A scenic drive through the Riviera Corniches in France
Many people enjoy driving the Riviera Corniches because they are challenging and because the scenery is so beautiful. The Corniches are three roads that hug the coast. All three follow the same stretch but at different levels on the mountain side. All three Corniches are approximately 20 to 30 miles (32 to 50 km) in length. They link Nice, France to Monaco and on to Cap Martin and Menton, which lies on the Italian border.
Ancient history buffs may want to travel the Grande Corniche which is the highest of the three roads. Napoleon began building it and followed the Roman Aurelian Way. This road weaves in and out of the mountains, which means that you only get sea views for part of the time. You will find some of the most beautiful views along this route especially when travelling the 11 mile (18 km) stretch between La Turbie and Nice.
If you are not feeling adventurous enough to try the high road you may want to try the Moyenne Corniche. The medieval town of Eze is located along this road. It is a great place to stop. Many tourists choose to stop there and enjoy walking the labyrinthine tangle of narrow streets. The town is perched above the Mediterranean. You will be able to get some spectacular pictures in this village because it is perched on a rocky outcropping and the vistas are spectacular.
In Eze you will find many different restaurants and cafes simply because the town does cater to tourists. It is also where some well-known hotels are located although these tend to be expensive much like the restaurants are.
The third road is known as the Basse Corniche or Corniche Inferieure. This was once a coastal road that connected numerous towns and villages. It is also positioned between steep mountain sides and the Mediterranean Sea. You may also want to try taking photographs at this level as the perspective will be quite different than from the other two roads.
You may want to try and combine a trip along more than one of the roads. It is possible to switch from one to another as they do intersect in some of the villages. Switching from the Moyenne Corniche to the Corniche Inferieure and then driving back along the Grande Corniche can be a wonderful trip that will be full of great memories.
You may find that April and May are the best times to visit. The Mediterranean climate makes it hospitable all year long but it tends to be much more crowded throughout July and August. This is because these months tend to be when many Europeans take a month long vacation.
If you do not like the idea of staying in Eze there are many other towns that offer great atmosphere and have places to stay as well. Some of the more popular villages include Menton, La Turbie, Roquebrune, Cap Martin and Cap Ferrat. Other people choose to stay in Beaulieu, Cap d’Ail, Monte Carlo or Villefranche-sur-Mer.
If this thrilling and beautiful journey sounds like something you would like to see for yourself, you can easily reach this region by travelling from Provence to northern Italy or you can choose to reach it from one of the many French towns.