Wine and Dine in the French Riviera
Ah, the French Riviera. Taking up the southeast corner of France, right along the Côte d’Azur, this part of the world is a true treasure. A mecca of pebble beaches, billion-dollar homes, sun-kissed shores and dazzling socialites, the French Riviera is home to famed cities like St Tropez, Cannes and Nice.
And to take it all in, you’ll need to anchor your yacht, head onshore, and experience its culture through a taste of it’s A-list food and wine scene.
To help you know where to go, we’ve rounded up two separate lists – one with our top five bars and another with our favorite restaurants. Find our recommendations, below.
Chez Pipo Socca
Socca, a traditional chickpea pancake baked in a giant copper tin, is a staple in Old Town – but no one does it quiet like this out-of-the-way café. In its same location in Nice since 1923, walk into this quaint restaurant, and you’ll see that its authenticity still remains. A popular spot for an aperitif, dinner on the terrace, and of course, socca, Chez Pipo Socca is constantly filled with family and friends alike. Go on a weeknight and you’ll see it for yourself. People will line up outside its doors and wait over an hour for one of those savory little cakes.
La Villa Archange
Set in a quiet residential neighborhood near La Croisette, La Villa Archange is a two-Michelin star restaurant. Grab a seat amongst centennial trees and gardens, and order from Chef Bruno Oger’s menu of slow-cooked veal shank with slightly salted mashed potatoes, sea bass with lemongrass, or king prawn tartar spiced with coriander. If you’re there midday, opt for the express lunch – a three-course menu that’s just as delicious, but costs much less than its pricey dinners. Whenever you go, look around: you’ll see beautiful people everywhere.
Le Park 45
Located in the chic, retro-’60s Grand Hotel Cannes, Le Park 45 boasts plate-glass windows looking out onto garden and sea views. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Sébastien Broda, a Michelin star chef known for creative dishes like flaked crab with “Black River” caviar, smoked salmon blancmange, avocado gazpacho and nori seaweed. Go for the food, and stay for the ambiance; you are in Cannes, after all.
La Table du Mareyeur
The brainchild of husband and wife duo Ewan and Caroline Scutcher, La Table du Mareyeur is equal parts fun, relaxed and delicious. The couple started this waterside spot right after they were married in the region, and it has now become one of the French Riviera’s most raved-about spots. Politicians, royalty and A-listers stop by when they’re in town, craving a taste of the freshest fish and seafood on the coast.
Head to La Cave, in Cannes, and you’ll find walls strewn with Niçois memorabilia – perfect, when you learn that this spot is where locals go to for authentic Provençal cuisine. Around since 1989, it boasts a menu of classics like farcis, aioli and veal with black chanterelles. Of course, in France, you have to have dessert. Order the crème brûlée or chocolate mousse, order a bottle of wine, and call it a day.
Wayne’s Bar is undoubtedly the most popular bar in Nice. Popular among locals, travelers and English speakers alike, this neighborhood joint is where you’ll find people grabbing a casual drink, listening to live music, and late at night, dancing on tables. Once the click strikes midnight, this local bar becomes more of a club, one where even the waitresses join in the party.
Nikki Beach, St. Tropez
There are few lounges more iconic than hip, trendy Nikki Beach. An A-list spot for celebrities like Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio and more, this is where you’ll find famous DJs pumping the latest beats, the world’s “in-crowd” arriving by yacht and beautiful people sipping champagne all day and night long. If you’re there when it’s sunny, grab an oversized plush sunbed and tan the day away on Pampelonne Beach. When you’re hungry, order lunch, dinner, and of course, a cocktail, from its Mediterranean menu of sushi, grilled dishes, kebabs and more.
Located in Nice, Cave 35 is the place to be. Boasting a hip, New York-meets-London vibe, this chic wine bar is where you go for a nice glass of wine, cheese and charcuterie plates when you’re in the mood for a trendy night out. At the front of the bar is a fine wine shop, so once you’ve found your favorite glass, buy the bottle to bring back home with you.
On par with Cave 35, Yolo/Flume is another one of Nice’s popular hangouts. Sitting right in the center of town, just two blocks from Avenue Jean Médecin, this is where the locals go for an intimate drink or a rare glass of wine. On weekend nights, it becomes part of Flume, which sits on the floor above it, which offers a more industrial vibe and a similarly cool crowd.
A haven for the rich and famous, the Cannes outpost of Bâoli is one of the French Rivieria’s most popular haunts for dinner, drinks and dancing. Both a lounge and a club, Bâoli offers amazing views of the Côte d’Azur, and boasts palm trees, lush vegetation, a private garden and a lavish interior decked with purple and white leather and velvet seats. Attracting a wealthy group of international jetsetters, this exclusive club puts guests in the lap of luxury. It caters to VIPs, so when you go, don’t be surprised if you see models, actors, politicians, fashion designers and more hobnobbing on their way through the French Riviera.