There's nowhere quite like the Cote d'Azur to see and be seen.

Monte Carlo Beach Club

Monaco's international glitterati are to be found here in force, whiling away those untaxing summer afternoons. Unless your personal fortune is over pounds 10m, however, you may feel something of a poor relation.

The younger generation, who are generally out dancing until 4am at Parady'z or Jimmy'z nearby, saunter in during the late afternoon for a couple of hours of bronzing in preparation for the night ahead. Beforehand, you'll mainly see women - lunching with their friends at the club's three restaurants. Afterwards they sunbathe by the pool, still resplendent in all their jewellery.

The Beach Club revolves around a large saltwater pool. Beyond it rows of green-and-white striped tents are ranged down to the sea. If you feel too luxuriously lazy to make it to the club's restaurants, there's a beachside service that will deliver to your tent. The view here is spectacular - particularly if you swim out to sea to the raft moored offshore. The Monte Carlo skyline is overshadowed by the stark cliffs of La Turbie, and high up to your right is one of the most fantastic palaces of the Cote d'Azur. This elegant cream mansion is owned by Prince Ranier who has let it to Carl Lagerfeld in return for its upkeep. Even Monaco's most obscenely rich are green with envy.

Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, Avenue Princesse Grace, 06190 Roquebrune Cap- Martin (00 33 93 28 66 66). Season membership Fr4,600; premiere tent (for the season) Fr64,000; day entrance Fr150.

Moorea Beach, Juan Les Pins

Just beyond the chic town of Juan Les Pins, there is a long stretch of sand, much of it owned privately. Moorea Beach is the trendiest spot here. For the most part, the beach bums and beauties are young and very scantily clad, joining in the party atmosphere as a live band plays Jamaican, Cuban or salsa music. Occasionally, Bono and Michael Hutchene have swelled the bronzing numbers.

The restaurant here is furnished in tropical style, with a bamboo roof and a profusion of palms and plants. Hammocks sway in shady spots and the beach has straw parasols and a bamboo hut that stands on stilts in the shallow water (the purpose of which is unclear other than to look good). From time to time the beach becomes a catwalk for fashion shows and on some occasions "Tahitian" weddings take place, with the bride and groom solemnising their vows in bikini and Bermuda shorts.

Mattress hire Fr60.

Eden Roc, Cap d'Antibes

The Hotel du Cap, to which the Eden Roc belongs, is one of the most exclusive places on the Cote d'Azur - it attracts so many famous personalities that it has even gone to the trouble of printing up a list of them. Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire once trod these paths. Last year, the likes of Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro and Rebecca De Mornay could be seen soaking up the sun here.

Set on a small cliff face, there is no beach as such: the hotel has a well-appointed terrace where waiters dressed in white (and sunglasses, of course) attend to every whim. Here the swimming pool looks as if it is spilling over the edge of the cliff. It provides a glamorous playground of high diving boards and swings jutting out over the astonishingly blue sea.

Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc, Boulevard J F Kennedy, 06602 Antibes (00 33 93 61 39 01). Entrance Fr170; mattress hire Fr110.

Le Trayas, near Theoule

When you've had enough of people watching, make for this area between Cannes and St Raphael. On the Basse Corniche (coastal road) there is a spectacular strip of coast from which the red rocks of the Esterel massif rise up, and when the sun is shining strongly the contrast of the red with the bright blue of the sea and sky is stunning. Unfortunately, though, you really need a car to see this since Le Trayas is not near any towns and bus/railway stations.

If you drive about half an hour west of Cannes past Theoule, there is a small car-park on the side of the mountainous road. It is not well signposted, but you can tell you are in the right area because the cliffs are red. There are steps leading down to a small pebble beach, but just opposite the car-park are some rough tracks that take you down to rocky outcrops either side. There it is relatively uncrowded - for the Cote d'Azur - and you should be able to find a flat area to lay a towel on. The water is clear and deep, so you can jump from the rocks and swim out to admire the breathtaking view from the sea.

No charge.

L'Ile de Porquerolles

This is one of several small islands off Toulon where you'll find some relative peace and quiet. The photogenic Ile de Porquerolles has several long beaches, mainly on the north side facing the mainland. There's a very healthy atmosphere here since much of the island is a no-smoking zone because of its large tracts of forest.

Although packed with tourists, Ile de Porquerolles has a calm atmosphere because there are so few cars. Indeed, the main route to the beaches is a wide shady path used by pedestrians and cyclists. And it's a pleasure to walk along it, for the path twists and turns to reveal superb views of the cliffs and sparkling bays.

The Plage de la Courtade is a long stretch of soft sand around a bay with shallow water - ideal for people with small children. The sea is full of activity, from windsurfers and catamarans (available for hire) to the many sailing boats and yachts which pass by. Ferries from Giens leave hourly and the crossing takes about 15 minutes.

Ferries charge Fr75 return.

BEACH BASICS

Getting there

Expect something of a price war on flights to the south of France this summer. Jersey European (0345 676676) has started services from Stansted to Marseilles this summer while EasyJet (01582 445566) begins Luton-Nice flights in June; the lowest return fare is pounds 106 including tax.

Getting around

The railway hugs the coast all the way along France's Mediterranean shore from Menton to Narbonne. Services are frequent and fares are low.

Accommodation

The French Government Tourist Office (details below) has lists of hotels in the south of France but the value of the franc means costs are high. Cheap package holidays to the Cote d'Azur are back this summer, courtesy of Thomsons (0161 911 9000). But the best value is likely to be a camping holiday through companies such as Eurocamp (01565 626262) or Canvas Holidays (01992 553535).

Information

The French Government Tourist Office is at 179 Piccadilly, London W1 (0891 244123 - a premium-rated number).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen