A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE AREA
If you’re considering buying a luxury Riviera property, it’s definitely worth remembering that the Riviera isn’t just about the well-known beach resorts. Why not leave the coast behind and head inland into the hills behind Nice, Cannes and Antibes. Here in the peaceful French Riviera countryside you’ll find dozens of medieval villages and towns perched on top of lush green hills. With many villages founded to defend local people from marauders, this is where you'll find acres of forest, winding gorges, national parks where wilderness beckons, and some of France’s most breathtaking landscapes. And you can also find some real gems in the property stakes.
Some of our most prestigious villas can be found in the hinterland. Here’s a short guide to some of the villages you may wish to consider for your next real estate investment:
The village of Mougins sits in the heights of Cannes, a fifteen minute drive away from the centre. Mougins has been working its magic on artists and celebrities for many years. Picasso, Cocteau, Man Ray, Yves St Laurent, Dior and Churchill are just a few of the well-known names who have succumbed to the charms and golden sunlight of this medieval village. Today it’s a vibrant cultural hub which has also become a renowned culinary centre. Chefs Roger Verge and Alain Ducasse have both managed dining establishments in the village, and the restaurant “L’Amandier” in the heart of the old village attracts diners from all over the world. Mougins even hosts an International Gastronomy Festival, called Les Etoiles de Mougins, every September.
Not far from Mougins, the 16th century village of Valbonne with its 12th century abbey is a thriving town close to the high-tech centre of Sophia Antipolis. Unlike neighbouring villages, Mougins is laid out in a grid pattern, inspired by the Roman military camps, with the Place des Arcades at its centre. This charming unspoilt village has several chic residential areas plus a lovely selection of shops, cafes and restaurants, and even produces it's very own wine made from the Servan grape.
To the west of Grasse, the Siagne canal runs through the little village of Peymeinade. The village is divided into 2 halves with a newer section containing lots of shops and cafes, and the original town which has a delightful square with a 19th century fountain, a church, sundial and trompe l’oeil painted walls. Peymeinade is surrounded by olive orchards and fields of flowers and is an ideal choice for investing in real estate as it combines peace and tranquility with its proximity to the coast, major towns and the high tech centre of Sophia Antipolis.
Set in the hills above Nice and Antibes is the town of Vence, where olive and orange trees are cultivated and the air is refined. The original walled town is still as it was hundreds of years ago. Inside the town walls with their 5 different gates you'll find the Place Clémenceau which is lined with cafes, sunny terraces and a view of the church. Outside the town walls are yet more cafe terraces under shady plane trees, the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by. The town has long been a magnet for artists, sculptors, and writers and the stunning chapel was designed and decorated by former resident Matisse. Take advantage of the weekly food markets enjoyed by both locals and visitors as well as the clear ‘La Foux' mineral water which comes from a source just above the village and can be collected from several fountains around town.
Unlike its neighbours, Grasse doesn’t really fall into the category of a village. It’s a bit too big for that as it boasts an 11th century cathedral, and is not what you'd call unknown. There can’t be many people who don’t know about how Grasse has played a key role in the perfume industry since the 18th Century. Grasse’s microclimate and abundant water supply have ensured its place as a world leader in creating perfume ever since an enterprising tanner called Galimard came up with the idea of creating a pair of scented leather gloves for Catherine de Medici. Today visitors flock to Grasse to visit the factories of famous perfumers such as Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard. Visitors aside, it’s also a delightful place to live on its own account. It’s just 20 km to Cannes and 40 km to Nice by car, 20 minutes down to the coast and only an hour to the nearest ski slopes.
Sitting in the hills just outside Antibes is the lovely village of Biot. Once home to the Knight Templars, today Biot is renowned for producing unique pottery and glassware. Celebrated as a haven for artists, the main streets of the village are full of workshops and galleries where you can find anything from fine leather goods to delicate silver jewellery. Biot also has a fantastic selection of places to eat with everything from local bistros to Michelin starred restaurants on offer in the town centre. With a National Park on the doorstep, a prestigious golf club and easy access to all the best beach resorts, Biot is an ideal choice for a home on the French Riviera.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SOCIAL CALENDAR
There are endless events to look forward to on the French Riviera. Here are just a few of the highlights held in the hillside villages throughout the year:
- Feast of St Blaise, Valbonne ~ January
- Urban Trail race, Mougins ~ March
- Provencal Festival, Valbonne ~ March
- Grasse Alpine Auto Rally, Grasse ~ April
- International Rose Festival, Grasse ~ May
- Les Etoiles de Mougins, International Gastronomy Festival, Mougins ~ June
- Nights of the Abbey (classical and jazz music) ~ July
- Jasmine Festival, Grasse ~ August
CHOOSING PROPERTY IN THE FRENCH RIVIERA HILLSIDE VILLAGES
Once you've selected the perfect town or village in the hillside, the next step is to find just the right property for your family. Here are a few factors to consider when it comes to investing in luxury real estate on the French Riviera:
- Outdoor Space: Living in the heart of the French Riviera, you’ll want to take advantage of the Mediterranean climate. So why not consider one of our luxurious properties in the hinterland with a terrace or garden and spend your days soaking up the sunshine.
- Views: The villages in the French Riviera hinterland overlook both the mountains and the coast below. Spend your evenings watching the sun go down over the Mediterranean from the comfort of your new home.
- Swimming Pool: Life in the rolling hills of the French Riviera is every bit as peaceful and tranquil as it looks. And having your own private pool is the perfect way to relax while you’re at home. Check out our fantastic range of luxury properties in the hinterland with private pools to find your dream location today.
- Storage: Whether you’re using your French Riviera home as a permanent base or a luxurious holiday home, you’ll want plenty of storage space. So it’s worth considering a property with an underground cellar or additional storage area to make sure you have lots of room for your belongings.
- Parking: Parking is always at a premium during the summer months on the French Riviera. But many of our hinterland properties come with private garages or outdoor parking so you’ll never need to look for a space when you’re in residence.
FRENCH RIVIERA LIFESTYLE
In such a remarkable area as the French Riviera it can be hard to decide where to put down roots. So it’s essential to get out and about and discover the area for yourself. Get a real feel for which area works for you by driving around and taking time to explore the towns and villages.
You might fall in love with a particular view that cinches it for you, or find a cafe on a cobbled street where you can imagine whiling away your mornings with your laptop and a cappuccino. Wherever you decide to call home, living in the French Riviera hillside guarantees:
- Fantastic weather all year round.
- Slow living for your downtime with the high life only a short drive away.
- Both beaches and ski slopes just a short drive away.
- Restaurants and cafes galore.
- A rich cultural landscape to discover.
- Miles of hiking trails right on your doorstep.
- Ease of access from anywhere in the world thanks to the proximity to Nice International Airport.
- The envy of all your friends!
LIVING IN THE FRENCH RIVIERA HILLSIDE VILLAGES
Living in the hills above the coast is a wonderful way to get the best of both worlds. Enjoy the buzz and excitement of the Mediterranean beach resorts and hotspots, plus the slow pace and real living of the Provencal countryside. The weather is excellent pretty much all year round, with hot summers and mild winters. An exciting array of land and water-based sports are available in your doorstep, and the possibilities for a rich social and cultural life are endless. In fact, it’s safe to say that life here on the French Riviera feels like a permanent vacation.
One of the biggest advantages of living in the French Riviera hillside is the easy proximity to everything. Nice, Cannes and Antibes are just down the road for a day’s shopping, a visit to the cinema or casino, an afternoon spent yachting or kite surfing, or an evening in one of the VIP nightclubs. If you’re a golfer you could easily play on a different green every day for a fortnight, with two of the best clubs in the world to be found in Mougins and Valbonne.
Culture fans will love living in one of the most historically rich areas of France. Follow in the footsteps of the dozens of celebrated artists who have called the French Riviera home. There are so many museums and galleries, churches and monuments to visit that you’ll get dizzy just trying to decide where to go next. Not to mention the wealth of theatre and opera events available throughout the year.
For families there are several excellent international schools in Monaco, Nice, and Mougins and bilingual schools in Nice and Cagnes sur Mer. For newcomers to the area there are lots of groups to help you settle in, learn the language, make new friends, find your feet and start to really feel like a local.
ARRANGE A VIEWING
The team at Beauchamp Estates are always on hand to help with your real estate projects so feel free to give us a call at any time. If you’d like to know more about living in the French Riviera Hillside, and would like to organise some private viewings, just give us a ring. We’d be delighted to help you.