The Grand, Middle and Lower Corniches, France and Monaco
Best for sweeping views and chic settings
Who can forget the image of the young and gorgeous Grace Kelly in "To Catch a Thief," zooming along the cliff-hugging Grand Corniche in a blue cabriolet convertible, with the Mediterranean Sea far below? Actually, there are three Corniche roads, like layers in a cake, all crossing the French Riviera, and all entering the tiny principality of Monaco. Each deserves a place on the world’s great drives (though the lower road might also qualify for world’s most traffic clogged in high season). The Grand Corniche, the highest, follows a path built by the Romans, and it offers panoramic views, making million-dollar yachts look like bathtub toys. Snap photos of the pretty “village perche,” ancient fortified towns, in settings so steep that they are virtually inaccessible (which was the idea). The Grand Cornice offers panoramic views of Eze (the Middle Corniche actually takes you there), one of the prettiest towns on this steep coast, perched atop a stone outcropping. Browse Eze’s galleries, stroll through its cactus garden, and splurge on lunch at the Michelin two-star Chevre d’Or. The drive from Eze down to Nice is glorious.