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Shopping and Socialising in the South of France

Shopping and Socialising in the South of France

QUICK LINKS: France Guide - France Discussion Forum - France Property Listings

As you would expect, given the area’s overall reputation, the South of France makes it very easy for you to spend money.


Virtually all of the major designer labels have either personal outlets on the Riviera or are available through boutiques.

These exclusive shopping outlets tend to be located in the centre of the larger towns such as Cannes, St Tropez and Nice.

Some of the major designer outlets in St Tropez are listed on


and this includes details of retailers of jewellery and precious stones.

In Cannes, it’s possible to find Chanel, Gucci, Dior and Jean-Paul Gaultier in the central shopping streets plus a host of other equally famous names.

These are mainly located on or just off of the Boulevard de la Croisette and Rue d’Antibes. There is also a pedestrianised area of the town encompassing a few streets specialising in exclusive foodstuffs and fine art etc.

All these areas in Cannes are within comfortable walking distance of each other.

Nice is slightly larger but also exceptionally well equipped with luxury suppliers. Many of these are based in or around the Rue de Suède and the Rue Paradis.

Many of the retailers in these major centres will accept multiple forms of currencies and handle conversions. Exemption from the national sales tax (TVA – currently 19.6%) is possible providing you can show evidence that you are resident outside of the European Union.

Virtually all of the more exclusive shops, studios and boutiques, employ at least one staff member that is fluent in English and many also speak other languages.

Holidays and closed periods

France does have what may appear to be, at times, innumerable official and sometimes unofficial public holidays during which many shops and stores are closed.

In some parts of France this can prove to be an irritation if you wish to shop on a given day but in these areas of the Riviera this is likely to be less of an issue.

Even so, if you are planning to visit on of the major centres it may be prudent to check in advance that it isn’t a national or local holiday.


It should be acknowledged that even the more exclusive main shops and boutiques might be busy at peak times.

If you’re looking for privacy and discretion, many of the exclusive outlets may be willing to arrange an out-of-hours opening, a private showing or perhaps a personal visit to your hotel or residence with their goods. Some may expect evidence in advance of your sincere interest and potential purchasing inclinations.

If you are requesting private viewings of exceptionally high value items such as jewellery, watches, precious stones, bullion or antiques, as per elsewhere in the world, you may have to meet security and identity requirements in advance.

This can be arranged via direct contact with the outlets or through the services of your hotel.


There are large numbers of excellent restaurants in the area serving all cuisine types. As one would expect, the majority specialise in the very best of French Mediterranean cuisine but there are superb restaurants of virtually all types.

Many of the larger 4 and 5 star hotels have excellent kitchens and some have Michelin stars.

One of the most famous, and perhaps with the most spectacular hilltop location, is the hotel and restaurant Château Eza. Boasting incomparable views over the sea and a Michelin star restaurant, it is well worth a visit.

A selection of others includes:

· La Bastide St-Antoine in Grasse with two Michelin stars;
· Le Moulin de Mougins (at Mougins) has a star and is based in a 16th century mill;
· La Résidence de la Pinède at St Tropez has two stars as does ;
· La Réserve de Beaulieu at Beaulieu-sur-mer with its ocean views.


Many areas of the coast contain private beaches, which not only cater for bathing but also eating and shopping.

La Voile Rouge at St Tropez is one of the best known and most exclusive. The Nikki Beach, also at St Tropez, is perhaps even more exclusive and is regularly considered to be an A-list location.

Vegaluna in Cannes is also very highly regarded by more selective clients.

There are typically similar private beach clubs in all the major resort locations. Many can be hired in full or part for private parties.

They will also be able to advise on things such as water sports and other sporting activities such as tennis etc.

Golf is also widely catered for with over 20 quality courses in the area. Just to mention four – Golf du Claux Amic, Golf de la Grance Bastide, Golf de Saint-Donat and Gold d’Opio-Valbonne.

These offer year-round golfing and again can cope with special bookings for sessions in the utmost privacy.

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