Calling All Cote d'Azur Experts

Mar 10th, 2008, 09:35 AM
  #1  
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Calling All Cote d'Azur Experts

I need some weigh-in on where to base myself while staying in the French Riviera. I have heard Antibes is very pretty and has prettier/sandy beaches over Nice. Nice is good to visit other coastal towns. I am hoping to stay in one place and access some places like St. Paul de Vence, Biot, Grasse Villafranche-sur-mer, Eze by day trips. Obviously, the tastes and preferences will vary and are personality specific. So, please help with your favorite places to stay in the Cote d'Azur and why (likes/dislikes). Merci!
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Mar 10th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Anyplace with access to the coastal train system, dubbed the Cote d'Azur metro by some that constantly plies the coast between Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Villefranche, Monaco, etc.

Hop buses from train stations to towns up in the hills

Antibes is not that far from Nice, a few minutes by train so each are as good bases - Nice may have a more centralized bus depot and services everywhere but you can take the train there from Antibes

Hilltowns like SPVence, Eze, etc. are less convenient since you must depend on more infrequent bus connections but possible as well

antibes is certainly a fine old town, one of the nicest on the Riviera IMO

Nice is a fascinating but rather huge town with yes pebble beaches opposed to the sandy ones by Biot and Antibes and Cannes
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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I actually prefer the flat, polished stones on the beach at Nice, over Antibes & Cannes IF you visit one of the private consessions and lay on a lounge chair. Less dust and a lot more decadent.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 10th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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We spent 4 days in Nice last September. Absolutely loved being there. (Hadn't expected to enjoy it quite so much.) Loved strolling the Promenade, strolling all through town, the markets, visiting several museums, etc. (GREAT Chagall museum) Didn't have a car. Did several nearby towns by bus-- very very easy: Eze, St Paul de Vence, Vence. Stayed at La Perouse (check Trip Advisor, or ask me specific questions if you have any). Loved the hotel-- perfect spot, excellent room. Btw, didn't think much of the food in Nice (didn't eat at any very expensive restaurants). Didn't spend time actually on the beach. Normally, we're definitely "beach bums," but just found too many other things to do.
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Mar 10th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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My favourite spot is Theoule-sur-mer.

Here is the website of our last holiday home - just to make you jealous:

www.labastidedelesterel.com
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Mar 10th, 2008, 12:17 PM
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I love Beaulieu-sur-mer but it is very pricey. (That would be the dislike). The like is how pretty and uncrowded it is and how lovely it is to walk down to the Cap and see the bougainvilla clad mansions. It's also a very short hop up to Eze & Monaco.
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Mar 10th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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When I stayed in BSM, I loved being able to easily get on the train to travel up and down the coast.
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Mar 10th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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St Paul de Vence can be magical if it is not too crowded.

If you enjoy museums, the Picasso museum at Mougins is interesting, and you get a wonderful of the riviera from the upper floor.

I also enjoyed driving the Esterel coast on the way to Saint Tropez (I would avoid the motorway if possible!!)
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Mar 10th, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Traveler1959, it worked, I'm jealous.
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Mar 10th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Hill towns IME tend to be quite as church mice at nice when the day tripping hoardes - and indeed i mean hoardes in summer - have returned to the coast - to Nice, etc. which are much more livelier at night

So quiet reflection or a pulsating town at night?
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 02:05 PM
  #11  
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Good question. So, they all sound lovely! I am looking for more of a quaint atmosphere and breathtaking views (don't think you can miss the latter in any of the locations). My gut tells me I want less crowds but it sounds like I will enjoy any location in the Riviera. Given it's my first time there, where would you go? It sounds like I can't go wrong, so thanks for all the replies
megan13 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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I based in Villefranche for five nights and it was idyllic- the bus and train stations were both a ten minute walk (albeit steep!)and I used both to access most of the destinations on your list very easily. Although sometimes swarmed by cruise boat day- trippers early in the morning, they rapidly disappeared and were gone by evening. So many charming cafes and a small- town feel! The beach was small but moderately sandy. A fabulous day trip was the walk to the Rothschild gardens and I also walked to Monaco.
If you don't want to stay in Nice, it is a really convenient public transportation option- you will transfer in Nice for some of your chosen day trips, but it is less than 10 minutes away. (Services are reduced on weekends and holidays- plan carefully for museums and the like.)
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Apr 4th, 2008, 02:18 PM
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ttt
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Apr 4th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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What kind of views--the sea, the mountains, perched villages?

One of our favorite places to stay is the area near the pretty little town of Valbonne, just down and to the east of Grasse. For views in all directions, stay in or near the old town of Mougins. From there you can see the Mediterranean and the hills and get down to the coast in around 20 minutes.

Another good place is Le Hameau, a small and very charming inn just below St-Paul-de-Vence. Some rooms have a view down to the coast, and the inn is set in a citrus grove. There's a beautiful horizon pool as well.

Our other favorite place to stay is Nice, at the hotel Mercure Promenade des Anglais. It's fairly newly redecorated and right across the Promenade from the beach. Double-glazed windows keep the traffic noise out, and the view from the seaside rooms is breathtaking. Vieux Nice is just a 10-minute stroll away.
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