Any fan of the iconic secret agent 007 will enjoy my guide through the famous and not-so-famous places along the French Riviera we’ve seen in the famous James Bond movies. You can stay in Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer and have a mainly self-guided tour through all the places along the French coast featured in many 007 movies.
First on my list is, of course, Villefranche-sur-Mer. In Never Say Never Again, shot in 1983, James Bond (played by Sean Connery) drives a motorbike through the narrow streets of the town. Also, the Villefranche Bay is the mooring place for Largo’s luxury yacht, the Flying Saucer. You can see the Villefranche-sur-Mer harbor as Domino (played by Kim Basinger) gets off the boat at the start of the film – the beautiful Quai de l’Amiral Courbet.
If you walk along the harbor, you can recognize some of the scenes because things haven’t changed a lot here. Perhaps some more restaurants and seasonally changing flowers, but it is easy to recognize the scenes, especially the iconic restaurant La Mere Germaine.
Another place right near Villefranche-sur-Mer is the beautiful lookout point above the town from where James Bond observes Largo’s yacht. You can stand here, far above the sea and the town, and look through the binoculars and observe the Bay, the large yachts moored here, and the beautiful Cote d’Azur coastline.
When discussing Never Say Never Again, let’s continue with the other exotic places featured in the film. When Largo captures Bond and Domino, he takes them to his base of operations, a fort called Palmyra, supposedly in North Africa. However, the Palmyra Fort is actually the historic Fort Carre in Antibes.
Another 007 movie that heavily features scenes from the beautiful Azure coast is Diamonds Are Forever. Here, Sean Connery also plays James Bond, and we see him interrogating and choking a young lady on a beach to learn the location of his arch-enemy, Blofeld. The scene is shot on the golden sandy beach of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc at the point of Cap d’Antibes.
Another beautiful slice of heaven along the French Riviera that James Bond likes is Juan-les-Pins. Artists, writers, and the famous also preferred the famous resort town favored by aristocrats and the wealthy, and the most famous spy was no exception. The original books by Ian Fleming have James Bond mentioning that Juan-les-Pins is becoming too touristy for his taste, as he prefers to rest and relax in this beautiful little town that has now become adjoined to Antibes.
I must include Saint Tropez in this list for the 1983 movie Octopussy. Roger Moore played James Bond, and we see him wandering through a super-luxury seaside villa that is supposedly in Jamaica. However, the villa is actually in Saint Tropez and has all the luxury amenities a world-famous spy like James Bond may need.
Next on my list of places any James Bond fan should experience is the Grande Corniche – the road carved into the cliff side, running along the Mediterranean coast from Nice to Monaco. In the movie GoldenEye, we see Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) and Miss Moneypenny driving in an Aston Martin DB5, racing a Ferrari F355 GTS along the hairpin bends and narrow passes of the corniche road, racing towards Monaco. After watching the thrilling scene, I believe anyone would be tempted to take a drive along the Basse Corniche, the Moyenne Corniche, and the Grande Corniche from Eze to Monaco.
Of course, it would not be a James Bond movie without Monaco and the famous Monte Carlo Casino. As James Bond is a fan of baccarat, many of the original books and movies have him playing this game against formidable opponents. Never Say Never Again is not an exception, and we see 007 playing the game and winning a massive booty. However, in a true Bond style, he forgoes his massive winnings for one dance with the beautiful Domino.
I kept the best for last, as Monaco is one of the primary places that relates to James Bond. Featured in GoldenEye, James Bond plays baccarat with Xenia Onatopp. I suggest the Monte Carlo Casino to anyone looking to experience the luxury, grandeur, and elegance of the Beaux Arts and the mystery surrounding the famous James Bond.
Any James Bond fan would enjoy visiting some or most of the filming locations and experiencing the French Riviera from another angle. You can stay at Villa Hippocampo and start exploring the Azure Coast and visit some of the places you’ve only seen in the 007 movies.