The French Riviera has a myriad of stars if you put all its hotels together. Several of them are rated 5 or 4 stars, but it is undeniably the sky that offers its most beautiful finery when you take the time to look up at the night sky.
We could offer your nights your most beautiful dreams, the sky opens up to you in all its splendour!
By day, it is an azure blue as pure as the water of the Mediterranean, then in the evening, it is an orange-red as bright as the fire of a volcano that sets your memories ablaze... and at night, more colour. Deep blue and black settle in silence. Then, our gaze is dressed in a thousand sparkles as we observe the night so different here, in the reflection of the world facing the constellations.
As we gain height, we can play with the stars to make our holidays resonate with ourselves.
Contemplate the starry sky on the coast or in the Mercantour. Flirt with emotion day and night. No respite for nature, it offers itself there, like a jewel of every moment, especially on the balconies of Azur.
To have your head in the stars and your feet on the ground, is possible here!
Let's discover these nights that are reflected on the water like a mirror shining with a thousand sparks. Let's discover these magical nights offered by the middle country and the Mercantour, far from the lights of the cities and their light pollution.
When we arrive in Nice, we are carried away by the colours, whether they are hung on the facades or naturally when they dress the fruits and vegetables of the South. Everything dazzles us! And yet when night falls, it's another show that unfolds before our eyes, just as beautiful.
Take the time to climb up to la Colline du Château at sunset, and once perched, wait until nightfall to admire the stars or the moon reflecting on the calm water of the Baie des Anges. A spectacle worthy of the greatest film sets...
Here, everything is done to make you aware of this nocturnal space that surrounds us all.
To help your children discover the solar system, we invite you to visit the Nice Observatory, otherwise known as the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA).
Located at Mont Gros, a few kilometres from Nice, it offers guided tours lasting two hours during which you take the forest trails on a 2 km trail, allowing you to observe the beauty of the site's architectural and natural heritage, offering an exceptional panorama of the Baie des Anges. The visit allows you to appreciate the buildings and instruments of the former Nice Observatory, built by the architect Charles Garnier.
On this extraordinary site, you will be told the history of astronomy as it relates to the history of the Observatory, and you will be informed about the great contemporary scientific projects of the OCA.
Not far from there, you can also discover the Astrorama and its "Open Skies" evenings with your family at the Col d'Eze located at the Revère fort at an altitude of 650m, in the commune of La Trinité, on the Grande Corniche, between Nice and La Turbie.
There you will have quality astronomical observations, and high-performance tools are at your disposal.
There, everyone can discover astronomy, use glasses and telescopes, follow planetarium shows, receive satellite images, exchange with animators and astronomers, perfect experts who know how to make the general public appreciate this scientific discipline.
Created in 1987 by Jean-Louis Heudier, the Astrorama also houses a small museum dedicated to astronomy and space.
This summer, in July and August, if you can't get the perfect conditions for stargazing or if you can't get away from the shoreline, we invite you to discover Anthony Turpaud's exhibition at Phoenix Park. A photographer, he is notably the French Riviera ambassador, and has won awards for many of his night sky shots. Havinng settled more than 20 years ago in the Alpes-Maritimes, he has a particular affection for our territory. When asked about his favourite place, he answers:
« Difficile de choisir. Les premiers sommets autour de Vence, avec leurs panoramas sublimes tournés vers la mer ou la montagne sont spectaculaires et montrent toute la diversité du département des Alpes-Maritimes. Ils offrent également une palette de couleurs exceptionnelle ». ("Difficult to choose. The first peaks around Vence, with their sublime panoramas facing the sea or the mountains, are spectacular and show all the diversity of the Alpes-Maritimes department. They also offer an exceptional palette of colours")
If one refers to this outstanding photographer, one can therefore naturally move towards the middle country to find other skies.
In addition to the Baous de la Gaude or Saint-Jeannet, why not visit a very atypical site : the Col de Vence ! Rocky and bare, it has a lunar aspect that fascinates both day and night. Reaching a height of almost 1000m, it overlooks the Baous and dominates the Côte d'Azur coast, offering a panoramic and exceptional view from the port of Nice to Cap d'Antibes, and even to the cut-out silhouette of the Esterel massif.
It is a unique place, which far from the urban lighting benefits the night sky. It becomes pure and in summer thousands of stars can be seen and the constellations are delicately dotted.
It is a gift to see the sky so clear, when we know that about a third of the world's population can no longer see the Milky Way with the naked eye because of light pollution.
The commune of Vence is aware of this privilege, and allows you to observe the starry vault during "Etoiles Grandeur Nature" sessions led by Florent Bailleul, scientific mediator and member of the National Association for the Protection of the Sky and the Night Environment.
These observation sessions take place throughout the year, during the 4 seasons, and take place in a friendly atmosphere, being well installed in deckchairs to admire the sky, and sometimes you can even see the International Space Station (ISS) passing by.
The information is intended to be adapted to the public, and even a 6-year-old enthusiast will be delighted to understand the secrets of the night sky, with live explanations. He will be able to cast his amazed eye through the telescope which, in the magic of the moment, will then show him the infinite immensity of the universe. To see Mars, Jupiter and so many other elements ... while being in a magical place where silence is in harmony with the sidereal of our galaxy.
Always higher, climbing and surveying the roads of the Nice Côte d'Azur territory, it is then easier for you to get closer to the stars, which almost allows you to touch the stars with your fingertips.
The Mercantour, the Vésubie valley, Auron, Belvédère and St Dalmas le Selvage are dressed in a thousand shades of green by day, but with a thousand sparks at night.
Hiking, settling down and why not sleep in a refuge on the summits to contemplate this sky that lights up at nightfall? See the stars through the tall pines, like a Christmas garland hanging in our childhood memories. Contemplate and meditate.
As we leave the confinement, become aware of this expanse that surrounds us. To question ourselves about the world, and to slide our ideas onto the Milky Way to put our position into perspective. To be there, and to hear the wolves in Alpha Park in the distance. To be awake in darkness and look at the night as a bearer of light.
Maybe even find Anthony Turpaud armed with his objectives along the Mercantour's paths.
Or simply go to Alpha Park, where you can observe the stars, but also the surrounding nocturnal fauna from the terraces of the accommodations. A binocular observation device is available at a cost of 15€ per night.
At Le Boréon, these chalets are ideal for blending in with nature and getting away from urban light pollution.
At an altitude of 1600m, you also have - and it's even better for observing the night sky! - two perched huts. What better way to experience an adventure in the middle of summer than by hanging from the trees! Being rocked by the moon, or trying to touch the stars by trying to guess the constellations.
When you have such landscapes, and so varied in the relief, and you come on holiday in the region in summer, it is necessarily more exhilarating to come here on starry nights.
August is the most favourable month for shooting stars.
Only a few kilometres from the coast, the sky becomes an ideal stage for them to perform in complete freedom: they parade like real star dancers who chain arabesques, leaving behind them the memory of the unforgettable ephemeral.
This year, the nights will take place on 7, 8 and 9 August and will allow the naked eye to see the Milky Way and the constellations of the summer sky without difficulty.
But the highlight of the show will still be the observation of the Perseids, the magnificent shower of shooting stars that will illuminate our sky during the week of August 10 to 15.
Then, Mars will be the star at the end of the month, as it will be very close to Earth between August 16 and 22.
Under the starry vault, come and enjoy our natural balconies and let our night sky tell you all about our night sky in the open air. Contemplate the stars, and live an unforgettable outdoor experience. An opportunity to become aware of the preservation of the beauty of the territory, keeping a harmonious balance with its flows and activities.
So with such elements, we can only invite you to come and stay in our beautiful territory of a thousand colours, by the water, perched on the first reliefs or even higher up on the mountain. During the day, everything is adorned with lights. At night, the sky wraps you in its glittering blanket. Come, we are waiting for you. The stars of the hotels and of our sky are already watching to make your stay magical!...
Information and reservations :
Exposition « Lueurs nocturnes » d’Anthony Turpaud jusqu’au 30/08/2020
Registration at the Tourist Information Office of Vence
+33 (0)4.93.58.06.38 firstname.lastname@example.org
From 6 years old. FREE THIS SUMMER!
Lodging in the heart of nature (cabins and cottages) – Le Boréon –
+33 (0)4.93.02.21.10 email@example.com
Réserve Internationale de Ciel Etoilé - RICE
The "Alpes Azur Mercantour" territory was recognized in November 2019 by the IDA (International Dark-sky Association) for the quality of its night sky. This labeling is quite exceptional, there are currently only 14 International Reserves of Starry Sky (RICE) on the planet, that of the "Alpes Azur Mercantour" being the 3rd in France after that of the Pic du Midi and that of the Cévennes National Park.
This article is brought to you by Yaël and Karel from the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Photo Credits : Lisa del Sol, OTM, ALPHA, PARC ANIMALIER - Gîtes et Cabanes Perchées du Boréon, Parsec Astrorama Eze, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Anthony Turpaud, Etoiles Grandeur Nature