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Base in Riviera- Antibes area, or Nice outskirts

Base in Riviera- Antibes area, or Nice outskirts

Old Mar 10th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Base in Riviera- Antibes area, or Nice outskirts

Alright, we are slowly getting there with our travel plans. We've extended our France trip to be from end of May until June 24th.

Spending one week in Provence-Saint Remy, and not sure about where to base for our week on Riviera. We are considering Beaulieu Sur Mer just outside of Nice, or Juan les Pins around Antibes, or ????

Completely off topic, but would you all suggest starting the trip in Paris (end of May) and ending in the south, or starting in the south and ending in Paris...

May thanks!
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 07:52 AM
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many thanks!
sorry for the typos.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 08:25 AM
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All are good bases; depends on what you want to do. Juan les Pins is more of a party town, quite ugly. But good fun for a pizza on the beach.
Antibes has a pretty old town; if you have a car, make sure wherever your staying has parking.
Beaulieu is closer to Nice. Traffic in June is usually ok, not too crazy.
If you are planning to travel by train, all three towns have stations and it's easy to get to towns along the coast.

As for beginning or ending in Paris; check the dates of the big events in the south in May, Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Thanks! Definitely not looking for a party down, this will be a family trip. so sounds like Juan is out!

We are planning on having a car.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Depends on the age of your kids, my teenagers love Juan les Pins. There are lots of little boutiques that are open late. And we enjoy eating a pizza right on the beach in Juan les Pins. And icecream and cocktails at Pam Pam.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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Our son will be 1 1/2 at the time of the trip.
We'll pretty much just be doing some light exploring, have some time by the water...trying to relax and take it all in!
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 04:22 PM
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If you end your trip in Provence, the lavender may be blooming if they get a warm spring. We try to visit Paris outside the June to Sept prime tourist season, and when it is least likely to be too hot. I can tolerate the heat in Provence & the Cote d'Azur - but it wears me down in Paris.

We always stay in either Nice or St Tropez when we want to stay directly on the coast. There is more stuff to do in Nice than anyplace else, IMO.

Do you have my 27 page Provence & Cote d'Azur itinerary? If not, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll send you one by return e-mail

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 02:19 AM
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Juan-les-Pins has a wide sandy beach (1.7 miles long) which will be perfect for kids. Juan-les-Pins is a typical family-friendly seaside resort with snack bars, souvenir shops and, of course, discotheques.

Antibes has just small beaches and a charming old town. But be warned: There are some industrial areas too. So, in any case, if you have picked a hotel, look at the exact location with Google Earth. There are only three, rather small, sandy beaches in Antibes (north and south of 43°34'19.60" N 7°07'38.70" E). And, strangely, there are only three or four hotels close to these beaches. Another beach, with Hotel Miramar, is at 43°33'15.70" N 7°08'10.54" E).

And forget everything which is between Antibes and Nice, esp. Villeneuve-Loubet. It is ugly.

Beaulieu-sur-Mer has two rather small sandy beaches, but HOtel Royal Riviera is right on one of them. St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has some beautiful tiny coves, too.

I would probably opt for Juan-les-Pins with kids.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 04:33 AM
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The small zoo in Cap Ferrat is lovely for little children. You can buy food to feed the animals. My kids adored it when they were small. Visit the Villa Ephrussi Rothschild while you are there as well.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 05:45 AM
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The zoo in Cap ferrat closed last year - Parc Phoenix in Nice is a good alternative- large play area for different agegroups - very young to 10, lots of different animals and birds , fish etc [eg otters, pairie dogs, porcupines, tortoises, crocodiles , sharks ] etc- different plants , immense green house habitats , huge water fowl lake, musical fountains etc etc 2 euros per adult and under 12s free.

I would choose Antibes over Beaulieu or Juan les Pins -Juan les pins can be incredibly noisy and frantic at night , Antibes is much more a family place - it has good markets and there is the advantage of shade in the afternoon at la Gravette beach [right hand side of beach]
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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If you are looking for a family friendly beach town, take a look at Sainte Maxime, which is a pleasant resort town with a nice beach, just outside of St. Tropez. We stayed 3 nights there last year and loved it. There are several motels and hotels along the waterfront, a handful of interesting restaurants, lots of shops, and even a small casino. There's a beautiful bike trail along the sea that takes you to St. Tropez.
On the other hand, if you want more of an urban experience, Nice is wonderful. There is a beach at Nice, all gray pebbles, but still enjoyable.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 10:00 AM
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St. Tropez has a gorgeous beach - Plage de Pampelonne - and there are beautiful beaches in St. Maxime as well as in other places. However, this is FAR away from Nice, Monaco etc. Driving time from there to Nice would be around two hours.

A little more closer - also with a wide sandy beach - would be St. Aygulf. I still recommend Juan-les-Pins, Antibes or Beaulieu-sur-Mer. You will be there off-season, so it will not be too loud, hectic or crowded.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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Wow, thank you! Going to look up some of those places right now! We were just 'googling' st. Maxime last night and were considering it.

I guess the big question is weather we want to be near the larger centre of Nice....
our 'ideal' vision of what we would like is a lovely beach, strolling through some nice scenic neighbourhoods, and just enjoying some scenery! So, perhaps Nice would be too busy for us. But Beaulieu could still work.. argh, so hard to decide. Will go look at google earth.

So, are the beaches reserved for hotel guests? We were going to try to look for apartments, but might reconsider if there is no beach access...
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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On all the places we've "beached" on the Cote, there is a 100 meter (estimate) section of public beach, next to 100 m of private beach, next to 100 m public, 100 m private, etc. This is the case with Nice, Cannes, Pampelonne, and I think Juan les Pins. These private beaches are not reserved for hotel guests only - you can go there but you pay a fee which gets you a chaise lounge to lay on, umbrella, etc. Of all the beaches mentioned, I think Pampaloone (outside of St Tropez) is the prettiest. It has a sandy beach. I also like the beach at Nice IF you stay in a private concession (chaise lounge) - I would not want to throw my towell on the flat polished rocks at the public places.

The private places have restaurants, bars, showers, lockers, changing rooms, etc. Anyone can use the restaurant & bar. Certain private concessions are assoiated with certain hotels, and I think hotel guests are allowed free admission & preference on restaurant tables.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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All French beaches are open to the public. You can put your towel whereever you want.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 11:30 PM
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You cannot put your towel down on a beach where there are lounge chairs for rent; you can walk over that beach, but not actually install yourself there on your towel. I saw a pretty heated exchange last year on the beach between the 'plagiste' and someone who was trying to do just that.

There's often a big difference in rates; if you walk along the beach you can check the prices of the concessions. Some include umbrellas, some don't, places on the seafront are more expensive than those behind, some include lunch. You can pay between 10 and 30 euros for a beach chair.

With a 1,5 year old child, I would opt for a private beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas; there'll be showers and toilets there as well.
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