The French Riviera is well known as a destination for adults. From yachting to car racing, from gambling to hiking and paragliding, from gourmet cuisine to delicious wines, there’s plenty to entertain grown-ups but the Cote d’Azur also has a lot to offer families with children. Aside from the beaches, crepe stands and merry-go-rounds there are several museums and cultural attractions (not including the famous art museums where works by Picasso, Matisse, Cocteau and others are featured) that are interesting to both adults and children. If you’re planning on visiting the Cote d’Azur with your children be sure to check out the following.
Built into the rock (Rocher) of Monaco, the building containing the Oceanographic Museum is itself marvelous but inside is a treasure trove of oceanographic sights and information. Originally constructed in 1910 by Prince Albert I, the great-great grandfather of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, the museum is guaranteed to entertain all who are fascinated by the variety of sea life and the ongoing exploration of the oceans. From sharks and piranhas to clownfish and sea horses, from the whale room to the Prince Albert I room, this is a delightful museum to explore.
The Parc Phoenix in Nice provides a delightful experience for young and old. The entrance fee is 5€ for adults, children under twelve are free. Also included, if you decide to take advantage of it, is the Museum of Asian Art located close to the entrance. There is a large lake which attracts pelicans, swans, peacocks and ducks as well as a zoo. Behind the zoo is a playground where children can release some pent up energy before exploring the huge glass greenhouse which, at 75,000 square feet, is one of the largest in Europe. Inside, the space has been divided into seven climatic zones among which is a tropical rainforest and an aquarium.
The International Perfume Museum in Grasse focuses on the history of perfume and offers children’s classes as well as opportunities for children to celebrate their birthdays. Here children can create their own eau de toilette, certainly a most unique souvenir to take home as well as a fun learning experience.
Fort Royal on Ile St. Marguerite is the perfect destination for a family with children. Not only is the island great fun to explore but the fort contains a maritime museum filled with artifacts and archeological finds such as items from a tenth century Saracens shipwreck and ancient Roman ceramics. The fortress was constructed in the early seventeenth century and was a prison where the “Man in the Iron Mask” was interred for several years.