Almafi Coast Vs. French Riviera

Jul 1st, 2015, 03:23 PM
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Almafi Coast Vs. French Riviera

Hi All:

I am trying to plan our honeymoon for Mid-September and could really use some advice. We know we are starting our trip with 5 nights in Paris and then want to finish it with 5 nights somewhere coastal. The big debate is Almafi Coast vs. French Riviera. We are not huge tourists when it comes to museums, we really like to eat, drink, relax and explore. Nightlife we are interested in good dinners, with some action afterward for drinks, but not a club atmosphere. ( we are in our early to mid 30's). We realize it's easier logistically to go to the Riviera from Paris, but that aside can you provide some input on what you would recommend based on what I described? Thank you, this is so overwhelming to plan.
LindsayB is offline  
Jul 1st, 2015, 03:54 PM
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Hmmm. No nightlife in the Amalfi in September other than dinner. There is no particular reason why you must go the museums of the Cote d'Azur if you are not interested (if you'll feel too guilty for ignoring them, then go to the Amalfi).

In some way, the Cote d'Azur has more infrustructure for just kicking back and relaxing and having everything delivered to you, beck and call, even at an affordable price. In the Amalfi, you are more on your own (and fewer swimming pools).

When it comes to exploring, it is still easier to find the wackiness of Itlain culture surviving even in such a heavily-touristed place as the Amalfi coast. The French are more organized, and there are times when I feel the French Riviera is hard to distinguish from Santa Monica California.

The Amalfi is more deeply and spectacularly beautiful than the Cote d'Azur. On the whole, though, I find the Italian Riviera more colorful than both. Wine and cocktails tend to be better in France, and pastries too (although there are some delicious ones in the Amalfi). But I think Italians cook better than the French! (And have better ingredients).

Hard choice -- but one thing I will suggest is: Have you thought about putting your beach time first? I think that is the way I would do it.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 1st, 2015, 03:57 PM
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Stay in France--save the AC for when you also have time for Rome.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 1st, 2015, 04:58 PM
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We've been to both and I think either would be good but I'd lean towards the French Riviera, maybe Nice or Villefranche-sur-Mer. We had a week in Nice and transport links are good there, by bus or train. You can go on day trips around the area and also get the train from Paris to Nice if you want, though it does take a while, it's only express part of the way. You can also fly between Paris and Nice.

You don't mention beaches so maybe that's not of interest (us either) and neither area has good beaches, they are either small grey pebbles or really tiny. The Old Town in Nice is lovely, with lots of shopping and restaurants. If you stay for more than a few days you could get an apartment, have a look at this website, we used them and they were good to deal with -

No matter what you choose, I think you'll love either area, they are both very picturesque. Maybe save Amalfi Coast for your next trip and see a bit more of Italy as well. If you decide on Nice and want some day trip ideas I can try and remember where we went, let me know

KayF is offline  
Jul 1st, 2015, 07:26 PM
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I'm going to agree with sandralist.

The Italian Riviera is gorgeous, colorful, and you'll find livelier drinks places after dinner in Santa Margherita Ligure than you will on the AC.

That said, we spent a week at the end of September 14 in St Jean Cap Ferrat, and wow! Not beachy and pretty quiet, but so beautiful. We visited villas, museums and other towns on our day trips. There were a few small beaches, and it was truly romantic there.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2015, 06:02 AM
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Been to both. Love both, but I think that Riviera might be better for honeymoon trip. We take our kids to Italy, and do France as a couple. If you do decide on the Riviera, look at Hotel Belles Rives in Cap d'Antibes.
autier17 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2015, 06:49 AM
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Agree on the French Riviera for the reasons Sandra et al gave.

We stayed at Hotel Welcome in Villefranche-sur-mer (just outside Nice) a few years ago and loved it.

One other big advantage to the French Riviera is ease of transportation.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2015, 09:56 AM
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I don't know if this thread is entirely clear - - three areas seem discussed: French Riviera, Amalfi Coast, and Italian Riviera (an area that really can be considered to go from Viareggio, which is one hour from Nice, down to the Cinque Terre).

My fave is the third (from Viareggio on the border to France to San Remo in its decadent vibrancy to the glorious ease and florid beauty of Camogli/StaMargherita et. al. to the stunning but over-run amazingness of Cinque Terre) but Amalfi could be great too.

Not to be the nail that sticks up that then gets hammered down, but the French Riviera is a tedious, overhyped, lifeless slog compared to Italy.
dfourh is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2015, 01:53 PM
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Yes, I would also clarify that the French Riviera is not a favorite of mine, but it has strong positives for people who (a) prefer French food and (b) want particular amenities.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2015, 05:01 PM
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We have a trip coming up in August to both the Italian Riviera, staying in Camogli, and to the Amalfi Coast, staying in Positano. For sheer beauty of scenery both are preferrable to French Riviera, IME. Choosing one of the two, is a tougher matter but I probably have to come down on the side of Amalfi Coast and I highly recommend staying in Positano at Covo dei Saraceni--right on the beach. We're definitely not beach bunnies (in our early 70's but have been to these areas at a much younger age also) but there is something magical about Positano and Covo dei Sarceni. Our first time there, we booked a single night (you could do that then), took one look at the location and the hotel and immediately extended for 6 days--again, you could do that then. The logistics of getting there from Paris would be tougher than just flying or training to Nice e.g. but I think you'd find the extra effort to be "worth it."
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2015, 01:55 AM
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I am a big fan of the Italian Riveria; the AC not so much. And I prefer the IR to the French Riviera in every aspect. Stunning scenery, low key charm, very good food and wine. It is an area I keep coming back to in my favorite country in Europe.

SML, Portovenere, Sestri Levante, Rapallo, Camogli - all are towns full of low key charm and the kind of ambiance you are looking for.

The AC is overcrowded and overpriced IMO. The Lighurian coast is one of my favorite parts of Italy (and Europe for that matter). Most recently we spent 4 days there in Oct. of 2013 and totally enjoyed it. This was our 5th visit to this area.

The area is popular with Italian tourists and is easy to get around. Planning a return visit soon.
kfusto is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2015, 02:00 AM
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Just noticed this above and want to clarify:

>>" Italian Riviera (an area that really can be considered to go from Viareggio, which is one hour from Nice, down to the Cinque Terre)."<<

That should be Ventimiglia, not Viareggio -- which is a Tuscan town on the coast west of Pisa.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 07:50 PM
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Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your insight and advice. Ultimately we decided on Paris then Almafi Coast, staying in Praino to experience both countries and we both have been to the Italian Riviera already.

If you have excursion ideas or restaurants to recommend we are all ears. Thanks so much again!
LindsayB is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 10:50 PM
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Just a note - some may try to talk you out of Praiano in favor of Positano. I like them both but for my honeymoon I wanted the quieter of the two which is Praiano. So here are my notes if you stick with it:

In Praiano:

Che Bonta has very good food, San Gennaro has good pizza.

Bar Le Fioriere is really nice for sunset cocktails.

You can arrange a boat tour to Capri & the Grottos at Sibilla Cafe near the bus stop.

Buca di Bacco in Positano has a fun cooking class

Do not miss Ravello, go for the morning or afternoon and visit the gardens at Villa Cimbrone and/or Villa Rufolo. One of the most enjoyable days on my last visit to Praiano (which happened to be my honeymoon) was spent going to Ravello, having lunch at Villa Fraulo, visiting Villa Cimbrone followed by cocktails on the terrace at Villa Maria.

La Praia beach is not great for sunning, it's cozy and has some good casual restaurants but One Fire is superior for sun and overall atmosphere in my opinion. There is a shuttle boat that goes between the two so you can start at one and end at the other. Towards Positano I like Arienzo beach a lot, you would get there by bus then boat shuttle from the main beach in Positano.

You will be there at a beautiful time of year. Have fun!
limmy is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 03:50 PM
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Thank you for all the great suggestions. You've been so helpful!
LindsayB is offline  

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