Travelling to Nice

May 20th, 2003, 03:35 PM
  #1  
S_G
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Travelling to Nice

We are going to Nice in June (21-28th)with 3 kids 10, 12 and 4. We are trying to decide between Suite at Splendid, which places us at a central location versus a villa at Villafrenche, which gives us more room. The villa is 4-5 km out of town and we will need a car. My main question is if we were to rent a car, how difficult is it to find parking? My husband is attending a conference for 2 days at the Nice-Acropolis. Is parking a problem within town and also when we make day trips along the Riviera? Are trains better?
Thank-you

S_G is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 04:54 PM
  #2  
S_G
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Anyone out there? Help is appreciated. This is our first trip trip to Europe.
Thanks.
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May 20th, 2003, 05:49 PM
  #3  
 
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VF is only 5 minutes from Nice by train. I think you can even walk from there to the incomprably gorgeous Cap Ferrat/Beaulieu area with the stunning Rothchild mansion/gardens, Kerylos, etc and natural scenery. This is my favorite part, just east of Nice. Antibes to the west worth a brief visit. Wouldn't ever rent a car when such good train service exists.
viking is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 05:59 PM
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Parking can be a huge hassle during the summer months in the Riveria. And because Nice has such excellent public transportation to other cities and towns along the Riveria, we've never found it necessary to have a car. Of course this does limit the amount of wandering you can do, but you'll still be able to get to Cannes, Antibes, St. Paul de Vence, Eze, and Monaco without difficulty.

As for your hotel decision, since it's your first time visiting, I'd opt for Nice. YOu'll have a wider range of places you can walk to from your hotel, (beach, Old Nice, shopping) and more for your kids to do. Villefranche is lovely, but very QUIET. Also, Nice often has outdoor entertainment ( music, jugglers, rollerblading contests, and the usual creperie stands) in the summer along the Promenade des Anglais, which could be fun for your kids.
Just a thought that maybe if space is an issue, you should check out one of the Citadines apartments in Nice. The property on Rue Buffa is supposed to be quite nice. I think you can get more information and pricing by checking the Citadines website.

Good luck, and have a great time!
Weadles is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 06:06 PM
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A few years ago we were staying by Nice airport, having turned the car in early, and even though it was high season we noticed that the city bus didn't run along the Promenade des Anglais-main drag by the sea-much after 8 p.m. So we settled for dinner at our airport motel rather than risk having to walk back 2-3 miles or get a taxi. Was I correct in reading the posted bus schedule this way? Perhaps the intercity train runs later?
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May 20th, 2003, 06:11 PM
  #6  
MGB
 
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We have stayed in Villefranche at the La Flore. We have had 2 rooms with a shared bath and terrace (for 2 couples) which was great. The bus stopped right next door so it was a quick 5-10 minute ride into Nice. Our terrace had a great view of the sea and the harbour. I think the bus ride was $1 round trip in 1999. The beach in Villefranche was sandy as opposed to the rocks in Nice. Parking was free at the Hotel. It was a 20 minute car ride to Monte Carlo.
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May 21st, 2003, 05:10 AM
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While the idea of a villa with extra space sounds very appealing, if this is your first trip to Europe, I suggest staying in a hotel. If you have problems with plumbing etc. you just call the front desk, there's a concierge to answer questions etc. I'd personally try for 2 connecting rooms (so you have 2 baths). People have spoken highly here of the West End hotel in Nice as well as the Westminster. Do a search of Hotels AND Nice here.

As to the car question, I find parking most challenging in Nice. But if you stay elsewhere, I'm sure there's parking available at the conference site. There are plenty of restaurants in Villefranche if you decide to stay there. In the end, the real issue is how comfortable you'll feel driving on your first trip to Europe.
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May 21st, 2003, 06:13 AM
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Just wanted to add that we've always stayed at The Westminster, which is on the Promenade des Anglais, right across from the sea. Somebody here on the forum recently snagged a very good rate by calling the U.S. toll-free number. If you do a search of WESTMINSTER here, you should be able to find it. I was thinking that two connecting seaview rooms there would serve you very well. The rooms are very spacious, and the hotel itself is well-located ( just across from the beach, and about a 15 minute walk to the beach). Also, literally around the corner from the hotel, is one of our favorite pizza places, The Barracuda.
Good luck, and have a great time!
Weadles is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 06:15 AM
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Sorry. Meant to write that The Westminster is a 15 minute walk from Old Nice, a historic area full of bistros, patisseries, the flower market, and interesting galleries and shops.
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May 21st, 2003, 09:58 AM
  #10  
S_G
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Thank-you everyone for excellent guidence. I just called the U.S. toll-free number for Westminster and reserved two connecting seaview rooms for $148 per room. We get there on the 21st and stay through 27th. I was thinking of renting a car from 21st to 24th to explore the Riviera. Husband will be busy on 25 & 26 at the conference, so on those days kids and I could explore Nice by walking. Does that make sense? With 3 kids I am a little apprehensive about taking trains and figuring out french timetables. Any thoughts?
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May 21st, 2003, 11:44 AM
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Sounds like a good plan, although I think you'd find the local train that runs along the coast very easy to navigate on your own if you choose. The local trains runs quite often. The train ride from Nice to Monaco is gorgeous with great views of the sea, private villas set in the cliffs. You could easily do that on one of the days your husband is conferencing. The kids would probably like the Oceanographic museum there.

As for other places to see (trying to think kids) go to Biot where they have a glass blowing factory-fun to watch. There are some good strings if you do a text search for Nice AND day trips. Unfortunately, I can't think of any other kid friendly things at this moment
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May 21st, 2003, 12:47 PM
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SG,

I'm glad to hear that The Westminster is going to work out for you. Each seaview room comes with a balcony and two chairs. I think you'll really like it there. The staff is especially helpful.
Anyway, your plan for the two days without your husband sounds good. If you walk straight down the Promenade des Anglais ( turn left out of the hotel)which turns into the quai des Etats Unis, you will come to a park on top of a steep hill. The hill was the site of a castle, "Le Chateau", which was torn down in the 1700s. Now the hill has been turned into an extensive tropical garden and playing fields. If you walk to the top, you'll be rewarded with beautiful views over all of Nice.There's a small concession stand with ice cream for the kids.
Coming back down from the park, you're pretty much in Vielle Ville, or Old Nice. The old town lies behind a facade of Italiannate "houses". Many of the small streets are pedestrian only, and are filled with some of the least expensive restaurants and boutiques in NIce. You can get excellent pizza there, as well as omelets, fries, etc.
The flower market in Old Nice is worth visiting. It's open Tues-Sunday from 8-6PM.
And, if your kids will put up with it, you can grab a cab to Cimiez, sort of a suburb of Nice, which is home to both the Chagall and Matisse Museums.
For any more information, while you're there, you can go to the Office de Tourisme at 5 Promenade des Anglais. It's only a few minutes walk from The Westminster. They should be able to fill you in on other ideas, activities for the kids, like trips to Grasse ( perfume-making town) or Biot ( glass-blowing town).

Good luck, and have a great time!
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Aug 26th, 2003, 10:34 AM
  #13  
ghb
 
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Am also going to Nice for short trip in late September and would like to know how to get to Monaco from Promenade de Anglais,,taxi, train,bus?? how long a trip one way?
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Aug 26th, 2003, 10:51 AM
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You can walk to the train station ( should take you about 15-20 minutes), then take the train to Monaco, which I think is about half an hour. The tourism office on the Promenade des Anglais can give you schedules, etc. It is located about half a block from the American Express office ( if you're heading up the Promenade from the Hotel Negresco area).

Good luck, and have a great time!
Weadles is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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S_G, I wondered how you enjoyed the Westminster hotel. We are looking at staying there in March 2004 and would appreciate your thoughts.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 04:31 AM
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megdean
Stayed there last September, 5th floor, ocean view,balcony, 146 Euros/night. A bit frayed around the edges, but clean and convenient and quiet. Breakfast 20 Euros, but pastry and cafe au lait 10 euros at nearby cafes. Parking expensive in nearby garage, but go over one block to Rue de la France and try there for on street parking.
We and our teen-age daughters loved Nice, especially old town Nice.Next time we will get a hotel closer to that area. Don't miss Fenochio's(sp?)gelato near the flower market. Also Le Pain Quotidien also near there over rated.
Enjoy!
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Jan 11th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Well, Le Pain Quotidien is one of our favorite cafés, as is that wonderful ice-cream place you mentioned.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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Suggestions for the kids: there's a Marineland nearby, and Monaco has a great aquarium.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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Megdean,

The Westminster is often referred to as, "The poor man's Negresco",with good reason, although for the money, location, and size of the rooms I think it's an incredible value. We will be going back there for the eighth time in August.

Have a good time!
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