Nice and Villefranche
Fruit and Flower Market
The Marché aux Fleurs is one of the most memorable scenes in the Old Town. With hundreds of vendors selling fresh fruits, flowers, breads, meats, herbs and cheeses, this is the ideal stop to pack a picnic before a day at the beach! The Market is open daily from 7am – 1pm except Mondays, when it becomes an Antique market.
For spectacular views of the coast north towards Monaco and south towards Cannes, either climb up the Chateau or take the elevator at the foot of the hill.
Villefranche [play Villefranche video]
A stunning old fishing town only 10 minutes from Nice. Set into the cliffs and overlooking a beautiful bay with plenty of fishing boats lining the coast, Villefranche is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
East: Eze, Monaco & Cap d’Ail
Eze Village [play Eze & Monaco video]
A spectacular Medieval Stone Village on a 427m peak, heading towards Monaco. With only one gate in and out of this walled village, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the Middle Ages!
Check out the Cactus Gardens at the top of Eze Village for incredible views of the Med or enjoy a (rather pricey) drink on the cliff top terrace of the Chèvre d’Or Hotel. Rest assured the view is definitely worth the price of the drink!
Monaco [play Eze & Monaco video]
The Principality of Monaco is a separate country to France and the second smallest country in the world!
If you are interested to see the best that money can buy then head to the Avenue de Monte Carlo which leads down the hill to the port where you can admire luxury yachts and stop for a drink at one of the many cafes along the way.
For a touch of royalty, head to the south end of the port and visit the Palais Du Prince, on rue des Ramparts. The Changing of the Guard occurs daily at 11:55am.
Cap d’Ail [play Cap d'Ail video]
The Garlic cape, Cap d’Ail is a stunning blue cove with a pebbled beach, located 10 minutes south of Monaco. If you are keen for a bit of adventure you can swim, snorkel, kayak or explore the caves and cliffs lining the cove.
West: Antibes, Cannes and Juan les Pins
A gorgeous medieval fishing town, Antibes was originally settled in the 4th century by Greeks from Marseilles. While a lot of the 4th century structures and architecture were destroyed to expand the city, the ancient sea walls leading from the yacht harbour to the fisherman’s port still stand.
The beach, Plage de la Gravette (aka the fish bowl), is located right in front of Old Antibes. Cross through the old gate at the end of the Yacht harbour and head towards the water.
Cannes is world famous for its annual International Film Festival, held in the Palais Des Festivals in May. This stunning resort town has 7 miles of sandy beaches as well as many boutique stores and excellent restaurants. From the train station, head down rue 24 Aout to see the Film Festival hall.
Check out the promenade (La Croisette) along the beach for a taste of true French-Provencale architecture. For great views, walk past the harbour and up the hill into the Old Town.
Juan les Pins [play Antibes, Juan les Pins & Cannes video]
Nestled on the coastline between Nice and Cannes, Juan les Pins is one of the few spots on the Riviera with true sandy beaches.
Juan les Pins is famous for its annual jazz festival in July “Jazz à Juan". If you’re not lucky enough to visit during this time, wander the streets behind the seaside stage and you will find ceramic tiles laid into the pavement with over 50 jazz musicians who have played at this festival.
The nightlife in this town is spectacular so be sure to pack your dancing shoes if you intend to check out the many bars, clubs and pubs that make this town famous.
The Hills Above Nice
St Paul de Vence [play St Paul de Vence video]
The most visited village in France, St Paul-de-Vence was the centre of Impressionism at the beginning of the 20th century. This walled village has lots of small streets, is great for exploring and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean. The main street, Rue Grande, runs the entire length of the village and the 16th century buildings are not only interesting viewing, but house some fantastic antique shops, art studios, gift shops, cafes and restaurants. The museum Fondation Maeght, located 500 metres (€9-14 entry) below the village is a stunning piece of architecture, not to be missed during a trip to St Paul-de-Vence.
Grasse [play Grasse video]
The capital of the perfume industry since days of the Renaissance, ¾ of the world’s perfumes and essences are produced here. Grasse is surrounded by Rose and Jasmine fields and you can take a tour of a number of perfumeries where you will be showered with a wealth of information about the perfume making process. You can of course buy perfumes here too. Parfumerie Fragonard offer tours every 20 minutes as well as a museum where you can see perfume-preserved mummies among other sights.
Entrevaux [play Entrevaux video]
Entrevaux is a stunning ancient medieval city founded in the 11th century and fortified in the 17th century. Located in the Alps of the Cote d'azur on the banks of the river Var, the first walls in this town (both military and civilian historical buildings) are still intact. Access to the Citadel (high on the hills, €5 entry) is fascinating due to the drawbridge and nine zigzaging ramps. Tall and narrow houses, little public squares and ancient fountains are surrounded by splendid landscapes, olive groves and terraced gardens.
Hiking Day Trips
Explore the French Alps hiking through valleys, climbing up mountains, cooling down at waterfalls and picknicking at lakes with the "Randobus" which will take you to 3 different destinations in the French Alps catering for all fitness levels and tastes of hiking routes. It leaves daily until the 2nd of September and every weekend in September at 7:15 am from the central train station. It has to be booked and paid by credit card 2 days in advance on www.lignesdazur.com (French site only) and costs €5 return. Please contact us if you need assistance with organising this.
Bus # 730 Vallée de la Vésubie (fitness level: medium to advanced)
Bus # 740 Vallée de la Tinée (fitness level: easy to medium)
Bus # 770 Vallée du Cians (fitness level: easy to medium)