Need Itin. Help- French Riviera..

Old Jun 25th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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Need Itin. Help- French Riviera..

Hi everyone- getting a bit overwhelmed with my planning so am going to defer to the experts on this one........

My husband and I (mid-thirties) have very little time for this year's vacation. We want to relax as much as possible.. but there are also some definate things we want to do...We get into Nice around 4pm via plane on Friday- 8/25

We are staying at a hotel in Nice as a base.. We only have 2 full days in the area- Saturday and Sunday. We are going to rent a car.

I was thinking of: (with the help and suggestions of previous posters)

Saturday- drive to St. Maxime- ferry to St. Tropez.. check out the beaches/have lunch/ drive to Cannes, walk around a bit and having a nice dinner and walking around Nice.

Sunday- relax, go to the beach in Antibes- walk around.. dinner in Eze..

On Monday- we leave early to drive to Santa Margherita Ligure- get there around noon- see Portofino, etc...We only have the one night there then we head back to France-actually Monaco, stopping off in Italy on the way (San Remo)... night in Monte-Carlo, and on Wed am back on a plane to Paris..

This trip we are not going to go to museums, parks, etc. Mostly driving around and stopping for the scenery and some good meals. Since our time is so limited, I don't want to spend it rushing.. the places I do want to see however are listed above. I would consider skipping Cannes..

1. Is Cannes really worth the extra 2 hours or so??

2. Should I spend the first day in Antibes (probably be jetlagged) and just relaxing as opposed to the St. Tropez jaunt and do the St. Tropez trip the second day? I'm driving 2.5 hours to Italy the next day, is this too much driving??

As you can likely see- getting a bit overwhelmed trying to maximize our time but afraid of getting too exhausted (I tend to do this anyway which is why I need a vacation to begin with)...

Any suggestions/ideas/feedback would be most appreciated.. thanks.. Kate
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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I think you've already answered your question about going to St-Tropez on your first day...just switch that itinerary with the one you have for the second day and you'll have a much better time.

Is Cannes worth it? Perhaps not it St-Tropez and Antibes are already on your list. Do you plan any time in Nice? There's much more to see there than in Cannes.
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 07:16 PM
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It took us 2 1/2 hours to drive from Cannes to St. Tropez in July. The traffic on that route is not to be believed, and will be even worse in August.

Once in St. Tropez you will need some form of transportation to "check out the beaches".

With the very limited time you have You probably would be best off visiting the coastal and hill towns between Nice and Cannes. Unlike Nice, Cannes has very beautiful sandy beaches, public as well as "private".

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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 07:17 PM
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Underhill- thank you SO much for all of your suggestions thus far- I really apprecreiate you taking the time to help me.

Yes, I was thinking the same in regards to switching the day- I would prefer to spend more time in Nice (going to be "based" there) vs. Cannes unless I really SHOULD see it???

You had mentioned in another post about taking the ferry from St. Maxime to St. Tropez.... do you know if San Raphael is a closer option? Is there a ferry from there?
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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Found out that there is a ferry from San Raphael but that it only leaves 2x a day so am opting to drive to St. Maxime... any other thougths/feedback?
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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Sounds like St Tropez is a "must-see" on your list, but with only 2 full days, I would recommend less travel time and more "relaxing" time, and limit travel within a 30 mile radius of Nice. There is so much to see and do, and palces to eat, drink and relex, that you may want to save St Tropez for another day.

We just came back from 3.5 days in Cap d'Antibes, and I realized by day 2 that I could not do everything planned to do.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:54 PM
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I know- I am worried (I'm sure you can tell!) about this.

I really do want to see St. Tropez though... My husband has this thing where he won't go to the same country twice without going to ones we have not been to yet- and I'm worried another day may be a long time off!

How is the rest of the plans looking from your end since you were there recently?
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 08:29 PM
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What about St-Tropez makes you want to go there so much? If it's beautiful beaches, you can find those in Cannes, Antibes, and Cap d'Antibes--without all that miserable driving. If it's relaxation you want, stay in Nice area and do one day's worth of visting the attractive villages in the area--St-Paul-de-Vence, Vence, Mougins--and the beautiful peninsula of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

And no, you really don't need to see Cannes, although it's the closest to the St-Tropez feel without actually going there: a resort town with good beaches, boutiques, and lots of restaurants and cafés. Maybe you could make do with that?
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 09:18 PM
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Kate

The drive from Nice area to SML will actually take 3 hours (I did this earlier this month) and it is quite a mundane drive - you go through a lot of tunnels and therefore not very scenic. You can only see the coast at a distance. Hence the trip to SML will actually take up 6 hours of your precious few days in the area.

Furthermore, SML and Portofino, whilst Italian, are essentially glitzy seaside towns quite similar to that of Villefranche-sur-mer and St Tropez. Personally I would leave the Italian Riviera for another trip and on that trip you can do the Cinque Terre as well.

Given the above and your desire to see St Tropez, may I suggest the following itinerary for you:-

Sat & Sun - arrive in Nice, get over jetlag and explore Vieux Nice and surrounds including Villefranche-sur-mer, St Jean Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu;

Mon & Tue - drive to Cannes, spend 2 nights there so that you can see Cap d'Antibes, Juan-les-pins, Cannes, St Raphael and a day trip to St Tropez.

Wed a.m. - not sure how early your flight to Paris is but the drive to Nice Cote d'Azur airport from Cannes is not too far on the freeway (A8?).

As LynFrance suggested earlier, the drive to St Tropez along the N98 is hideous so try to go very early to avoid traffic.

Hope the above helps!

S
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Kathrycee, I sympathize with you. Knowing that it may be a long time (or never) before you visit the Cote D'Azure, you do not want to miss any personal "must-sees". All these great places to visit but not enough time. St Tropez, given its exotic history, was on the first draft of my itinerary, but it come off due to the logistics of travel and not enough time. I did not even make it to Nice and Monaco, which were in my planned itinerary! I really wanted to, and could have, but chose instead to spend my last full day in France relaxing on the beach in Juan Les Pin with my son. Regrets? Yes. Disappointed? No. Still got to explore Antibes, Cap d'Antibes, Juan Les Pin, Cannes, the grotto at St. Sestiere (my son wanted to visit the cave), and the mid-evil towns of Tourette Sur Loup (recommended) and St Paul de Vence. (Plus, now I have a reason to go back.) We had many good meals and one great meal (at Le Brulot in Antibes). And lots of good local French wine!

Based on my personal experience, driving around the Cote D'Azure can be a real pain, especially on Saturday and Sunday. So, I second the itineraries proposed by LynFrance and Underhill above. Limit your drive time to a minimum.

But if you really, really want to see St Tropez, then my recommendation would be: Fri: have a nice walk and dinner in Nice; Sat: drag yourself out of bed and get on the road early so you get to St Tropez by 9 am. Have some coffee, sight see, find a cozy place for a mid-morning siesta, have lunch and then meander back to Nice. And Sunday? I would leave it open for right now; after getting a feel for the place, you will know what to do and where to go when you wake up. If it is a beautiful day, your possibilities are almost limitless.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it's not difficult to over-extend yourself because there is so much to see and do. But resist the urge.
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Old Jun 28th, 2006, 07:38 PM
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Thank you all so much- I really appreciate your thoughts on this! I'll keep you posted with what we decide...
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Old Jun 28th, 2006, 07:46 PM
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Kathryn,

I suggest that if you want to see something of Italy, consider a lunch in the Ligurian hilltown of Apricale for something unique.

If you are determined to stick to the sea, consider lunch at the destination restaurant of Cervo (nearer to the French border).

Or if you are motivated to get up early and make a day of it, drive to Camogli and take a boat from there to Portofino (the very best way to appreciate why the town is so famous). Have an absurdly overpriced lunch (it's unavoidable!) then walk to Santa Margheria Ligure, pick up a gelato and take the train back to Camogli to pick up your car.

If you are super-super motivated, drive to Camogli very early in the morning, walk to Portofino through the hills, and take the boat back to Camogli. You need some real energy to do this because the walk is tough, and you need to reach Portofino in time to catch the last boat back to Camogli -- because there is no train in Portofino.

By the way, my exprience of driving around the Cote d'Azure was that apart from Eze, it wasn't all that rewarding and was quite heavily trafficked. I would consider inland destinations.


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Old Jun 28th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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Sorry -- I should have included the name of the "destination restaurant" in Cervo, Italy. It is San Giorgio.
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Old Jul 1st, 2006, 07:37 PM
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Thank you- is Cervo near San Remo?
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Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 01:49 AM
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Cervo is in on the sea between San Remo and Genova in the province of Imperia.

http://www.cervo.com/index.html?lng=it

http://www.cec.it/comuni/CERVO/ITDOVESI.HTM


If you need to be close to San Remo, the adjacent town of Bordighera is nicer than San Remo.

http://www.italytraveller.com/en/r/liguria/a/bordighera
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Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 05:46 PM
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Thank you- no, I don't need to be in San Remo.. was going to stop for lunch there on the way back... will try the others that you recommended... thanks again..
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