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Riviera roadtrip

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Jul 6th, 2015, 03:07 PM
  #1
ktg
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Riviera roadtrip

Hi!

My partner and I are going on holiday on Sunday and are yet to finalise our itinerary. I'm finding that there is so much we want to see and do that I'm starting to panic so any advice is greatly appreciated!

We are getting the Eurostar to Marseille on Sunday, staying the night and picking up a car Monday morning. We'll then spend the next couple of days driving through the french and italian rivieras, arriving in Lake Garda (desenzano) Wednesday lunchtime where we are staying for a wedding. We then leave Sunday evening to work our way back dropping the car off Thursday morning in Marseille and heading home.

So we have 7 nights when we are not in Desenzano (3 before, 4 after), the first and second of which we have booked Marseille and Nice, the third is still up for debate but I'm thinking somewhere just short of Genoa so we are not going back on ourselves when we head inland on Wednesday? We'd like to see the cinque terre and I've read that Cervo, Menton, Antibes, Grasse, Eze and Vence are pretty. We're not fussed about staying in the glitzy places like st Tropez, Cannes etc, but out of curiosity we'd like to drive through them. I'd also love to head inland for instance the national parcs on the french side of the villages in the hills on the Italian side. I'm really conscious that we could end up trying to fit too much in, especially as this is partly a holiday recovering from a long term illness, so I don’t want it to be too hectic. We just can't decide what to leave out!

I was thinking on the way back we could stay in Rapello a couple of nights and see the cinque terre etc, heading back west on Tuesday, but that wouldn't leave us much time to see more of the french side.

We want scenery but also a mix of speed given the distance. We have an open top car but obviously don't want to spend all of our time in it. I've also heard the roads on the italian side are a bit hairy and not that scenic?

We love good scenery whether that's beaches or lush hills (who doesn't?), and we're both foodies (who isn't?) so leisurely lunches are on the agenda. Plus I'd love to get some time just relaxing in the sun with a good book. Given my health issues hikes or anything to strenuous are off limits. We live in London and do lots of cultural things here so not fussed about museums or galleries given time restraints. I realise I've just described about 4 different holidays there so not sure if we can get all that we want!? We've been to Venice, Rome, Ischia/Capri/Naples and loved them all, but neither of us have done the South of France (except when I was very young) so we don't know which we should spend more time exploring.

In short, any advice on route, stop offs or tips for the drive are very welcome!

Help! (thanks in advance)
ktg is offline  
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Jul 7th, 2015, 05:46 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Between Marseille and Nice there's the motorway A8, or you can go along the bord du mer, but that will take all day. Give St Tropez a miss, as it is hard to get to by car in summer. You would need a full day just for St Tropez.

I would leave Marseille in the morning, take the motorway, get off the A8 at Cannes la Boca - drive along the Croisette in your open top car. Follow the coastal road through Juan les Pins, drive around Cap d'Antibes. Stop for lunch at Plage de la Garoupe - plage Keller is good. Continue to Antibes (park your car in the large car park next to the port), walk around Antibes. Then get back on the motorway to Nice - or follow the coast if you have enough time.

I would spend 2 nights in Nice, then continue to Lake Garda.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 06:45 AM
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And as you say, you list enough places for several holidays. Especially with a medical condition, take it easy and don't do too much. Skip the Cinque Terre in July.

After Nice, follow the Corniche, stop at Eze, drive past Monaco and get back on the motorway at Roquebrune, or continue to Menton.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 07:06 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Looks to me like you only have time to see a bit of France before you need to be at the wedding, but can see the Italian Riviera on your way back.

Rapallo would be a nice place for you to stay, but if you are leaving Sunday evening, you should think about spending the night enroute. My pick would be the Tuscan town of Pontremoli if you can find a nice b&b there. Montemarcello might also be nice. If you don't want to drive that far, consider Castell'Arquato.

If you are not robustly healthy, hiking around le Cinque Terre in the summer heat is a terrible idea. My suggestion would be to kick back in Rapallo and take boat rides to Portofino and Camogli (you can get a train back from Camogli) or there is a cable car you can take into the high mountains for views (and flat walks). Once you are in Rapallo, it is best to leave your car parked.

But I think you will need another overnight in France on your way to Marseille. If you want to stay in Italy, the towns of Albenga and Bordighara are charming. But maybe you would prefer to press on into France (Grasse for an overnight?)
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