driving cote d'azur

Old Jul 4th, 2005, 10:50 AM
  #1  
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driving cote d'azur

We are going to be spending 3-4 days in the south of france with a vehicle. Am not a big fan of driving in big cities in Europe. Planning on finding a hotel in a small town and finding other alternatives to heading into big cities such as Nice or Monaco. Any hints/tips?
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Find a town on the train line & take the train to the cities. Returning our rental car inside the city of Cannes was not fun - not easy to find the place & I had mapped it. The trains run up & down the coast frequently and are not terribly expensive. Enjoy!
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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Having traveled that coast a number of times, both with and without a car, I'd agree with cobbie. Especially in the summer. Traveling between the towns by bus or by train is a lot easier than searching for parking and getting stuck in traffic. The last time we had a car in Nice, we left it parked and went to a number of coastal towns by train -- so much less hassle. And the trains are frequent and cheap. (A train ticket is likely to cost less than an hours worth of parking -- if you can even find a place to park).
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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I'm not sure I understand why you'll have the car if you don't want to use it. Assuming it's for before and/or after the cote d'azur, I'd agree with the others, pick a town on the train line. Villefranche might be a good idea. Very close to Nice and with a train stop.
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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Villefranche-sur-Mer would be a great spot. I rented an apt. there last fall. I actually walked 1 block and caught the bus into Nice..about a 20 minute ride..good scenery..got off in old town. All very simple. The buses go the other direction to Monaco, too..or in Villefranche there is the train going in both directions.

Nice is horrible to drive. I was there in oct. and can't imagine it in the summer!! People constantly double park and it completely shuts down one lane!

If you are flying into Nice and staying there, I would wait to rent the car when leaving, if going elsewhere.
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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The advice by others to use a place like Villefranche is solid. On the train line for the entire coast (including the Friday market in Italy).
You are 5 miles from Nice, but it seems light years away instead of 2 train stops. The bus to Nice is about 25 minutes. Close to Eze, Monaco, Menton, walk to Cap Ferrat. We liked Hotel Darse at the marina. $85 US for a double in May with balcony, AC, marble bath, no lift, quiet.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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We had a car in Nice and parking was a problem, but otherwise driving in that city is not as crazy as in other parts of Europe. It was more like driving in the U.S. We really enjoyed having a car. We took the upper road to Eze and loved it. Then we tried to drive to Monaco, but they were setting up for the Grand Prix, so there was absolutley no where to park. Then we took the low road back to Nice and stopped in all sorts of cute sea-side villages. It was nice to have the freedom. And then we went back to a cute beach the next day and it was nice to be able to park right there and have all of our stuff in the car.

If you are not going to use your car then you might want to turn it in. Depending on where you are staying, parking will be 15 to 25 euros per night.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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Just returned from Villefranche-sur-mer and had a car. Picked up the car at the Nice airport and used it to tour Monaco, Nice, Cannes, and then on to Provence where we returned it. I know the train/bus is efficient and accessible, but it requires a lot of walking. If you're trip is in July-August, you need to know it will be HOT and HUMID and the trains/buses are not air-conditioned. Our air-conditioned car (with comfortable seats) offered relief after a days sightseeing/shopping. Driving and parking was not that much of a problem. The money I spent on the rental car was worth every penny and allowed us to see and do much more in the short time we were there.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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There is a lovely coastal village in the South of France called La Madrague. You should check it out. It is very picturesque.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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Thx-good tips. We have to keep the car because we are coming from Switzerland and heading back there after.
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