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Need help with itinerary Nice/Paris and somewhere else?

We have 7 nights, so not a long trip. Flying into Nice, but unfortunately it is the week leading up to the Monaco Grand Prix, so the third night (Friday) prices are through the roof. Need help on following potential options, using TGV (not planning on renting a car).

Option 1. Nice 3 nights, early train to Paris for four nights. Con: Is this too much time in Nice/is it worth the jacked up prices?
Optoin 2: Nice 2 nights, nearby town such as Antibes for third, then early train to Paris for four nights.
Option 3: Nice 2 nights, train to Aix-en-Provence or Avignon, stay one night, then leave the next day for Paris for four nights. Cons: Lots of travel and elminates relaxing evenings.

Option 4: Nice 2 nights, then take a p.m. train to Paris for five nights. Have been to Paris before for a very short trip 10 years ago.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10692 posts

Nice is a great base for visiting other Riviera spots by public transportation, especially if you're interested in the hill towns that require buses (such as Eze, St-Paul-de-Vence and Vence). Any other single town on the train line could also work if you're only planning visits to other coastal locations, though of course travel times would vary. What I wouldn't do is split up the 3 nights, and a stop in Aix-en-Provence (4 hours) or Avignon (at least 3 hours) would really only give you about a half a day in Provence by the time you got settled into your hotel--certainly not worth it.

You can check the rail schedules on the Deutsche Bahn website, which I find just a bit easier to use than SNCF. You'll need the latter for prices and to buy your onward ticket to Paris. You'll save a lot of money on that ticket by buying early, but the promotional tickets are non-refundable/non-changeable.

You don't need to buy local Riviera tickets ahead of time (no price advantage), but you may run into back-ups at the ticket-vending machines at the Nice-Ville station. Allow extra time there unless you're certain enough of your plans to buy the tickets the evening before.

I took a quick look at booking.com and found that the highly-rated Hotel Villa Rosa is shown as having a double room available for the nights of May 23 - 25 at a total price of $771 for all 3 nights. I don't know anything about the property; I haven't read the reviews or looked at the pictures. There are other options as well.

Edited to add: You might also consider Antibes. I only day-tripped there, but I liked it, and several other posters also have made positive comments about the town. It's farther west than Nice so the hotel rates probably aren't quite as affected by the race. I do see some availability. Avignon is less than 1/2 hour from Nice by train. You can get all the way to Menton, which is practically on the Italian border, in as little as an hour.

Do beware of pickpockets on the Riviera trains. They are active even when there isn't a big-time event going on.

Posted by Gooster
Nice, France & San Francisco
227 posts

It's unfortunate you are right on top of the busy time -- you might not find much relief in Antibes (or Cannes), but you can search. If in Nice, you should consider a professionally managed rental apartment -- hotels tend to vary their rates more for special events. Check flipkey/trip advisor rentals or arbritel/homeaway for places.

I would not break up the time as in option 2 -- Antibes is not sufficiently different to merit picking up for one night. But there is plenty to see in the Cote d'Azur and do that two nights might be limiting. It would be better to concentrate your time

I would only bother to break up the journey in Option 3, with Avignon as a better one night choice. Note that the train from Nice is slower for the TGV until you get to Aix. Thus, a good portion of your journey time back to Paris is spent in that stretch as it must go slow through the coastal towns. And one night in the Avignon area will leave you wanting to go back to hit the countryside and surrounding towns and villages on a future trip.

Posted by Stephen
Charleston, SC, USA
836 posts

We just did a similar trip. We stayed in Arles for 2 nights, Nice for 3 and Paris for 3 (had been to Paris 3 years ago for 5 nights). We had a car in Arles and dropped it off in Nice. We went to the Camargue to see the flamingos and horses. We considered Avignon and Aix as well, so i think you would be well-served with any of those. Also, if you only plan to stay in Nice and Paris, I would consider flying from Nice to Paris as the train is 5:41 at a minimum. Flights (1:30) are cheap and you could spend 2 nights in Nice, take a late flight to Paris and spend 5 nights in Paris. EasyJet and AirFrance have flights departing after 6 PM to CDG or ORY.

Posted by roth_julie OP
2 posts

Thanks. So bummed that the race is sunday and the grand hotels are totally booked, and the ones available cost as much as the grand ones would normally cost!

We are not frequent travelers to Europe - lessons learned!!

Any hotel recommendations for Nice? I can always try...

Thanks!

Posted by Mary
Sunnyside, New York, United States
408 posts

We are making a similar journey this year, plan to fly on easy jet. Waiting for our flights to open but hope to fly round trip for 80euros, one way was about 40.