Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a coastal town nestled between Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer. You’ll find the town on France's southern coast, just 6-miles east of Nice. This former fishing village became a popular destination in the early 20th century. Around this time, Europe's wealthiest residents flocked to the area to build grand villas and regal second homes. Today these beautiful buildings remain part of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat's landscape, and the town still attracts big spenders and Europe's elite travelers. The area enjoys a year-round warm climate, an abundance of lush greenery, and coastal trails that offer spectacular Meditteranean Sea views. There's little wonder why the unspoiled Saint-Jean territory makes for a great vacation.
There's no denying Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a picturesque town. The region also boasts a rich cultural heritage and is home to a number of impressive buildings. One such building is the Saint-Hospice chapel, an elegant 40-meter high chapel that dates back to the 17th century. The chapel was first registered as a historical monument in 1929 and offered a window into a time-gone-by. Today visitors can admire the building's stained glass windows, the metallic statue that adorns the entrance, and the paintings which line the chapel walls. Similarly, the nearby Church of Saint John the Baptists is particularly charming and worth visiting. The decor dates back to the 11th century.
Another area of historical interest is the Belgian Military Cemetery, which sits just below the chapel. The cemetery is home to those who died at the villa Les Cedres (a military hospital owned by the former King Leopold II) during the First World War.
Other areas of interest on the peninsula include the old port and the marina, Cap-Ferrat Lighthouse, and the Greek Villa Kerylos. Make sure Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild is on your to-visit list too. This French seaside villa is one of the town's most talked-about attractions. Designed by French architect Aaron Messiah, the 20th-century villa sits amidst well-manicured landscaped gardens. Visitors can explore the beautiful gardens, admire the villa's exterior, or purchase a ticket for an interior tour. The tour allows you to explore the State Apartments, the 1st Floor Rooms, and the Porcelain Collection.
Saint Jean's Hiking Trails
Mix up your time in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat by adding some light and scenic exercise to your itinerary! Best explored on foot; the peninsula is renowned for its beautiful coastline and spectacular sea views. There are over 14-kilometers of hiking trails to enjoy on Cap Farrat's coast. The shortest and easiest route, suitable for novice walkers, is a 35-minute stroll to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The walk begins at the Maurice Rouvier Promenade. The course here is flat and gentle and is ideal for older travelers or those exploring with young children.
Those looking for a longer hiker should consider the route from Cap-Ferrat port. From here, the path heads out past Palm beach on a circular route that should take around 1.5 hours. Though a little longer, this route is still quite flat and is suitable for novice hikers.
One of the longest walks on the peninsula is the Tour of Cap-Ferrat. This two-hour circular walk encompasses the very best of the cape. The hike begins from the port and swings around past the Grand Hotel and takes in several small beaches and a lighthouse. The route finishes close to Passable beach. From here, it's just a short walk back into Cap-Ferrat village. It's advisable to wear suitable footwear on this route as the path includes both stairs and hilly sections.
The Beaches of Saint-Jean
Once you've finished exploring historical monuments and the coast on foot, you might turn to a spot of sunbathing on the beach. There are five gravel beaches in total on the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula. From the beaches, you can enjoy views across the Mediterranean Sea, the bay of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and the Eze cliffs. All five beaches are open to the public, though two have been partially privatized (Passable and Paloma Beach).
One of the first beaches opened to the public is Cros deï Pin beach. You’ll find it right in the heart of the village by the harbor. The nearby Water Sports Club makes this particular beach a family-orientated spot as there's plenty of things to do, including volleyball, sailing, and kayaking.
For a quieter beach, visit Les Fossettes. This beach sits just below the Jardin de la Paix on the Pointe Saint-Hospice. Favored by the locals for its snorkeling (the seabed here is brimming with life) and the privacy offered by the surrounding coastline, Fossettes is a tranquil oasis.
For a beach with a view, Les Fosses has a back-drop of sun-soaked villas and an impressive quarry lined with green trees. The peninsula's coastal hiking trail begins from Fosses, and you'll notice many people stopping for a dip before they start their walk.
The Passable beach is another popular suntrap. You'll find it on the west coast of the peninsula. The beach has both public and private sunbathing areas and offers uninterrupted views of Villefranche-sur-Mer harbor. Similarly, Paloma Beach is public and private and particularly popular due to its unique setting amidst lush greenery. From Paloma Beach, you can start or end the Pointe Saint-Hospice hiking trail.
If you're looking to enjoy the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera while also indulging in the remote beauty of rolling green gardens and hidden beaches, then look no further than Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
From Nice Cote d'Azur Airport, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is just a 30-minute drive or a short boat ride away, and FranceRent can take care of all your luxury transfers needs in advance of your trip. If you want to touch down in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in style and enjoy the coastline, consider chartering a yacht or arriving by private helicopter.
Best restaurants on Cote d'Azur - France
Famous for its designer fashion brands, rolling vineyards, and historic monuments, France is a country with a lot to offer but it’s the nation’s gourmet cuisine that draws millions of visitors year after year. French dishes, which are usually full of flavor, made using simple ingredients, and boasting great finesse, have been replicated around the globe by passionate chefs aiming to try their hand at traditional dishes and haute cuisine. Below we’ve looked at some of the best restaurants in the south of France. Whether you’re looking for fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant (France is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world) or hearty French cuisine at an authentic bistro, we’ve covered all dining options to suit every taste in this restaurant guide.
Boat activities on Cote d'Azur - France
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South of France by car
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Events and festivals on French Riviera
The Cote d’Azur is abuzz with glitz and glamour all year round but it’s the summer months that really get the party started on France’s sought-after south coast. Events and festivals are held every month and range from theatre performances and music festivals to cinematography celebrations and yacht races. A-listers, millionaires, and outright party people flock to the shores of the Mediterranean for a summer to remember as seaside towns and secluded beaches become the stomping ground for a summer of fun. Below we take a look at some of the best events and festivals on the Côte d’Azur and provide a handy event guide to help you plan your dream trip.
Shopping on Cote d’Azur
It’s no secret that the South of France is an area well known for its acquired taste in luxury living, and when it comes to shopping this affluent region has a real flair for fashion and a lot to offer for shopaholics. Dare to drag yourself away from the alluring arrondissements of Paris’s fashion district and you’ll be rewarded with a sunsoaked shopping haven on Cote d’Azur and when it comes to shopping, the French Riviera does not disappoint. From upmarket department stores like Galeries Lafayette (whose flagship store you’ll find in Paris) to independent art galleries including the Sheun Gallery in Nice, the array of shopping available on Cote d’Azur covers a variety of tastes and, believe it or not, can be tailored to suit all budgets.
Nightlife on the French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
The French Riviera is renowned for its glitz and glam appeal, hedonistic summers, and over the top attitude to partying, all of which make it a popular destination with those looking for a lively social scene. Jazz cafes, trendy bars, and glamorous night clubs line the sparkling coast and visitors can choose between splashing the cash at an invite-only beach party or rubbing shoulders with A-listers at one of the best clubs in the world. Whatever your entertainment taste may be, the Cote d’Azur has a little something for everyone.