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Visiting Cannes in February

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Feb 28th, 2013, 11:12 PM
  #1
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Visiting Cannes in February

I am looking to visit Cannes on the coming February and although I understood this is not a particularly good time to visit the French Riviera due to the low temperature this is the only time of the year when it would be convenient for me to travel. I would like to know what would my options be if I am looking for a family vacation which entails nice beach hotel, fancy restaurants, breathtaking scenery, and interesting places for strolling? Also, are the seawaters too cold for a swim at this time of the year? If so, do hotels usually warm the pool waters for guests? (Sorry if I asked questions that seemed to some of you like a no brainer because I live in Asia and this would be my first trip to the French Riviera.) I'm torn between Cannes and Monte Carlo actually so I'm wondering which would make a better base for my visit as well, based on criteria specified.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 02:48 AM
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I lived in Nice for 7 months from October 2009-May 2010. Looking back at my blog, that year it went from snowing in mid-February to sunny and around 15°C by the end of the month. I would call that too cold for swimming, not that I tried. It is reasonably unusual that it snows down there, but looking online, it has snowed down that way this year too. Coming from Asia, I'm guessing you'll find it too cold to swim.

I personally don't like Monaco much - certainly the beach at Cannes is nicer (although I never went on any of the private beaches in Monaco). I don't really like Cannes very much either, but I would probably pick it over Monaco. Both are a bit too flashy and touristy for my tastes, but perhaps that won't bother you. I like the scenery better in places like Antibes, Beaulieu or Villefranche, but it's really easy to move between towns, so you can always base yourself in a bigger city like Monte Carlo, Cannes or Nice and see the scenery along the coast anyway.

I did a lot of walking while I was there - around the Cap d'Antibes makes for a nice walk, but basically you can't go wrong walking around the coast. In a previous post, I linked to blogposts on different walks I did if you're interested: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...or-by-bus-.cfm

As for heated pools, no idea. I would imagine you'd need to look for information on/ask individual hotels.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Hello Gwan! Thank you very much for your elaborate response! I found the info provided extremely useful, however, it also crushed my fanciful thin hope of finding a ''BLUE'' holiday in the French Riviera during February...

Since it's going to be all ''GREY'', do you still see a point in basing in a beach town like Cannes? Or would you rather base in larger cities like Marseilles or Nice? I'm looking forward to a beautiful city with nice restaurants and hotels, a few things to see and do, as well as being surrounded by nice, pleasant people
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:10 AM
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I also dislike Cannes, and really, really dislike Monaco (it's a heap of concrete on the beach). I also think February would be about the absolutely worst time of year to visit - potentially bad weather, water way too cold to swim in, lots of establishments closed for the season, etc. And I doubt hotels would go to the expense of heating pools. I would spend my time in Nice.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:21 AM
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Hi StCirq,

No obligations, but do you mind to elaborate, why Nice?

Thanks!
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Mar 1st, 2013, 08:41 AM
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Because it's an absolutely lovely city, beautifully situated laid out, with loads of cultural attractions and wonderful restaurants, cafés, etc.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Agree on Nice rather than Cannes or Monaco that time of year or really any time of year. Transport links, train and bus, are good and cheap for day trips to Monaco or Cannes or up in the hills to St. Paul de Vence, for example. Many restaurants in all categories and all types.

If you are interested in art, there are good small Matisse and Chagall museums in Nice, Picasso War and Peace chapel in Vallauris, Foundation Maeght outside St Paul, a Matisse-designed chapel in Vence, etc. etc.

You mention it's a family trip so what I'm not sure of is what will be avaiable for young children. On a trip 3 years ago to Nice in December, the little city (wheeled) tourist train was running, the park on the cliff was open and the carousel was running. Lots of kids skateboarding in a designated lane on the
pedestrian promenade and on sunny days playing on the beach even ithough too cold to swim.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 11:13 AM
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Well, it won't necessarily be grey either! Looking at my blog, I see lots of photos with blue skies, although I was also moaning about the weather being bad quite a lot (I only took photos when it wasn't!)

I am biased towards Nice, since that's where I lived, but I agree that it has great transport links, a lively town centre, several museums (Matisse, Chagall, Archaeology being the main ones - I'm especially fond of the Roman ruins), picturesque surroundings (the walk up the Colline du Chateau at the end of the Promenade des Anglais is nice, and if you're feeling energetic the walk from there or the Port over Mt Boron is even nicer), and it's not *just* a tourist destination.

I didn't dine out a lot in Nice since I was on a teaching assistant's salary, but I enjoyed going to the Tire Bouchon in the Old Town with my parents when they were in town.

The beach in Nice is a bit different ("galets" i.e. large pebbles, rather than sand), but as I said, you can take a bus or train to nicer beaches in Antibes (beautiful with the snow-capped Alps in the distance), around Cap Ferrat, Cannes, Menton (cold the couple of times I went there, but it's meant to be the sunniest spot in the area) etc. etc. if you're longing for a stroll on the beach anyway.

Otherwise, other than the great suggestions already mentioned, I really enjoyed the Kerylos and Ephrussi villas in Cap Ferrat (a glimpse of how the super-rich lived in the late 19th C or thereabouts), and Eze - a "perched village" on a hill is nice for a wander. I haven't been, but the kids might like the Oceanographic Museum/Aquarium in Monaco.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 02:01 PM
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There is no place in europe where you can swim in Feb except a heated pool. Most hotels don;t - so you would have to check - and probably pay big $. Certainly restaurants and shopw will be open. Museums and such may be on shorter winter hours, days will be shorter and temps may be icy, chilly or moderate.

Monte Carlo is very small with little to see/do but shop. The wealthy with their giant yachts will not be in town then so the town will be fairly empty and you're further from anything you want to see.

Stay n Nice - the most to see right there - and also convenient for car trips along the cost and up into the hills to see ancient villages, chapels, museums, etc.

If you are looking for a beach resort and activities - you should stay in Asia - not europe in Feb.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 09:59 PM
  #10
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Thanks to all travellers who commented! I learned a great deal from all. And Gwan, you have strong legs I would say Love those blog pics too!

Mediated by all these constructive comments, I have made my mind up to shelve my plans to the Riviera and visit the French Alps instead. After all, it's much more convenient if we make the best of the season
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