Visit Alpes-Maritimes, France
From the French riviera resorts of Nice and Cannes to the mountains of the Alps, passing through scenic hill villages and dramatic craggy scenery, the Alpes-Maritimes is one of the most diverse and beautiful departments in France.
Selected places to visit in Alpes-Maritimes
Highlights in the Alpes-Maritimes, Provence
The Alpes Maritimes department is in the south east corner of Provence, France and is best known for being home to some of the most popular coastal resorts in France, but there is much more to the Alpes-Maritimes than the Riviera, and time spent exploring inland will introduce you to a different world, a countryside of great beauty and breathtaking landscapes and views, often far from the crowds that line the coast just a few kilometres to the south.
Alpes-Maritimes: the coast
To the south of the department is the French Riviera, often built up and busy but containing some of the most beautiful coastline and most popular beaches in France - resorts such as Nice, Antibes and Cannes. Among the 'lesser known' coastal resorts in Alpes-Maritimes are Mandelieu-la-Napoule, then east of Nice are Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Cap-Ferrat and also the principality of Monaco. You can also see these popular resorts in our Cote d'Azur region guide.
Alpes-Maritimes: the south
Heading north from the coast is the start of the low mountains, and the smaller towns and villages that typify the inland region - although we mention a few of the villages below there are a great deal of others to explore in the Alpes-Maritimes!
The roads here become dramatically quieter (and often narrower and steeper!) than on the coast as you enter the impressive rocky, forested scenery of the region.
Some of the villages and towns that should feature during your visit to this part of the Alpes-Maritimes include: Biot, inland from Antibes; the 'most beautiful village' at Gourdon; the 'art and restaurants' town of Mougins, perched village where Picasso spent the last years of his life; the perfume town of Grasse and the nearby perched villages at Tourrettes-sur-Loup and Bar-sur-Loup, also Saint-Cezaire-sur-Siagne.
To the north and east of Nice there is a fascinating variety of ancient perched villages each with their own particular charm (and views across the landscape), including the very lovely Eze, La Gaude, Saint-Jeannet, Falicon, Colomars, Aspremont, Castagniers, Tourrette-Levens, Saint-Blaise, La Roquette-sur-Var, Levens, Duranus...
Alpes-Maritimes: the north and east
Further inland and near the border with Italy visit see Sospel then head into the Roya Valley to visit the hill towns of Saorge and Tende and the Valley of Merveilles. The village of La Brigue and small town of Breil-sur-Roya are other recommended excursions in the Roya Valley.
The northern half of the Alpes-Maritimes is more mountainous and less visited than the south, and usually beyond the reach of 'day-tripper' tourists - although often less than an hours drive from the coast.
Known also as the 'Alpes d'Azur' region it offers a wide range of magnificent scenery, including the extensive Parc National de Mercantour, and a very wide range of possibilities for those seeking an active holiday - see outdoor activities in the Alpes-Maritimes - including hiking, mountain biking, caves, rock-climbing, hang-gliding, kayaking etc.
It is also here that the first alpine ski stations are found, with many resorts and villages providing access to the slopes of the southern Alps - Isola, Auron and Les Launes are mong the largest and best known of the Alpes-Maritimes ski stations.
See a list of all Alpes-Maritimes communes
Map of Alpes-Maritimes
French version: Alpes-Maritimes (Francais)