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Where to stay French Riviera - west of Nice to St-Tropez?

Where to stay French Riviera - west of Nice to St-Tropez?

Old Feb 13th, 2008, 12:11 PM
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Where to stay French Riviera - west of Nice to St-Tropez?

Hi all,

I want to thank you in advance for your help! I've already done lots of searches and got great information.

We're flying into Nice on Saturday, August 16th and departing Friday, August 22nd. I cannot for the life of me decide on a town to stay in!

We have been to the area once before and spent about 10 days touring the Provence countryside & 10 days in Villefranche. I feel like we saw everything we wanted to see from Nice east to the Italian border. Now we would like to stay somewhere between Nice & St-Tropez. I know that's a large area!

What we're looking for:

Hotel around $500 but maybe up to $700 if I fall in love with it. We are a married couple celebrating our 35th birthdays. We want to spend a portion of most days on the beach, with time to wander towns. On our last trip we felt like we did a lot of roman ruins. Now we are interested in late 19th & early 20th century art - the Picasso if it's open, Matisse, Chagall, Fondation Maeght. Also maybe an afternoon in Biot to see the glass and an afternoon at the photography museum in Mougins before dinner at Moulin de Mougins.

For the town itself, we would love to be able to walk from the hotel to the beach though my research tells me that is pretty rare. We would also want to be able to walk to restaurants & cafes & shops. Some nightlife would be nice. We'll rent a car and be willing to drive to the museums. But I'd rather stroll back to the hotel at night after dinner.

I think we would LOVE St-Tropez but the museums we want to see are at least an hour away according to mapquest. That's obviously not going to work for this trip.

I originally thought Cannes but I've read pretty much exclusively negative reviews. If Cannes has nice hotels, restaurants & beaches, would it suit us, since we're willing to drive to other sites? Or is it just not worth our time at all?

I keep reading wonderful things about Nice but I'm hesitant. I remember driving the busy road by the beach and thinking it didn't seem like the nicest beach. But it may suit the rest of our needs.

Antibes and/or Juan-les-Pins seem appealing, but I can't get a feel for how walkable it is.

One more note - when we were in Villefranche we drove almost daily to Plage Paloma in Cap Ferrat and I know I may have to do something similar again. I do understand that's how a lot of the beaches work there. I would just love to stroll through town to the beach instead.

So, does anyone have a town to recommend? If so, feel free to recommend hotels too!

Thanks in advance,
cboris is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Antibes is very walkable and has excellent beaches. The top hotels there are the damous Hôtel du Cap (which takes cash only, unless the policy has changed) and the Imperial Garoupe. The Don César also gets good reviews.
From Antibes you have an easy shot to the various local museums north of the coast, and you might want to plan a meal in St-Paul-de-Vence at the restaurant with a great art collection, La Colombe d'Or.
Underhill is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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I love Cannes (much prefer it over Nice) and I do think that Cannes offers everything you are looking for and has a wonderful sandy beach by French Riviera standards. The Croisette (a beautiful, grande, palm tree lined beachfront boulevard) has several fine hotels primarily the Carlton which I think will fit in your budget and you will not be disappointed. The town is a smallish city that offers plenty of night life, restaurants and shopping all in a walkable area. You are also very close to Mougins (by car) and close enough to the other towns to comfortably drive around for easy day trips. There is also a very charming port area with some wonderful seafood restaurants and an old part of town on a hill. There are boats for day trips to the Lerins Islands. If beach is important Cannes is a great choice with few downsides.

Anything West of Cannes all the way to ST Tropez will be a bit far for convenience to most of the museums that you want to visit and they do not have easy in/out or highway access, though there are many charming towns along that part of the coast.

I am trying to figure what the negative reviews you read of Cannes are and if I were to guess I would say that it is 1)commercial 2)very crowded (which will be the same anywhere on the Riviera in August)3) more like Beverly Hills or Hollywood than France.

I don't think Juan les Pins will have the kind of hotel you are looking for and is a but more for the family and younger partying set. A bit more budget oriented if there is such a place in the South of France. There are lovely hotels in Cap D'Antibes and some quaint cove style beaches but the hotels are not conveniently situated for walking to restaurants, nightlife etc. You would use your car to go most anywhere. While in Cannes you would not need your car except to exit and explore other areas.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 03:53 AM
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I highly recommend the Hotel Belles Rives in the Juan Les Pins/Antibes. My wife and I spent a weekend there last spring as part of our honeymoon touring France. It was the highlight of our trip. The hotel is amazing. It sits right on the beach with amazing views of the Golfe Juan and Lerin Islands. We had a seaview room, and we just left the balcony doors open all day and night. I also like the location. It sits on the edge of Juan les Pins right where the Cap d'Antibes and the road into Antibes begin. In the morning I could easily walk into Antibes for browsing the perfect market or having breakfast in one of the cafes. For nightlife, we could walk just a few blocks in the other direction into Juan les Pins where there was a casino, nightclubs, and casual restaurants. For a few splurge meals we took a taxi into Antibes and down into the Cap d'Antibes. The hotel has it's own private beach and jetty with nice sunbeds and waiter service. We really enjoyed relaxing there with a chilled bottle of rose. The hotel and its sister hotel Juana across the street both have high-end restaurants as well.
My fondest memory of my trip is sitting on the terrace of the hotel having a cocktail at dusk and watching the sun set over the Lerin Islands.
We enjoyed it so much that we are going back in June for an entire week. The train station in Antibes is very easy to find, and good for quick jaunts over to Cannes, Cagnes Sur Mer, Nice, St. Tropez, etc.
I really think that the Juan les Pins/Antibes area is the best place to stay in the Cote d'Azur.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 04:48 AM
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If you want to be right on the beach, and walk to shops, restaurants, then Cannes is perfect for you. It's glitzy, expensive, but also has an attractive old town, with nice restaurants, and the beach is excellent. Lots of very nice beach clubs and restaurants on the beach.

Belles Rives in Juan les Pins is a good suggestion too. Juan is a bit more teenager oriented, but it's also right on the beach with many restaurants and nightlife you can walk to. If Belles Rives is too expensive, the Meridien is right on the beach in the middle of town as well.

Antibes has much more charm than Juan, and is smaller than Cannes, but I cannot think of any great hotels that are walking distance to the old town (unless you don't mind a very long walk). The hotels mentioned by Underhill are the ones I would recommend as well. Close to the beach, but not walking distance to town.

Traffic on the Cote d'Azur is hell in August; try taking the train (easy to do for Cannes, Juan, Antibes). St Tropez is a real nightmare to get in and out of in August, so I would not recommend that if you are planning to visit other places from there.
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