Travel author Bill Bryson taught me that pretty much the entirety of human existence occurs within the span of a few vertical miles. It’s true — the deepest recorded dive is about 1,090 feet, and passenger planes can’t fly much higher than seven miles. And as someone who doesn’t do much diving or mountain scaling, my range is even narrower. In an effort to explore some more of that vertical range, I tried sightseeing by helicopter for the first time this year.
Taking a helicopter ride in a foreign country is an aspirational travel activity that, for me, often feels out of reach. It’s very “lifestyles of the rich and famous,” and I’d always assumed the price of a helicopter ride was about as much as I’d want to spend on my entire trip. But in France, I was proven wrong when I finally tried UberCOPTER, the helicopter option available on the Uber app in certain destinations. Helicopter rides in chic destinations can cost thousands of dollars, but for €160, an UberCOPTER took me from Nice to Cannes in eight minutes.
The experience of choppering over the Mediterranean Sea is equal parts intense and gratifying. You don’t realize how jagged the south of France’s coastline is until you fly over it. Or at least, I didn’t. Flying from Nice to Cannes by UberCOPTER, you see the beauty of the French Riviera in full force, including views of the small caps, like Antibes, and the celebrity yachts off St. Tropez in the distance.
So many trendy spots eventually fade from the travel spotlight, but visiting le sud in France has never gone out of vogue. Whether you’re on your honeymoon or planning a budget backpacking trip through Europe, the UberCOPTER ride will make you instantly feel like you're playing a part in that French Riviera glamour. The Mediterranean shines, the regal Cannes architecture is visible from miles off the coast, and the French accents of the uniformed chopper pilots certainly don't hinder the experience.
The French Riviera isn’t the only coastline best seen from a chopper. For the world traveler looking to take their sightseeing to new heights — see what I did there? — here are the seven coastlines you need to helicopter over.