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Mougins or Grasse for base in Cote d'Azur?

Mougins or Grasse for base in Cote d'Azur?

Jan 7th, 2004, 01:57 PM
  #1  
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Mougins or Grasse for base in Cote d'Azur?

We are thinking of adding a second base for a 9-day trip to Cote d'Azur.

We are considering both Mougins Village - Les Muscadins - right in the old village -
http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/h.../gb/index.html

or Grasse - Bastide Saint Antoine -
http://www.jacques-chibois.com/

Our other base is St. Paul de Vence, at Le Saint Paul.

I am wondering if these 2 towns are too close to St. Paul to warrant as another base, or if we even need 2 (we thought of it only because others suggested it). We really are set on staying in St. Paul at Le Saint Paul, but if Grasse/Mougins don't make sense, would welcome alternatives. Our top price is @ 350E per night.

Also wondering what there is to see/do in Grasse or Mougins to keep us occupied at night. Both of these places have restaurants, so we could eat there.
wanderer is offline  
Jan 7th, 2004, 02:36 PM
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I just returned to the US after 3 years living in France and was often in the south on business and also went there a number of times with friends-personally I think that Mougins and Grasse are a bit too close and in some ways too similar to St. Paul to make a second base-Mougins is great to visit and of course to make as a point of destination to go to eat-but I think you have chosen the nicest of the 3 places to stay with St Paul. In terms of other possible 2nd bases, a lot depends on your transport and how far you might want/be willing to drive or take the train-if I had a car, then I might pick a "different part" of the cote d'Azur or sneak into Provence somewhere like St. Remy........or perhaps change flavors a bit from the hills/village base to somewhere on the coast like St. Jean Cap Ferrat or a larger town if that interests you such as going to stay in the old part of Nice, Antibes or Cannes......
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Jan 7th, 2004, 03:30 PM
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jpie -
I like your idea of a coastal town as a possible 2nd base.

We will have a car, and our furthest destination will be St. Tropez. I wanted to spend a night there, but my husband does not want to spend just 1 night somewhere - he thinks it's a hassle - and staying there to drive elsewhere on the Cote makes not sense.

Do you have any recommendations given our budget for a coastal place to stay? We like smaller, intimate places, with charm and character, not big hotels. We also like something a bit "chic", not like a Best Western atmosphere. Alot of people seem to like the Welcome Hotel in Villefrance, but to me it seems like a Best Western atmosphere. My husband also wants to stay in smaller towns, not anything big or glitzy - Cannes does not appeal....

I realize rates are extremely high on the coast, so we may not be able to do this, but if you know of anything under 350K (preferably @ 300K) that fits our criteria, let me know. We like to be able to get out at night and walk to restaurants, or to stay at a place with a restaurant, so we are not driving at night.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 03:41 PM
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Wanderer, we've only been to the Cote d'Azur three times.
Our first trip we stayed in St. Jean Cap Ferrat at La Voile d'Or, which was wonderful! I'm just not certain what they charge today, but there may be other places in the village which are more reasonable. We loved St. Jean Cap Ferrat....many restaurants to walk to, lots to see within short driving distance, beautiful location. My husband ran into Ivana Trump there.
We've also stayed in Tourettes sur Loup and at Le Hameau just outside St. Paul de Vence. We visited Grasse (made perfume at Galimard) but would never stay there...not enough in the way of good restaurants and not good traffic-wise.
We've loved all of our stays there and I would think that staying in St Paul de Vence and St Jean Cap Ferrat, while not geographically that far apart, would give you two totally different experiences on your trip...both wonderful!
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Jan 7th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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I hit reply too soon...basically I think some time in the hills and time on the coast would be a nice balance.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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I had read about Voile d'Or in Karen Brown guide, but it is way expensive, as we are traveling in high season (May).

Someone mentioned to me La Perouse in Old Nice, but it seems it was once a Best Western or some motel/hotel chain that has just been refurbished and not sure it would be what we were looking for.

St. jean sounds nice. I've also read that Anitibes is supposed to be nice.
Any more hotel suggestions greatly appreciated. We're looking for a place with atmosphere/smbience like Le Yacca and La Ponche in St. Tropez, but on the Eastern side - St. Jean, Antibes, etc.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 04:52 PM
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This is a quick test--I haven't been able to post all day.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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Finally!

I think the idea of staying near the sea is a good one, and I would heartily recommend the Hotel La Perouse in Nice. It's at the east end of the Promenade des Anglais, just before the road bends toward the old port, and is a very charming place. Dufy lived and worked here, and from several areas of the hotel you can see exactly the scenes that he painted. A nice room with ocean view and balcony or terrace would cost about $300. There is a pool, a large, shaded patio, and a sundeck with spa. The hotel is only a 5-minute stroll from the Cours Saleya, where the big market is held (don't miss the flowers!), and the twisting streets of Vieux Nice--where evenings are lively, with varied entertainment to be found.

We have friends who live quite near Grasse and know it well, and I wouldn't choose it as a base. Getting up into the town can be difficult with or without traffic, and our friends tell me that of night life there is little.

Mougins is a lovely spot, but again there isn't much going on at night--fine restaurants, art galleries, but not a lot else. If you should find yourself there at mealtime, try Le Feu Follet, our favorite in the area--we've eaten there half a dozen times at least and have always been more than pleased. It's the restaurant we always take our friends to, and they think it's wonderful.

The La Perouse used to be associated with Best Western, but in France BW's aren't similar chain-like hotels but are individually owned and operated; the BW element is just for the reservations network. We stayed at the La Perouse when it was still a BW and found it absolutely delightful; now, judging from the photos, it is even more so. We have reservations there in September, and it fills up very fast.

If you want something quite different, there's Le Meridien, just down the Promenade. Rooms there are $300+; the view is nice, the rooms are attractive, but there's a certain sameness about it all, while the La Perouse is very individual.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 05:06 PM
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I stayed years ago at La Perouse and loved it. This year we stayed at the Colombe D'Or in St-Paul-De-Vence. That was special, but I have read excellent reviews about St. Antoine. The New York Times gave it a nice write-up.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 06:36 PM
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What about Echvre d'Or in Eze, Cagnard in Cagnes sur Mer, or Reserve in Beaulieu? According to Karen Brown, they have some "inexpensive" rooms (relatively speaking).

I also wondered about Menton, as it seems like it would be cheaper, but can find nothing there, and someone called it the "Ft. Lauderdale of the Coted'Azur" - not very appealing...
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Jan 7th, 2004, 08:20 PM
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Le Chevre d'Or is very expensive, as is La Reserve. We stayed at Le Cagnard and were underwhelmed; it's rather old fashioned in feel, and the parking is hideously difficult because of the hotel's location.

You're going in May, right? I think you're just going to have to bite the bullet and get a reservation somewhere soon, as you will be arriving at the start of may will already be booked.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 08:36 PM
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Something in the post didn't make it through--it should say

"somewhere soon, as many of the good places may well already be full."

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Jan 7th, 2004, 11:02 PM
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If you are considering a hotel on the coast, have a look at Hotel Imperial Garoupe. It's a lovely small hotel, on the Plage de la Garoupe, at Cap d'Antibes.
Les Muscadins in Mougins looks very nice, although I haven't stayed there. The restaurant has gone a bit downhill since chef Noel Mantel left, but there are plenty of other dining options there.
St Paul and Mougins are really not that far apart. And St Tropez is easy enough to do on a day trip; it will probably take you an hour and 15 minutes to get there from Mougins(although I have to admit that it once took me 3 hours to get to St Tropez from Cagnes).
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Jan 8th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Greetings--We stayed in Mougins for about a week this past May and liked it very much. One of the good things about its location is it right off the autoroute and a small chic town at the same time. St. Paul will require a trip to the main road each time, not a big deal but your trips to further locations might work better from there. We found the traffic in the St. Tropez direction to be horrendous, possibly as a result of the Cannes Film Festival which takes place for 2 weeks in May. You might consider your St. Paul time offset with a coastal time closer to Cassis--which is very picturesque.

It is worth your time to check on the Film Festival dates and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix--they will affect your mobility on the road.
RobynFrance is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 02:08 PM
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Thanks to everyone who has helped. I think we will explore some hotels on the coast. Anyone have input on which towns in particular might be nice spots - shops, restaurants, etc.

Again, we like low-key, no glitz or glamour, and prefer smaller boutique type hotels.

We actually are going in May 2005 - but have frequent flier miles, so have to plan way ahead. I am wondering now with all going on in May if we would be best to move back into April. I think some of the prices are lower then, but we are most concerned with 2 things 1) Weather - we want to avoid rainy months and 2) Traffice - we don't want to be caught in bumper-to-bumper for our whole trip.

Can anyone advise what the weather is like in April and suggest some towns for us to look at? (I think St. Jean was mentioned as nice with things to do)
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Jan 8th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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For a coast-side hotel I can recommend the ***Versailles in Villefranche sur Mer. Private balconies with lovely views of the harbor.
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Jan 8th, 2004, 06:22 PM
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Thanks, will check it out. One thing we definitely want if we can swing it is a balcony. If we are going to spend some time on the coast, we'd like to experience the view with a balcony to sit out on in our room.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 03:01 AM
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wanderer, impossible to predict the weather. This year in April it was so cold we had to go out and buy sweaters. Two years ago we went in April, and could swim outside.
Do have a look at the Imperial Garoupe hotel. It is small, some rooms have balconies (or ground floor on the courtyard).
As for traffic, the times we were there in April it was not a problem, except when driving into St Tropez on a market day.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 03:54 AM
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Yes, realize cannot predict weather, just curious how April, May and June compare weather-wise and traffic-wise - i.e. is it usually more rainy in April than May?

We don't care about going to the beach or swimming, so it does not need to be that warm - sweaters would be fine - but we're trying to pick the least-rainy month of the 3 that is not a nightmare traffic-wise.
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Jan 9th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Provence has been known to have snow in early May. Outside of the summer months, you really can't plan on any particular kind of weather. So I would make up a list of things to do if the weather should be bad.
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