The hot summer months have finally arrived in France meaning everyone is flocking to France’s beautiful coasts, especially the world famous Mediterranean regions of Provence and the Côte d’Azur.
During my last few years spending summers with my French family in Cavalaire, a gorgeous family-friendly, seaside community just 18 kilometers from St. Tropez, I’ve noticed the recognizable style of tourists and inhabitants that characterize the Côte d’Azur style.
If you’re heading to the “French Riviera” for the first time, this list will help you look like you’re a veteran native and even if you’re not going to the Mediterranean for your summer holiday, you can still dress like you’ve been there and done that with these fashion essentials and recommended French brands.
These Spanish inspired shoes come in flats and wedges so that men and women can enjoy playing pitanque, go for evening walks along the beach, and can go from sun bathing to dining without having to miss a beat. These shoes can be found at just about any shop on the Côte d’Azur and can go from just a few euros to designer prices.
The straw hat stand creates the biggest draw at the farmers’ markets. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes for vacationers of various ages and style preferences. Straw hats are an affordable way to keep the head and face protected from the heat and UV rays.
How can you “faire les courses” at the farmer’s market or neighborhood grocer without a big shopping bag? Head to the market and pick up these beautiful colored bags for less than 20 euros. Double it’s purpose by filling it with your beach supplies and you’ll have everything “in the bag.”
The tunic is a fabulous way for women of all sizes to stay covered, cool, and beautiful. Use a belt to get a waist, go long or short, and slip into it after sitting seaside directly to lunch with friends and family at the beachside restaurant.I bought my favorite tunic from Anastacia Beachwear, known for it’s “Rivera” styles.
Linen is a classic Mediterranean staple and for good reason. It breaths, it’s light, and it gives a touch of simple sophistication to any ensemble. Dress it up or play it down, it works for any sea-side occasion. The most notable shop for buying any and everything linen is Blanc du Nile (White of the Nile).
The French, especially men, love the classic and sophisticated styles of Ray-bans. Whether he’s a French Papi or a beau mec, he can sport these glasses while lounging at the beach or playing frisbee with you and your friends.
Striped Tees, Tanks, and Dresses
The striped tees reference themselves to the French fishermen from Brittany who wore stripped shirts and sweaters to protect themselves from gusty sea winds. Little Marcel is the most famous amongst the summer time brands and are a favorite amongst the French for having a variety of styles and products with these famous stripes.
Designer Beach Towels
Whether you’re enjoying the ocean view from a reserved lounger in a private beach club or fighting your way through the crowds to find the right spot to settle in for the day, there is no better way to mark your territory than having a recognizable and cozy beach towel, like the famous Kiwi Saint Tropez brand beach towels known for their XXL sizes made for two people.
Sure, you could use the one you stole from a nice hotel, but you might just find yourself mistaking yours from another person who did the same!
While the summer days on the cote d’azur can melt the tiny specs of ice in your cocktail in just a few seconds, the nights can be quite chilly. Find a wrap that can double as a scarf so that you’re not caught with a cold neck and chilly shoulders when you’re bar hopping at the most famous bars on the coast. My personal favorite is the Princess Tam Tam sarong (pictured on the left) my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday.
The bikini is the most important piece to have on the Côte d’Azur. From the teenie weenie variety to the complete, supportive one piece, don’t get caught jumping from a cliff in the famous calanques or diving off a ritzy yacht without one. Tops, as always, are optional on the beach.