ladies in Cannes

Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 04:07 AM
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ladies in Cannes

4 50 year old females spending a week in the Cannes France area in early March. We are healthy fun-loving - enjoy outdoor activities, festivals, unique sites, fun bars. How much French do we need? Definitely want to see Monaco. What's the best way to get around?
Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:45 AM
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IMHO for 4 people the best way to get around is by car. (And you do realize that March is off season and will still be quite chilly - you can do lots of walking - but any sort of beach/water activities are out of the question unless you're a polar bear.)

You won;t need any French right on the coast - the further inland you go and the smaller the town the more it will help - but you can get by with a smattering.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 08:25 AM
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I would agree that a car for 4 will give you the most flexibility, especially to get up into the hills. But you could manage with a combination of train/bus. There's a train that runs mostly along the coast from which you can get to Monaco. Everyone wants to go there (including me) but most agree it's not as wonderful as some of the other places.

Antibes, Biot, St. Paul de Vence, Eze (near Monaco), Nice, Cap Ferrat (make sure you go to Villa Ephrussi) are some of my favorite places in the area.

Cannes is a larger, more modern city but still has some interesting nooks and crannies. Here's a link to a good website for the area. I'm putting you on the page for Cannes but you can use the tabs on the left to navigate to other towns/villages.

As a last thought, you could decide to rent a car only for part of your stay using the train for the rest. A trip to Monaco by train is not difficult and the scenery on the train from Nice to Monaco is stunning.

One word of advice, if you do rent a car, don't get one that's too big as it could be a problem on smaller roads.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 08:36 AM
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Just above Cannes, the village of Mougins has lots of nice restaurants. At La Terrasse, you have a beautiful view over Cannes. Same view, but less pricey is Les Muscadins (pizza).

Do rent a car. It's not hard to drive around there, and would not be too busy in March. In Monaco there's a huge car park just below the old city.

If you like walking, do the path around Cap d'Antibes. There were some great pictures on the Fodor's home page not long ago.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 12:20 PM
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A car gives you the liberty to go when you want, where, and for how long. Between four, the price even for an automatic (unless more than one of you can drive standard) won't cost that much. Even with the price of petrol, those European cars do much better on mileage than what you're familiar at home. And if renting for a week, you get a better rate than for a few days.

However, with four women with four bags and probably extra tote bags, but sure whatever you rent has sufficient trunk space. Wouldn't want to be at the Nice airport, picking up the car and you have to pack a bag or two on the hood! LOL!

But as mentioned above, too large a car is difficult to park in many towns, though the roads are fine even for a mid-size vehicle; we saw loads of this all over the Cote d'Azur.

Do check whether your hotel has parking and whether it is included or an additional fee which can be $20+ overnight. Street parking is a challenge as there are meters and particular hours when you have to pay. And in the morning cars have to be moved for street cleaning.

Besides the Peage (super highway with tolls) there are three roads that run across the Cote - the Grande Corniche, the Moyene (middle) and the Base... all easy enough to drive... though some of the hairpins on the Grande can be heart-stopping. Stick with the Moyene or Base as these get you to most small towns.

Besides the big parking garage beneath the Old Town in Monaco there are others throughout Monte Carlo. Walking once here is the best, as it is most everywhere in the area.

Get a good Michelin map of the area and you should be okay getting around.

March will still be chilly, but nice. Few crowds, but do check when the Easter holiday comes out and when schools our out in France as residents travel during school holidays.

In this part of France, you need little if any French for conversing, but it does help with menus and road signs. High school French or a phrase book is more than sufficient. Go for it!

Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 02:59 PM
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Thank you so much for your very practical advice. I learned more from all of you than I did in 2 hours of reading tour books.
Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:02 PM
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Rent a Renault Scenic from AutoEurope--I wish we could buy one here! It's a cross between a small minivan and an SUV and should hold all of you and your luggage in comfort.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:08 PM
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Great thread. Marking to use in my trip in June.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 04:47 PM
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you really don't need a car if you merely wish to explore the coastal towns and villages as they are very well served by train. i would only consider a car if i had more than a week and would want to go further afield.

Cannes and Monaco are two of my least favourite places on the coast. they do not live up to their fabulous reputations for the average visitor. IMO Nice would be the best base considering your requirements.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:11 PM
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My husband and I were in France last September and spent a week based in Cannes. A great hotel is the Hotel Splendid; super location a 5 minute walk from the Film Festival Building. Right on the major shopping street the Rue D'Antibes (although the street changes name right at that corner). You're near the Marche Forville which has a brocante market Mondays and a regular produce market the rest of the week. Check out their web site They were always very prompt in answering e-mails. They usually quote you a price including the breakfast which, although very nice, is quite expensive (16 euros/person/day). But many of the rooms have a kitchenette so it's quite easy to do a pastries/juice/fruit breakfast too.

One vacation we rented a car but traffic was horrendous at times though it was in July. Last trip we rented for one day and drove up into the country above Cannes. For something like 11 euros you can get a "Carte Isabelle" good for 1 day of unlimited use on the coastal trains. Just pick up a schedule at the train station and you're all set. We went to Monaco, Menton, Nice, Antibes and even into Ventimiglia in Italy. It was fast and easy and allowed my husband (the driver) to enjoy the scenery without having to watch the roads. If you get a copy of Time Out South of France it detailed the ease of using the trains. It also told how far it was from the station to the heart of each city; usually a 10 minute walk.
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Old Jan 4th, 2006, 01:15 PM
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I always recomend a visit to Gourdon :

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