Destination: French Riviera
Viewing French Riviera
Viewing French Riviera
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The Riviera is currently home to Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Steffi Graf, Karl Lagerfeld, Roger Moore and a whole host of celebrities. The coast continues to attract megastars including Sylvester Stallone, Claudia Schiffer and Sharon Stone. Best star-spotting venues include the Cannes International Film Festival, the St-Tropez waterfront and beaches, shops in Monaco, restaurants in Mougins or, just like in the movies, along the Corniches in an open-top roadster.

Famous of the French Riviera

Ever since the mid-19th century, when two English-men - Tobias Smollett and Henry Lord Brougham - 'discovered' this then wild and isolated stretch of coastline squeezed between the Alps and the Medi-terranean, a rich assortment of artists, writers, philosophers, movie stars and royalty has been captivated by the French Riviera.

Queen Victoria, Napoléon, Brigitte Bardot, Boris Becker, and more recently the late Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed - have all been seduced by the beauty of the landscape and the sparkling azure sea. As Nietzsche wrote in 1883: 'Here, the days follow on with a beauty that I would describe as almost insolent. I have never lived through a winter of such constant perfection.'

Initially, the Riviera was a sedate winter resort for English and Russian nobility. It was not until the 1930s that it became a summer resort, when Coco Chanel made suntans fashionable and when trend-setting Americans including Harpo Marx, Cole Porter, Isadora Duncan - who tragically died in Nice when her scarf became entangled round the axle of her open car - and F Scott Fitzgerald gave the Côte d'Azur its racy, glamorous image.

Many writers have been drawn to the Riviera over the years, and it has been the focus of countless literary masterpieces. However, it is the innumerable great artists who have left the deepest imprint on the region. As Van Gogh remarked on moving to Provence, 'The future of modern art lies in the South of France'. Over the years, Renoir, Dufy, Matisse, Picasso, to name but a few, have immortalised the region's most beautiful sites on canvas, hypnotised by the rich palette of landscapes and the almost magical, incandescent light that has provided inspiration over the centuries - as it still does today for a new generation of artists and writers.

French Riviera
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