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French Riviera - How long to stay in each place

French Riviera - How long to stay in each place

Apr 12th, 2013, 07:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 54
French Riviera - How long to stay in each place

Hello friends,

I am planning to spend a few days in Côte D´Azur around the end of August this year and would like to visit some towns between Marseille and Nice, like Cannes, Monaco, St Tropez and maybe Antibes. Would also like to take the Train des Pignes.

I know that some are very close to each other so if I were to stay in Nice, for instance, I could take a train for a day trip to Monaco or the Provence Countryside. Therefore I would plan to stay 3 or 3 nights in two of these towns and take day trips to the others.

Question is, which towns would be best to stay in? Marseille and Nice? I would be taking the train down, from Paris and staying a total of 7 nights in September.

I would really appreciate suggestions. Thank you so much.

AlineWyllie is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 09:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Instead of staying at Nice, a very nice town is Juan-les-Pins.

If you want to go to Nice, it's less than 10 minutes by local train.

Unlike Nice's rocky beach, JLP has a very nice sandy beach.

When I was last in JLP, I rented a car for the day, went to grasse (parfum), and on to St. Paul de Vince. From there, I took the high road into Monaco.

Two thing for caveats: it's going to be hot and crowded that time of year.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 02:11 AM
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I haven' stayed on the coast (we opted to stay inland near St Paul du Vence) but I wanted to recommend a site we loved which is worth seeing when your in the area. Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu Sur Mer. It's next to Antibes and close to the Rothschild Ephrussi Villa which has lovely gardens. Anyway Villa Kerylos was built at the beginning of the twentieth century in the style of ancient Greece. It's fascinating and beautifully situated on the water. I have a blog post with photos and lots more details.

WE also love the maeght Foundation in St Paul de Vence

Sorry I can't be more help about where to stay. if you're there in August the traffic will be very heavy along the coast making long daytrips a bit taxing. I'd suggest deciding what you most want to see and then deciding where to stay. Are you interested in the beach, art , a more urban area, or a smaller village scene?
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 03:43 AM
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Beaulieu sur Mer could hardly be described as next to Antibes.
Perhaps to poster was thinking of Villefranche, close to which are the Villa Ephrussi Gardens on the Cap Ferrat peninsula.
SeeDee is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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All depends on what you want to do. Do you want to sit on a beach and relax? Then Juan les Pins is nice. It's popular with young people; clubs, pizza, sandy beaches, little boutiques. Totally different from Nice.

Nice is a great base - you can easily visit Cannes, Monaco, Antibes and other places along the coast by train.

The countryside in Provence? A bit too far for a daytrip from Nice. Maybe split your time between Nice and somewhere more in the country, like Aix?

St Tropez is difficult to get to - take a boat from St Maxime. Or from Cannes.
Tulips is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Cagnes sur Mer could be a nice base. Trains and buses are easy from there.
menachem is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Hi guys,

Thank you so much for all your suggestions! Will look up every single one of them. The problem about staying in the smaller cities, though, is that I don´t plan to drive around, but purchase day trips like I did when I was in Italy, which worked great for me. Therefore, I believe it would be easier to stay in places like Marseille and Nice and use them as a base to go to the other places, especially because they are also on the train route. Will only be sorry to miss the lavender fields in bloom. Does anybody known until when they stay like this? Thanks.
AlineWyllie is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 07:09 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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I've stayed over the years (on different trips) in Nice, Antibes, Golfe-Juan, Villeneuve-Loubet (the inland end), Menton and Villefranche-sur-Mer. It depends what you like to do - they are all different. Personally I like Menton. It has a good mixture of biggish town and nice (sandy) beach with choices of places for shopping and dining. The rail link between there and Nice (via Villefranche, Beaulieu, Monte Carlo etc) makes it easy get around. One of the things we like to do from Menton is take the train over the border to Ventimiglia for the Friday markets.
twoflower is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 08:20 PM
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If you have a car, you can stay up on the road to St. Paul de Vence (or Vence, can't remember) above Cagnes-sur-Mer at a motel! (Yes, it was a motel with a place to park right by your room.) If I can find the name, I'll get back. It was quite inexpensive but it was March 2006. If you can, see the church where Matisse painted the walls in Vence. And of course St. Paul de Vence is beautiful and has the famous restaurant La Colombe d'Or (Golden Dove) with the mural by Picasso. They will let you see it even if you don't eat there. Twoflower: thanks for mentioning Menton. It's a place I'd like to visit because of it's proximity to Italy (I manage better in French but also speak some Italian) and its supposedly very temperate microclimate--one of the mildest in France, I've read, even moreso than Nice. And filled with lemon trees, no?
samoca is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 08:40 PM
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I'm with Tulip as far as preferring Aix-en-Provence to Marseilles. Someone else will know more about the train connections, but it's my impression that Aix is on the main line. You might also consider Avignon.

The Villa Kerylos was one of the highlights of our trip a few years ago, with the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild a close second.
Iwan2go is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 12:24 AM
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Thankfully this area has just superb public transport, you can nip up and down the coast for a 1 Euro bus fare and the rail network is fast and generally runs on time. The only difficult place to get to without a car, as Tulips says, is St Tropez. It's a really lovely place to visit but the trip in, particularly if you're short on time, almost renders it not worth visiting, almost. Nice would be a super base. It's one of the largest cities in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (except Marseilles) so it's a transport hub. You can easily day trip to Cannes, Antibes, Monaco as well as smaller towns like Villefranche-sur-mer and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. September might be a touch late to catch the lavender fields unfortunately Aline, usually they're in bloom until late July/early August but you could be lucky!
rek is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Thanks for pointing out my error See Dee i was confusing Antibes and Cap Ferrat which makes no sense!
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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Yes Samoca, the lemon is everpresent in Menton. They even have an annual festival dedicated to it, with floats made entirely from lemons! And of course limoncello is a popular drink, both in Menton and in Ventimiglia.

A walk along the Menton seafront to the parkland at the heads alongside Menton's old town (where there's a market on Sunday mornings) is an experience to remember!
twoflower is offline  
Apr 15th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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Hello twoflower, samoca, Iwan2go, rek and welltraveledbrit. Thank you so much for the tips. Will look up the train route to see if Aix is in it and check out Menton and its Sunday market too. Yeah, I knew the lavender fields would probably be gone by the time I got there. However, that would be a good excuse to go back in the future Thought of hiring some day trips from the big towns, which might help optimize the time, as, at the moment, all I could spare was 2 full days for Nice and 3 full days for Marseille. Do you think it a good idea to take the customized day trips or it would be better to go to the several places by my own, like you all seem to have done?
AlineWyllie is offline  
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