The French Riviera is among the most exclusive destinations in the world. This little strip of land passes through some of the most famous cities in Europe, including Cannes (home to the film festival of the same name), Monaco, and Nice. Therefore, before you travel, you need to think carefully about what you’ll pack.
As with many locations in the Mediterranean, the best time to go is the height of summer. Temperatures are high, but there’s also a lot going on.
If possible, you’ll want your trip to coincide with some of the big events that rock the region. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix, for instance, is well worth watching. Cars scream around nearly the entire length of the city, with roads, roundabouts, and the seafront transformed into a race track for the weekend.
What To Pack And Wear On A Trip To The French Riviera
In this section, we break down all the essentials you need for a trip to the French Riviera.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still ongoing and French authorities remain strict about who can and cannot enter the country. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the right kit.
COVID-19 travel insurance is a must. French authorities will want to see that you have the necessary amount of coverage to pay for your medical care if you get sick. If you don’t have this insurance, they could wallop you with large medical bills to cover their costs.
You’ll also want all the usual pandemic-related paraphernalia: N95 masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers, and so on. Don’t forget to safely store and protect your vaccine card. And, if you are going to a lot of new places, you might want to take disinfecting wipes with you to sanitize the area.
Things To Keep You Healthy
Next on your travel list are items to keep you healthy and hydrated during your trip. (Temperatures can soar to more than 35° on the French Riviera in the summer).
Having a first aid kit with you is always handy. Pack bandages and alcohol wipes to disinfect wounds. Beaches are hazardous because of all the sharp objects both in and around the sea, so be careful.
Next, bring a water filtering bottle with you. While you can get things to drink virtually anywhere on the French Riviera, it still comes in handy. You’ll also want some motion sickness relief pills if you plan on spending time on a yacht.
Things You Need For Your Electronics
The list of things modern electronics require is quite extensive. Depending on where you are traveling from, you will need a socket adapter. France uses types C and E.
You’ll also want to pack a local SIM card to avoid ridiculous roaming charges once you arrive. You don’t want to be in a situation where your phone bill is bigger than your hotel bill.
Power bank devices are helpful if you are planning on spending a long time on the road, at the beach, or on campsites. These keep small devices charged for up to three days before requiring resupply.
Things You Need For The Aeroplane
Having a luggage lock comes in handy. These prevent people from opening your bags while you’re not looking or with them. They’re extremely helpful for preventing over-zealous customs officials from rummaging around for illicit items in your luggage.
You’ll also want to pack an inflatable travel pillow. These are utterly essential if getting to the French Riviera requires a long-haul flight. Plenty of entertainment also comes in handy during long flights.
A money pouch is helpful, too. Get one that’s large enough for your passport so you can access it quickly at baggage control, security, and the check-in lounge.
What To Wear On The French Riviera
Now onto the interesting stuff: what to wear when you finally arrive in France. What you pack depends on the time of year. If you’re going in the winter, you’ll need to take cold weather clothes, such as gloves, mittens, jackets, and fleeces. Temperatures can drop as low as 10° C (50° F).
To keep yourself glowing throughout your trip, lip balm and moisturisers also come in handy. Dry skin is common in January and February.
Rain can also fall in the French Riviera during the winter months. Therefore, you’ll want to consider taking a waterproof jacket and rain-proof boots. Rain pants are also helpful if you plan on going out in all weathers, particularly if heading inland.
By the time it gets to May, temperatures have risen substantially, and it no longer feels so cold. Most days are in the low 20s which is perfect weather for most people – not too hot, but not too cold, either. Humidity can be quite high, and rain is still a threat. Therefore, you’ll need pants or jeans, socks, a light jacket or fleece for nighttime, a heavy skirt, and waterproofs.
July in the French Riviera is warm and dry. Temperatures are typically around the mid-twenties during the day, with some hotter weather if there is a heat wave. As such, you’ll want to dress for summer. Women typically wear light dresses on the French Riviera, particularly as you approach the areas closer to Italy. Light floral patterns are a great daytime choice. Both men and women wear sandals and shorts too, particularly if hitting the beach.
Of course, you’ll want to remember all the usual summer items, too, such as sunscreen and insect repellent. During the hotter months, the south of France is a mosquito magnet, so be careful. Because of the intensity of the sun, you’ll want at least SPF 30 sunscreen. SPF 50 UVA and UVB “kids” sunscreen is even better.
Both long and short-sleeve shirts are recommended. Shorter sleeves are good during the evening when the sun is low in the sky, while longer-sleeved shirts protect your body from UV at midday.
Things You’ll Need For The Beach
No trip to the French Riviera is complete without spending a few days lounging around on the beach, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery. If you are planning on spending some time at the beach, you’ll want to bring some swimwear with you. Bikinis and swimsuits are both acceptable.
A beach blanket keeps you comfortable. And a waterproof phone bag reduces risks when going into the sea. Having a dry bag for all your valuables helps too.
The Mediterranean is famous for its aquatic life. Therefore, you might also want to take your snorkel kit with you. Buying one when you arrive is expensive.
Here are some other things you might need on your trip:
- A French phrasebook if your French isn’t quite up to scratch
- Deodorant wipes to keep you smelling fresh all day if there isn’t a shower around
- Beautiful outfits for attending swanky bars, restaurants, clubs, theatres, and film events
- VPN membership so you can use public WiFi safely without worrying about someone stealing your passport
- A cooling tower that cools your body instantly on hot days while outside
- A stylish raincoat that looks better than standard plastic travel ponchos
- A windproof umbrella – great for when the heavens open or protecting your skin against UV in the middle of the day
- A quick-dry towel that comes in handy when you spend a day beside the sea or pool
- An attractive backpack for keeping non-valuable items, such as packed lunch, makeup, toilet roll, and groceries
- Packing cubes to help you separate all your belongings and keep everything neat and tidy in your suitcase