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Enjoying the best of the French Riviera with kids: Activities, adventure & more


9 August, 2023


23 August, 2023

A French Riviera family vacation should certainly be at the top of every family’s holiday wish list. This region of France is, quite simply, stunning, with endless fields of fragrant purple lavender, chic towns such as Saint-Tropez and Nice, and glorious sun-drenched beaches.

If you’re travelling to the French Riviera with kids, there is so much more to see and do than just lounging your days away on the beach (although you should definitely leave plenty of time for this too). Offering theme parks, cultural attractions, charming medieval villages and every water sport you could possibly imagine, there is more than enough to fill every day of your getaway with fun and laughter.

At onefinestay, our exclusive collection of villas in the French Riviera places you within easy reach of some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, as well as the prettiest villages and the most family-friendly theme parks in the South of France. This guide will help you create the best French Riviera family vacation, as well as answer some of the most common FAQs when it comes to visiting the French Riviera with kids.

Tips for travelling with children

Before you jet off to the Mediterranean sunshine, here are a few top tips for travelling with children to ensure you all have the best French Riviera experience:

Work on a family itinerary together

If your children feel involved in the decision-making process, it'll make the holiday more exciting and personal for them. Ask them what they'd like to see and do while you're on your French Riviera family vacation.

Pack some games

Plane journeys can be stressful for little ones. Take their mind off the trip by having a selection of games to play together.

Check their SIM cards

Older children and teenagers will want to tell the world about their adventures. Make sure they have a data roaming deal that won’t charge every time they want to upload a snap. The alternative is to buy a SIM card for their phone when you arrive.

Teach them the language

A few words, even if it's just 'please' and 'thank you', can make your children feel much more connected to their new environment and could trigger a lifelong love of languages too.

Things to do on the French Riviera with kids

With its magnificent medieval towns and cities, dazzling blue water and shimmering beaches, it's little wonder that the French Riviera has been drawing in visitors for centuries. Today, it's a family-friendly destination with plenty to keep even the youngest adventurers happy. Let's break things down a little so you can put your French Riviera with kids itinerary together for the perfect family holiday.

With its magnificent medieval towns and cities, dazzling blue water and shimmering beaches, it's little wonder that the French Riviera has been drawing in visitors for centuries. Today, it's a family-friendly destination with plenty to keep even the youngest adventurers happy. Let's break things down a little so you can put your French Riviera with kids itinerary together for the perfect family holiday.

Beaches and water sports

Whether you’re on the water or under it, the Côte d'Azur is one of the best destinations in the world for watersports. With nearly 200km of coastline to explore, you have everything from huge sweeps of golden sand to secret coves and inlets where the only footprints on the sand are your own. Here are our top five beaches and watersports locations for families on the French Riviera:

Stand-up paddleboarding at Cap d’Antibes

If you love your SUPs, this stretch of coastline from the port of L'Olivette is a must. Many of the bays along this stretch are only accessible from the water. It's also one of the best places for snorkelling and is suitable for older children and teenagers.

A beach only the locals know about

Close to the ultra-chic town of Saint-Tropez is a secret beach running between Cap Camarat and Cap Taillat. It’s rarely busy and is only accessible by boat or foot. Perfect for a quiet beach day with a splash of snorkelling or swimming to keep everyone entertained.

An underwater eco-museum

Just off the coast of Cannes are the Lerins Islands, where you'll find a truly unique underwater art installation. Six striking statues are submerged in around 3-5m of water, making them accessible for younger swimmers on their first snorkelling adventure. Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, this is one of the more unusual things you can do when visiting Cannes with the kids.

A magnificent stretch of sand

With the magnificent Promenade des Anglais running the length of the town and a vast sweep of silvery sand, Nice’s waterfront is perfect for a lazy afternoon on the sand. Outstanding facilities and plenty of space make it ideal for families with young children. If your toddler’s getting bored of the beach, a trip on ‘Le Petit Train’ is a fun way to explore along the waterfront without tiring them out too much.

Surf’s up

The Côte d'Azur has some great surfing and bodyboarding beaches. While the best waves don't appear until the autumn, beaches such as Plage des Lecques Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer (near Saint-Tropez) are just right for younger children who want to get to grips with bodyboarding in shallow, safe waters.

Family-friendly attractions and activities

If you’re visiting Nice with kids, the Promenade du Paillon, nestling between the Old Town and Place Massena, is a must. This beautiful park has plenty of children's playgrounds, jungle gyms and a fountain that sends up jets of water – the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer's day.

Along the coast and just outside of glamorous Saint-Tropez is the Azur Park, which is packed with more than 35 rides, games and attractions, including two 18-hole miniature golf courses, bumper boats and trampolines.

If your children are interested in cars, visit Monaco to see the Prince of Monaco's private collection of over 100 vehicles, including F1 racing cars. It's right next to the Oceanographic Museum, which is built into the cliffs of the Rock of Monaco and has thousands of exhibits and displays.

Our top tip: Take the 'Exploring Cousteau's Underwater World' tour led by a marine biologist and with exclusive backstage access.

If you’re in Antibes with kids, a trip to Marineland is a must. This child-friendly park incorporates a zoo, an aquarium, a water park, miniature golf and play areas all in one.

Discover charming hilltop villages

The Côte d'Azur is packed with utterly charming villages to discover, where time seems to stand still. With cobbled, winding streets and imposing fortifications, some of these hilltop villages have been here for centuries.

Today, they’re filled with delightful boutiques, fine dining and beautiful architecture that is bound to provide some Instagram-worthy moments to upload later on back at your Côte d'Azur villa. In every village, you’ll find a boulangerie selling fresh bread. In France, traditional baguettes have to be made on the premises where they're sold and can only have four ingredients: wheat flour, salt, yeast and water.

Freshly made every day, you can be sure that the children will enjoy their lunchtime or picnic baguette every bit as much as you. If you’re staying visiting the French Riviera with kids, choosing a villa in a sleepy village will allow you to appreciate the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle in all its glory.

Family-friendly accommodation

At onefinestay, we have an enchanting selection of French Riviera villas. From Saint-Tropez to Cannes, whether you want a boho-chic beachfront villa or a glamorous mansion overlooking the ocean, we have family-friendly accommodation all along the Côte d'Azur. Take a look at our destination guides for the French Riviera, Cannes and Saint-Tropez to find out more about each area and choose the perfect family-friendly villa for you.

If you have any special requirements, such as childcare services during your stay or cots and high chairs for young toddlers, your concierge can make arrangements for you and ensure details, such as fitted child seats in your hire car, are taken care of before you arrive.


Is the French Riviera family-friendly?

In a word, yes. The French Riviera is one of the most family-friendly places in the Mediterranean, with wonderful accommodation, lots to see and do, children's menus in many restaurants, and of course, those perfect sandy beaches. Children are welcome everywhere, although do bear in mind that there are some nudist beaches on the Côte d'Azur - it’s good to check each individual beach online when planning your beach days during the trip.

Are there any museums in the Côte d'Azur that offer engaging experiences for kids?

If you and your children are sports fans, a trip to the Musée National du Sport at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice is well worth a trip. This interactive museum charts the history of sport from the 15th century to modern times and makes a fun change from the usual arts and natural history museums.

What are the best outdoor activities for families in the Côte d'Azur?

The Côte d'Azur is a haven for water sports, from jet-skiing and windsurfing to diving and snorkelling. Many popular family beaches also have child-friendly options, such as banana-boat rides, or you can hop on some paddleboards and explore along the coast. Simply speak to your dedicated concierge and discover an array of watersports options for your trip.

When is the best time to head to the beach?

If you plan your French Riviera family vacation during the summer, you may find that the beach is too hot for the little ones between 11 am - 3 pm. Instead, try going earlier in the morning or heading there late afternoon/early evening for a magical family picnic watching the sunset.

Can you hire mountain bikes and bicycles in the French Riviera?

If you want to go exploring inland but don’t want to take a car, your dedicated concierge can hire rental bikes for you and your family. The trails and back lanes of the Côte d'Azur are beautiful and well worth exploring. Make sure you take plenty of water as the weather can be very hot during the summer.

What kind of food is on offer in the French Riviera?

French food is exquisite and down on the Côte d'Azur, you'll find plenty of Mediterranean influences, with fresh, light flavours and lots of seafood. A great snack for hungry children is a Croque Monsieur: a simple yet mouthwateringly delicious cheese and ham toastie made with a sprinkling of that inevitable French flair.

Plan your French Riviera family itinerary with onefinestay

With our exquisite collection of villas in the French Riviera waiting to be discovered, onefinestay is your passport to one of the most exclusive areas of France. Take a look through our destination guides to find out more, and book your perfect villa in the French Riviera today.

Ready for a French Riviera break with your family?