Skirting the Mansions of Cap d'Antibes
Le Rouret: Hikes, Strolls and Discoveries

Travel Books: Guides to the Cote d'Azur

Click on any of the above books to read more about them...

We're often asked: "What travel guidebook do you recommend for our upcoming visit to the French Riviera or Côte d'Azur?"

And we usually respond: "It depends."

It isn't to annoy anyone. Really. It's just that different guides serve different purposes.

The French Côte d'Azur overflows with beautiful footpaths. Hikers and even the casual walker who enjoys savoring a region slowly and on foot will love this new hiking guide: "26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur". It covers hikes on the western side of the French Riviera (from Hyères to Cannes, including St Tropez, Frejus, St Raphael, Maures Mountains, Esterel Mountains) and includes some of the more unique sites. Complete with photos, maps, hiking length, distance & difficulty, recommendation and background info. Pretty unique and well-received guidebook.

If you're looking for a thorough guide that you'll enjoy reading, even when you're not seeking any particular information, I recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Provence and the Côte d'Azur. It's one of the heavier guides on the region (a one pounder!). That's because of the quality of the glossy paper that helps to show off the book's photos. The guide  drips with gorgeous photos that succinctly tell it all. The drawings of museums and churches are also extremely well done and useful.

If you couldn't care less about photos, but want juicy gems of information, I love Nicola Williams' Lonely Planet Guide to Provence and the Côte d'Azur. As an adopted local, I can tell that Nicola has walked the walk and done *lots* of local exploration, from cork oaks to beaches to wineries. It shows. I miss the photos (there are only a few, bunched up up front) but after all, you'll get to see the actual sites on your visit.

For a different perspective into the French Riviera, I enjoy Ted Jones' "The French Riviera, A Literary Guide for Travellers". It's an exhaustive yet very readable and lively account of 150 authors who lived and worked in the region. Anyone who enjoys the French Riviera, its literary life and a bit of eaves dropping will love the book.

While a physical guide is useful for visits, to ponder over in the car, in the train, in your room, on the trail, use online guides for time-sensitive information. Restaurants in particular change over the years. We even see them change focus or management over a season or two.

So for restaurant and hotel recommendations, TripAdvisor.com and VirtualTourist.com do a great job, based on the impressive number of participating reviewers. Millions of reviews get posted. That means the phony or revengeful posts don't weight in as much as they may on some lesser-visited sites.  For gourmet restaurants in particular, take a look at Guide Gantié for 2008. It's printed but also online, complete with videos of each selected place.

I also enjoy Igougo.com as well as BootsNAll.com for travel stories.

For more guides to the French Cote d'Azur, click on link: Guides on Cote d'Azur

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