So you want to visit the French Riviera? Well if you’re like us (meaning you don’t own a mega-yacht) you might be thinking this area is out of your price range. Well lucky for you, our short weekend travel guide details a way to visit without completely destroying your bank account. Head to Nice, and either use it as your base to explore the surrounding area or just relax and see what this charming city has to offer.
Day 1: Old Town
We stayed in an Airbnb in Vieux Nice, better known to English-speakers as Old Town. This area is winding maze of shops, restaurants, bars, and ice-cream parlors. We definitely recommend staying in this neighborhood. It has an old world charm that you won’t find outside its walls. In fact, it is more reminiscent of old Italy due to the history of this city.
Speaking of Italy, there is no shortage of pizza joints in this town. If you get hungry, check out Pizza Pili. With a large menu of pizza options, all at 7 Euros each, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. Another must-try while in Nice is socca. Made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and water, this batter is then put into a tray and baked in an oven until nice and crispy. To taste this local delight, head to Lou Pilha Leva and order it with a bottle of rosé.
If you are looking for nightlife, Old Town is teeming with bars. Most of the restaurants stay open until midnight, the bars serve until 2 am, and for the real night owls, the clubs stay open until after 5 am! Michael and I have recently realized that we can no longer handle those super late nights (shit, we’re old) but we do love listening to live music. If you’re also into that scene, check out Wayne’s, but be forewarned, it will get crowded!
Day 2: Beach Day
It would seem crazy to be in the French Riviera and not enjoy the beach, right? We opted to splurge on daybeds at one of the local beach clubs. You’ll quickly realize that the beaches in Nice are not sandy, they are rocky. As you can imagine, this is not super comfortable to lay on so it was worth it for us to have a bed to lay on.
If you do decide to go this route, take a walk along the promenade and decide which club to go with. We landed on Beau Rivage, which cost us about 20 Euros each for the beds along with a sun umbrella. We heard that the food there is quite tasty, but we opted to just sip rosé and sneak in our own snacks to keep our budgets somewhat intact.
Day 3: Day Trips
We lucked out by staying with one of the coolest Airbnb hosts. He offered to drive us around the surrounding area and give us a little tour. All he asked was that we help cover the cost of gas. Amazing! No chauffeur, no problem. You can hop on a train or take the Bus 100 to Monaco, where you can ogle at the glitz and glamour of casinos, Bentley’s and mega-yachts. Noteworthy places are the Palace, the Oceanographic Museum, and the cathedral where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier rest.
On the way back, check out the medieval village of Eze, which appears to have grown out of the rocky mountainside. It is unbelievably charming while also offering up some unbelievable views.
Alternative options include visiting Cannes (where the famous film festival is held), taking a boat ride to one of the islands off the coast, or even heading over the border into Italy!
If I’m being completely honest, I really do not think three days is long enough to spend in the French Riviera. I left feeling like I only got a taste. But the reality was that our timeline was too tight. I guess that means we will have to back again someday! Until then, I will continue to drink copious bottles of rosé while figuring out how to make socca at home.