Known for its ritzy casinos, Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury villas, and exclusive yacht clubs, the French Riviera certainly pulls out all the stops while offering a lavish playground for the crème de la crème of high society. The Côte d’Azur, however, also plays host to the vibrant traditions of the South of France, showcasing a remarkable fusion of exceptional music, dance, and horticulture from around the world. As these events are spread out through the year, culture connoisseurs may choose to spend a protracted period of time here, learning about the unique customs of the region, surveying the local wine and cuisine, and visiting the various heritage sites nearby. Wherever their predilections may lie, the following spectacles are not to be missed.
- Every year, the world-renowned Naval Battle of Flowers takes place in Villefranche-sur-Mer between February and March. Ranks of boats, laden with the season’s burgeoning daisies, mimosas, and lilies, take to the waters of the Mediterranean Sea to participate in a variegated battle of epic proportions. The proceedings are accompanied by ceremonial processions, live music, sumptuous banquets, and elaborate fireworks. Beginning at the idyllic Port de la Santé, this spectacular floral celebration is certain to impress even the most seasoned globetrotter.
- The Nice Jazz Festival, which takes place in July, is a Mecca for devoted fans of this timeless genre from around the world. Having featured Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis in the past, this music jamboree has a rich tradition of presenting the finest compositions of Afro-Cuban jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Cool jazz, Free jazz, and Swing. This year will witness a selection of the latest creations by globally reputed musicians, including Gregory Porter, Jack Johnson, and the Rhoda Scott Lady Quartet. For a definitive experience of the best ensembles from the world of jazz this year, aficionados should find themselves at Place Massena between 17 and 21 July.
- The acclaimed Cannes Dance Festival rounds up the year, with a host of eclectic performances by established companies and upcoming talents. The artistic direction in 2019 is led by Brigette Lefévre, the former director of the Paris Opera Ballet. This year offers an exceptional line-up, including Béjart Ballet Lausanne, São Paulo Companhia de Dança, and Stanislavski Ballet, from 29 November to 15 December. The performances will be distributed across theatres in Antibes, Cannes, and Nice.
The discerning traveller may find themselves at home in Villa Bayview in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a bucolic commune situated on the gentle slopes of Mont-Leuze. The commune is well-connected to Cannes and Nice by road, and presents a comely medial location along the Mediterranean Bay. The property is a careful and expansive testament to the finest developments in postmodernist architecture. This luxury rental villa in France comprises five plush bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, two well-stocked gourmet kitchens, a temperature-controlled swimming pool, a private sun terrace, and 2,800 square metres of manicured lawns. It is administered by a remote villa manager, and is serviced by a chef, a butler, and two full-time housekeepers. A destination of singular distinction in its own right, Bayview affords the rare opportunity of experiencing the culture of the region while catering to the most exclusive tastes.