still deciding on nice or villefranche

Nov 9th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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Posts: 35
still deciding on nice or villefranche

I am interested in staying in a villa on avenue christine marie in Nice next April with my family. The villa is near the Musee des Beaux Arts. Does anyone know whether this is a good spot to be in Nice i.e is it close to restaurants, shops, beach etc? or is it too far in walking distance from these things and the old town? Also does anyone know whether there are any tramway construction works near there?

In Villefranche, there is an apartment available above the basse corniche - would this be a good spot or too busy with traffic to be peaceful. Would I be better off staying a street back from the port - I think Rue Poilu is another possibility?

Any responses would be much appreciated.

Thank you.
ggg is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 06:26 PM
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The place in Nice is very near the old town, about ten minute walk to the beach and yes the tramway construction is close to here but it's really not a problem. Close to everything including the fashionable shops, restaurants etc. It's a good location.

The place at Villefranche is a long walk up a very very very steep hill from the beach but the view should be great. Years ago I stayed on the Bass Corniche and I liked it but I do a lot of hiking and bicycling so the climb was not a probem to me.It is however on the bus line with frequent buses to Nice and Monte Carlo. Nothing after about 8:30 pm though. I guess it depends on whether you have a car (which I would not recommend) and what degree of physical activity you are used to doing.

Have a great time and hope you like the area as much as I do. I'll be there in three weeks.

Larry J

LarryJ is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Thank you Larry J. Do you have any idea about Rue Poilu in Villefranche and whether that is a good location?
Also would there be enough to do in Villefranche for a week or is Nice a better option for a family of 4? We love going to restaurants, shops and walking around new places.

Thanks again for your help so far.
ggg is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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Villefranche is quite small. I think you can do the entire town in 1 hr max. Nice on the other hand, has lots of stuff going on. I think you will spend five times as much time just in old Nice, as you would in the entire town of Villefranche.

For a family who likes lots of varied restaurants, shopping, beach, art, Roman ruins, large department stores, small boutiques, pedestrian only streets, street entertainment, long walks along the shore - Nice is by far the best choice.

Stay in Nice. On Sat, take a 6:00pm train to Villefranche. Explore & have dinner there. On Sat, there is a late train back to Nice.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 07:59 PM
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The museum is up in the hills on the west side of Nice in a residential area, but I wouldn't think of it being really close to restaurants, shops, or the beach. For what you want I think you'd be better off finding something close to Vieux Nice and the downtown area.
Underhill is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 08:49 PM
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Villefranche is one of the most beautiful little towns on the Riviera but you would probably get over that in a few hours and your kids would even sooner. There really is not much to do in Villefranche while Nice is a very large city with lots to do. I would think the kids would love the long beach promenade and the endless beaches in Nice. I always rent an apartment in Beaulieu sur Mer which is 11 minutes east by train but for a young family Nice is by far the best choice. The trains and buses make it very easy to go to all the seaside towns between Cannes and the Italian border town of Vintimiglia. The bus terminal next to the old town provides buses to the great little villages up in the hills such as St. Paul de Vence, Vence, Eze etc etc.

Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 01:17 AM
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Thank you everyone for your really helpful replies. I will keep searching for accommodation that suits us closer to the old town. If anyone has stayed in a luxury apartment in this location that they can recommend I would appreciate hearing about it. Thanks again for all your help.
ggg is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 02:16 AM
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I don't have an apartment to recommend in Nice, but we have used this website several times to rent apartments and villas in various places. We have always been pleased with the accommodations and communications with owners whether through email or phone.

Good luck! I know you have been looking for a while for the best place to stay. Have a wonderful trip!
Marianna is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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Hi, take a look at
georgiegirl is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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Although we've stayed in Nice several times, last summer we considered renting an apartment in Villefranche for a week. Finally we opted to rent one right in Nice instead. On the day we went to Villefranche, we covered the town in less than an hour and every thing seemed closed down in the middle of the afternoon -- we were literally the only people on the street and had an ice cream at a place where we were the only customers for the entire hour we sat there. That may sound great to some, but we both kept saying, "thank goodness we're not stuck here for a whole week." I guess we just like more activity around us.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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>>seemed closed down in the middle of the afternoon <<

That's the case almost everywhere in France & Italy. Stores close for a 2-3 hour lunch!! All day Sunday & Monday mornings in many towns. Old Nice is mostly closed on Monday.

Nice has many more resaurants, cafes, & food oriented stores (which are open for lunch), so it will look much more alive during lunch than Villefranche.

Anyplace to stay in Nice between Old Nice, the Negresco, & Ave Victor Hugo will be perfectly situated for everything you might want to do & see in Nice. No need to stay within 2 blocks from Old Nice. I actually prefer the area around the Negresco.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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My daughter and I loved Nice this past May. So many day-trips to take from there, plus it's a nice little city in itself. We wished we had more time there. Here's my trip report:

"Nice, three nights in May, 2006

We arrived in Nice in the early afternoon on Friday, via train from Santa Margherita Ligure. Our Hotel le Grimaldi ( was a short cab ride from the train station, 10 EUR for myself, my daughter, my gargantuan bag, and her two small ones. We were greeted graciously at the hotel, which immediately struck us as a good find.

The hotel is actually two Belle Epoque buildings back-to-back. One side is much prettier to enter, as it faces a nice church. The other side is fine, too, but a bit boring. I think the side on rue Grimaldi is the plain one, and the other side on rue Maccarani is prettier.

The man at the front desk carried my bag to the room, and showed us around. There’s a business center on the ground floor, with free internet use on their two computers, and a free printer to use. (Also wi-fi in the lobby, I think for a fee.)

Our room was a ‘classic’, twin-bedded room, which was quite large (for Europe), had a little balcony, a sparkling yellow and white tile bath with fluffy bright yellow towels, and nice toiletries. It was 150 EUR plus tax, and 10 EUR per person if we opted for the hot/cold breakfast buffet. They suggested we check out the buffet served till 10:30a.m. the next morning, and if we were interested we could sign on for it. The deal is that you have to buy it everyday to get the 10 EUR rate. Otherwise, per day, it’s 15 EUR per person.

So the next morning, we were happy to find hot eggs, proscuitto, yoghurts, cereals, cappuccino, assorted croissants, juices, etc. We thought it a good deal and quite convenient, so we enjoyed it each morning.

It's an easy walk to the train station (w/o luggage) from Le Grimaldi, and a slightly longer walk to the bus station. Easy walk of a few blocks to the grand promenade at seaside, just past the pedestrian zone. Also not far walking to Vieux Nice. The neighborhood felt perfectly safe, and we walked back to the hotel late each night.

For our first dinner, I had brought the name of a restaurant I’d found on Travel Talk, and the front desk agreed it was a good one, a local favorite in old Nice. It’s called Acchiardo, at 38 rue Droite in Vieux Nice. We headed over for their opening at 7 p.m., and were very happy with it. Really friendly and attentive service, very quaint and casual atmosphere, with a good menu. I had a steak dinner, which actually included vegetables on the side. My daughter had two different salads. We had bottled water and a half-liter of house red wine. When the bill arrived for 28.50EUR, I thought they’d made a mistake because it was so much less than I’d been accustomed to paying in Venice, Florence and Rome. But, no, it was correct. (We would have maybe eaten there another night, but found out it closes on weekend nights, believe it or not.)

We walked all over old Nice, then through the pedestian area to the promenade and took that way back to the hotel. It’s such a beautiful walk at night. The Chateau hillside is all lit up, the palm trees are lit, and the waves look so pleasant. It was how we ended each of our Nice nights, with that walk back to the hotel.

The next day we decided to take the short bus ride on the #81, to visit the Villa and Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild, near Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. (The bus is just 1.30EUR each direction, which you pay in exact change on the bus.) We didn't stop to see the Greek Villa, but it's also on that same bus route, near the Ephrussi. You can easily catch the #81 for your return trip to Nice, at any stop along the road.

It was a nice visit, especially to see the views of the sea down below on both sides of the hillside. I thought the price was a bit steep, at 9.50EUR for an adult, because the Villa isn’t really all that interesting (sorry!), but the gardens are pretty. There’s also a nice little café there, for a light snack or drink or meal, which was a welcome break from all our walking.

While we were there, a very strong wind came up, which caused quite a bit of white caps in the water below, and chased everyone in from the patio tables. The wind stayed with us for the rest of the day, but wasn’t terribly annoying.

From the Villa, we did the easy walk down to the port of St. Jean to walk around and check it out. There are nice boats in the little harbor, with cute restaurants and shops. It’s very tiny, so doesn’t take long to walk from end to end of St. Jean. We spent just about an hour and a half there, then caught the #81 back to Nice.

That evening, we returned to old Nice for dinner. We loved that neighborhood’s little streets, overall atmosphere, and cute shops. We found the Restaurant la Tapenada, 6 rue St. Reparate and had a very nice dinner. It was probably about 60EUR for the two of us, on their fixed price menu, with a bottle of house wine. Very nice little place, with friendly and attentive service. They even let my daughter trade her dessert for a salad. So she had two salads to start, one after the other, and they timed the arrival of our main courses perfectly. We were completely happy with our meal there.

The next day we decided we’d stick to the coast and see Antibes, which is a short 20-minute train ride from Nice. We were glad we’d chosen Antibes, as it’s beautiful. The sea wall makes a nice walk, and the Centre Ville is very charming.

We wandered its streets, shopped in a tiny clothing boutique, found a little place for omelettes (nothing special, but nice enough), then headed back to Nice by train after about four hours total. It was a good choice for a quick day-trip.

That evening we weren’t very hungry, so opted for the simple Pasta Basta, once again in old Nice. It was a nice meal, although not extraordinary. Good prices and decent service.

All in all, we were very impressed with Nice and the surrounding area. It’s a very pretty city, with a friendly attitude, sitting on a lovely shore. There are many options for things to do near Nice. We’d considered St. Paul de Vence and Digne, but with the beautiful clear weather, we were drawn to stay at the seaside, and were glad we did."

Nov 11th, 2006, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,833
Getting around Nice should be a lot easier once they finish the new city tram from old town to Place Massenna which is not too far from the Negresco. It would be good to find an apartment that has its own parking as it can be a nightmare if you're staying in a popular area/time. The good thing about April is less crowd as the beaches are still too chilly and windy.
DAX is offline  
Nov 11th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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We enjoyed our stay in Villefranche during the summer of 2003--right on the harbor. Could walk to restaurants and parked our car until we were ready to leave for Provence. Took the bus to Monaco.
BellaItalia is offline  
Nov 13th, 2006, 01:38 AM
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Thanks everyone. I appreciate all your help.
ggg is offline  
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