6 Days: Nice only or 3/3 Split?

Old Jun 28th, 2019, 09:39 AM
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6 Days: Nice only or 3/3 Split?

We are planning a trip to Monaco next May for the Grand Prix and will have 6 full days prior to that in Nice and the surrounding area. My question: is it better to base in Nice all those days and do day trips to Antibes, St. Paul de Vence, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, and Èze or would it be better to split 3/3 with Nice and one other location?

What should we include and what should we skip? We like art, charming town centers, and are considering visiting Villa Ephrussi as a possibility; we’re definitely interested in the Chagall and Matisse museums. Thanks in advance!
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 09:40 AM
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Oops, sorry for double post -- It didn't like me correcting the title.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 09:59 AM
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Stay in Nice and do some day trips: St-Jean Cap Ferrat, St-Paul-de-Vence if you must--but the nearby Maeght Fondation is much superior for those interested in art, and less frenetic as well. Definitely go to Antibes, both for the old town and the Picasso Museum (parking is VERY difficult). Consider going to Vallauris for the National Ceramic Museum, which has some fine pieces by Picasso in the excellent collection--and a large Picasso painting in the small adjacent museum. Just below Biot--a good place to visit in its own right--is the International Art Glass Museum, one of our favorites. At the nearby glass-blowing atelier you can watch the artisans at work; there's an excellent restaurant in the same little complex.

In Nice itself, the prime museum is the superb Chagall. The Matisse Museum has little of the artist's own work, but it's interesting to follow his career chronologically. In the nearby park you can sit, rest your feet, and watch groups of men playing pétanque. The Nice municipal museum, the Beaux-Arts, has a very good collection, especially of Dufys and other works by major artists. Go there by cab or Uber; same for the Chagall Museum.

One goes to Eze for the view, and a car would be very useful to visit that area and St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

I hope you have a wonderful trip in our very favorite area.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 10:03 AM
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Buses and trains go everywhere most will want to go - including hill towns - for lots of into on trains check www.sncf.oui - www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

Great info from underhill!
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 10:11 AM
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I generally don't recommend splitting up the time when your list includes the above. I would only consider it if you were going all the way to St. Tropez, which is more isolated and less suitable for day tripping, or into the Var or western Provence. Note for most coastal towns it is easier to take the train or bus to get to/from the destination -- Nice to Monaco, for example. Eze le village and St. Paul de Vence however are bus trips. Even when I'm staying at my place in Nice, we rent a car when we are going to the countryside/hillsides.

In addition to the Museums above, there are several more dedicated to artists: Renoir in Cagnes Sur Mer, Leger in Biot, Bonnard in Le Cannet.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 10:30 AM
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Yes, base yourself in Nice and do day trips, the train and bus are extremely convenient. Antibes is an old fav of mine and DH and I always make time for the Picasso museum and a long walk along the Cap. The Maeght Foundation and Chagall museum are must-dos for art aficionados IMO.

Haven’t been the St Jean Cap Ferrat and Villa Ephrussi in decades, though there are always positive reports from others. Vallauris too is a lovely little town with an extremely interesting museum, I think it’s also less crowded than other places in the region.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 12:35 PM
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Very close to Villa Euphrissi is another gorgeous mansion - Greek style - Villa Kerlos (something like that). Wonderful interior, gardens not as extensive as Euphrissi - also worth a visit IMO. I would stay in one place and day trip - always my personal prefernce to packing up and moving. There is plenty to do in Nice and vicinity.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 12:36 PM
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Stay in Nice the whole time. Use train for Antibes but bus for other destinations; buses drive along the water. We spent two weeks in Nice.
Make a trip to Cap Ferrat and Villa Ephrussi a priority along with the town Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat. We had lunch in St-Jean. Also walk to Villa Kerylos near Beaulieu. This was one of our favorite day trips.
Walk or take a bus one way to visit Chagall Museum. It was built to hold the paintings on display.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 12:38 PM
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This is lovely! What a wealth of information and practical advise. I will take your suggestions and do all 7 nights in Nice as a base. I appreciate the details on museums, use of public transportation and when it is most advantageous to rent a vehicle.

Underhill, Gooster, Geetika, Suec, HappyTrvlr, and Pal, plus any others who add to this thread, I greatly appreciate your recommendations and would welcome reading anything else that comes to your minds on this. I know we'll have an exceptional time.

Best regards,
tw
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 02:39 PM
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If using Nice just as a base I'd consider a smaller more charming city like Antibes that has the same train and bus links and would be easier to drive in and out of. Next to Cannes with great sandy beaches - Nice' is pebbly. right n sea -Picasso Museum in old seaside fort. Like most smaller towns, the outdoor market and central square are great places for a coffee, drink or cheap meal. Nice is huge and impersonal to me but it is a really nice place too. Maybe back to 3 and 3 - do sites to east from Nice and west from Antibes - really close to St-Paul-de-Vence and Vence and
Grasse- an old regional town known for Perfume factories - relatively few tourists -I enjoyed it very much as a more regular city than most in the area.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 03:01 PM
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The first part of this is six days in Nice: Nice to Paris: on not taking it easy in Eastern France

I've been back since and found even more to do, including the hike round Cap Ferat.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 03:24 PM
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Speaking of great of great seaside hikes - the littoral footpath hugs the coast much of the way from Nice to Menton- a GREAT short hike on it could begin at the Cap d'Ail train station (trains from all along the coast) and go about 5-6 kilometres to Monaco/Monte Carlo, from where you can take the train back or for variety a bus via Eze (famous village with great views of coast with some great restaurants to have an appetizing view and meal!)

And the littoral Cap d'Ail station to Monaco path is an untouched pristine stretch of coastline - the modern Riviera of high-rises along the cost disappears and you just have the azure-hued clear sea (great swimming hole) and the typical cypress trees impossibly clinging to large boulders seemingly tumbling towards the sea. An easy walk and a neat way to reach Monte Carlo, which instantly materialized when you round the cape with all its ritzy yachts right in front of you.

https://www.google.com/search?q=litt...w=1280&bih=625

If you haven't take the Chemins de fer de Provence narrow-gauge train up into the pre-Alps from Nice to a whole different world of sleepy villages with dogs lying about IME - Also dubbed the Train des Peignes (pine trees I think!) the trains leaves from a station just north of Nice-Ville's station. Read up on that and the Sospel scenic train too at www.budgeteuropetravel.com's online European Planning & Rail Guide - France section.

Last edited by PalenQ; Jun 28th, 2019 at 03:27 PM.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 04:43 PM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=chem...w=1101&bih=613

Some images of the Tren des Peignes, a k a Chemins de fer Provence

Info - https://trainprovence.com/accueil-2/

And this is not a plush tourist train at all but one locals use to commute to and from Nice. Not part of SNCF or French Railways. Though it goes to Digne-les-Bains I always got off about two hours up from Nice like in Annot and walked to another station to catch a train back perhaps.

Something different, nearly no one on Fodor's ever seems to ever mention. And see this real rustic piece of Provence and the Alpes Maritimes.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 04:54 PM
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@PQ - it's more than mentioned in the TR I linked.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 05:42 PM
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I am reading through your TR right now, Thursdaysd, and it's packed with helpful detail. Thanks for linking it.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 06:11 PM
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Thanks for the feedback! I really liked Nice, and spring is a great time to go.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 06:39 PM
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Great restaurant in Nice is Chat Noir Chat Blanc.
Another is Flaveur.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 07:14 PM
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We were actually in the area the week of the Cannes festival in May 2016, though we stayed in Antibes. Like PalenQ have always preferred the quiet laid back feel of this small town to the more popular and famous Nice and Cannes.
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 08:00 PM
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We'll check your recs out HappyTrvlr. We're happy to receive all suggestions!
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Old Jun 28th, 2019, 08:10 PM
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I recently returned from the area and will be writing a trip report once I get caught up on life -- you might want to watch for it. Although I moved around quite a lot -- which is my preference -- I agree that staying in Nice and using public transportation makes a lot of sense for the area.
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