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razkin1 Jul 7th, 2013 03:17 PM

Cote D'Azur - Six Nights Only
Hey All,
Long time lurker here, was hoping to get some Fodorite advice in terms of itinerary.
We are spending a few weeks in Europe (from Australia). We have only six nights in the South of France (fly into Nice), in early August.

- Cannes - 3 Nights (Also includes a day trip to Monaco and surrounds)
- St Tropez - 2 Nights
- Nice - 1 Night

While I know that on Fodors, Nice always wins the Nice vs Cannes battles - but we've had a number of friends (similar tastes to ours) visit recently, and they all preferred Cannes. Similar for Monaco - we know there are nicer places, but would still like to visit there.

I suppose my main question is regarding St Tropez. Tossing up between one or two nights there. We love the idea of Club 55, Nikki Beach, etc - but not sure whether one day/night would be sufficient, particularly given the immense summer traffic we'd have to deal with getting in and out. Two nights we can put our feet up and relax, one night could be too rushed - but it means we could spend an extra night in Nice.

Appreciate your input!

HappyTrvlr Jul 7th, 2013 04:03 PM

Visit Monaco from Nice. Give Nice much more time.

razkin1 Jul 7th, 2013 05:11 PM

Only reason we'd visit Monaco from Cannes, is to allow us to spend the most time we can in Nice. Granted it's only one night in Nice.
I do appreciate the advice to spend more time in Nice, but given the overall limited time, and a number of our friends who have just visited the area (i.e. just returned last week) - the prospect of Cannes does seem to gel with us better than Nice. Particularly given the short trip.

Any thoughts re St Tropez around this time?

Underhill Jul 7th, 2013 08:27 PM

Spend as many nights as you can in Nice, which allows you to travel along the coast in both directions: Monaco (if you must; I can't stand it), Antibes, and Cannes are easy to get to by train. Why Nice instead of Cannes? Cannes is a resort; Nice is a vibrant large town.

You don't seem to have settled on accommodations yet, and that may define where you end up. August is Prime Time on the Côte d'Azur, and most desirable places will be full up by now. St-Tropez will be a jungle of bodies--save it for a trip outside of high season if you can.

razkin1 Jul 7th, 2013 10:46 PM

Thanks Underhill.
Cannes instead of Nice is simply due to feedback from friends who have been there recently. (Our parents say Nice, our friends say Cannes - so of course we won't listen to our parents! :) )
I think most of the feedback re Nice is that it's a big busy city, while Cannes has the resort feel, as well as nice walks along the beach, and a sufficient amount of bars/cafes. We like comfortable, laid back holidays - not looking to do too much travelling around. Just settle in, goto the beach, eat, drink, and enjoy the immediate surrounds.

Since we're from Australia, we'd like to take the opportunity to visit St Tropez - it's unlikely we'll be returning any time soon, and less likely we'd return anytime except for summer (as european summer gives us a break from the australian winter - although it's not really much of a winter here anyway).

I understand it will be crazy busy in St Tropez, which is why I'm trying to figure out if we should commit to two nights given half of that time will be in traffic! Or if one night would be doable, and enough for us to see the town, lunch at Club 55, and have a few drinks at Nikki Beach.

Thanks again for your input!

razkin1 Jul 8th, 2013 01:56 AM

Ok, well maybe we'll make Nice and St Tropez primary - with Cannes at the end.
That way if we loved Nice that much, we can skip the time in Cannes - and commute between the two (as we'll be renting a car).

Only downside is the drive from Cannes to Nice Airport - although flight out will be around 9am, so won't be too early a start.

sueciv Jul 8th, 2013 04:56 AM

The thing about St. Tropez. I was there end of September and parking was horrendous then. I can't imagine what it will be in its highest season. So? As an aside, if you can get to St. Raphael, I believe there are ferries across the Bay to St. Tropez...

sf7307 Jul 8th, 2013 09:09 AM

<<<Why Nice instead of Cannes? Cannes is a resort; Nice is a vibrant large town.>>>

<<<I think most of the feedback re Nice is that it's a big busy city, while Cannes has the resort feel, as well as nice walks along the beach, and a sufficient amount of bars/cafes. We like comfortable, laid back holidays - not looking to do too much travelling around. Just settle in, goto the beach, eat, drink, and enjoy the immediate surrounds.>>>

I really really think this should answer the question for you (or rather, you've answered it for yourself). Nice is a city, Cannes is a resort. Pick Cannes. (nothing against Nice, it just doesn't seem to fit your own description of what you're looking for).

HappyTrvlr Jul 8th, 2013 10:40 AM

We stayed outside of St-Tropez in Ramateulle and drove down the hill to beautiful wide sandy beaches.
We so few days I would skip Monaco.

Improviser Jul 8th, 2013 10:54 AM

I fail to see any reason to move around at all. If you stay in Cannes you can day trip to St. Tropez and also to Nice/Monaco. St. Tropez you will need to drive to (a pain in the butt) while Nice/Monaco you can take a train to.

Personally, I am not a Nice fan. Not as a place to stay in the area. I liken it to Interlaken in Switzerland, the majority go there because it is where the majority goes. Not because it has more to offer than elsewhere in the area.

My favoutite place to stay in the Cote D'Azur is Antibes. It's a 'real' town vs. Nice being a 'real' city while Cannes is a 'resort'.

If a resort is preferable I would suggest Jaun Les Pins rather than Cannes itself.

Whatever your choice I would not move hotels 3 times in one week. Every time you move you lose at least half a day and with only 1 week, time is precious. Pick one, stay, day trip elesewhere.

razkin1 Jul 8th, 2013 01:35 PM

Thanks again for all the input.
Yes, 3 hotel changes in 6 nights does seem a bit much!
The main driver was St Tropez - not sure how sensible a day trip will be there given the traffic, which is why we thought best to commit to staying a night or two there - which would be towards the middle of the week.

Given our short time there, I suppose we shouldn't try to overdo it.. Staying in one place and day tripping sounds more appealing - but we are really keen on fitting St Tropez in properly!

Micheline Jul 8th, 2013 02:00 PM

Did your friends actually stay in Nice? I've stayed in Cannes, Antibes, Juan les Pins, St. Tropez ,Villefranche sur Mer and Nice. Nice is a city but to me feels like a resort. At night the market becomes a street of candle lit restaurants. If you don't like the beach there just jump on a bus for one euro and go to Villefranche sur Mer, 15 minutes away. I can see the attraction of St. Tropez for young people but you just don't have enough time.

razkin1 Jul 8th, 2013 02:00 PM

btw, can anyone forward me Stu Dudley's itinerary for the area? I have emailed him, but he is travelling currently so may not respond for some time.


Improviser Jul 8th, 2013 02:46 PM

People always approach things like this as if it will be the only time in their life they will visit the area and as a result, they ALWAYS try to see/do too much in too little time. It's a mindset that is difficult to get away from.

The reality is, you can never do all you want to do in one trip. It doesn't matter where you go or for how long, invariably there will be places you don't get to and might hear about later and find yourself saying, 'oh, why didn't we go there?' What about St. Paul de Vence or Eze Village on the corniches above Nice for example. Or what about stretching to include Toulon or even Avignon. Are you going to say you went to Provence and didn't sur le Pont D'Avignon? Heaven forbid, how could you.

I once spent 5 months living in Antibes and didn't get to all the places of interest I wanted to. Do I plan to return there? Not at the moment, but who knows where I will go in the future, certainly not me. This 'only chance' or 'once in a lifetime' thinking is ridiculous if you think about it. There is no way for anyone to know what next year or a decade from now will bring in terms of changes in their life.

The two commonest mistakes travellers make are packing too much and trying to see/do too much in too little time. Neither is unsolvable.

Go to ONE place, plan nothing beyond your arrival. Have a list of places of interest you MAY go to if time and the inclination permit. Each morning when you get up, decide what to do that day. A big part of why we all love travel is because of the freedom from everyday life and having to live life according to a schedule. Don't self-impose that on your travel time.

If you get up and decide to sit at a sidewalk cafe all day and watch the passing parade, who is to say that you will not get as much or more enjoyment out of doing that than you will out of going to Monte Carlo for the day? Who is to say that one is better use of your time than the other? What matters is whether you enjoy each day, not what you do with it.

If you like resorts, lying on the beach, enjoying a long lunch with a couple of glasses of wine, taking an afternoon nap, going out in the evening, then do that. There is no such thing as a 'must see'. I could spend a week enjoying Jaun les Pins with nothing more strenuous than a walk to Antibes to visit the Picasso Museum one afternoon and no visit to St. Tropez at all, with no difficulty. I'll go there next time, if there is a next time. If there isn't so what, I'll go somewhere else and enjoy it just as much.

razkin1 Jul 8th, 2013 02:47 PM

Thanks Micheline. Yes, our friends stayed in both Nice and Cannes, and various other areas.
I'm leaning towards picking Cannes or Nice as a base - then just doing day trips instead of moving hotels. One of those extra long day trips will be to St Tropez. Although, may turn that into a one night stay, then head back to "base" the following evening.

Although I'm sure picking a new hotel every 2nd night could work, provided our travel plans sync up - e.g. when switching hotels from Nice to Cannes, this would be like a day trip to Cannes, with the difference being that we will drop our bags at a hotel first. :)

razkin1 Jul 8th, 2013 02:53 PM

Improviser - appreciate your thoughtful and insightful comments.
I too am generally the same in terms of travel plans (honestly) - I hate rushing around, switching hotels, etc.. Although do feel the pressure to squeeze as much in on this trip as possible.
I definitely don't think it will be the "last time", but given there is a 20+ hour trip to get me to Europe in the first place, it's not going to be for some time.

I suppose you've got me thinking about what I'd really like to do - Enjoy summer, and the beautiful scenery, eat good food, drink Rose, relax, visit Monaco, and party at St Tropez. The rest doesn't really matter I suppose. :)

willowjane Jul 8th, 2013 02:54 PM

This is great information. I am filing this away for next summer.

razkin1 Jul 9th, 2013 03:42 AM

I've thought about this more, and will now look to split the 6 nights between St Tropez and Nice.
2 nights in St Tropez, as that is one of the main reasons we're heading to sth france - but not longer since most hotels are $500+ per night.
Nice is still expensive but not as silly.

I'm not picking one place and sticking with it as suggested - but main reason is a day trip to st tropez sounds like a headache in peak season, so need to commit one or two nights there.

sueciv Jul 9th, 2013 04:20 AM

You do not need to drive that horrid road into St. Tropez. There are ferries...I just saw one ferry advertisement from Nice. Not a car ferry, no.
I love St. Tropez...there was a little tiny restaurant right at the end of the port...toward the old fishing port run by one young couple...such good food. Maybe 6 tables.
You'd better book something pronto...not at all posh, not at all cheap but not $500 a night, Hotel Sube right on the bay?
You said you wanted to party...

Oaktown9 Jul 9th, 2013 04:23 PM

There is an Ibis Hotel for $126. It is a little over 8 miles from ST.

I'm spending two nights in ST late September. If I don't find a hotel in my budget I will be posted at the Ibis and using my money/savings for shopping.

Sueciv: Where can you catch the ferry from?

I like the idea of splitting your nights. I stayed in Nice and did trips to Cannes, Eze. Monano. etc.

Sounds like a good decision.

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