946, and even though you’ll need to be in the industry to actually get in to the Palais to see a film with the stars, local cinemas screen some of the films featured in the competition and a few are even free entry. Festival organisers set up an outdoor cinema screen on the beach during the festival so you can spend an evening watching a movie from the comfort of one the deck chairs provided, and it’s free! The big draw though is the famous red carpet leading up to the entrance of the Palais de festivals where the most glamorous stars of cinema parade before the cameras. There is a public gallery to one side which is free to enter and from there you can get a glimpse of your favorite Hollywood celebrities as they wave to the crowds from the top of the famous steps.
There are also some great music events taking place each year. One of the Riviera’s biggest music events is the Nice Jazz festival which has taken place annually since 1948. It’s not all jazz music though as the line up often includes an eclectic mix of world music and pop. In Cannes during August, techno fans crowd the beaches for the Plage electonique. It is a three day festival where revellers can party to techno beats on the beach until 5am. Then there’s Crossover festival which is another celebration of electronic music taking place in Nice over a weekend in August, if your still thirsty for more techno. At the height of summer on 21st July, France celebrates music day with the Fête de la Musique. This extraordinary free event invites all musicians to come into the streets to play music for free. Just like a massive street party, the old town of Nice becomes full of bands, DJ’s and individual musicians playing live for crowds in the streets.
And last, but not least, our final recommendation for an unmissable event on the French Riviera is the Cannes International fireworks festival. Around 100,000 people come to see the worlds best pyrotechnicians light up the night sky over the bay of Cannes with spectacular choreographed firework displays orchestrated to a musical track. The festival takes place over July and August and it’s free to attend, but get there early to get a good viewpoint on the beach.