5 days in Nice - day trips

Aug 31st, 2012, 04:17 PM
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Deb, you might find some useful information in the trip report I did a few years ago. Just scroll down past the Paris part. I had four days in Nice and also did Eze, Monoco, Villefranche, and Antibes.

isabel is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 06:40 PM
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We used Nice as our base when we explored the Cote d'Azur in Spring 2001, and we never had a car. Connections via train and bus were simple, and often, we had a choice of both to get to our destination.

I had a perfect book with daytrips, "Daytrips France: 48 One-Day Adventures by Rail, Bus or Car",(you can get a 2005 edition on Amazon), and one of the bases for the book was Nice. We made no plans ahead of time. Over breakfast, we'd read about a few places and decide where we'd head out. We had a good bus stop on our corner, and the train station was three or four blocks away.

A summary of what I can remember:

--Easy-peasy fun day(s): Villefrance, Beaulieu-sur-Mer (Villa Kerylos), Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (train and feet)
It's super easy to take the train to one of these from Nice, walk to one of the other spots to hop the train back to Nice. When we explored Menton and Monte Carlo on separate days, we'd often stop off at one of these on the way home and chill out for a bit before returning to Nice.

--Waste of our time: Grasse (via bus)

--Surprise along the way to Grasse: Mougins (via the same bus but you have to get up a hill) Cutsey.

--Nice hike and adventure: Eze from Eze-sur-Mer (train, footsies) Most people take the bus, but we'd hike it again.

--Pretty darn boring: Monaco (train)

--Secret fave museum: Menton (train) MUSÉE JEAN COCTEAU plus REALLY GOOD gelato. Really cute town.

--Our Renoir homage: Cagnes-sur-Mer (actually Haut Cagne). I think this is closed for renovations until 2013, but I swear you can feel Renoir there. We all said that we just see his house whenever we see his paintings now, too. Since the home is closed, you can skip the town.

--Chill-out town: Antibes (train) where we easily did the Picasso Museum there and walked out to Juan le Pins. I love this entire area. Artsy and foody.

--Petit Train fevor: Cannes (train) where we took TWO Petit Trains. Husband and kids think I'm nuts. I love, love, love Petit Trains. Cannes isn't really that grand, although I think they have a much better beach than does Nice.

--Art Heaven Two-fer: Vence and St. Paul de Vence (bus) We zipped up to Vence as though we were on a scavenger hunt. Located the Chagall Baptismal font, skipped over to the Matisse chapel. Hopped on the next bus back to St. Paul de Vence--The Fondation Maeght (modern art museum) is unbelievable. Then we whiled away the hours in the super cutsey town. Loved feeling the Yves Montand/Simone Signoret vibe there. Looked up Chagalls grave, too. You can skip Vence, but I do think you would enjoy St. Paul de Vence.

We did this all and saw a ton of things in Nice, too. For some odd reason, my kids were super big fans of Niki de Saint Phalle, so Nice's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art was their mini-mecca. I adore Chagall, and the Chagall Biblical Museum was important to me. For some reason, none of us really like the Musee Matisse de Nice, though. Can't explain that.

Of course we explored the Flower Market, Old Town, etc in Nice, and I made them do the Petit Train there, too.

I know this is WAY too much art for a normal person, but as you can tell, we did a lot of hiking and gelato eating along the way, and it was very enjoyable.

We had at our disposal the "Cote d'Azur Pass", which allowed admission to art museums and exhibits all over the place.

I think that pass died, because I could only find leftover web snippets now. Now there's something called the "French Riviera Pass" that involves a darn Hop on/Hop Off bus.

AT least the Nice Museum of Modern and Contempory Art is free.
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Sep 1st, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Such great info and input from everyone! Still working on a "loose" plan to allow for going with the flow.

Still going through info and trying to include/exclude places.

Thanks again~~
DebitNM is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Food from Nice is NOT "Italian food". Just sayin'
menachem is offline  
Sep 9th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Hi DebitNM,
As far as Bordighera goes, La Casa del Caffe (Corso Italia 15/A17) on the west side of town is a good place for a light lunch. Carletto (Via Vittorio Emanuele 339) is excellent, along with La Via Romana (Via Romana 57) - very expensive and check for opening. I can't remember where it was, but I found a great salami shop and grabbed some meat, cheese, bread and a bottel of wine and was happy to sit by the water for lunch. If you decide to spend a night there, Villa Elisa is wonderful even though it is not near the water. Enjoy!

ps - Although I have never been, the Friday flea and food market in Ventimiglia is supposed to be pretty neat.
flirtinfilly is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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A quick update. We had 5 great days in Nice, with one afternoon of very heavy rain.

We went took the train to Bordighera and had lunch there. It was very quiet and we walked along the sea and through a few streets. It was very nice.

We had time while we waited in Ventimiglia for the train to Bordighera, so we walked out to the sea and decided we would stop back on the ride back to e pore a bit more.

We actually thought Ventimiglia was nicer than Bordighera, a little more animated and lively.

We then took the train back, getting off for a few hours in Monaco. We walked down to the harbor and walked all the way around and back, stopped for an aperitif and them walked to Casino. Then back to get the train to Nice.

On Friday, we took the train to Villefranche sur Mer, where we spent time walking the beach, exploring the streets, having a lovely lunch, wading in the sea. What a delightful town. There was a crusade ship in, so there were folks about, but certainly not a huge inconvenience.

What was an inconvenience was a train strike! We didn't know that there was one so we bought our tickets and them waited an e tra half hour for a train, along with LOTS of people, over 100 for sure.

We wanted to get to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat to go to Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild via train, but that would have meant waiting for 90 minutes, so we decided to take the bus. Good plan but none were coming by the stop. So, we walked. It wasn't too bad but the last stretch was getting old! The reward of the gardens were well worth it! Simply gorgeous and the views of Bealieu sure Mer were stunning. It took us 90 minutes to get a bus back, as many were full and didn't even stop at the bus stop.

All in all, our time in. Nice was well spent. Thanks for all of your input.
DebitNM is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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Sounds like a fun time! Where did the "x" go in your post?!?
Surfergirl is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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tdk320n is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 10:46 PM
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Surfer girl - I don't know what the "x" comment means?

One more thing re: swimming in the Mediterranean - the surf was rougher than I would have been comfortable in, at least while we were there.

I felt that the beach at Villefranche was perfect. It was more sandy, uncrowned, the water was much gentler and there were a few lovely cafes along the water. All this, even with the cruise ship in port. I didn't bring a bathing suit on this day trip, unfortunately, so the wading was all I could do. If I had known how different this beach was, I would have grabbed my suit before leaving the apt.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 09:36 AM
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"back to e pore a bit more"

"waited an e tra half hour"

It was almost like the old days where someone pinched the letter off the typewriter! That's what I meant by the missing "x"!
Surfergirl is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 09:40 AM
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"One more thing re: swimming in the Mediterranean - the surf was rougher than I would have been comfortable in, at least while we were there"

Yeah, what was up with that? I noticed the same thing in July when we were there. Usually the water is almost like glass and super warm. Don't know if it was some weird tides or moons, or what, but the water was cooler, and there were some pretty sizeable (almost surfing!) waves!
Surfergirl is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 10:19 AM
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Lol - I am not so good with my new iPad! The x is here, just gets a bit lost in the translation.

Since I didn't have anything to go by, didn't know if the water was atypical or not. It wasn't as warm as I thought it would be either and it was still fairly warm, air temp wise.
DebitNM is offline  
Oct 1st, 2012, 10:38 AM
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I was there in 2009 in mid-September and even at 9 a.m., the water was like bath water. Which is why I thought in July this summer, what's up with the temperature of the water! I mean, it was 90 degrees on the beach!

That explains the missing "x". I get the same issues with my iPad as well!

Villefranche sur Mer. Love that place! My first experience with it was visiting it in February, 1973 to find the house that the Rolling Stones stayed in while making Exile on Main Street!
Surfergirl is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2012, 03:27 AM
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I am hoping to stay in Nice for a week next year and visit some of the surrounding area, so topping this to get more ideas!!

schnauzer is offline  
Mar 15th, 2013, 06:12 PM
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bookmarking...great help!
crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2013, 09:19 PM
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Here is a trip report if it helps... This is one of my favorite spots in the http://worldinbetween.wordpress.com/...d-nice-france/

worldinbetween is offline  
Mar 15th, 2013, 09:20 PM
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crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2013, 03:46 AM
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Thank you worldinbetween for a great report about one of my favorite places to vacation.
Brings back many memories and excitement for my trip this May.
tdk320n is offline  
Mar 16th, 2013, 08:04 AM
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I would recomend skipping Monte Carlo (which makes up most of Monaco) unless you are very fond of high-rise buildings.
Underhill is offline  
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