Honeymoon to Cote D'Azur Ideas

Old Jul 28th, 2023, 07:23 AM
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Honeymoon to Cote D'Azur Ideas

Hello. My Fiancé and I are planning on going to the Cote D'Azur area for our Honeymoon next September / early October (2024). This will be our first time travelling internationally together, and her first time to Europe. We are looking to spend about a week there and plan to fly into Nice (also could fly into CDG and take train to Nice, which would be a fun way to start the trip and also might allow for more award point travel).

Because it will be her first time to Europe, we are open to doing a variety of things, however because it is a honeymoon we are looking for a more relaxed itinerary than a packed one. Although, we would love to travel to Monaco, Villefranche, the Calanques, and other places. Even though we are lucky enough to be able to travel to Europe, we did just graduate college and aren't looking to cut costs at every turn, but would prefer a more budget friendly trip. Here are some of my questions:
- What weather should we be expecting if we were to be in the French Riviera somewhere in September / October?
- What are some good ways to travel around the area (i.e. public transportation, or renting a car)?
- What are more local things to do / activities in the city of Nice?
- If we were to do a few day trips, what places would be most worth our time?
- Any other advice for two younger travelers in Europe would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 08:42 AM
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I feel I should start by congratulating you but then to ask why on earth the Cote d'Azur? What are you looking to do together? Have you considered some nicer places in Spain, Portugal or Italy?
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
I feel I should start by congratulating you but then to ask why on earth the Cote d'Azur? What are you looking to do together? Have you considered some nicer places in Spain, Portugal or Italy?
She has always talked about going there, and is in love with the French Riviera vibe. I have been to Paris and the Alps but would love to experience it as well.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 08:52 AM
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The calanques are not at all on the Côte d'Azur but between Marseille and Cassis. Marseille would be a brilliant place for a honeymoon and it would be far more budget friendly than the Côte d'Azur, which is for silver haired dowagers.

And places like Monaco are only for high rollers in any case.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by kerouac
The calanques are not at all on the Côte d'Azur but between Marseille and Cassis. Marseille would be a brilliant place for a honeymoon and it would be far more budget friendly than the Côte d'Azur, which is for silver haired dowagers.

And places like Monaco are only for high rollers in any case.
We will definitely keep that in mind. In all honesty we are just beginning travel plans at the moment.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 09:11 AM
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"Hello. My Fiancé and I are planning on going to the Cote D'Azur area for our Honeymoon next September / early October (2024). This will be our first time travelling internationally together, and her first time to Europe. We are looking to spend about a week there and plan to fly into Nice (also could fly into CDG and take train to Nice, which would be a fun way to start the trip and also might allow for more award point travel)."

Not sure where you will flying from but we just booked award travel on Air France from Seattle and we found that while many of the non-stop flights going to/from SEA to CDG were VERY high for Premium Comfort class (one step up from Coach) like 250K per ticket. But when we searched tickets straight through from Seattle to Bordeaux or on our return flight from Montpellier to Seattle we were able to book award tickets for as little as 40,000 per person for Premium class, and coach had tickets from 20-30K each depending on the destination.

So when you are checking your award possibilities, be sure to compare flying in and out from CDG to booking all the way through to Nice-you could save a lot of points. This same little "trick" also worked on the KLM site but not so much on Delta even though they are all three part of the Flying Blue family. For some reason the Delta awards consistently seem to be very high. Given your dates, you won't be able to check this out until 1 year before you fly, so later this fall, but we were happily
surprised to be able to get our tickets with such low reward points. Also, Air France uses dynamic pricing so it is helpful to check daily for the time period you are interested in, and I also was able to get the lower priced awards to come by clearing my cache on my browser, so that might also help if you are checking the site a lot.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 01:26 PM
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Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. The weather in the Cote d"Azur in late September to October can occasionally get rain (especially in 2H October), but the weather is usually excellent. The peak heat of the summer is past and the crowds have thinned out. The popularity continues to grow, with it being one of the most popular destinations in Europe during the summer.

The local hangouts that attract a younger crowd include the Port (especially Bonaparte/Place du Pin) and the Old Town (with the tourists there as well). The market at Liberation is known as the locals market, and quarter is the latest hot neighborhood. While the Calanques are beautiful, they are far for a day trip. If you like tall cliffs and sheltered bays, go to Eze (Village), Mala Beach or Ste Marguerite island. In between is Saint Tropez -- that has once again become a club hotspot on the European party circuit. That will have ended by mid September (by October, beach clubs will largely be closed up and down the coast, except at major hotels. In Nice, a few places are open nearly year-round, at least the beach restos).

You may enjoy a trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat. The other day trips depend on your interests. You can also day trip into Italy. Most key things can reached by tram, bus or ferry. There are some places where a car is better.

Nice has seen a increase in younger residents among the newcomers the last ten years, and accelerated by the pandemic, which has spurred growth.. Remote working, infrastructure improvements and economic growth has caused a demographic shift among the newcomers (recent article). However, towns like Cannes and Menton tend to be older, and quieter.

Last edited by gooster; Jul 28th, 2023 at 01:33 PM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 01:39 PM
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Rent a cr and rent a gite near but not on the coast, like something in that area:


If you stay on the coast, train travel is very serviceable, but inland travel to places like Vence require strict timing. One day we left Nice around 10, having missed an earlier bus, and did not get to Saint-Paul de Vence uintil lunch time when our destination, the Fondation Maeght, was closed. Never got to Vence a few kilometers up the road. Car travel to see the inland villages such as Tourette-sur-Loup is much more efficient:


And here is my album of the Côte d'Azur. Most of the photos are geotagged which might help if planning a day's outing to several towns:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmnMCCar

Last edited by Michael; Jul 28th, 2023 at 01:42 PM.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 02:01 PM
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The French Riviera is a place dreams are made of. Driving around the picturesque towns, Nice, Eze, St. Paul de Vence,
Avignon, Antibes, Aix en Provence, Cap Ferrat, and even Monaco will be memorable.
We did so several times through the years in September, lovely weather. The last time was beginning of November 2019 and the weather was lovely, lucky for us.

Just noticed Tourette-sur-Loup mentioned above. Another wonderful hill town.

Are there tourists there? Of course, because it’s the place to be. If you want no tourists drive way inland to plain, simple villages, but you better speak French.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 02:53 PM
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Would recommend taking the TGV train directly from CDG (only one a day I believe), so relaxing, and lovely way to snooze and take in the countryside. To fly back to the States from Nice usually requires a tight connection in Brussels, which we opted not to do. In Nice check the hotel La Perouse overlooking the Med. Just renovated over this winter. Were there 30 yrs ago and again just last October. Service wonderful and lovely lounge and restaurant, patio, pool. Quiet, no traffic heard, avoid hotels along the strip (the Negresco being one). Great location, built into a cliff so lots of nooks and crannys in floorplans, old town Nice just a block away. Plenty of art in Nice: Chagall, Picasso. You can take trains up and down the coast, but being we had been there twice before, we just rented a car for one day for St. Paul de Vence. Found the Maeght in St. P de V actually disappointing due to the current exhibit. But do treat yourselves to lunch or dinner or a night at La Colombe d'Or, probably the most famous inn and restaurant on the Riviera. You need a car to get there, only 20-30 min ride from hotel. First week in October was cooler than we'd thought, didnt need to wear shorts or the sundresses I packed. We drove to Eze (do not miss), Ville Franche, Monaco to the east, and out to Cannes, St. Tropez, Antibes to the west. The Calanques are lovely but way west near Marseilles. Would not consider honeymoon in Marseilles frankly. I loved it 30 years ago and loved it this past Fall too. Meanwhile pickup the lovely, colorful book: Travels Through the French Riviera, An Artists Guide by Virginia Johnson. Good advice and a beautiful book.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 03:26 PM
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Many congratulations. The Côté D’Azur is lovely during the shoulder period, but as mentioned can be a bit wet later in October. Nice is a large city (5th largest in France), yet still delightful and easy to use as a base to explore the coastal area by bus and train. If you are looking for for something smaller then you could consider Antibes, Villefranche, Menton. You might find it helpful to look at hotels in several places and see where appeals.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by uktravelover
Many congratulations. The Côté D’Azur is lovely during the shoulder period, but as mentioned can be a bit wet later in October. Nice is a large city (5th largest in France), yet still delightful and easy to use as a base to explore the coastal area by bus and train. If you are looking for for something smaller then you could consider Antibes, Villefranche, Menton. You might find it helpful to look at hotels in several places and see where appeals.
Just a thought, the front at Nice has some great bicycle lanes and going west gives access to some lovely safe cycling areas.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 04:50 AM
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Nice is the biggest city, easiest place to arrive, from the airport the tram to the city is cheap and close. Taxis are expensive down there. I would check flights to both CDG and NCE. I don't think the prices will be too different and the train ride isn't worth the time.

Nice will give you museums, transport links, restaurant choices and a nice beachfront promenade, as well as Castle Hill for great views down the coast.

Also great if you want to take some organized tours where you can take a coach tour that will stop in Eze and then onwards to Monaco. You can also go to these places by public transportation but the tours aren't that expensive, about $50 a person and it's faster than trying to time bus and train links.

There are also e-bike tours that will lead you to some hills with views down overlooking St. Jean Cap Ferrat, a peninsula where billionaires have villas. But there's a great coastal hike on the coast of that peninsula which is very scenic if you get a nice clear day.

I think for a first-time visit, Nice makes sense as a base. For people who've been before, staying on Villefranche sur Mer or Antibes or some other towns along the coast is also a great experience.

Another great destination, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a former villa turned into a museum and garden you can visit. The villa is not much but the garden on a sunny day, you have coastal views on both sides.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 08:06 AM
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I love the Cote d'Azur. It's a magnificent area. Congratulations!
I would not stay in Nice. Or do day trips. You need to get out of cities and rent a car and explore. That way you go at your own pace. There are castles, cliffs, vineyards, forts, magnificent coastline plus it's a very important area for Modern Art.

I adore Menton. The old town is the color of lemons and oranges. And the fort contains a sublime collection of Jean Cocteau. Villefranche is a must for the rue obscure. Hauts de Cagnes sur Mer, Eze, Roquebrune, St Paul de Vence, these are among the many highlights. So many great nooks and crannies to explore.

Just to add, I see in the Flickr album by Michael that he visited the Salle des Mariages in Menton, designed by Cocteau. It's a marvelous space, and not many people seem to know about it.

Last edited by shelemm; Jul 29th, 2023 at 08:26 AM.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 09:01 AM
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Nice is nice if that's where you want to go. You do not need to add to your expenses by renting a car and "exploring;" That will happen on your next trip when you have a better idea of new things that you want to see. Mature experts here will try to send you absolutely everywhere that they love. I really doubt that any of them will tell you that they saw these places on their first (budget) trip.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by kerouac
Nice is nice if that's where you want to go. You do not need to add to your expenses by renting a car and "exploring;" That will happen on your next trip when you have a better idea of new things that you want to see. Mature experts here will try to send you absolutely everywhere that they love. I really doubt that any of them will tell you that they saw these places on their first (budget) trip.
Are you recommending a week in Nice, and exclusively Nice? I think that they will get bored. The issue is what do thy want to do during that week? If sticking to the coast, public transportation will do. But most anything away from the coast will require a car to avoid the empty times when waiting for a bus. But if they choose to have a car, I think that staying outside Nice would be much more pleasant.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 11:42 AM
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That is not at all what I am recommending. I would be bored in Nice too after a couple of days. My recommendation is to go to Marseille instead, but I will not go as far as to advise not to go to the Côte d'Azur at all. That would be presumptuous.

The OP said they wanted a "budget friendly" trip which is why I recommended to avoid renting a car. They are only planning to be in the south of France for a week, and if you have never seen a city like Marseille or Nice, I feel it would be foolish to immediately jump into a car to go elsewhere.

For local excursions, such as the Monaco obsession that so many people have, the commuter train goes there regularly in just a few minutes.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 02:39 PM
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Congratulations! The Côte d’Azur will be a wonderful place for a honeymoon. We took a bus for €1 from Nice to Menton. It’s probably more now, but I bet it’s still a good deal. Trains are great for getting around the coast, too.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 10:31 PM
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I love the South of France in September. Juan les Pins is my favorite place to base myself, as it still has the soft white sands (unlike Nice) and is a very short bus or train ride to Antibes. Also, easy to find street parking in September if you have a car.

Plage des Pirates is our personal favorite private beach to lay out and swim. A short drive to Golfe-Juan is great for more beautiful beaches and some excellent dining on the water.

Short train trip to Cannes.
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Old Jul 30th, 2023, 02:49 AM
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One of the joys of being in Nice is that you can get to other places by bus or train very easily and it is an inexpensive way to explore the Côte d’Azur. Before Covid I think I paid less than €2 for the bus from Nice to Menton and was able to enjoy lovely views. I have used public transport to get to Antibes, Cannes, Eze, Monaco, Saint Paul de Venice, Ventimiglia, Villefranche, etc. without any problems.

I have also done it by car but only when I have been driving from the UK, so don’t think that a rental car or organised tours are needed. Just buy a good guidebook for the area and you will thoroughly enjoy going places together.
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