The largest cities on the Côte d'Azur
The Côte d'Azur is a geographical term for one of the most touristic regions of France. This sunny coastline of the Mediterranean Sea lies between the French-Italian border and the town of Cassis. Historically, the Côte d'Azur referred to the stretch of coastline between the towns of Menton and Cannes. Over time, this geographical designation began to apply to the entire eastern part of the southern French coast. This coastline, whose reputation is well established, extends over three departments. The Bouches du Rhône, the Var, and the Alpes-Maritimes are the three administrative territories that make up the Côte d'Azur and whose largest cities are Nice, Cannes, Menton, Monaco (independent Principality) but also Cassis, Saint-Tropez, Toulon or Sainte-Maxime (especially during the summer). Here is a zoom on the main towns along the coastline.
The most populated towns on the Côte d'Azur
This essential city in the Alpes-Maritimes department is an administrative "capital", a tourist city, and one of the largest cities in France. With nearly 346,376 inhabitants, Nice, the "faithful", is the standard-bearer of the French Riviera. But with its agglomeration, it is almost 960,000 inhabitants spread over 51 communes and 743 square kilometers. It should be noted that Nice is the fourteenth largest student city in France with approximately 44,500 students (figures in constant increase).
What makes Nice a city apart is undoubtedly the fact that it was one of the very first seaside towns in Europe. Indeed, at the end of the 18th century, Nice welcomed its first visitors. But everything really took off from 1860 and the arrival of a railway line in Nice. This extraordinary city, known throughout the world for its Bay of Angels and the color of its water, which is inevitably blue, is undoubtedly the largest city on the French Riviera. For information, the Bay of Angels has no celestial connotation. It is just a reference to the numerous stingrays that used to be found in the bay. But today this species is unfortunately on the list of endangered species. The "squatina squatina" is the scientific name for a ray that is also known as the angel or common angelfish. This explains the name of one of the most beautiful bays in the world. A bay necessarily bordered by the mythical and historic Promenade des Anglais. A reference to the past and also to the history of tourism in Europe.
This population density and its privileged location make Nice a city where real estate remains quite expensive. The market is boosted by a high population density but also by foreign demand (Russians, Americans, English, Germans, Ukrainians, and by Asian or Middle Eastern clients). If we add to this the student accommodation and the strong tourist demand (from April to October) we can see that property prices are quite high. On average, the price per square meter is around 6,000 to 7,000 euros per meter. But in the most sought-after areas, this price rises to the symbolic 10,000 euro mark. (For properties with no defects and ideally located close to the center AND the beach and ideally in the front line with a sea view). It should be noted that for an average to be established at 7000 euros per square meter, there must be a high of 10,000 euros but also a low which can reach 4000 euros, particularly in the most outlying districts.
2. Toulon, one of the largest cities on the Côte d'Azur
With a population of 176,200 inhabitants, Toulon is undoubtedly one of the largest cities on the French Riviera. But with its agglomeration, Toulon has about 610,000 inhabitants, so it is a real metropolis which is the largest agglomeration in the whole Var department. This large port city is also a dynamic economic center. A city that relies on freight and goods transport, agri-food, and trade. Toulon is also ideally situated between Marseille and Nice, but it is above all the gateway for tourists wishing to reach Saint-Tropez, Ramatuelle, Gassin, and Sainte-Maxime.
The industrial and port history of the city has meant that Toulon has never really been a tourist town. The price of real estate is affected by this, as properties here are negotiated at around 3,500 euros.
For a long time, the city of Antibes came last to Cannes but is now the second largest city in the Alpes-Maritimes department. With a population of almost 76,000 inhabitants, Antibes is an attractive, touristy town that is gaining inhabitants.
It should be noted that Juan-les-Pins is now an administrative district of the city of Antibes. It is one of the most popular districts of the city, with of course the inevitable Cap d'Antibes and the city center (a district that benefits from the port and the famous billionaires' quay).
4. Cannes, a famous french city
With its 72,000 inhabitants, Cannes is also one of the largest cities in the Alpes-Maritimes department and on the French Riviera. But during the summer season, the number of inhabitants is multiplied by three to 210,000 and sometimes even to 230,000 during the Cannes festival.
This is undoubtedly the reason why property prices remain quite high in Cannes. Prices per square meter mainly vary between 5500 and 7000 euros. Beware that prices can vary greatly depending on the location and services. Prices can go up to 10,000 euros for the seafront and down to 3500 euros for badly located properties in need of renovation.
5. La Seyne-sur-Mer
With just over 62,000 inhabitants, this coastal town in the southwest of the Var covers 22 square kilometers. It is a city that is developing both in terms of tourism and economic activity. This town, which is located in the west of the large Toulon harbor, is particularly popular with holidaymakers. There are many second homes, particularly in the Sablettes district. A district that appeared in the 50s under the leadership of a certain Fernand Pouillon, an architect by trade. The Sablettes district is a strip of land that links Saint-Mandrier to the town of La Seyne-sur-Mer.
With its 54,000 year-round inhabitants, the town of Hyères is a must-see in the Var. It is located only 16 kilometers from Toulon, a city with which it shares an international airport.
Points of interest in Hyères are the islands of Porquerolles and Port-Cros. Not forgetting Le Levant, an island which is above all a military base and which hosts a naturist center in the extreme east. The occasion to recall the importance of the presence of the army in the Var department. An essential point that boosts the local economy. On the mainland (as opposed to the islands of the Var), the visit to Hyères is interesting. Indeed, Hyères has been awarded the distinction of "City of Art and History" by the Ministry of Culture.
Property prices in Hyères are quite variable, ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 euros per square meter for flats and from 4,000 to 7,700 euros for houses (villas with land and outbuildings). Be careful to fix the price of a property you have to compare with houses in the area, with very recent transactions, and especially take into account the architecture and the services offered by other similar properties. Not to mention the condition of the property (new, to be renovated, or with a slight refreshment).
This town in the Alpes-Maritimes has approximately 52,200 inhabitants. The median price for a flat in Cagnes-sur-Mer is around 4,300 euros. (Prices are given as an indication, putting your property at too high a price is a risk. The risk is that a potential buyer will turn to another property. This considerably lengthens the time it takes to complete the sale and can ultimately prove more expensive for the seller. The longer a property remains on the market, the more wary potential buyers become).
The town covers an area of only 17.5 square kilometers and is best known for its racecourse, which has been hosting races since 1952 on a site of over 60 hectares. A place that used to host the Nice golf course.
Other towns on the Côte d'Azur
Among the most famous towns in the western part of the Côte d'Azur are Cassis (6,500 inhabitants), La Ciotat (35,993 inhabitants), not forgetting Bandol (8,527 inhabitants) or Sanary-sur-Mer (17,800 inhabitants).
Among the other towns on the Alpes-Maritimes side are Menton (31,800 inhabitants), Mandelieu-la-Napoule (22,000 inhabitants), and Saint-Laurent du Var (30,700 inhabitants).
Monaco, an exception
In the middle of the Côte d'Azur is a city-state, one of the smallest countries in the world. This is, of course, the principality of Monaco. A city where property prices are literally skyrocketing, reaching 40,000 euros per square meter. Monaco is a city with about 38,000 inhabitants spread over an area of only two square kilometers. Nevertheless, it is difficult to distinguish between tax residents, tourists, and year-round Monegasques, and the figures can sometimes be quite confusing.
In winter, the population of Saint-Tropez hardly reaches 3,275 inhabitants. But in summer the population is multiplied by ten, reaching 35,000 inhabitants at any one time. According to a study by the Var General Council, the Gulf of Saint-Tropez welcomes tourists for an average of 9 days. If property prices are quite high on the Côte d'Azur, they sometimes reach peaks with the large villas located in the Parc de Saint-Tropez.