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When is better to visit Nice and the Cote d'Azur? Two options this summer

Hi! I'm planning a very last-minute (I know) trip to Nice and the French Riviera. Some day trips to Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Antibes and possibly Avignon may be in the works as well. I've managed to find some reasonable flights still and hotel rooms, and am looking at two timeframes (both of the same length -- 8 nights). The first timeframe costs about $300 more, but it's not enough to concern me too much.

July 8 - 17

July 30 - August 6

I've read some people say it's crazy to go to Nice in August. I don't mind some fun and excitement and people watching, but if the beach and attractions are going to be nightmares and trains/public transportation (I won't have a car) a mess, maybe I should opt for earlier in July? I also thought about Bastille Day being on the 14th and am wondering your thoughts on that. On one hand I could see that being very fun and exciting (I've been to Paris on Bastille Day and loved it), but I know that's one less day sites will be open and trains/transportation affected potentially. Also, given what happened there on that same day a couple of years ago, I'm a little nervous about safety. (Side note FYI, I'm a woman in her late twenties traveling alone without a car.)

Please let me know your thoughts about which itinerary you think best. You all have such thoughtful advice always -- thank you!

Posted by
10164 posts

There’s no difference between July and August, particularly if you don’t have to deal with a car,
As for day trips, Antibes is close by, but Marseille is two hours each way by train, Aix and Avignon about three hours. The high-speed train doesn’t run along the coast. It’s much slower.

Posted by
32660 posts

I don't see a lot of difference.

I always go in late winter so maybe not the best resource for high summer, except to say that certainly it will be hot and certainly it will be crowded.

The 14th of July is nowhere near as big a deal in the provinces as it is in Paris. You can always hop the train (or bus) for the short jog over to Monaco for the day of you remain worried.

If you are alert and always know where you can go you won't be surprised in the EXTREMELY low chance of a repeat and you will not worry. It is the element of surprise that catches people out.

Posted by
7799 posts

Since there are two festivals going on one at Nice and another at Juan-les-Pins (there is your live music outdoor evening entertainment) take the earlier in July option. A day trip from Nice to Provence is too far. I would split 4 nights in French Riveria based in a hotel at Nice with 3 in Provence area based at a hotel in Marseille or Aix.

You should look at a Google maps to see how far away things are

Posted by
671 posts

The main difference between the times is really who makes up the tourists at that time frame. Save the money. Buses tend to fill up pretty fast, especially the popular 100 line to Monaco from the Port. Trains have more capacity, and hopefully strikes will be over. The bus issue is a bigger deal when you are in the smaller towns or stops en route between end points.

Last year's, Bastille Day celebrations in Nice were filled with sombre ceremonies and remembrances, and I think another ceremony is planned this year.

Marseille is a pretty healthy distance away (2.5 to 5 hours) for a day trip. Aix and Avignon is even further, and there is a major festival during July in Avignon. Consider splitting your trip, and if you haven't booked yet, look into an open jaw ticket.