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French Riviera

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May 1st, 2011, 11:19 AM
  #1
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French Riviera

I am am flying into Nice and will be in the area for for four nights with my husband and two teenage daughters. I am looking for suggestions on where to stay. Nice sounds a bit too crowded/touristy. Does anyone have suggestions for a smaller town that would not be too far from the beach and still have shops and restaurants.? Any favorite hotels/ resorts in the area?
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May 1st, 2011, 11:44 AM
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I personally like Nice very much, and make it a point to stay there a few days if we're in the area.

But if you like a smaller town, and near the ocean, try Antibes.
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May 1st, 2011, 11:54 AM
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St Paul de Vence but not close to the water.
Cassis is a favorite of mine that is by water.
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May 1st, 2011, 01:46 PM
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Even though it can get crowded Nice would still be imo the best place to stay. It is a great base to visit other towns such as Villefranche, St. Paul de Vence, and Eze, etc. Transportation is so easy and cheap and there are so many boulangeries, patisseries and restaurants as well as the market. Walking along the Blvd des Anglais is so cool at night. I think your teenagers would love it.
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May 1st, 2011, 02:04 PM
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I loved staying in Nice! As others have mentioned, easy access to transportation so you can also visit Eze, Cannes, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, etc. I went during July for 4 nights and stayed at the Hotel Westminster. Never found the area to be overly crowded. It's a beautiful place to make your hub, whether you choose to stay local or explore other towns.
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May 1st, 2011, 05:36 PM
  #6
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Great input! Thanks you so much!
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May 1st, 2011, 05:43 PM
  #7
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Thanks for the recommendation of the Hotel Westminster. Are there any other hotels/apartments anyone would recommend?
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May 1st, 2011, 05:52 PM
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We've spent about 3-4 weeks in Nice & 16 weeks along the Cote d'Azur in other locations. We love Nice. We always stay at the Windsor (tried another hotel once - next trip, back to the Windsor).

Stu Dudley
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May 2nd, 2011, 09:27 AM
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We've stayed several times at the Hotel Le Grimaldi in Nice and have always been pleased. Nice is a wonderful city and a good base for seeing other places in the area.
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May 2nd, 2011, 09:42 AM
  #10
 
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Nice is not really that touristy; depends on when you are there. It's a big city, lots of locals who are nor connected to tourism.
My teenagers like Juan les Pins; not very pretty, but great location, sandy beaches and lots of restaurants and small boutiques that stay open till late. Easy to get to other places along the Cote d'Azur by train.
If your teenage daughters are anything like mine, they will much prefer Juan les Pins over Nice as a place to stay. Garden Beach is right on the beach. Or if budget allows, Belles Rives. Or this one, a new hotel that I don't know, but looks good; www.hotel-ambassadeur.com.

Though outside of holiday season, Juan les Pins can be too quiet.
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May 2nd, 2011, 10:02 AM
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I realise where Ambassadeur is now; it's not new, but has been refurbished. It's in the Pinede area, few minutes walk to the beach.
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May 2nd, 2011, 11:50 AM
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We did enjoy Nice, but the beach is all rocks. It is long with one beach club after another, so good people watching.

We much preferred Antibes beaches---Garoupe Beach was our favorite. Juan Les Pins had great beaches with a vibrant town area, lots of shops & restaurants for your girls.

As much as we enjoyed Antibes, I think with teens I'd choose Juan Les Pins.

IMO, towns not to miss visiting are Villefranche-sur-Mer, Eze, Antibes, and the Palace in Monaco(the tour is terriffic if that's your thing) 4 days isn't alot of time----plan carefully for the things you MUST see.

Good luck.
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May 2nd, 2011, 02:03 PM
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I go to the French Riviera 3 times a year for a total of about 6 weeks each year. (I live in Paris). I would recommend staying in Nice because there are more charming towns in the area than Nice but Nice is central to all of them. You can get to Cannes to the west or Menton and the Italian border in the east in 45 minutes by train from Nice. You can get to charming villages like St. Paul de Vence, La Turbie, Eze Village on the mountain above Eze Sur Mer and many others by bus from Nice for 1 euro or to Mougins and Grasse by bus from Cannes or the train from Cannes to Grasse. In Nice you will have a much much better choice of hotels, restaurants, shopping etc while being only 5 mintues by train to Villfranche Sur Mer for example.

Just my opinion of course but I really don't find Antibes so charming except the view from the beach up into the snow covered Maritime Alps (in winter season). Villfranche although charming lies at the bottom of a very steep hill and bus service is limited from the old town at sea level up the hill where you then must transfer to the 84 or 100 bus to Nice or to the east. Not all trains stop at Villfranche so all in all it is not nearly as convenient as Nice and other towns along the coast. You can easily visit all the towns on the Riviera between Nice and Ventimiglia, Italy from Nice and return each afternoon spending very little time traveling. I particularly enjoy going to Monte Carlo at night on the train and returning to Nice late in the evening. Another good choice if you want a charming little town is to stay in Beaulieu Sur Mer (less than 10 minutes by train from Nice). From here you have the beautiful white colored stone mountains on one side of town and the sea on the other. You can walk along the sea to the village of St.Jean Cap Ferrat in 25 minutes and walk around the cape. Occasionally I rent an apartment in BSM for a couple weeks. I think BSM and Menton are the two most beautiful small towns on the coast.

One last point. I never never rent a car on the Riviera as public transportation is easy, cheap, frequent and you will not have the expense and hassle of car rentals, parking etc. Unlike most Americans who say a car gives them freedom I think not having this hassle sets me free.

All the above are just my lowly opinions and probably differ from the rest of the world.

Have fun whatever you decide.
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May 2nd, 2011, 02:11 PM
  #14
 
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I would characterize the Nice beach as pebbles, not rocks. But you do need to wear some sort of footwear and have some kind of mat to sit on. You can always use one of the beach clubs, for a fee.

Other than the lack of a sandy beach, I can't think of anything about Nice that isn't wonderful.
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May 2nd, 2011, 04:44 PM
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>>Nice beach as pebbles<<

Flat pebbles. I have one on my desk next to my PC. It is about 9cm X 6cm and 1 to 2cm thick. That is 3 1/2" X 2 1/4" X 1/2 to 3/4".

Stu Dudley
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May 2nd, 2011, 06:41 PM
  #16
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Wow! So much to think about! I booked adjoining rooms at the Hotel Windsor today, just to insure we have a place to stay and will continue looking. Thanks for the specific information on beaches and small towns. I will start looking at those for other options.

Thank you for your time!!
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