Should we rent a car in Nice?

Feb 14th, 2004, 07:38 AM
  #1  
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Should we rent a car in Nice?

We're planning 3-4 days in Nice -- should we rent a car? If so, does anyone know how far Vence is from Nice?
Tim13 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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Absolutely! You will need a car to see many places of interest, such as Vence--that charming town is about a 45-minute drive from Nice. On the way you can see St.-Paul-de-Vence and the Fondation Maeght, and over in Haut-de-Cagnes is Renoir's house. Vence itself has the delightful old town and the Matisse Chapel, if you can manage to get there on one of the days it's open. Be sure to call and check it you want to see the chapel, as religious holidays often mean that scheduled openings are cancelled.
Underhill is online now  
Feb 14th, 2004, 09:20 AM
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Yes! You'll enjoy the trip so much more because you will have the ability to go visit the small out of the way hill towns.
julies is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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I thought I'd get those responses... Thank you!
Tim13 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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Whatever you decide, though, (and I agree a car is a plus here), DON'T rent from Hertz. We did and it was a nightmare. Autoeurope had better prices anyway and they were fine.
artlover is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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It totally depends on where you want to go. If you wanted to go to Cannes for a day, Monte Carlo for a day, and maybe another beach spot, Antibes, or something like that then you could easily do without a car. We've been to Nice several times, usually for three or four days and were generally happy without a car. Although last year we did get one to explore some of the other towns we hadn't visited. Actually it was the start of a driving trip so we would have rented one anyway.

But since you mention Vence, and I'd assume St. Paul de Vence as well, I'd recommend one, also if you wanted to go to Eze (the upper part) without having to climb all the stairs from the train.
Patrick is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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I will be traveling to Nice in june for 3 nights also and was wondering if i should get a car. Any suggestions on where to stay?
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Feb 14th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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sandi
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Patrick - re Eze - you still can't drive into Eze. With luck you can get a parking spot on the ramp before entering the village or else park at the lot below. One still has to walk up to the top for the fantastic view.

A car is the best way to get around, and Autoeurope offers the best prices, but don't be surprised if the price for a 3-4 day rental isn't as good as would a full weeks cost.
 
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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You're right, Sandi, but there's a lot of differnce between walking up from that parking lot and walking up from waaaaaayyyyyyy down below where you get off the train. To be honest, that's why we had never visited Eze before -- we didn't have a car, but always found lots of places to go without a car as well. In retrospect to what Tim13 is asking, I'm not sure that if you've never been to the area before and if you aren't visiting other towns in the area, I wouldn't opt for no car. I personally think that Monte Carlo, Cannes, Antibes, and others can more than entertain you well for 3 to 4 days (and don't forget to actually spend a fair amount of time in Nice itself). Save the car rental for the next trip and really explore the inland area.

Paula, you'll need to give us a little bit to go on here. Do you want a five star luxury hotel on the sea at 500 euro a night? Or are you looking for a really inexpensive spot "just to sleep" and pay less than 75 euro a night? Or give us an idea what you're looking for if somewhere in between.
Patrick is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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I would prefer to spend under 100 since i will be spending 17 nights in europe. Im going to london for 2 nights..2 nights paris...3 nights nice...1 night cinque t....and the rest of the time in Italy. So...somewhere in that neighborhood. Thanks!
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Feb 14th, 2004, 03:32 PM
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cmt
 
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Patrick: I am very vaguely planning to go to France within the next year or two, basing myself in Paris, Nice and Montpellier, and taking day trips from each without a car. I had assumed that it would be easy to visit Eze. How long, how steep a walk is it from the station? Is there a bus that goes part of the way up? I'm a good walker, and have even taken hiking tours, but don't like climbs that are BOTH long and steep, and when I'm travelling alone, I'd rather not have a difficult walk alone before I even reach my destination.

Underhill: Is Vence inaccessible by public transportation from Nice, or is it just that it rrequires dificlt connection?

Every time I think I want to go to France, I end up deciding against it because it is too difficult to get around without a car. I do not want to rent a car by myself for many reasons (just a few: don't drivestick shift, don't like to be lost on high-speed roads, don't want to fall off a cliff on a narrow gravel road, too expensive to rent a car, would rather not be isolated in a car when I could be mixing with people and experiencing the country, etc.).

Sandi: Hi. Now I can picture you!
cmt is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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You can rent a car with automatic transmission in France, although it will cost more than a stick shift. However, the mobility it gives you is IMO more than worth the cost. How much of your vacation do you want to spend sitting in a hot bus? You can spend your time mixing with other people when walking through villages such as Vence and St.-Paul, not to mention Nice.

About the roads: most of the well travelled roads in the area are not difficult or scary driving; just avoid the corniche roads over to Monaco and you'll be fine.

You won't, of course, need a car during the time you're actually staying in Nice.
Underhill is online now  
Feb 14th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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I'm not planning to rent a car. The expense of car rental is not in my budget. I am trying to figure out waht is doable without a car. If it's too difficult, I just won't go to France.
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Feb 14th, 2004, 06:22 PM
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cmt, lots of people go to France without renting a car - don't let the lack of a car keep you from going! Of course you can see more of the countryside and villages with one, but the trains are quite efficient in France. You could stay in Paris, and take PLENTY of marvelous daytrips. Also, in the Loire Valley you can get by without a car (especially basing in Tours or Amboise).

And as Patrick said, there is plenty to do near Nice using public transportation, as well as basing in Avignon for taking daytrips to Nimes, Arles, Orange, etc by train, or bus tours to Pont-du-Gard, etc.

Having said all this, I like having a car for the small villages, but hate it in cities, and it is a big expense, especially if you are solo. Who knows, if you go to France and see how wonderful it is, you might decide to rent a car the next time!
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Feb 14th, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Sue, I've been to France and would like to go again. I ws on walking/hiking tours in Provence and in the Dordogne. I love the countryside and small towns, but I just do not want to rent a car alone. So if it's too difficult to get around away from the main centers in the south without a car, I won't go again, though I'd like to. For some reason, I'm not drawn to the Loire. I think I'd like Montpellier and old Nice enough to use them for a base, and I thought there would be enough places of interest accessible by train and bus from both of them. Is that correct? I know from Paris I could easily get to places that would interest me (if I could tear myself away from Paris itself).
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Feb 14th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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cmt, I'd confirm what others have said. Do NOT let the lack of a car bother you. Incidentally we were in Montpelier for five days one year without a car and were very happy doing lots of trips by train -- Arles, Perpignon, Colliore, and others. It would make a great base for a week if you wanted, and is a great town to come back to every night. Nice is too.
As to a bus to the upper part of Eze --I think so, but I wouldn't guarantee it.
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Feb 14th, 2004, 07:44 PM
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I've traveled to both Provence and Nice without a car, of course you can do so. Sure, you may not be able to easily visit scheduled small villages out in the country, but there is still plenty you can do with public transporation. Nice is a big, major city, there are lots of places you can get to by public transportation from there. You can easily go by train to Antibes, Monaco and Cannes (as well as further, if you want). You can also easily get to Grasse by bus, as I've done it; there's a bus that goes right there, probably about the same time as a car. YOu can also get to St-Paul and Vence by bus from Nice, I don't know of any difficulties with that. The same bus stops first at St-Paul and then goes to Vence, at least used to.

A lot of people think you can't exist without a car, but you can.
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Feb 14th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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So long as I know that there are several very good possible trips to take without a car from each base, I'll be happy. I don't have to see everything. I've taken trips like this in Italy and enjoyed them tremendously, but I just have to be very sure to pick a base where it IS possible to take day trips (or where I'll be happy to stay put). It's a slower way to travel. I may see fewer places that if I were whizzing around trying to squeeze five towns into one day, bit I really get ae feel for those places I do see. Just for some reason, this type of travel almost sounds more difficult to do in France, pssobly because almost everyone gets around by car in France (as in the US), unlike in Italy and poorer countries where many people still rely heavily on public transportation.
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Feb 15th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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cmt ((Hi Carol) - without a car is doable along the Cote d'Azur. Just because many people have and/or rent cars in this area - the train works very well (there are day passes that allow you to get on/off any number of times a day).

Nice is a good base - a hotel mid-way between the beach and Gare (train station) is ideal and you can find lovely 3* hotels. At some train stops you might have a short walk, for others you might have to take a brief inexpensive taxi. There are also bus tours that can be arranged thru your hotel or the tourist office.

There are still many people in this area that do not have cars and use local buses, even to get into some of the hilltowns, so you need only check for these buses and their schedules.

Sure there are some places you might miss, but we've had a car and there are places we've missed, or just didn't have time to get to.

Likewise, Montpellier is a fairly decent size town with both train and bus service.

Map out an itinerary of what you would like to see from both of these base cities, then you can figure out which you can get to by train, by local buses, by on a bus tour.

Patrick - didn't know that there was that much of a walk from the train - each time we've been, it's been by car. But now realize where the train runs and understand why its so many steps. I guess you just have to take it slow, but at the end and when finally in Eze, as said above, the view is certainly worth it.
 
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