The winter months in the South of France are a truly special time. The summer tourists disperse, beaches quieten, and the area transforms into a tranquil destination for locals.
This season is particularly ideal for spending time as a family. Choose from beach walks and day trips to the nearby Alpes for hikes or skiing. On your return, meander the peaceful cobbled streets of Antibes and discover the hidden gems of the area. After that, cosy up with a glass of French red wine in your Parc du Cap residence. Whatever you decide, you’ll experience life as a true Côte d’Azur local.
To get a better sense of the Riviera at this time of the year, we spoke with some of the French Caudwell team who are local to this area. Read here for a first-hand account and a list of top tips for things to do and places to visit across Provence in the wintertime.
Franck Jurquet, Legal Counsel
The French Riviera is a truly wonderful place during winter months. The Côte d’Azur microclimate is similar to that of the Italian Riviera. It’s not uncommon to wear a t-shirt and sunglasses at this time of the year! Great weather aside, the South of France also offers plenty of exciting winter activities. For example, long walks along the sea or ice skating, which is fun as a family.
In terms of day trips, the Lérins islands in the bay of Cannes are simply breathtaking in the wintertime. It’s also worthwhile visiting some of the area’s famous vineyards, which are nice and peaceful without the summer crowds. Try Minuty in St Tropez. After that, explore some traditional Christmas markets nearby. These are found throughout the Côte d’Azur region, and have delicious local street food. My favourite dish from the market is the Pissaladière, a kind of pizza with onions – which is typical from Nice.
Sanaa Hassaine, Sales manager
Living in the Côte d’Azur during winter is something everybody should try. Albeit a little colder, it is also quieter and less crowded. My favourite thing to do is grab breakfast on the beach before work or have Sunday brunch in a café. For the best views, I recommend driving along the coast – East or West. You can see all the colours of the area, from the Mediterranean blue to the red of the Esterel.
Sophie Marsh, Sales Consultant
For me, winter is one of my favourite times to be in the Côte d’Azur. The weather is amazing in the summer, but you can have the most glorious days in the winter too. This means you can eat lunch outside on a terrace even in December and January, whilst overlooking the sea. I also love beautiful walks in the hinterland or on the coast. Living in the Alpes-Maritimes, with such close proximity to the ski resorts, means this is quite simply the best spot on the globe!
Laetitia Gardere, International Sales Consultant
I love the quaint and village-like feel of Antibes. Nothing beats the lively open markets or sitting outside a café, watching locals play pétanque in the winter warmth. I also enjoy walks on the beach with my children, watching the winter sun set on the sea.
Judith Bennaim, Office Manager
As a local, winter gives me the opportunity to appreciate the tranquillity and beauty of the French Riviera. Under clear blue skies, it’s a time to breathe in the sea breeze and listen to the soothing sound of waves. I would recommend exploring the quiet havens and hidden gems of the hinterland medieval villages nearby. These include Èze, Mougins, Saint-Paul de Vence, Antibes old city, Grasse, Bar-sur-Loup, Seillans and Mons in Var.
In addition, there are some magnificent events in the winter. Choose from Nice Carnival (13-27 February 2021), Menton Lemon Festival (13-28 February 2021), Mandelieu-la-Napoule Mimosa Festival (17-24 February 2021) and Tourrettes-sur-Loup (6-7 March 2021). All celebrate this colourful and magnificent land! We regularly update our events calendar, so click here to find out more about what’s on in the local area. Or you can visit the Antibes Juan-les-Pins tourist board.
Charles Duarte, Facility & After Sales Manager
Winter in the South of France brings a really different vibe. In short, there is peace and calm all around – a similar feeling to being in the countryside. With the mountains only 90 minutes from the coast, it’s easy to go hiking or skiing. I love the beautiful Massif de l’Esterel, Isola or Auron mountain ranges.
Olesya Fleurbaey, Sales Team
A highlight of living here has to be the Alps, and all they have to offer. For instance, Mercantour National Park, is brilliant if you enjoy active hobbies like hiking, skiing and climbing. Another one of my favourite spots is Vesubia Mountain Park. They offer a games area for kids as well as a spa area for adults. This is a wonderful place to relax in after some challenging mountain sports like bouldering and canyoning. For more ideas about skiing opportunities in the area click here.
Cédric Jobart, General Architect
Winter in the French Riviera is not really a winter, especially for someone originally from the North! The light here remains bright and abundant, and the beautiful region benefits from a mild climate all year round. An additional benefit of the Mediterranean are the pleasures that come from being able to visit the neighbouring Italy, for a little of the Dolce Vita. Or I love spending a day discovering the steep foothills of the Massif de l’Esterel. There’s something magical about this mountain range and its incredible sea views, which merge together as one spectacular landscape.
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