5 Days on the French Riviera
Having a year-round holiday vibe, the French Riviera or Cote d’Azur epitomizes the joie de vivre. Enjoy and see it yourself, the good-life spirit in the Riviera’s coastal resort towns and up high in perched villages clinging to the foothills of the Alps. Play in the maze of old-city alleys, find out what’s new at the Provencal markets, go on road trips full of picture-perfect views and appreciate summer sound of cigales. In the five days in the Cote d’Azur sample itinerary, we’ll take you to the very best sites and sounds of the French Riviera.
Where to Stay in the French Riviera?
If you’re looking for a non-stop action and the city life, Nice is perfect for you. Later in this guide, you’ll learn that Nice has a good boardwalk, many dining and drinking options, and casinos. Since it is the fifth largest city in France, Nice has a lot of accommodation to choose from the suits all your tastes and budget – from French Riviera home rentals, apartments to five-star hotels.
French Riviera Travel Tips
- Cote d’Azur is a year-round holiday destination, and best enjoyed during the shoulder seasons from April to June and September to October. During these months, the weather is great for all types of activities, tourists and visitors haven’t yet arrived or have left already, and the traffic isn’t bad.
- You can tour around by foot in the Cote d’Azur major towns such as Antibes, Cannes, and Nice, and even use the train or bus to get from one destination to the other. Much better if you can rent a car, as it will open up the beautiful countryside for exploration.
- Some of the museums are usually free on bank holidays and on the first Sunday of the month.
- There are so many excellent products to bring back as souvenirs such as jams, olive oil, lavender, perfume, and many more, so consider paying for your extra luggage for the return back home.
- If you’re into Scuba diving, there are few dive clubs in and around the Antibes.
Day 1: Arrive in Nice, Explore Nice
Most flights arrive into Nice in the late morning or early afternoon depending on where you are traveling from. Check into your hotel and then spend the rest of the day discovering the streets of Nice.
Tour along the Promenade des Anglais, a paved walkway along the coastline of Nice. Climb the Castle Hill to see the entire view of Nice. Go to Old Nice (Vieux Nice), a picturesque part of town with narrow streets, many cafés and restaurant, and colorful buildings.
Day 2: Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
On the second day, explore the many scenic towns in the Cote d’Azur.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is located on the coast just east of Nice. You can get in this town by hiring a taxi, which is the easiest way. Spend half your day exploring the calm and colorful streets of Villefranche-sur-Mer. There are few great restaurants you can find along the water’s edge, a good place for your lunch.
After lunch, grab another taxi and go to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Cap Ferrat. This Villa is a mansion that was constructed in 1905 by a rich baroness. The house is just stunning and most tourists visit here to see its beautiful gardens.
A few minutes away from Villa Ephrussi is the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat where you can rest in the small beach and harbor. To appreciate the beauty of the town, walk along the Promenade Maurice Rouvier to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. From this place, you can grab a taxi going back to Nice.
End your day with dinner and drinks in Nice.
Day 3: Monaco
Spend your third day in the French Riviera by exploring Monaco. But, if you have enough time to relax on the beach in Nice, it’s better before going to Monaco.
After your sumptuous meal, take a 20-minute train ride from Nice to Monaco.
In Monaco, tour along the harbor, as this is the place to go yacht watching. Other amazing ways to enjoy Monaco are gambling at the Monte Carlo Casino, walk through the Japanese Gardens and see Prince Rainier III’s private collection of cars. After that, grab a drink at Café de Paris Monte Carlo.
After dinner in Monte Carlo, catch the train going back to Nice.
Day 4: Antibes and Cannes
Your journey continues along the coast of Cote d’Azur. Catch the train from Nice to Antibes, which will take you about 20 minutes.
In Antibes, you’ll see the largest yachting harbor in Europe – the Port Vauban. It is larger than the harbor in Monaco.
Walk along the coastline of Antibes and visit their interesting museums such as Picasso and Absinthe Museum. From Antibes, ride a train going to Cannes, it’s just 7 minutes away from Antibes. Cannes is known for its luxury hotels and its annual Cannes Film Festival. Spend your day on the beach, sip a drink in Ritz-Carlton Hotel, or experience the Italian cuisine at one of the several restaurants on docks perched over the ocean.
The annual Cannes Film Festival runs for ten days in mid-May.
Catch the train going back to Nice.
Day 5: Drive the French Riviera to Marseille
For your fifth and final day, rent a car and drive some of the most picture-perfect roads in France. Between Monaco and Nice, there are three cornices, winding roads along the mountainous coastline. They are easy to drive and will give a tourist a different view of the Cote d’Azur than from the shoreline.
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