The city’s nickname is Nissa La Bella which means Nice the Beautiful and it’s a fitting nickname indeed.
With a backdrop of blue azur from Angel Bay and the Mediterranean sea, the warmth of red and yellow ochre from the traditional buildings in the Old Town and the radiant light that attracted many a famous painter, Nice is an ideal location to capture through a lens.
I always recommend coming up here when I’m doing a shoot, even though there isn’t much left of the Castle itself, there’s a myriad of paths covered in luscious greenery and greek antique mosaics and THE most amazing views over the whole of Nice. From the viewpoints on the east side, you’ll see the Port of Nice stretching up to the Cape of Nice. As you head towards the west you’ll get an endless view of the Mediterranean sea until you reach the viewpoint overlooking Nice and the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town, Airport all the way to the Cap d’Antibes and the Southern Alps.
THE OLD TOWN
A constant hustle and bustle, the Old Town or Vieux Nice hasn’t changed much since the 1700’s. There’s so much that this little neighbourhood offers and it’s an ideal spot to photograph. On the main strip, the Cours Selaya hosts a daily market, Monday is full of antiques and knick-knacks, Tuesday-Sunday hosts local producers of fruits, vegetables, flowers and other food goods. Full of colour and aromas, this is one of my favorite places to shoot in Nice! Take a look HERE!
THE PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS
The famous boardwalk in Nice streching 7km from Port Lympia to the airport, giving direct access to Nice’s pebble beaches and lined with majestic hotels and belle epoque apartment buildings. Originally made in 1820 for the english aristocracy to take seaside strolls on, modern day use hasn’t changed all that much. Early morning or evening you’ll see the locals getting jogging, biking, or walking in, before or after work. On weekends the Promenade is usually full of families that get together and take a walk after the midday meal.
An absolute gem of the Cote d’Azur, 10mins from Nice and one of my most favourite spots to shoot EVER!…..take a look. It’s such a quaint and colourful town that sprawls down the hills until diving into the deep waters of the Rade de Villefranche. Villefranche-sur-mer has one of the deepest bays in the mediterranean sea only a short distance from the coast therefore making it a favourite for large cruise ships. During the summer you can often see these mega giants of the sea parked in the bay, giving a surreal air to this coastal town.
Although Villefranche-sur-mer only has 4 stretches of beach, the dazzling views are some of the best on the French Riviera. The water quality tends to be better than in Nice and two of the beaches are covered in sandy gravel which is easy on the feet. The one and only private beach in Villefranche is Déli Bo Les Bains, situated on the Plage des Marinières. Clean and minimal in it’s design and decoration the cost of a sunbed and umbrella for the day is €25. The food menu is regional but contain ingredients of a superior quality and of course the desserts are signed by pastry chef Sebastien Jacob. Déli Bo the original, is a trendy, well known coffee/brunch/pastry spot on Rue Bonaparte in Nice.
Dotted with colourful provencal buildings along steep winding streets the, old town of Villefranche-sur-mer is a place filled with history and great photo opportunities! The best way to learn about this magical place is to book yourself into a guided tour through the Office of Tourism. Tours last an hour and a half, leave from the Tourism office every Friday at 10am and cost €5 p/p. Head towards the waterfront and the small port where you’ll find a number of cute bars and restaurants. You can grab a bite to eat while watching the traditional fishing boats come in with the catch of the day!
Located between Nice and Monaco, this once small fishing village that stretches along a rugged coast, is now known to house a number of the most expensive properties in the world. Magical views reach from Italy to the Cap d’Antibes making this coast worth every cent. The brasseries around the center square is where the locals meet for an apero and during the summer you may just find yourself sitting next to a member of the Rolling Stones, or a famous french fashion designer.
THE SEA SIDE PATH
There’s a number of walks around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat but my favourite would be The Saint Hospice trail. The path takes about 40mins to complete, it snakes it’s way around the coast from Paloma Beach to Fosses Plage and finishes in the center of Saint Jean. The scenery is breathtaking and well worth the effort, around every turn there’s a photo opportunity!
A legend in it’s own right, this luxury palace has been welcoming guests for over a century with all the elegance and sophistication of the French Riviera. Set on 7 acres of luscious vegetation, overlooking the sea, it’s easy to imagine rubbing shoulders with English or Russian royalty at the turn of the century. It’s famous Club Dauphin with seafront, olympic sized seawater, swimming pool, saw many celebrities bring themselves or their children for swimming lessons during their stay, Charlie Chaplin, Picasso, the Kennedy’s and Frank Sinatra were just a few. The hotel hosts a michelin star restaurant called Le Cap, it’s pricey as is everything in a palace but I think everybody should come to the hotel at least one time in their life, even if it’s for a coffee. The Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat is an experience of old world glamour and impeccable service.
Monaco is a tax haven and therefore known as a playground for the rich. With a surface of only 200 hectares it’s jam packed with luxury boutiques, hotels, cars and high rise apartment buildings. Famous for it’s Royal Family and the Formula 1 Grand Prix, held every year in May, this tiny independent state becomes a large race track and a major party place, full of visitors from all over the world! Even though it’s one of the richest places, it’s certainly not one of the most beautiful but if you head up to the rock you’ll be happily surprised.
Perched up high on The Rock or Le Rocher is where you’ll find the charming part of Monaco. It houses the Prince’s Palace, the old town, with narrow alleyways and beautiful gardens that provide a number of great spots to shoot. I suggest taking your time to walk around and enjoy the amazing views over the harbours filled with mega yachts and the mediterranean sea. Everyday at exactly 11:55am you’ll be lucky enough to witness the changing of the guards in front of the Prince’s Palace.
It might not be big (about 400m) and it might not be the most beautiful beach on the French Riviera but it does it’s job of being Monaco’s one and only beach! Made up of 2 coves and covered in a fine gravel Larvotto Beach is where the Monegasque go to spend a day with their family, enjoying the sea, sun and if you’re at one of the private beaches generally good food and wine. What’s surprising is the price of hiring a sunbed is often cheaper than in Nice, it’s a lot more glamorous as well.
When you think of Cannes you think of the red carpet, movie stars and The Cannes Film Festival. We’ve all seen images of celebrities walking up the stairs, dressed elegantly and dripping in diamonds. We’ve seen them relaxing on the golden sand beaches with brightly colored umbrellas. We’ve seen the numerous luxury Palace Hotels scattered along the Croisette between designer boutiques and palm trees. This is Cannes, this is what it’s famous for and this is what the locals are proud of. It holds a certain prestige that none of the other towns on the French Riviera can claim because of this event and it’s worth your while taking a trip to see it all.
THE OLD TOWN, LE SUQUET
Like all mediterranean villages Cannes built theirs on a hill to protect them from invaders, it’s called Le Suquet. In medieval times a Castle was built and this is area is one of my favourite places to go in Cannes. Take the winding, cobblestoned paved path up to Le Suquet, you’ll pass a variety of little restaurants if you get peckish. It’s well worth the effort once you get to the top because the view over Cannes and the bay is breathtaking. Get the camera out and snap away!
La Croisette is the heart of Cannes. Stretching over 3km from Palm Beach to the Palais des Festivals, the boulevard that was once lined with glamorous villas, gave way to luxurious hotels, prestige apartment buildings, boutiques and restaurants. On the other side you have the boardwalk that separates the sandy beaches from the coastal road. You’ll feel like a star walking down this street, it’s always busy as the french love to stroll or “promene”, I recommend heading onto one of the beaches to grab a cocktail under the sun or how about spoiling yourself and taking afternoon tea at the Intercontinental Carlton.
I adore this colorful little village on the coast. Around 100 km from Nice, Saint Tropez is better known as a place where the rich and famous go to relax and have fun. I love it because it’s surrounded by rugged landscapes, it’s authentically provencal and very simple but at the same time has all the luxuries you can imagine. There’s such an eclectic mix of people in this town during peak season, from holidaymakers that come to camp and do some celebrity spotting and the celebrities that cruise in on their yachts and make a point of being seen.
This is the heart of the village. You can take a walk around the port and have a look at all the mega yachts or if you really want to do as the locals do then get yourself a table, sit down and people watch! My favorite spot to do this is le Senequier with it’s red tables and chairs. The hardest place to get is within the first few rows but if you’re patient or your timing is right you’ll have the best seat in the port of St Tropez.
THE OLD TOWN
Named La Ponche, I have photographed this town a number of times, everything about it is so charming. Its pastel coloured houses, it’s cobblestone streets and it’s shady squares with fountains where the locals meet to escape the heat of the day. Walking through the streets you’ll also discover small restaurants and boutiques that are well worth trying and you’ll end up finding the bell tower at the church Notre dame de l’Assomption.
Known as the crown jewel of Riviera beaches with approximately 4km of white sand, la Pampelonne is officially a part of neighbouring suburb Ramatuelle but houses the private clubs and beaches that have made Saint Tropez so popular. What’s so unique about Pampelonne for riviera beaches, is there’s no roads or buildings that spoil the backdrop, it’s completely natural, with small dunes and flora that’s so typical of the region. My favourite beach club is undoubtedly Club 55 it holds an air of authenticity and simplicity, food is amazing and it’s a great place to have fun.
THE TROPEZIENNE VINEYARDS
There are a number of vineyards around the area that produce the world renowned Côte de Provence Rosé. A staple drink on the French Riviera during the summer and at times my best friend…..
You can take wine tours to discover a number of different wine produces and you can even holiday in some of the domaines. I love the colours of the vines amongst the dry earth and the blue sky in the background. The light has a softness the makes it ideal for photo shoots.
The Provence is a magical region and a photographers dream.
Imagine the french countryside dotted with small villages, vineyards and fields of colorful flowers then imagine that continuing down to the mediterranean sea.
There are a number of them in Provence, the color and the smell is heaven and getting a photoshoot between the seemingly endless rows of flowers makes for everlasting memories. I love to take clients to the lavender fields, they are always blown away by the sheer beauty, it’s also very romantic. If you’re interested in organising a session you can contact me.
This is a charming abbey that’s surrounded by lavender fields and still inhabited by Cistercian Monks. Built in the 12th Century, not much has changed since then. You can participate in Sunday mass or take a tour to discover the abbey’s amazing architecture but don’t forget it’s still a running monastery, so proper clothing and behaviour is expected. I think it’s well worth the visit and all money goes into restoring the abbey.