I’m Julie, a blogger and content creator based in Amsterdam and originally from Central America. I love globetrotting to beautiful destinations like the French Riviera. Although, I wasn’t always able to do this. Growing up in Nicaragua, I didn’t have the chance to see much of the world. The only traveling I did was joining my parents on their fishing trips across Nicaragua but I became fascinated with travel after these experiences.
Once I moved to Amsterdam, I realized that I could take trips all over Europe. I discovered that completely different countries were just a short train ride or flight away. Recently, I formed international friendships that sparked even more opportunities to visit new places. Since I plan itineraries for myself to follow, and by combining those with photos, I wanted to share this with others to help them plan their trips. This is how my blog was born.
7-Day Itinerary for the French Riviera
The first time I traveled to the French Riviera was in 2017 shortly after meeting my boyfriend. His parents have a home close to a town just an hour away from Nice. So since it’s easy for us to travel to the Cote d’Azur at low cost, we try to go back every six months. Sometimes we fly into Nice but often we drive, as it is just a 12-hour drive from the Netherlands.
You can see a lot of the French Riviera in seven days. There are many things you could do but it all depends on how you want to mix it up. A couple of beach days, a few city trips and driving along the southern coastline – your time will go by fast. Nice is an ideal destination for day trips as you can go east and west to see loads of cool places between Marseille and Monaco.
The French Riviera is one of those seductive regions of the world that never bores you. Even after taking several trips there, I still manage to uncover new places and sites that take my breath away. With so much to do during the summer, it’s hard to pick some of the best places to visit for your trip but here are my recommendations for how to spend a fun week there:
Day 1: Nice & Saint Paul de Vence
Day 2: Monaco, Eze & Menton
Day 3: Cannes & Ile Sainte-Marguerite
Day 4: Grimaud & Saint-Tropez
Day 5: Hyeres & Port-Cros National Park
Day 6: Cassis & Massif des Calanques
Day 7: Aix-en-Provence & Marseille
Highlight of the Cote d’Azur: Menton
It is hard to choose a favorite place on the French Riviera but if I had to pick a spot it would be Menton. This colorful seaside town is close to the Italian border, which means you can have a fun mix of French and Italian culture. It is reached by jumping on a 45-minute train ride from Nice-Ville station for five Euros, or you can drive which takes the same amount of time.
Menton’s colorful historic town, sandy beaches, and mix of French and Italian food pair perfectly with some delicious ice cream and swimming in its bay until the sun goes down. Make sure to stroll around the streets and up to the church and take plenty of photos, have a lemonade (Menton is known for its lemons), and check out the view at Plage des Sablettes.
10 Best Things To Do on the French Riviera
The French Riviera is a wonderful area and that is why I have gone back so many times. The great weather, nice food and range of activities are great for anybody. I recommend the Cote d’Azur for all travelers. Whether you are after a beach getaway, some city trips, hiking trails, museum visits, or colorful villages soaking in the warm French sun, I guarantee there is something on this coast that you will love. Here are the 10 best things to do:
- Spend a Day in Nice: Nice is a cosmopolitan beachfront city that oozes charm. You can’t not spend a few days in Nice when in the Cote d’Azur.
- Shop at the Local Market of Villefranche-sur-Mer: A short trip from Nice, the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is as adorable as any on this list.
- Discover French & Italian Culture in Menton: Spend the day trying the local cuisine, soaking in the bay and strolling through its historic streets.
- Visit the Oceanographic Museum (Monaco): This museum/aquarium shows a true respect for the ocean, unlike other commercial aquariums.
- Stroll the Fairytale Town of Eze: Walk up and admire the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea from its magnificent botanical garden.
- Snorkel & Hike in Port-Cros National Park: A wonderful island that is a protected area with some of the best snorkeling in the Mediterranean.
- Feel Like a Star in Cannes: Walk the promenade, check out the luxury hotels, have lunch at a fine-dining restaurant and relax at the beach.
- Kayak from Cannes to Ile Sainte-Marguerite: The best beaches close to Cannes are here, so make sure to do the loop around the two islands.
- Admire the Fountains of Aix-en-Provence: Explore the fountains on a sunny afternoon while hopping in and out of cool bars and restaurants.
- Hike & Swim by Massif des Calanques around Marseilles: Some of the most beautiful coastlines in France (and all of Europe) are found here.
Food Scene Along the Southern Coast
One of the many highlights of traveling in France is stumbling upon local markets that you will find in the center of town on certain days of the week. These markets offer a variety of products, ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to charcuterie, as well as household goods and clothing. In my opinion these markets are the best way to get a lowdown on the local food.
You will find the usual French staples like more types of cheeses than you can remember, and a variety of delicious fruits and vegetables, but you will also see a bigger focus on fresh fish as well in this part of France – the French Riviera. Below I have summarized some of the best food options and restaurants that you can expect while traveling along the Cote d’Azur:
- Authentic street food in Nice: Lou Pilha Leva
- Fine dining at Le Plongeoir (Nice)
- Boulangeries and patisseries in Menton
- Restaurants along Rue Meynadier in Cannes
- 5-star restaurant La Chevre d’Or in Eze
How to Get Around the French Riviera
Getting around the French Riviera is easy by car or public transport. Ideally, you should begin in Nice because it has a well-connected airport and train lines. If you want to travel on your schedule and explore the secrets of the French Riviera, then I suggest renting a car. Do keep in mind that parking can be tricky and costly, especially during France’s peak summer season.
Traveling in a Budget-Friendly Manner
The French Riviera is pricey. However, you can travel on a budget by visiting in the off-season, when it is less busy and prices are lower. Alternatively, you can stay in less touristy towns near the bigger cities to reduce costs. The trains are reliable and a great option to save money. Buy food at a market and take it on the road to save money along the way. Also the food in supermarkets or in bakeries here is generally of amazing quality! Prices:
- Hotels: 75 – “sky’s the limit” EUR / night
- Guesthouses: 40 – 120 EUR / night
- Restaurant price per meal: 15+ EUR
- Transportation: 5 to 30 EUR per day depending on distance
Tips for Visiting the French Riviera
I visited most of the spots in the above list as day trips. I don’t have places to suggest for accommodation, just to use Nice as your base. There are many hotels you can find. Visiting the Oceanographic Museum is a must. It is housed in a stunning palace located on the edge of a cliff. It contains an expansive aquarium and large oceanographic exhibitions. Lastly, do not miss the rooftop for a delicious and affordable lunch with a great view.