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Honeymoon in South of France

We have 6 nights for our honeymoon in May. After reading that Switzerland weather likely won’t be ideal this time of year, we are deciding to go somewhere warmer. Prior to this, we will be spending 10 days in Italy (Florence/Tuscany/Positano) then flying to Nice from Naples.

I have been to the French Riviera (only saw Nice, Monaco, Saint Paul de Vence) before but my fiancé has not.

I’ve realized the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix while be going on while we are there, so hotels are quite expensive and some are getting booked up.

Any thoughts or suggestions on this rough itinerary:

  • 3 nights - stay in Nice at Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel (part of Amex FHR). 
Day trips from here to Villefranche-sur-mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and Menton. Would also like to spend time at beach clubs in Nice.
  • 1 night - stay at Chateau De La Chevre D’or in Eze. Lazy day to explore the town and hang by the pool enjoying the views.
  • 2 nights - ??? possibly stay in Aix-en-Provence or another coastal town such as Antibes or St Tropez? If staying in Provence, we could fly out of either Paris or Nice.

I understand a lot of the towns along the coast are easy day trips, but it might be nice to stay and get a real feel for them instead of staying in Nice the whole time.

Flight home is not yet booked, but will most likely fly out of Nice.

Posted by
11350 posts

We made the mistake once of going to Nice during the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Gran Prix. You can book hotels in advance but you need to be aware that restaurants will be jam packed if you can even get in. I love Nice but would never go there again during those huge nearby events. See if you can change some of your dates around to make this part of your trip work.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you, we haven’t booked anything yet besides the Italy portion so it’s still all up in the air. But we will keep that in mind.

Posted by
27352 posts

I wouldn't want to move around as much as you are proposing to do. Three different hotels in six days is a lot, and that's if you don't need to spend your last night in Nice or Paris. Aix-en-Provence, for example, is at least 2 hr. 41 min. from Nice, and that's if you are starting from the TGV station; that's not where you'd be staying. (That's just one train; the other trains take considerably longer than that.) A more realistic travel time would be 3 hr. 35 min. to the Nice Airport, though I guess you could save some time by taking a taxi out to the TGV station.

You'll have about 2-1/2 days in Nice but plan to take 3 side trips and spend time at beach clubs (plural). That seems frantic rather than relaxing.

What are the check-in and check-out times at the hotel in Eze? With a one-night stay, how much time will you actually have there before you must pack up and check out?

St. Tropez has no train station, so it's more awkward to get to than other places on the Riviera. Antibes is a lot more practical.

At peak times, which this would be, you will probably encounter lines at the ticket-vending machines at Nice-Ville station. Plan to use the SNCF app or buy tickets the night before you plan to use them.

The regional trains running along the coast are very handy, but they are infested with professional pickpockets, so be very protective of your purse/wallet/cellphone. If someone gets into your personal space unnecessarily, they are quite possibly thieves.

Menton has two train stations; you probably want the first (westernmost) one, just labeled "Menton" but the eastern station (Menton Garavan) is closest to the Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden.

Posted by
35 posts

Hah, I'm also planning a honeymoon to the South of France for May 2024.

We're spending 3 nights in Villefranche-sur-mer, 2 nights in Aix-en-Provence, and 2 nights in Avignon (as a homebase for the Luberon).

Posted by
6999 posts

I second what Suki says... Nice and surroundings should really be avoided during the Grand Prix-Festival combo. It is hell, and an expensive version of it! You will have a lot more bang for your buck further west in Provence.

For clarification, I was indeed specifically referring to the days of overlap! Cannes Festival has no influence east of Nice, and Monaco grand prix has no influence west of Nice.

Posted by
697 posts

I don't think the area is too crowded during the two events, except for the weekend where they overlap. So it really depends on the actual day.s you are actually intending to spend and schedule your day trips accordingly. (The film festival is May 14th to the 25th, the Grand Prix 24th to the 26th). I'm in agreement that you could cut out your stay in Eze or simply pick another base.... like in Saint Tropez (you will need to drive; there is often spillover traffic from Cannes there).

The Anantara is new, very well located and has spectacular views. During this time period, you should book the best and most popular restaurants in advance, in some cases by a month.

Posted by
9 posts

we were there over same timeframe (not intentional) a few years ago, but had a BLAST. Cannes was only place a bit overloaded, but still managed to get into great spots to eat, they showed free films on beach on a big screen, Monaco was incredible during the Grand Prix (think Super Bowl).
we stayed at VRBO rented flat in Juan-les-Pins, turned out to be perfect spot. away from most of the craziness, very easy to travel to and from on train, lots of places to eat on small main drag, great beach, super chill and small town feel

Posted by
23 posts

Seems like too many hotel changes. Part of the magic of Nice is that it's such a great base for day trips.

As another option from Nice, what about the Maritime Alps? Mercantour National Park has hiking, mountain views, ancient petroglyphs, and some quirky old villages nearby. I went to Tende the last time I was in Nice, the last stop on the train that meets the Italian railroad in the Col de Tende mountain pass. It's a bit off the beaten path, but if you're into nature, maybe stay at a mountain chalet and do some hiking.

Posted by
10297 posts

May is a bit early for the Mercantour. To see the rock art, you have to hire an official guide who takes you in a 4x4. But it's a good train ride up there. It's the same ambiance as mountain towns in the California Sierras but with a very old church and French food. Win-win. Bring a puffy jacket in May.

Posted by
4 posts

Appreciate all the feedback and tips!

Would it be better to skip staying in Provence and instead make this a day trip? Or any other recommendations for day trips or things to see instead of the places I mentioned? Maybe visiting Canne just to see the festivities for a few hours could be interesting but would rather avoid insane crowds.

I guess we could also skip the one night in Eze and visit from Nice. It just seems so beautiful and would be gorgeous to wake up there. If we book that with Amex we might be able to get early check in/late check out to make it a little more worth it.

Posted by
10297 posts

Excellent idea to visit Cannes for the day. If waking in Eze is your honeymoon dream, go for it. Sometimes we advice-givers let our practical sides rule rather than our poetic. Bonne lune de miel.

Posted by
27352 posts

I'm not clear on which destination you're asking about day-tripping to, and from what point of origin. If you're thinking about visiting Provence from a Riviera base, a day trip could involve a great deal of sitting-in-vehicle time. I'd suggest checking the travel time on sncf-connect.com/en-en/ for trains, viamichelin.com for driving, and lignesdazur.com for buses.

Posted by
793 posts

As Acraven says, are you speaking of Provence or the Riviera? Nice,etc. is not in Provence. From Nice to Aix, which is "en Provence" that would be will take a few hours driving. It is not coastal. If you do go to Aix, a TGV goes from Marseille to Paris, so that would get you to Paris quickly to proceed to CDG. Happy honeymoon!

Posted by
92 posts

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
I don't know if I'd go all the way to Aix for two nights on this trip. There are so many places to see just in the surrounding towns of Nice, and since you want to relax at the beach clubs, also....I'd suggest you either stay in Nice the whole time, and day trip, or break it up with 3 days in Nice, and 3 in Antibes. (They are close to each other, though)

Or perhaps, 3 days in Nice, then 3 days up in one of the hill towns nearby for a different atmosphere.