Côte d’Azur: from Marseille to Cannes

The Côte d'Azur, the holiday destination of many. Sun, sea, beaches, beautiful nature, good food and fascinating seaside resorts. Say it yourself, who is not a fan of the south of France? This road trip takes you along turquoise coasts and rivers, past small villages that are a feast for the eyes and also the big seaside resorts, Marseille, Saint-Tropez and Cannes are not to be missed. Our tip for this route: regularly stop the motorhome, car or motorbike and enjoy the beautiful views that this route has to offer. 


We start in Marseille and drive via the national park the Calanques towards Saint-Tropez and Cannes to finally leave the coast and end the route in Gorge du Verdon.


Total distance of the route: 426 km


We start our tour of the Côte d'Azur in Marseille. This beautiful city has a lot to offer. The symbol of the city is, without a doubt, the Notre-Dame de la Garde. Since its construction, this basilica has been watching over the sailors, fishermen and inhabitants of Marseille. It is also called "la Bonne Mère". From the top of the hill, you have a breathtaking panorama. The basilica can be seen from every corner of the city. Also the old port, the fish market, the old part of town "Le Panier", the Vieille Charité Museum and the Roman Docks Museum should not be missed on your visit. The coastline can be easily explored by bike. We leave Marseille and drive to Calanques National Park. The Calanques are nestled between Marseille and Cassis and is without doubt a unique and breathtaking landscape. Calanques are large rocky coves that form a steep and narrow valley inland. It is a geological formation of limestone that is mainly found around the Mediterranean Sea. In the Calanques National Park, you will find pebble and fine sand beaches, miniature fjords with turquoise water and extraordinary underwater flora. It is the perfect location for sunbathing, exploring the seabed, walking or venturing into water sports such as kayaking. A boat trip is also recommended. As you can hear, you can certainly fill a day in the Calanques.


Bormes-les-Mimosas is a colourful village on the Côte d'Azur. This 12th century village owes its name to one of the many plant species in the area: the yellow mimosa. With its light pink houses along winding streets, Bormes is a lovely place to stroll around. In the region, you will find many vineyards where you can enjoy wine tasting. As we have already mentioned, Bormes is located at the coast, and you can take lovely walks along the sometimes pine-covered coastline with quiet beaches and bays. Besides, this is also one of the few places on the Côte d'Azur where you can dive. Because of centuries of overfishing, the Mediterranean Sea is not very popular with divers. Near Bormes, however, is the first sea reserve of Europe: Port-Cros. In the rocky underwater world of Port-Cros, you can dive well and feast your eyes on the underwater world consisting of shipwrecks and sea grass plains. In addition to barracudas, you will also find giant groupers, moray eels, sea bream and soft corals. Thanks to Port-Cros, you can imagine what the Mediterranean would be like if marine life were given the chance to recover through better protection and monitoring. This wonderful water world is less than 45 minutes away from the coast and is ideal for a half-day trip.


Saint-Tropez, the city of the 'rich and famous'. In the harbour you will be overwhelmed by the most expensive and biggest boats, where you will undoubtedly feast your eyes. But Saint-Tropez also has another side. It is a very pleasant, artistic town with cosy streets and good food. Take a stroll through the authentic district of la Ponche. Saint-Tropez was the avant-garde of painting in the beginning of the 20th century. The Annonciade Museum houses a collection of the Pointillist, Fauvist and Nabist periods with painters such as Seurat, Signac, Cross, Matisse, Vlaminck, Van Dongen, Derain, Vuillard, Bonnard. Be sure to visit the impressive citadel and its museum. Also the Maison des papillons and of course the many beaches, the sea and nature make a day in Saint-Tropez unforgettable. You can not leave Saint-Tropez before you have tasted the famous tropézienne cake.


Near Saint-Tropez is Port Grimaud, the outport of Grimaud city. Because it has many canals, Port Grimaud is sometimes called the Venice of France. In the summer, you can buy local products such as wine and cheese in the small shops.


Located at the foot of the Esterel massif, Saint-Raphael is particularly popular for its sandy beaches and water sports. But the seaside resort also has many historical treasures to offer. The remains of the 12th century city walls and religious buildings are just the beginning. In the historic quarter, you can reach the Romanesque church of San Rafau through cobbled streets. From the watchtower, you have a wonderful view over the city, the bay and the Esterel massif. The vegetable and flower market is a true explosion of scents and colours. From Saint-Raphael, you can take the "Corniche d'Or", the winding road that connects Cannes with the coast. This road is 40 km long and takes you through beautiful landscapes. Ideal to leave your campervan, car or motorbike at the side and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea.


Although Cannes is more than just the world-famous film festival that takes place there every year, you can't ignore the film atmosphere. In Cannes, it is all about seeing and being seen. Whether in the expensive shopping streets or on the seaside promenade, you can imagine yourself to be a film star for a while. Did you know that there is also a small version of the Walk of Fame from Hollywood? Many big stars from the film industry had their handshake immortalised on a tile here. In the old part 'Le Suquet' of the city, you can enjoy shopping, aperitifs and wandering through the romantic winding alleys. Le Suquet was originally a medieval fishing village. You will also find Notre Dame de l'Espérance there. This Gothic church was built in the 16th century and offers a beautiful view over the city. In Le Suquet, you will also find the Place de la Castre and the medieval castle with the Musée de la Castre. This museum is dedicated to the primitive art of Colombian-American origin. The Palais du Festivals on Boulevard de la Croisette is also a sight not to be missed. The Cannes Film Festival is held here every year. From Cannes, you can take a short boat trip to the island of Sainte-Marguerite.


Grasse is the unofficial world capital of perfume! During the Middle Ages, Grasse was especially important because of its leather industry. The leather was exported to big cities like Genoa and Pisa. Because the tanning of leather did not smell very fresh, and the aristocracy did not like it, the local leather worker Galimard came up with the idea to perfume the leather gloves of the nobility. This was the start of the perfume industry. If you want to know everything about this scented goodness, you should definitely visit the International Museum of Perfume. Furthermore, Grasse has a cosy historical centre where the cathedral and the baroque chapels immediately catch the eye. Another nice museum to visit in Grasse is the well-known Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence. Here, you will learn everything about the (art) history of Provence. In the first week of August, the annual Fête du Jasmin takes place.

Gorge du Verdon

We do not end our road trip on the Côte d'Azur, but in Europe's Grand Canyon: the Gorge du Verdon. This gorge splits the mountainous landscape of Provence. You can hike, mountain bike, relax on beaches and especially admire the Verdon River. The Verdon is so blue that it almost hurts your eyes. The river is 25 km long and cuts through the limestone landscape. It is the limestone that gives the river its blue colour. The gorge is part of the Verdon Regional Natural Park, which covers an area of no less than 180,000 hectares. Not for nothing an attraction for many tourists. The natural park is ideal to explore by car or camper van, plus it is an absolute pleasure to drive through it. You can stop wherever you like for a walk or a mountain bike ride. Be sure to stop at the Balcon de la Mescla viewpoint. As the name suggests, it offers a beautiful view of the gorge. Margés Vaumale is also a nice place to stop. From here, you have a good view of the Lac de Sainte-Crox. According to many, Pont de Galetas is the most beautiful point in the Gorge du Verdon. From this point you can see the gorge at its most beautiful. You can swim, paddle or kayak. There is parking, but not much, so you better come early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Want to taste even more of the Côte d'Azur? Then be sure to read the Côte d'Azur road trip: Antibes - Menton.