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Getting around and sight seeing in Cote D' Azur

Getting around and sight seeing in Cote D' Azur

Old Dec 7th, 2014, 08:26 PM
  #1  
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Getting around and sight seeing in Cote D' Azur

We are a family of 4 planning a 35 days road trip in France in May June 2015.
We will be coming from Annecy and proceeding to St Remy area in Luberon.
We have 4 nights stay in Coted'Azur out of which most of the 1st day will go in a scenic road journey may be from Sisteron area.
As I go on researching each part, I have these questions.

1. We will be staying in an sea facing apartment on the corniche at Nice.. Another option is an apartment in Antebes. Nice is a big city, but has a lot to see, so don't know if that's is the right choice as a base to explore the area.

2. Should we keep the car in the hotel and see the entire riviera by public transport? or should we park the car in each place and walk around or use local public transport?
That would be my choice if that is practical.

3. Where to park in that case at a) Nice b) Antebes c) Eze d) Menton
and also on our way to Luberon, i intend to visit Marseilles and Casis. Where to park at these 2 places?

4. On a long journey from any place A to B, how risky is it to keep all the luggage in the boot of a parked car and go for sightseeing? For short day trips I am not worried.

5. Suggestions on how best to spend 3.5 days n 4 nights there., what to see and what mode of transport for it?

Please help
Paragkash is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 01:06 AM
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1. Nice is a great place; to visit and as a base for visiting other places. Antibes is good too; much smaller, and outside of the holiday period much quiter. Nice has activity the whole year, as it is less dependend on tourism. Which place is better? Depends on what you are looking for; big city or small town?

2. First check if your appartment has parking. If not, it can be expensive to park in Nice, as well as Antibes.
I always drive in that area; finding parking is easy, but it's almost never free. With a car you can easily visit the hilltown villages as well.

3. Nice; plenty of parking garages. Antibes has a large new underground parking right at the edge of town and parking next to the port.
Menton also has parking garages in the centre of town. Look this up online before visiting each city.

4. Make sure your rental has a boot where you can put your luggage without it being seen. Don't leave anything in sight.

5. There is so much to see, impossible to recommend.
Tulips is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 01:25 AM
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Try to park your car with the trunk against a wall, that way no one can get in it, or at least it will be more difficult. Leaving things in a car in France is risky, whether visible or not, esp if you are going sightseeing and leaving the car unattended. If you have to do it, make sure you take your valuables with you but be careful not to get pickpocketed. Maybe find somewhere more central to stay on the Cote d'Azur, so you can avoid taking luggage with you.
Odin is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 01:49 AM
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If you are getting a car for that period of time and using a purchase-buy back service such as Open Europe, you will have a red short term license plate on your car. In that case, it is advisable not to leave to travel with luggage in the boot, possible, because of the obvious tourist nature of the red plate.

That is not a problem at a highway stop, but we were twice targeted in open air city parking areas when last we had a leased car. Both attempts failed, but damaged the car.
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Old Dec 8th, 2014, 04:37 AM
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Leaving luggage in the car should be safe as long as you follow these rules:

Be sure the locks on the car work reliably before you leave the rental office

Everything must be in the trunk - leave nothing (not even map or book or whatever) visible inside the car.

Load everything into the trunk when you leave for the day - do not carry things in the car and put them in the trunk where you park.

Wherever possible park tail against a wall or tree or other solid object - making it harder for anyone to get to the trunk

If possible park where there is some foot traffic rather than in a deserted area

We have followed these rules traveling all over europe on numerous road trips - including the riviera - and have never had a problem
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Old Dec 8th, 2014, 07:14 AM
  #6  
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Thanks everyone for valuable advice.
Tulips, I am getting a hotel which will charge me 13 euros a day for car park. Possible Antebes hotel has free parking. Generally, I prefer small towns, but big cities are fun sometimes. I am staying in Gites in most of the smaller villages so nice can be a change. Am yet thinking.
I would love to park in each of the cities or town and walk around. Good to know that parking is easy to find at a cost.

odin, jeff801, nytraveller- thanks for the parking advice. i am planning to rent a car rather than Purchase buy back service, as i am not getting a better deal on it for 31 days.
Shall take care about the stuff in the car.

Can anyone suggest how to spend 3.5 days to get the best out of it.
Paragkash is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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I think I've already sent you my 35 page itinerary for the Cote d'Azur & Provence. We've spend a combined 40 weeks vacationing in these regions. Plenty of suggested things to do for 3.5 days in the itinerary. If for some reason you don't have it, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach a copy to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
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Old Dec 8th, 2014, 07:59 AM
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We stayed in Nice and visited Antibes by train for a day-trip. We loved Antibes, but it is very small, and we would have been bored staying there.

Nice did not feel like a "big city" to us. More a very large town. You say your hotel is on the corniche, but I wonder if you mean it's on the promenade? Which would be a good location, because you can stretch your legs and walk the promenade at all hours.

Visiting the Villa and Jardin Ephrussi de Rothschild is interesting, especially walking through the gardens. You can get there easily by city bus, and then walk down the hill to the tiny town of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. You can take the city bus back into Nice from there.
http://www.villa-ephrussi.com/en/home
Tabernash2 is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 08:19 AM
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BTW, here are the restaurants where we ate dinners in Nice:

Acchiardo, at 38 rue Droite in Vieux Nice.
Really friendly and attentive service, very quaint and casual atmosphere, with a good menu. Inexpensive.

***Restaurant la Tapenada, 6 rue St. Reparate and had a very nice dinner. (Highly recommend.)

Pasta Basta, in old Nice. It was a nice meal, although very basic and not extraordinary. Good prices and decent service.


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Old Dec 8th, 2014, 08:48 AM
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The Promenade des Anglais in Nice is very long; the closer you are to Vieux Nice, the better; but harder to park too.

You say May/June; if you are there in May check the dates for the Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix. These may have an impact on your sightseeing.
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Old Dec 8th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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There is little practical difference between driving to a place, parking, walking around, and then leaving, versus taking public transportation to a place, walking around, and then leaving. Use the car only if the places you want to see are not accessible by public transportation. The coastal towns are easily reachable by public transportation. You may want a car for some trips into the interior, depending on what you want to see.
Caliban is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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We were in Nice during the Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival in late May. Nice was mobbed,hotels full, restaurants packed, so avoid those dates.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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Use of a car vs public transportation.

We've spent 20 weeks on the Cote d'Azur. Most recently, 2 weeks in Nice this past June.

- We rented a car for the second week we were there, purchased a weekly parking pass from a garage a bock from us, and took many day-trips into the Nice Hinterland behind Nice.

- We visited the coastal villages & sites east of us (Menton, Monte-Carlo if we wanted to - but didn't, Villa and Jardin Ephrussi de Rothschild, etc) by bus. The ride was very scenic. We took lots of pictures from the bus.

- We visited the cities & sites west of us (Antibes, Cannes - if we wanted to - but we didn't) by train. A bus ride would have taken more time & it is not a scenic drive).

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 17th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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We shall be staying at JUAN LES PINS apartment. It has a free parking.
Have read all your suggestions and Stu's reports.
Am thinking of visiting
Day 1- shall see Vence, Route Napolean and reach by 7pm
Day 2- Nice by bus
Day 3- Menton and Eze by car- may not try the Grand Prix track.
Day 4- St. Tropez etc west of JLP by Car
Day 5- Juan Les Pins and Antebes on foot
Paragkash is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2015, 05:25 AM
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Dear Fodorites, I am back from a wonderful road trip in France.
Shall write a detailed report soon. But I must complete this thread with my own feedback.
We traveled to all the places in Cote-d-Azur by car.
We found it very convenient.
1. Travelling from Annecy/ Doussard in the French Alps to Juan Les Pins on the riviera by non toll road was very rewarding.
We saw Les Mees rock formation near Grenoble, traveled on Route Napoleon, Route de Gentelly which was quite thrilling. We also visited Saint Paul De Vence, which was one of the best villages in France. Could get free parking just outside village.

2. Visited Menton, Ventimiglo, Monaco, Montecarlo by a non toll road from Juan les Pins. Very nice views of the coast from the mountain road. There are some places for photo stops en route. Visited Eze on the way back. Loved the village. Could get pay and park just at the entrance outside the village. We needed 2 hours for the visit.

3. We visited Saint Raphael and Saint Tropez by non-toll road. road till saint raphael was a mountain road, not particularly scenic. Parked at St. Raphael in a pay and park near the beach. Road after saint maxime goes all along the scenic Azure blue coast. St. Tropez was the picture post card village that can represent the Cote De Azure the best. One must stay there for a couple of nights. We could park in a pay and park near the quay.

4. We drove to Nice via non-toll road and parked in an underground pay and park close to the centre for 4 hours for 10 Euros. It was convenient with GPS.

5. Drove and parked near the beach at Antibes in a pay-and-park and walked the old town and beach.

6. Drove to Cassis and parked near the quay again in a pay and park. Took the boat ride to 3 Calanques, which I found a bit overrated. I would have loved to laze around on the beach in the Calanque right next to the parking lot.

Thanks everyone for all the efforts and advice. I hope this thread helps someone in future.
Paragkash is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2015, 06:22 AM
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Great report, nice to see you had fun.
I'm a fan of the region but wasn't on fodor at the time - seems you made a very nice trip.
Namaste (I suppose you're Indian or neighbour...).
pariswat is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2015, 10:01 AM
  #17  
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Thanks Pariswat. Yes, I am from Mumbai India..
Paragkash is offline  
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