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French Riviera in 7 days

Hello Experts,
I am traveling to France, arriving in Nice. We have 8 days to explore the Riviera. I have some high-level idea on places to do but would love to see if anyone has carved out an itinerary and want to share.
I am with my husband and 15 YO son.

Thank you in advance.
Rashmi

Posted by
27353 posts

What time of year is your trip? How many nights are you spending in France? Are you arriving from the US/Canada or from elsewhere in Europe?

Rick has a book focusing on southern France. I suggest that you consult it and build a list of potential sights and come here for additional assistance. We don't know what sort of things your family is interested in. For example: There are many, many good art museums in southern France. There are lovely gardens. There are classical ruins (more in Provence than along the Riviera). There are places to go to see ceramics or glass. There are beaches (not uncrowded and sometimes rocky). There are lively weekly markets.

Posted by
7001 posts

Eight days in the French Riviera is plentiful, you can either leisurely explore the area (from Cannes to Menton, with some inland excursions - the latter are easier with a car), or split up your time: 4 days in Nice and vicinity / 4 days in Avignon and vicinity (Provence towns, roman sites, etc.)

Posted by
11354 posts

Day trips from Nice by bus or train: Villa Ephrussi and Cap Ferrat, Antibes, St-Paul de Venice, Venice, Monaco, Villefrance. Within Nice, Musee Chagall, Musee Matisse, Castle Hill

Posted by
3941 posts

Just to clarify, I'm sure Suki's autocorrect corrected St Paul de Vence and Vence to Venice. ;)

We loved St Paul by the way!

Posted by
6 posts

Nicole P : You are right, I went to Venice, Italy in december and no plans to revisit :)

Posted by
6 posts

@acraven: Flying from SFO, Jul 23 - Jul 30th - Nice (3 nights), Cannes (2 nights) and Antibes (2 nights). Have ordered RS book, arriving tom, have 2 days to scan and plan from the book :)
Thank you all for your response.
Further to my qs, looking to see -
1) If makes sense, to make 1 day trip to Provence.
2) Buy Train pass ahead of time, if yes, which kind.
Any pointers would help.

Posted by
7001 posts

So, with the details of your dates, I see you only have six full days on the ground: I would stay in the Riviera area. The "Provence" areas of most interest are a bit far for just a day day. No train pass possible or even needed, fares are cheap.

Posted by
6 posts

@balso - Thank you.
Do you think drive to Gorges du Verdon, stay a night somewhere there? worth, or the other option, to target a lavender field somewhere in Provence?

Posted by
27353 posts

I would not want to change hotels twice on a trip covering such a small area. Although I understand wanting the evening experience in more than one place, the hassle of changing hotels would outweigh that for me. Each change converts a full vacation day to a partial day, leaving you with only four days when you're not moving your luggage to a new hotel. This will not be a very relaxing trip.

Also note that Nice is the best starting point for most bus trips to hill towns as well as to many of the popular coastal destinations. Depending on where you want to go, you may not have enough time to visit the planned day-trip destinations from Nice. Your first (partial) day in Nice may be unproductive due to sleep-deprivation and jetlag.

Posted by
728 posts

I missed the lavender fields because we were too early, but I can say that the Gorge du Verdon is wonderful. We spent one night in Moustiers Ste-Marie, and wished we had spent two nights there, although I have heard it gets very crowded in July. Since your time is fairly limited, you might want to stick closer to the Riviera and nearby Hill towns.

Posted by
698 posts

You can add the Valensole plateau to see the lavender, but I would add an overnight stay. It is getting later in the season and higher elevations peak later. Moustiers St. Marie is one town, with Manosque on the other side. There are also fields outside of Dignes-les-Bains, a little further up. These are all a good 2 to 3+ hours away, one way, and you'll be spending a bunch of time in a car. I've heard, but not seen, the wild lavender fields above Grasse and Gourdon as you drive past some spectacular areas in the pre-Alps.

I agree, I would not add so many separate stays. Cannes and Antibes are separated by like 8 minutes by train (and Antibes just 15 minutes from Nice). Cannes can be just a day trip destination, unless you are going to add a ferry trip to the Lerins Islans just off the coast (Sainte Marguerite and Sainte Honorat -- the latter has more touristic attractions, a monastery with its own winery). You could cancel one stay and add the nights to an overnight trip further west and north.

There is a train pass available in the Cote d'Azur called the Pass Isabelle Famille. It's 35E per day and should cover your family. But you need to be travelling a lot on a train or pretty far to make it worthwhile. It is for the TER regional trains only.

https://www.ter.sncf.com/sud-provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/offres/pass-promos/pass-isabelle-famille
There are also day passes for individuals, per department, for the summer only.

There are attraction passes optionally bundled with bus/tram passes, called the French Riviera Pass. Choose carefully there, as the attractions need to really be worth it to offset the cost of the pass, and some offers may require advance reservations.

Posted by
7001 posts

If you base yourselves in Antibes or Cannes (pick one, not two) for part of the trip, you can make a long day trip by car to the Verdon and Valensole lavender fields (if lavender season). Did I say long?
A drive to Gourdon, the Loup gorge, and Tourette sur Loup might be better, from a time/sightseeing worthiness ratio standpoint

Posted by
6 posts

This is my last question before I let you all go off the hook :) -

Does it make sense to buy French Riviera pass for Museums, does the pass cover both Bus and Train ?

Posted by
698 posts

The French Riviera Pass has a transit option for the bus/trams only. You need to do the math there on what attractions to see if you get savings. There is also a 20E weekly Museum pass that covers the Nice museums only (the Chagall is not included; the FRP includes this and others in other towns). Note in Nice your 10E admission gets you admission to all municipal museums in a 24 hr period.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi all,
All of the above are very good suggestions. I myself come from Nice, i am particularly fond of the eastern part of town: the marina, stone beaches of "la réserve", maeterlinck boulevard that Links Nice to Villefranche with a majestic perspective on the sea, the beaches of saint jean cap ferrat ( where i got married :).
You also need to see Eze, and of course Monaco ! La turbie could be worth a détour for the view, though it is often foggy.

Cheers,
Bruno