First time to Nice

Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 02:07 PM
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First time to Nice

Should I stay in Nice, or in a nearby town? If staying in Nice, I will take some day trips--should I have a car? Looking for tips from previous visitors.
Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 02:15 PM
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Nice is a fairly large city. Unless you stay in the "old town" which is in the area not too far from the beach (the beach is not sandy but pebbles) you really won't see much.
If you are travelling by train that puts you at the other end of town.
The only good thing about Nice is that 20 minutes west is Cannes and 20 minutes east is Monte Carlo. Really, I would stay in another town.
We didn't have a car and didn't miss it. The trains are good in that area.
Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 02:22 PM
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I wasn't so wild about Nice, but I took at daytrip to Antibes and if I went back I would stay in Antibes over Nice. Nice was much bigger than I thought it would be, and the beach is all stones, not sand. It was OK, but I think you're doing the right thing to consider staying somewhere else. We did not have a car and did not miss it, but we were only there for a few days -- if we had been there longer we might have wanted one. Whatever you do, do not miss the Picasso museum at Antibes -- it is wonderful. Antibes and Nice are both accessible by train.
Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 03:29 PM
Book Chick
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I commuted all over the Riviera by train from my base in Nice & I thought it was practical & economical.
Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 04:29 PM
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Hi Sarah. Nice is, indeed, a fairly large city, but I find it to be a very enjoyable one (I've stayed there four times.) One of the things I like best about it is the old city, Vieux Nice...pastel colored buildings with green shutters set amidst a charming warren of narrow streets with shops, cafes, and restaurants. There's also a spectacular view over the red-tiled roofs of Vieux Nice, and the grand sweep of the Bay of Angels, from nearby Castle Hill. If you think you'd prefer a smaller town, Antibes -- which also has a charming old town -- would be a good choice.

If your daytrips will be to larger towns along the coast or inland, you could certainly use either the train or bus. However, if you plan to drive to any of the smaller hilltowns in the area, a car would give you better flexibility and mobility. (Also depends on how much you like to drive. If you love to drive, you might have fun driving along the corniche roads between Nice and Monaco.)

In any case, I think you'll love the area. Hope you have a great time.
Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 04:57 PM
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I would certainly have a car at my disposal. The train service in France is splendid, but serves the coast very well, whereas most of the interesting small villages inland are not served at all. You'd be excluding much of the charm of the region by not having a car.
Regarding Nice, if you anticipate being there in the Summer, I'd avoid Nice at all costs. As crowded as Coney Island and nothing in particular to recommend it, imo. I lived in France for several years and discovered that along the Riviera the crowds are enormous and somewhat obnoxious. Better to stay inland in a town like Arles or Avignon or even a very small town such as St. Remy. Far, far better than the Miami-esque coastline.
Rather than take my word for it, I suggest that you track down a really good guide book such as the Michelin Green Guide and decide what you really want to see and then choose a central location. If that task seems somewhat daunting then I'd choose Avignon as a central spot to stay.
Old Jul 23rd, 2001, 06:17 PM
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Sarah-My family and I used Nice as our base for our trip to the south of France a few years back. We used the train to go to Monaco,Cannes, Menton and the Italian coastal city of Ventimigentia(sp?),etc. We used the bus system to go around town and up to St. Paul de Vence,etc.It was very economical,easy and enjoyable.We enjoyed our trip to Nice as it was centrally located(easy to fly into from the states) and everything in the town was in walking distance for us.
I think that you need to figure out what part of southern France you want to go and then go from there. Our family decided that because we only had 7/8 days we would stay incommuting distance of Nice and environs. Provence and that area is another trip/longer time and definitely with a car. Have fun-our favorite pizza in the world is Tavern Massena in Nice!!!
Old Jul 24th, 2001, 07:11 AM
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I'm with Capo--I love Nice, having visited it 3 or 4 times in recent years. It's also an excellent hub for public transportation. The train system is very modern and runs along the coast, making many stops. I took the train to Menton (30 mins), Monte Carlo (20 mins), Villefranche-sur-Mer (5 minutes), Antibes (30 mins) and enjoyed every minute of my little trips. You can also take a bus to Vence and St. Paul de Vence, and also to Cimiez, a suburb of Nice where the Chagall and Matisse museums are located. I would recommend strongly that if you stay in Nice, you avoid staying at an oceanfront hotel at all costs--they are all ugly modern buildings and the waterfront, with its many neon signs is just like Miami or the Costa del Sol at its worst. There are some attractive small, moderately-priced hotels in Nice--I like the Bleu Marine Victoria on the Boulevard Victor Hugo, but both the Windsor and the Gounod are nice too.

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