The French Riviera has up to 300 days of sunshine every year, which makes it a great place to grow fresh fruit and vegetables. Combined with the Mistral wind—which dries the soil and clears the air—this makes the region a great place to grow wine. There are also some great foodie experiences to have all along the coast, like those to be found in Cannes.
The Food Markets
French-food markets are legendary places to try local fruit, vegetables, and home-made produce. Those in Cannes must go to the Marché Forville to find all the local farmers and their wonderful recipes. Nice has the spectacular flower market on Cours Saleya, which is a great place to have lunch (except Monday, when it’s closed). Aix en Provence has a market open every day of the year, and Marseille is well-known for its wonderful fish market. These markets are a perfect place to pick up some local cheese, fresh bread, cooked meats, and olives to compile a little picnic to enjoy while enjoying the sights.
The region is world-renowned for its wine. Each area has its distinct appellation—what it’s allowed to grow, harvest, and sell. The rosé wines found in Aix en Provence’s outskirts will be different than the white wine found in Cassis or the beloved Pampelonne rosé from St Tropez.
As one would expect of the Mediterranean coastline, the French Riviera is the perfect place to find fantastic seafood. Head to one of the bars on the chic port of St Tropez or dine on seafood in one of the best places in Provence.
Famous for its pastries and desserts, there’s no better place to taste French sweets than in the French Riviera. Nice has some great tea shops with fantastic desserts and make sure to stop by Cannes’ macaron shops. Macarons are an art form in France, and many shops will wrap them in beautiful boxes that will survive the flight home.
Foodie Specialties of the Region
There are three main delicacies those new to the region should try. The first, bouillabaisse, is a fish soup that takes as long as two days to prepare (order in advance). Created by local fisherman from fish they couldn’t sell in the markets, it has now become a culinary experience served in places like Chez FonFon in Marseille and Le Château in the Calanque Sormiou.
In the 1950s, a Polish baker combined the traditional-French brioche with his grandmother’s cream recipe and created the Tarte Tropézienne. He was hired to cater for Brigitte Bardot’s film crew on the beach at Pampelonne in St Tropez. She loved the dessert, gave it its name, and both became key exports from the town.
Socca is a chickpea pancake local to the area surrounding Nice and its Italian neighbours. It’s made in much the same way as a crêpe, where the batter is cooked over a very-high heat and served in paper wrappers.