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16 replies
Is the French Riviera over-rated??
LindsCaFl
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For all of you who have been to Nice, Monte Carlo, and Cannes, I was wondering if you could tell me if you really enjoyed it, or not. I was thinking of adding the French Riviera to my travel plans this summer, but I’m kind of rethinking it. So many people go there in the summer, it’s expensive, and I’m wondering just how great it is. If I were to cut it out of my trip plans, I would just be going to Italy, and then flying to Spain. (I have 5 weeks to travel. Should I do the French Riviera?

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I would say to go—- but, on the other hand, I’ve never gone in July/August. Avoided going, in fact! I prefer some smaller places, such as Juan-les-Pins, where I found a small and relatively inexpensive hotel (single room about 65 euros per night) about 50m from the beach, and whose proprietess is delightful.
I like it there because there’s a nice mix of clean sandy beaches, good nightlife (mine ends about midnight), good restaurants—- and I can easily connect by train to other towns along the coast.
For me, going to the Riviera has been a good experience, but I’ve gravitated towards those smaller towns. On my first trip, I stayed in Cannes, and on later trips, in Nice. While there’s nothing wrong with either of those places, I see them as just bigger versions of the small towns along the coast, and perhaps more expensive, too.
For food, look for local specialties—- things like soupe de poisson (fish soup) or salade nicoise or fish, especially grilled over fennel.

delfrio
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I was there in July a few years back (Nice specifically), and I wasn’t impressed. Beaches weren’t that great (a little dirty, didn’t find any sand ones in Nice) and same with the town. Touristy, hostels were full, expensive, not so much fun. I did stop off in a couple of small towns though and enjoyed those a lot more. Now that I gamble more though, I’d definitely stop off in Monte Carlo just for the experience if I got the chance.

I’d rate the Italian Riveria much higher IMO.

frihed89
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I lie in Delfrio’s camp. Stay off the Riveria in France, or just go for a day trip. Inland in Province or Languedoc is much nicer.

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I was in all 3 cities you mentioned and I enjoyed myself. Cannes is small but has sandy beaches. Monte Carlo is nice, you can go gambling and see the beautiful harbor (right outside of the train station), but I was a little bored there once blew my wad (figuratively speaking) at the casino. I really liked Nice. I found a small hotel/hostel near the train station and maybe 8 blocks inland from the beach. The city had better nightlife than most places in Europe (restaurants stay open later), and the water was gorgeous. True, the beaches are rocks, but at least that means you won’t be dragging sand everywhere. It’s a fair tradeoff.

pearljam53
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I did Nice and Cannes in May. Nice was a break from hitting larger cities. It was just a laid back place where you can walk everywhere. My friend and I ended up staying there for 2 days before hitting Cannes. Other than the beach and designer stores, there really is not anything to do in Cannes so we stayed there the afternoon.

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ChaseMan
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The French Riviera is definitely not overrated- that is why it is jam packed during the summer. Skip the big cities unless you are set on seeing them.

samevans
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the french riviera is kind of an enigma. Some places are packed with decent clubs and bars etc the rest is coked up twats looking for film stars. my favourite bar is the banana bar in antibes marina stays open all night friendly people always a good laugh. Another perk is mr lucky lucky fucking oddcase street seller but he knows everyone and will point u in the direction of good spots and beachs. Another passe temps is up in the mountains behind juan les pins where you can do "unofficiall" white water rafting and jumping off water falls. Having said that helmets and wet suits wouldnt go amiss.

samevans
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the french riviera is kind of an enigma. Some places are packed with decent clubs and bars etc the rest is coked up twats looking for film stars. my favourite bar is the banana bar in antibes marina stays open all night friendly people always a good laugh. Another perk is mr lucky lucky fucking oddcase street seller but he knows everyone and will point u in the direction of good spots and beachs. Another passe temps is up in the mountains behind juan les pins where you can do "unofficiall" white water rafting and jumping off water falls. Having said that helmets and wet suits wouldnt go amiss.

samevans
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the french riviera is kind of an enigma. Some places are packed with decent clubs and bars etc the rest is coked up twats looking for film stars. my favourite bar is the banana bar in antibes marina stays open all night friendly people always a good laugh. Another perk is mr lucky lucky fucking oddcase street seller but he knows everyone and will point u in the direction of good spots and beachs. Another passe temps is up in the mountains behind juan les pins where you can do "unofficiall" white water rafting and jumping off water falls. Having said that helmets and wet suits wouldnt go amiss.

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I wouldn’t plan a lengthy stay in Nice or Cannes or Monte Carlo, mainly because I couldn’t afford it.

The Cote D’Azur is certainly worth a short visit. I especialy like Monte Carlo – I rode the bus from Nice to Monte Carlo and the coastal views are spectacular. The bus drivers take those hairpin curves along the coast road a bit too fast for my comfort.

You could stay at Villefranche ( a bit lesss expensive) or some other place off the central riviera and daytrip to Monte Carlo or Nice.

M.A.Lakka
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I love the Riviera, but it is expensive. For an alternative, the Mediterranean the coast up from the Spanish frontier is my tip. Lots of history, scenery and friendly folk. One of Europe’s best hostels in Nimes too. This ‘Roman’ town is a great base to explore from.

dchilin
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I was just there about a week ago, Nice was fine, good night life, I did a day trip to Monaco, nice sandy beaches. you can find some good food thats not too expensive if you look around.
if you happend to be looking for Backpackers Place, Chez Patricks, avoid the Pink Lady next door that rents out beds. You have been warned.

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I too am deciding how many days to attribute to the French Riviera, as I currently have 3 nights to spend there. Other than Nice, I want to see cassis and was wondering where would be a good night to spend close enough to cassis

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Marseilles and Toulon are very close to Cassis, with frequent train connections. Nice is 2 1/2 hours by train with a connection in Toulon. Cannes, Antibes and San Raphael are a closer to Toulon, thus close to Cassis, than Nice. I’d probably pick Antibes as a base as it’s less expensive than Cannes or Nice and has good train connections. San Raphael might be a good choice for connection to Cassis.

cityfan
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I was pondering Carcassonne as my stop after Cassis, on the way to Barcelona. Throughout our trip the only medieval feel we’ve been getting is Rome, so I’m thinking that may be nice.

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Cil
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Carcassonne is atmospheric, but it will be very crowded unless you get there early in the morning. Najac is an amazing place to visit, but might be too off the beaten path for you.

I like Antibes and it has a sandy beach. But Nice is definitely worth visiting.