The French Riviera is renowned for its exclusive lifestyle consisting of grand villas and luxury superyachts. However, it wasn’t always the attractive destination it is nowadays. Dating back to the Middle Ages, there have been numerous rivalries, battles and wars. Therefore, a selection of fortresses and castles were constructed at the peak of many of the perched villages to protect the region. These strategic fortifications offer an insight into the French Riviera’s history and culture and provide some of most awe-inspiring panoramic views along the dramatic coastline. Rent a luxury supercar and explore the best defensive fortresses in the region whilst driving one of the world’s finest coastal routes in style. Ferrari always seems to be the most popular option in the region.
Chateau de La Napoule – Mandelieu La Napoule
Begin your driving tour along the French Riviera in Mandelieu La Napoule, a beautiful unspoilt coastline resort situated east of Cannes. The 14th century castle is a famous landmark in the region, which looks onto the beautiful Golfe de la Napoule. It has a fascinating history stretching back over hundreds of years. Constructed in 1387 by the Countess of Villeneuve, it stood for many years as a medieval fortress. However, after being dismantled and transformed into a glass factory during the French Revolution in 1789, the castle was bought and restored by American artist and sculptor Henry Clews and his wife Marie. Henry focused on the architecture of the castle and his wife designed the impressive gardens. The castle is now open to the public under the management of The Henry Clews art foundation and Henry’s collection of art is on display to visitors.
Chateau de Villeneuve-Loubet – Villeneuve-Loubet
The next destination is Villeneuve-Loubet. Take your supercar rental for a magnificent coastal drive through the prestigious cities of Cannes and Antibes until you reach Villeneuve-Loubet, a historical, traditional town sitting on the hillside with stunning panoramic views of the Mediterranean. Constructed in the 13th century by the Romée of Villeneuve, this historic medieval fortress boasts an incredible history, experiencing war, occupation and revolution. Owned by the Panisse-Passis family since 1741, the castle has been inhabited, maintained and is now open to the public. Surrounded by immense gardens, the 33m watchtower offers a picturesque view of dramatic coastline.
Chateau-Musée Grimaldi – Cagnes-Sur-Mer
A short drive and you will arrive at the next historic castle, in the beautiful perched village of Cagnes-Sur-Mer. Towering over the small historic town, this ancient stronghold was built in the 1309 by Rainier Grimaldi, Lord of Cagnes-Sur-Mer, and transformed into a Baroque-style palatial home in 1620. At the summit of the hill, featuring grand towers and a triangular courtyard, this castle offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. These days, the castle hosts a variety of international contemporary art exhibitions and also has a museum of modern art. An absolute must-visit on your French Riviera road trip!
Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or – Eze
The final castle on this driving tour is in the ancient commune of Eze. In the traditional hilltop village, within the old fortress walls and amongst the ruins is the luxurious Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or. Featuring breathtaking views of St Jean-Cap Ferrat and the Med, resides a world-class hotel with many terraces and a deluxe swimming pool. Enjoy an exquisite meal in the courtyard and watch the sunset on the horizon.
To finish the evening in style, drive round the winding roads into Monaco, taking in the phenomenal views. To round off an ideal day, pull up in front of the world famous Monte Carlo Casino, in your Ferrari rental and enjoy an exclusive evening in Monaco.