Whether indulging in a rose lunch high above the sparkling Mediterranean, lounging by a rooftop pool with a cocktail, or dancing under starlight among a beautiful A-list crowd, the glamorous rooftop bars of the French Riviera are a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie. This Summer, imagine yourself on the rooftop of some of France’s finest hotels, drinking in the breathtaking views of the Cote d’Azur — the superyachts criss-crossing the cobalt blue sea, the glittering casinos and palace of Monaco, the art deco hotels of glitzy, palm-lined Cannes, or the wild hills rolling down to the white sand beaches of Saint Tropez.
As twilight falls across the Riviera and the DJs start to heat up the balmy summer night, these rooftop terraces are definitely the place to be to see the fireworks explode in the sky, raining their kaleidoscope of colours across the moonlit sea. If you’re living it up in celebrity style on a French Riviera yacht charter, the rooftop bar scene is simply the hottest way to get up high and enjoy the decadent life and sparkle of summer on the Cote d’Azur.
Here are some of the most sensational rooftop bars of the French Riviera. Enjoy.
One of the most swish rooftop offerings in a very swish town, the Horizon Deck at the Fairmont offers heart-stopping views across Monte Carlo and the Mediterranean. Settle in for a delicious cocktail on one of the soft lounges along the glass-lined balcony, or dine on fresh Italian-Mediterranean fusion in their excellent rooftop restaurant.
The Fairmont Hotel rooftop is also the buzzing summertime home of the Nikki Beach Monte Carlo pop-up, where all-white Balinese daybeds and lounges are set around the rooftop pool against a dizzying Mediterranean backdrop. With resident DJ’s playing to a chic crowd of the famous, rich and beautiful, expect this venue to have more of a day-club vibe, accelerating into sheer Monegasque hedonism after sunset. The F1 party is legendary, but Nikki Beach also has a whole host of themed event during the summer.
The Odyssey rooftop bar and restaurant at the swanky Hotel Metropole is ideal for a special evening. The pool area was designed by Karl Lagerfield, with white daybeds and dining tables set in a tranquil garden setting lined by black and white murals of Greek figures inspired by Ulysses. Rather astonishingly, this whole area is transformed into an ethereally beautiful indoor restaurant in winter, with reflections of the water glimmering across the removable roof, and a constellation of lights twinkling from the bottom of the pool. Oh, and lest we’re almost entirely overcome by the setting, it’s probably worth pointing out that the food at Odyssey is created by Joel Robuchon (he of 28 Michelin star fame), and therefore quite remarkable as well.
For something a bit more relaxed but still with plenty of Monaco style, Hotel Miramar offers a beautiful rooftop terrace with a million-dollar view over the port. This family-run hotel is a long-time favourite of those who appreciate Monte Carlo’s less blingy side.
While this is meant to be an article about rooftop bars rather than restaurants, it would be remiss not to mention Le Grill restaurant at the iconic Hotel de Paris. This opulent dining room is framed by floor to ceiling windows affording stunning sea and city views. The real show-stopper, however, is the retractable roof, which opens up in warm weather to flood the room with sunshine, sea breezes, and moonlight, making this a rooftop dining experience to remember till your dying day.
Towering ten storeys above the Mediterranean at the prestigious address of 1 Promenade des Anglais, La Terrasse at the Meridien simply oozes class. Ultra-white designer lounges contrast vividly against blue sky and sea on the terrace, while the dining room features floor to ceiling glass windows with heart-stopping views of the palm-lined promenade and cerulean sea. Expect delicate, beautifully-presented Mediterranean cuisine that looks like a garden on a plate, and excellent cocktails for settling back on the terrace and enjoying that epic view.
This stunning rooftop bar and pool spans 700 square metres and offers the most extraordinary panorama of the Bay of Angels. Spend an indulgent afternoon swimming in the pool, ordering cocktails from the pool bar, or reading a book on a deckchair, enjoying the sea breezes that rise up off the Mediterranean. There’s an excellent Mediterranean restaurant up here too, with a menu that shows off local seafood and fresh produce. With some of the best views in Nice, La Terrasse de Nice is the perfect spot for enjoying the fireworks displays on summer nights.
No, there will certainly not be any prizes for originality for Nice in its naming of rooftop bars, but we shouldn’t let that count against this superb venue on top of the belle époque Hotel Boscolo. Offering superb views of the Bay of Angels and the terracotta roofs of old Nice, this rooftop bar has a really cool vibe in the summer months and is the trendiest place to come to get your night out in Nice started.
This rooftop bar frequently appears on ‘best rooftop bars in the world’ lists, so prepare to be enchanted as you take the express elevator up to the top floor of this luxury spa hotel. 360 is a magical spot at sunset, with heartbreaking views across the Bay of Cannes to the dusky-blue Esterels mountains, and sophisticated lounge areas lit by soft lamplight. When night falls, the bar lights up neon purple and the DJ plays, adding a frisson of electricity to the summer glamour vibe.
This five star hotel has a spectacular rooftop offering, with an infinity pool and cocktail bar, Michelin-star restaurant, and beautiful views over Cannes’ Old Town. Five Seas is a gorgeous place to head at sunset to watch the last light of day paint the terracotta roofs of Cannes deep red and golden, before the stars come out and the A-list flocks here to mingle by the pool. If you are dining, be prepared to be astonished by the desserts, prepared by the World Pastry Champion, Jérôme de Oliveira.
St Tropez is not known for its tall buildings (thank goodness), so there’s just one place to go if you’re craving some rooftop glamour. And what a place it is: Les Toits is an ultra-sophisticated lounge bar, restaurant, and pool terrace set on the top floor of the iconic Hotel de Paris. Spend long lazy days swimming, drinking Champagne, and sunbathing, and enjoy evening drinks and DJ music as the sun sets over the French Riviera. Les Toits is all about casual indulgence and an A-list crowd, with entrancing views over the old town roofs and the yachts floating across the shining Gulf of Saint Tropez.
Alexander Coles is Co-Founder at Bespoke Yacht Charter.