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Côte d'Azur Cruise: Exotic Cars & Coastal Views on the French Riviera

Elijah Durojaiye 03/15/2024
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Raquel Romans with a Ferrari Portofino

Image: FORTLOC/Khalid Bari

Anyone who appreciates a good drop-top grand tourer will tell you there's nothing like a cruise on a scenic road in one, and there's no shortage of roads that qualify on this planet. There's the remarkable drive through the Swiss Alps, the coastal roads of Monterey and Carmel in California, and the famous North Coast 500 in Scottland, just to name a few. Here, we're exploring the magical scenic drives along the coastal roads of the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur).

I selected the Ferrari Portofino for the drive because I thought it was a better option than the Ferrari 488 Spider for a coastal drive. After all, the 488 isn't a grand tourer. The Mercedes SL was another option I considered, but we didn't find one that could be delivered to us early enough to give us as much filming time.

Exploring the beautiful coastline of the French Riviera

Mont Boron

I have to admit that I knew nothing about Mont Boron before we started planning our Nice tour. Our Cannes-based film crew had recommended the views there. I'm sure glad I listened because Mont Boron probably has the best scenic views in all of Nice. The elevation offers incredible Mediterranean Sea scenery, and the collection of coastal villas on the slopes makes it difficult not to fall in love with the place. The added benefit of a quiet environment with few tourists also improves the allure.

Raquel Romans with a Ferrari Portofino

Image: FORTLOC/Khalid Bari

Once at the Mont Boron peak, you should stop at the park and look around. In my opinion, the views here are better than what you'll be treated to at Le Parc de la Colline du Château (Castle Hill Park). You'll enjoy views of the bay and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (Peninsula of Billionaires).

Promenade des Anglais

Raquel Romans with a Ferrari Portofino

Image: FORTLOC/Khalid Bari

Another downside about driving on the promenade is that you'll encounter traffic jams sooner or later. If you want to avoid this, consider driving at night. The dusk view of Le Negresco alone may be enough to make it worth it, but you'll miss out on the views of the Mediterranean Sea. That has to be a deal breaker.

Port Lympia

There's something very alluring about Port Lympia. The colorful buildings, restaurants, and yachts of different sizes moored around the port make it a quintessential Mediterranean coastal neighborhood. It's like driving through brilliant poetry, if that makes any sense. Outside of the driving, we spent a fair amount of time here. The car was delivered to us at the port, and it was an excellent place for b-roll. Driving by Monument aux Morts de Rauba Capeau is intriguing and intimidating at the same time. It's hard to miss the giant monument, even if you didn't know about it before your drive.

Raquel Romans with a Ferrari Portofino

Image: FORTLOC/Khalid Bari

I rode shotgun on the drive to Mont Boron from Port Lympia. While we drove through town most of the way, as we approached Mont Boron, the views of the Baie des Anges made a strong case for staring helplessly. If there are better views of a bay anywhere in the world, I want to know about them.

Cannes

On our way to Theoule-sur-Mer, we mostly stayed on the freeway, where there was nothing to see. However, we drove through Boulevard de La Croisette on the way back. The experience of having the incredible view of the Bay of Cannes to the right and the exquisite sight of the luxury shops in and around the Carlton Cannes Hotel and J.W. Marriot Hotel is hard to describe. Cannes is one of the most popular cities in the French Riviera for reasons beyond hosting the annual film festival. Driving down this world-famous street makes you understand why very quickly. I find Belle Epoche architecture quite fascinating, and the abundance of this on Boulevard de La Croisette made the drive even more enjoyable.

Raquel Romans with a Ferrari Portofino

Image: FORTLOC/Khalid Bari

Theoule-sur-Mer

Theoule-sur-Mer is a resort town west of Cannes. It’s not as well-known as other French Riviera towns and there's a sharp contrast between this village and other places we visited. Its claim to fame is the "Red Rock" formations and pebble beaches all around the town. Perhaps the most popular beach here is La Pointe de L'Aiguille, which has been featured in many French movies. Theoule-sur-Mer is also home to Pierre Cardin's Palais Bulles (Bubble Palace), a uniquely designed house that was once the home of the late designer.

Raquel Romans with a Ferrari Portofino

Image: FORTLOC/Khalid Bari

While you're in Theoule-sur-Mer, try to stay on Rte du Trayas. It's a coastal road that offers unobstructed views of the bay most of the way. To get the most out of your drive here, you should take a break at one of many rest stops along the way to take in the views of the Mediterranean Sea. The dusk views are like fine art.

Having driven on some remarkable coastal roads on both sides of the Atlantic, it's hard for me to imagine any better activity for a car enthusiast. The French Riviera makes a strong case for housing some of the best roads for this. Each one of the places I mentioned has its own unique appeal, so choosing one as the most rewarding is challenging.


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