Head for the beaches of the Côte d'Azur: Antibes and Menton are charming, family-friendly seaside resorts without the stratospheric prices of their more famous neighbours.
Check out the art museums of Nice and its arrière-pays or back country; with kids, we particularly recommend the Fondation Maeght at St-Paul de Vence and the Musée Marc Chagall in Nice itself. Nice also has a fabulous market at Cours Saleya and some interesting Roman ruins.
Discover gems such as the the perfume city of Grasse and foodie hotspot Mougins.
Go wild in the country: summer activities including walking, mountain-biking, kayaking and rafting in the rivers Var and Verdon, plus bungee-jumping off an 80-metre bridge, trampolining and more, some of it in the mighty Parc National du Mercantour. Walk the superbly maintained networks of footpaths in the mountains, at all levels – gawp at gorges, splash in lakes and streams, puff up peaks and spot the plentiful wildlife, including marmots and chamois. Luge in Valberg, abseil down a waterfall, or cycle or horse-ride through the meadows.
There are also charming villages to explore, castles and forts to explore, and small market towns to wander around. Amble the medieval alleys of Entrevaux and check out its fortress on the cliff above, complete with dungeons, then visit tiny local museums and traditional farms to buy cheese and yoghurt more or less straight from the cow or goat.
Check out the Alpes Maritimes' family ski resorts, less than an hour’s drive from Nice, including Isola 2002. The mountains begin the moment you leave the coast, and the higher you climb into the superb alpine landscapes, the more appealing – and affordable - the idea of a family holiday in the same region as the Monte Carlo Casino becomes.