Côte d'Azur help

Jun 1st, 2016, 05:28 AM
  #1  
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Côte d'Azur help

Hi all,

We have a trip planned to Provence and the Côte d'Azur at the end of the month. We are staying in town called Eygalières for the first five nights and then planning to explore the coast for the next six days with a car and are looking for recommendations on where to station ourselves--somewhere between Marseille and Nice that makes it easy to take day trips. We prefer small towns or villages and would love recommendations on location and hotels/B&B's.

Many thanks in advance!
sasson is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 06:29 AM
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Eygalières is an excellent base to explore the Provence.

I understand you will be at the Côte d'Azur by end of June, which means you will be there before peak season with traffic congestions begins.

The most interesting section of the Côte is between Frejus and Monaco, so I will narrow down bases to this stretch. Here just some spotlights:

- The westernmost town which I would recommend is Saint-Aygulf, just west of Frejus. There is a wide sandy beach east of the port and rocky coast west of the port. A typical town that lives form vacation homes.

- Frejus has a sandy beach and a row of family-style hotels. Probably not your cup of tea.

- St. Raphael has a historic center and a larger yaught harbour.

- East of St. Raphael until Mandelieu you find the most scenic part of the Côte, with red cliffs, rugged mountains (excellent hiking opportunities!) and pretty coves (some sandy, some pebbly).

- Agay has a wide beach, composed of red sand, and several hotels - one very large and several small ones. Plage du Camp Long is one of the most scenic beaches of the Côte d'Azur. http://www.plages.tv/detail/plage-du...ong-agay-83530

- Antheor is a small town with a tiny beach of red sand. You may check this hotel there: http://www.hotel-cote-azur.com/

- East of Antheor comes a protected wilderness area with beautiful little coves, albeit with beaches composed of red pebbles.

- In Miramar-Theoule-sur-Mer urbanization starts again, with several high-class hotels there, e.g. this one (not cheap): http://miramar-beachspa.tiara-hotels.com/en/

- The Esteral mountain chain end in Mandelieu. Cannes has a sandy beach and several rows of hotels, some of them very posh. Cruise ship tourists do not like Cannes, but it still makes a good base with a nice old town, the lively yaught harbour and the promenade. However, you get more affordable accomodation in the hinterland, e.g. the picturesque little town Mougins.

- East of Cannes, there is a peninsula with two neighbouring towns: Juan-les-Pins has a wide sandy beach and is a typical seaside resort for families, like Frejus. Antibes is a historic town with several beaches in smaller coves. Antibes is somewhat like the ideal base for the Côte d'Azur, because the town is pretty and the location is excellent for exploring the region.

- Between Antibes and Nice, you find the ugliest part of the Côte: traffic arteries, ugly high-rise buildings, ugly pebble beaches. In any case, avoid Villeneuve-Loubet and Cagnes-sur-Mer. Again, the hinterland makes good bases, too, like La-Colle-sur-Loup. Saint Paul de Vence is a beautiful village, but VERY touristy.

- I would not base myself in Nice: It is a large city with lots of traffice, noise etc. and has a very ugly beach. Nice is a good destination for a daytrip, with excellent museums, a pretty Old Town, but I would not recommend staying there.

- Juest east of Nice, there is Cap Ferret, a peninsula which is the poshest place on the Côte.

Sorry that I did not help with lots of hotel recommendations. We travel the Côte regularly for 30 years and will spend our summer vacation again in September. But we have never stayed in hotels but in vacation homes or on campgrounds. After we have tried several spots to stay, from Bormes-les-Mimosas over Cavalaire, St. Aygulf, Puget-sur-Argens, Agay, Theoule-sur-Mer, Mougins we now always return to the Esterel Coast, because it is simply most scenic, offers excellent beaches and hiking trails and is located good enough for daytrips.

But probably another Fodorite jumps in who has different tastes.

I strongly recommend that you use Google Earth to "fly" over the Côte. See how the coastline looks and click on the many photos from the coast. So, you get an impression of the different places.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 07:00 AM
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That's a good summary, though I disagree that the beach at Nice is ugly; it has pebbles instead of sand, but I wouldn't call the Promenade des Anglais and the beach there ugly.

I'd go for Antibes as a base - though I do not know any hotels there.
Tulips is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 08:57 AM
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Thanks traveller1959 and Tulips--fantastic and detailed info! Looks like I had it all wrong--was originally thinking Cassis as a potential base. But it seems Antibes is a better location--though it seems less a quaint village and more of a larger resort town, right?

Villefranche-sur-Mer also seems pretty but pretty east.

We are open to rentals/vacation homes too--though hotels/B&Bs just seem easier.
sasson is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 09:40 AM
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Antibes is an old fortress town. There is a modern bit outside of the walls. Juan les Pins is a resort town; not 'quaint' but great beaches.

It really depends on what you want to do while there. Lots of hilltop villages and other interesting places to visit between Cannes and the Italian border. These are easily reached from Antibes, Nice, Villefranche.
Tulips is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 10:01 AM
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I would ask if you prefer on the coast itself or a little bit inland.
Antibes on the coast and Bormes les mimosas or Grimaud a little bit inland.
Whathello is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 10:43 AM
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I would not consider Villefranche as pretty. It is mostly a street town, north of the really pretty Cap Ferrat peninsula.

Cassis is on the western edge of the Côte and far away from its heart which is roughly between Cannes and Monaco. There you find an incredible array of attractions of all kind:

- Scenic drives on the coastal roads (the Corniche de l'Esterel between St. Raphael and Mandelieu and the three Corniches between Nice and Monaco).

- Outstanding art museums: The Musée Message Biblique of Marc Chagall in Nice, the Modern Art Museum in Nice, the Fernand Leger Museum in Biot, Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the small Picasso Museum in Antibes, the Matisse Chapel in Vence...

- The famous beach promenades in Cannes and Nice.

- The yacht harbours in Cannes, Saint Raphael, St. Tropez.

- Picturesque hilltop villages: Èze, Gourdon, Tourettes-sur-Loup, Saint-Paul-de-Vence...

- Mountain chains and cliffs.

- Old Towns.

- Posh villas like the Prince's Palace in Monaco, Villa Ephrussi Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat..

- And all the flowers everywhere...

Actually, you have many places which make good bases. We usually start looking for accomodation first (type of accomodation, price range, amenities) and then decide about the exact location.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 12:31 PM
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Thanks again--you guys are the best.

Whathello, it doesn't really matter to us whether we are inland or on the coast. I guess maybe as traveller1959 mentioned, we should find accommodations that work within our criteria in any of these areas that would make good bases and go from there. To that end, can anyone recommend accommodations--with parking and pool--in any of these towns at or under $300/night? I like a little luxury but also love quaint and small places.
sasson is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 01:26 PM
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We only slept once in a B&B on côte d'Azur and we liked it - close to Grimaud (just at the exit of the village). The owner was very nice, the pool was great and well sdituated. The room we had was confortable, nicely decorated. So more quaint than luxurious. Breakfast was great. Very quiet.

http://www.bastideavelan.com/chambres_dhotes_grimaud/
Whathello is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 09:14 AM
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Thanks again, all! Looking at hotels/rentals now. Let's hope the air strike doesn't last long
sasson is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 10:03 AM
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http://picasaweb.google.com/stuartto...enceBarge2006# Sasson...these pics of the region may be of some help to you.
I do not do TR's..figuring "a pic is worth a thousand words."
You should beat the heaviest of summer's traffic by arriving before July. Unfortunately, our favorite digs in the region, Beauvallon, has been sold and I don't know if the name has changed. We loved it, just outside Tourettes sur Loup...

Stu (go on from the Riviera towns to western Provence you will see in pix
tower is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 08:32 AM
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Great photos, tower! Thanks for sharing.
sasson is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 08:54 AM
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Allow me to suggest that you get a copy of the Michelin Green Guide to the Côte d'Azur, which contains a wealth of useful information--as does the viamichelin.com web site.

Our favorite inn in the area is just down the main road from St-Paul-de-Vence, Le Hameau. It's a small property set in orange groves; each room is individual, and there's a lovely horizon pool. Gated parking is a plus, as is breakfast in the garden.

We've recommended Le Hameau to a number of people, all of whom have raved about it.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 10:20 AM
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Will definitely look for the Michelin guide next time in bookstore and thanks for the hotel recommendation. Looks very cute.
sasson is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 11:13 AM
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Cute, yes, and also quiet.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 05:53 PM
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Sadly, they are booked for our dates, Underhill. Do you, per chance, know Villa St Maxime? Also, are there restaurants and shops nearby to stroll to in the evenings in the area of St-Paul-de-Vence?
sasson is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 02:34 AM
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Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a picturesque hilltop village, however very much frequented by tourists, but in a good sense. This means, St. Paul is full of shops and art galleries and restaurants of all kinds and classes.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 08:51 AM
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There are restaurants and shops in St-Paul, but we found pickings somewhat slim in the evening--just in the village itself, not much else around. That might have changed by now, however, and you could always head up the hill to Vence--lots of choices there, especially in the old town.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 06:11 AM
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Good to know, Underhill. We are open to staying anywhere. Seems like there are a lot of choices in Cannes too, hotel wise--which we weren't considering but might be an option.
sasson is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 07:24 AM
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Côte d'Azur help
Posted by: sasson on Jun 1, 16 at 9:28am
. . . then planning to explore the coast for the next six days with a car and are looking for recommendations on where to station ourselves--somewhere between Marseille and Nice that makes it easy to take day trips. We prefer small towns or villages and would love recommendations on location and hotels/B&B's.


I had the same idea many many years ago. I chose Toulon. It is home to French Navy. The bar district was the craziest I have ever seen, grade B movie quality. I wonder how it is now?
spaarne is offline  

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