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Overview

It's called "Maritime Alps" because it's got the Alps at the top and the Mediterranean at its feet – an enviable position by anyone’s definition. Sports enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors will head north for the Parc National du Mercantour, one of the most biologically diverse national parks in Europe. And there’s no shortage of choices for both culture vultures and the sensual. Nice is awash in world-class museums and galleries, with modern art, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse very much on display. Grasse, the capital of the other "arrondissement" that forms this department, is where the world's premier perfumeries make their ...

It's called "Maritime Alps" because it's got the Alps at the top and the Mediterranean at its feet – an enviable position by anyone’s definition. Sports enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors will head north for the Parc National du Mercantour, one of the most biologically diverse national parks in Europe. And there’s no shortage of choices for both culture vultures and the sensual. Nice is awash in world-class museums and galleries, with modern art, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse very much on display. Grasse, the capital of the other "arrondissement" that forms this department, is where the world's premier perfumeries make their wares. But if you're looking for the rich and famous in various states of dress and undress, head for the beaches of Cannes, where you might bump into the odd actor or director, and/or Antibes, where the dazzling rich hang out. And then there is the Principality of Monaco, should you want to try your luck at the gaming tables. And don’t forget to try some of the local street food in this neck of the woods: pan bagnat, an overstuffed, mostly vegetarian sandwich, and pissaladière, a Provençal-style pizza with a wafer-thin crust.

Steve Fallon
About the Expert

Steve Fallon has more than two dozen years of experience as a travel writer and guidebook author, having written or contributed to some 80 Lonely Planet and other guides.

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Steve Fallon for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Maritime Alps are a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps. They form the border between the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and the Italian regions of Piedmont and Liguria. They are the southernmost part of the Alps.
  • Language: French, Provençal, Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Maritime Alps | Alpes-Maritimes | Alpes-Maritimes
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The height of the season — June to August — for sun, parties and celebrities, but you can spot celebrities in May at the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.