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).

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?