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Hotspots in the French Riviera for those in the know (part 1)

The Cote d’Azur has to be one of the most dazzling locations in the world. It stretches from the Italian border, through the tiny country of Monaco (which of course, hosts F1’s flagship Grand Prix) and then back into France.
It continues on taking in the cosmopolitan city of Nice and moves on to Cannes - possibly the chicest town in existence with more designer shops than Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and where the world’s movie stars arrive every year for the famous Cannes Film Festival. It is then on down to St Tropez where the trendy rich go to see and be seen and love to splash Crystal champagne all over each other at Nikki Beach Club and Club 55 on Pampelonne beach.

Below are the places the locals and the stars alike spend their time.


The principality of Monaco has a population of around 32,000 residents. In reality no-one lives there apart from the 8000 or so locals called “Monegasques” who keep the place going. The rest of the inhabitants are busy spending the money they are not paying in tax, on their luxury motor yachts or travelling around the world chasing the sunshine! It is the second smallest country in the world, only Vatican City is smaller. Arguably people spend more time in The Vatican but night time is when the Country comes alive.

Some of the best night life for those that are around includes The Buddha Bar, located in a former concert hall in the heart of Monte Carlo. It’s restaurant has an exotic ambiance with its seven metre high ceilings. The music is mixed by their resident DJ Papa and the lounge bar extends to two open air terraces. The place is hopping until 2 am Tuesdays through Saturdays.

If 2 am seems too early to end the evening, most people head over to Jimmy’z, one of the world’s most legendary nightclubs where you can rub elbows with international jet set if you can get by the red velvet rope guarded by highly selective bouncers.
For more low-key hotspots try The Brasserie de Monaco who's slogan is “The Place to Beer” . This fabulous indoor/outdoor restaurant bar is located along the promenade on the harbour facing the sea. It has live music and its own brewery with a whole range of its own beers. The Brasserie is always crowded and the ambiance is always friendly and happy.

Lastly there is Stars’N’Bars which arguably is the best burger bar in Monaco, with happy hour drinks and snacks from 6 ‘til 8. Located in the port, it’s amazing upstairs Star Deck has panoramic floor to ceiling views of the marina and it is the only bar in Monaco where they actually encourage customers to dance on the tables! The StarDeck also offers guests late night “fiesta” and dancing on weekends.


© Lautergold / Foter / CC BY-NC
Nice is the fifth biggest city in France with the third busiest airport (with by far the most private jets flying in and out). It’s beach front “La Promenade des Anglais” stretches from the airport down to the port and one of it’s most famous landmarks is the Negresco Hotel with its green coloured domed roof. It is owned by Madame Augier, whose father bought it in 1957. Once Bill Gates stayed there and wanted to buy it. Madame Augier told him it was not for sale but he whipped out his cheque book and told her to fill in an amount. She coolly informed him that he couldn't afford it.

You won't find any attitude at Fred's bar. Located in the Port of Nice this bar is known for it's huge selection of alcohol and super friendly and entertaining bar staff. The Fred's Bar is open from 5:30 to 2:30 7 days a week but best of all is the Sunrise Hour! Every Friday- Saturday and Saturday-Sunday the bar reopens from 4am til 8am and serves complimentary coffee and croissants from 5:30 on.

Bar des Oiseaux is located in the Old Town near the port and is packed out with crowds watching comedians and other entertainers. This venue has been around for more than a decade and you are always guaranteed decent jazz music until it closes at 11 for everyone to move on .

Wayne's is an immensely popular bar in the old town with a terrific atmosphere but we don't suggest this if you don't like crowds, as the bar is packed in the evenings. Great live music and there are people always dancing on tables. A very happening British pub!

Lastly to dance the night way on Fridays Saturdays and Sundays, visit The High Club at 45 , Promenade des Anglais. This massively popular with top DJs playing in three different rooms from 11:45 until six in the morning.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of "Hotspots in the French Riviera to learn about where to go in Cannes and St. Tropez"

About the author

I moved to Cannes in the South of France two and half years ago having spent the previous fifty in Chester in England.