Côte d’Azur

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General

French Riviera is one of the best summer trips I have ever had. It was also a very flexible trip for me. All places are easily accessible with either train or bus without arranging any tours or buying tickets in advance. There will be always a beach nearby and the best thing is you can all do this by just staying in Nice. This means you don’t have to change your hotel each time. If you are a party lover, you may want to consider extend your journey by staying couple of nights in Saint Tropez, because day trip to Saint Tropez is little time consuming and it does not allow you to return back to Nice unless you have your own car.

So, where is French Riviera? What is the difference between French Riviera and Côte d’Azur? Firstly, French Riviera and Côte d’Azur are same; second one is only in French. That’s the only difference, but where exactly French Riviera is a question mark. There is no any official boundary of the region, but you can consider the region starts from Italian border and extends to Toulon in the west. The interesting part of your French Riviera trip will be visiting another country –Monaco- as a day trip. You can check my Monaco post for detailed information. Below you have a list of my favorite stops in the region:

  • Nice
  • Eze Village
  • Monaco
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer & Cap Ferrat
  • Saint-Raphael & Saint Tropez
  • Cannes & Antibes

 

How to reach

Only accessible airport will be Nice airport. However, there will be only bus transportation from airport to Nice. So, it will depend on traffic, but considering it does not take too much time, it will not a huge problem. Depending on you where your hotel is you have to choose either bus 98 or bus 99 for reaching Nice from the airport. If you buy French Riviera Pass airport ticket will be included in it. However, that ticket will not allow you to go Antibes, Cannes and Monaco. So, I really found no reason to buy this pass €30 just for one day.

  • Bus 98 – Promenade des Arts (05:40 – 23:45) – €6
  • Bus 99 – Gare SNCF (07:53 – 20:53) – €6

I have started my trip from Italy and returned back from Nice to my home. So, I only used airport transportation from Nice to Nice Airport. Considering Nice flight tickets may be more expensive, you may want to prefer buying a ticket for Milan or Genoa and combine it with train ticket to reach Nice cheaper if that sounds comfortable for you. I first visited Italian Liguria and then French Riviera, so that option was good enough for me. You can check my “Italian Liguria” post and choose between two options if you don’t have that much flexible time.

 Travelling around

It may sound strange, but I really prefer using different transportation types rather than renting a car. If you are looking for a summer holiday, most probably drinking alcohol will be part of your activity. So, again using bus and train options will be better for you. I will be giving more details in my each post.

Briefly, I will try to summarize how you can reach each destination easily:

Eze Village & Monaco:

  • -Eze Village: bus + bus
  • -Monaco: train + train
  • -Eze Village + Monaco (same day): bus (Nice à Eze) + bus (Eze – Nice) à train (Monaco – Nice)

Ville-frenche-sur-mer & Cap-ferrat:

  • -Ville-frenche-sur-mer: train or bus
  • -Cap-ferrat: bus
  • -Ville-frenche-sur-mer + Cap-ferrat: train or bus + bus + bus

Cannes & Antibes:

  • -Cannes: train
  • -Antibes: train
  • -Cannes & Antibes (same day): train + train

Saint Tropez:

  • -Train (Nice – Saint-Raphael) + Boat (Saint-Raphael – Saint-Tropez) + Bus or Taxi (Saint Tropez – beach)
  • -Rent a car

Where to stay & Where to go

Most people prefer to stay in Nice. So, if you are not willing to stay where you visit, Nice will be your best option. However, if you are look options to stay in Cannes of course it will be also ok; but from my point of view there is really no need to change your hotel.

Then, decide on what you really want to do. Spending one full day in Nice can be good enough. Considering you will be returning Nice from your other destinations, you will be also finding additional time to visit Nice more.

The most popular activity people do is visiting Eze Village and then heading to Monaco. Eze Village is one of the most charming areas in Riviera, but don’t expect to spend full-day there. Most people take the first bus departure from Nice in bus station. After spending 3-4 hours there, they mostly continue their journey by going to Monaco. Monaco is another country, but clearly you do not need visa and there will be no security control or something like that. You will not be feeling that you are changing a country.

At this point, you should keep in mind about some information. Most people go Monaco for visiting casino. However, if you are wearing shorts or not appropriate shoes, they will not allow you to go there. If you are visiting in summertime, wearing trousers may not be comfortable too. So, you may want to go Monaco twice: First time for discovering city or country and second time just for casino and nightclubs.

You may want to have a beach day. Your best option is visiting Villefranche-sur-Mer. Be careful when buying your train ticket, because there is another destination called Ville-franche. This is important because you may end up with paying more than 100 Euro instead of paying 1-3 Euro to reach here. Unfortunately, this place is so popular, so you may want to prefer going there little early. Cap-Ferrat is another area where you can find some other beaches. These places are all public beaches, so don’t expect to see luxury beach clubs there.

Another beach option is visiting Cannes and Antibes. Both locations offer other good beaches. I strongly think people are exaggerating about Cannes. In festival time, it may be different, but in normal time, there is really nothing so much special about Cannes. However, like in every city, there are still some must-do things when you visit Cannes and Antibes. People who want to explore villages instead of beaches mostly arrange a tour or find bus routes to go these villages located on north of Nice. This may be again good option if the weather does not allow you to swim.

Saint-Tropez is the most popular and luxurious area in French Riviera. All most popular beach clubs, party areas are there. Unfortunately if you don’t have your private boat or car, it is almost impossible to have easy access. During high season, it takes also a lot of time to reach Saint-Tropez by car. This is mostly because Saint-Tropez is the only area where there is no railway station. However, I still strongly recommend visiting Saint-Tropez.

How long to stay

Minimum time required for your French Riviera travel is 5 days. 1 day for Nice, 1 day for Eze Village & Monaco, 1 beach day, 1 day for Cannes & Antibes and 1 day for Saint-Tropez. If you fight arrival is not very early or your departure is not very late, you may have to extend this to 7 days. That duration will give enough time to visit other places or extend your Saint-Tropez stay. So, 7-8 days will be the best option for you to be more flexible while travelling.

On Take Away table, you can see how I arranged my French Riviera journey. It will give you an overview about how you may want to arrange yours. More details are available on each relevant post (Nice, Eze, Monaco, Cannes-Antibes, Saint-Tropez) …

This entry was posted in France