Getting to The French Riviera, France

Jeremias Padilla Picture
by Jeremias Padilla
updated 16 days ago

While the French Riviera boosts luxury and style... getting there cannot be easier with buses starting at $1 and trains from $16. The second most popular travel destination of France is well equiped to help their guests move around comfortably as well with free tramways and trains ran by the local railway agency "SNCF" connecting their main cities from $6. For locations outside the reach of trains, buses are plenty, Uber is not expensive, and Mozio is a good alternative for prebooked rides. Be prepared to tour this area in style with limousines, yachts, and helicopters too. The French Riviera caters to all needs.

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French Riviera Key Information

The French Riviera (or in French, Côte d'Azur) extends from St. Tropez to Menton (next to the Italian border). Its main cities are Nice, Antibes, Cannes, St. Tropez, and Monaco. However, some people may argue that it starts at Marseille instead of St. Tropez. In any case, while the main cities are the chosen spots for staying, there are many other villages (small and not so) that offer their own charm.

The tricky part

Moving in between cities can be a bit of a hassle if you plan not to use the train. While the majority of the surrounding cities are small enough where you'll be able to walk from the train station, some locations like Eze, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and Grasse present a much longer walk. It is recommended to either take a bus from Nice with Lignes d'Azur if you want to visit Eze (bear in mind you want to go to Eze Village and not Eze-sur-Mer) or Saint-Paul-de-Vence. For Grasse it is better to take a train to get there and then a bus from the train station to the village.

Nice Airport to NiceGoogle Maps

Getting to The French Riviera

Arriving in The French Riviera is fairly simple. Most commercial airlines fly straight into Nice Côte d'Azur Airport from all international points ranging from America to Asia.

You can take the high speed train with SNCF (OuiGo is their low-cost high speed train) at a fairly cost-effective rate from Paris, Marseille (combination with Barcelona), or Milan.

If your budget is tighter, FlixBus buses serve the area from multiple locations such as Lyon, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfort, and many other main cities of continental Europe.

By car, you can arrive from the west taking the A8 Autoroute (highway), from the Italy on the east via the SS1 or SS20 highways, and from Geneva on the north (through Aosta in Italy crossing the Mont Blanc tunnel, or through Grenoble on the A8 highway).

Ferries are also available between the port of Nice and Corsica with Corsica Ferries, Sardinia, Sicily, and the Balearic Islands starting at $75 (69€) or locally to Monaco ($42.85 / 39.50€), Cannes ($45 / 41.50€), and Saint Tropez ($74 / 68€). More information at Trans Cote d'Azur.

Cannes during the Film FestivalPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

From Nice to Antibes and Juan-les-Pins

The most cost-effective way to get to this area, best-known for its port and lively night scene, is by train. The station is walking distance from the port and old town of Antibes and and city center of Juan-les-Pins and a round-trip ticket will cost $11 (10€). An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $49 (45€).

From Nice to Cannes

Perfectly located in the heart of town, the recently renovated train station of Cannes offers a quick access to this lavish city. A return ticket from Nice will cost $15.60 (14.40€). An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $70 (65€).

From Nice to Saint-Tropez

Getting to this iconic town can be a bit of a struggle if you're on a budget or do not count with a vehicle to get there. You can take a boat with Riviera Lines from Nice for $73.50 (68€) per person the round trip. You get to experience the wonderful French Riviera from its deep blue waters while admiring the coastal cities. Looking to get there in real Saint-Tropez style? There are Helicopters (Azur Helicoptere, Heli Securite, MonacAir) that perform the route there from Monaco, Nice, or Cannes. Prices start at $1242 (1150€). An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $205 (190€).

AntibesPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

The Frugal Option

You can take the train at a fairly cost-effective rate from Paris (starting at 20€ / $22), Marseille (combination with Barcelona), or Milan (starting at 15€/$16).

If your budget is tighter, you can travel by bus with FlixBus; fares start at $1 (0.99€) from Lyon, Montpellier, or Bordeaux, $31.50 (28.99€) from Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, or Frankfort, and many other main cities of continental Europe.

Nice by High Speed TrainPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Private Transfer Options

There are a number of private options to hire in Nice Airport. From private cars with driver, taxis, or on demand services (Uber). A car service from the airport on a private sedan starts at $75 while an Uber ride will start at approximately $28. A middle ground option would be to take a taxi for approximately $45 making it an interesting option to save time and gain convenience.

The Mozio Recommendation

If you're on a budget, use public transportation which offers a comfortable service with good frequencies for a very low price ($2 per person per ride).

If you wish comfort without breaking the piggy bank, use Uber for a moderate fee (starting at $20). If you're looking for an experience according to the famous French Riviera, treat yourself to a private ride in a sedan with chauffeur starting at $75.

Moving AROUND The French Riviera

You'll find public transport in the French Riviera to be very convenient while cost effective. Their network of buses and trains offer a vast number of combinations that allow you to arrive to the most remote spots without breaking your budget. Uber is also available for those night outings bearing in mind public transport is only available between 6am and 10pm (12am on the weekend).

Port of Antibes and Fort CarrePhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

The Frugal Option

There are three train stations in Nice. The main one, Nice Ville situated downtown with access to the tramway line, Nice Saint-Agustin close to the airport and right next to Saint-Laurent-du-Var, and Nice Riquier close to the port of Nice and the old part of town. They connect the rest of the Cote d'Azur with one station in every important city. All trains in France are operated by SNCF. Their App allows you to check the times of trains as well as the prices of tickets or buying your ticket online.

If you're at a station with multiple platforms, make sure you differenciate between TER trains and TGV trains as the price is different from them. Unless you're traveling long distance you may want to stick to TER trains which are less expensive. International railway companies such as Thello from Italy also stop at the main stations (Cannes, Antibes, Nice Ville, Monaco).

While they are not common, there are some express trains which will bypass some stations such as Juan-les-Pins and Biot but stop at main stations such as Antibes and Cannes.

The cost of the ticket depends on your departure station and your destination. Checked on SNCF's site for example:

  • Nice to Menton: $5.97 / 5.50€

  • Nice to Monaco: $4.45 / 4.10€

  • Nice to Cagnes-sur-Mer: $3.45 / 3.10€

  • Nice to Antibes: $5.21 / 4.80€

  • Nice to Cannes: $7.81 / 7.20€

  • Nice to Grasse: $11.28 / 10.40€

Promenade des Anglais in NicePhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In This Resort?

Available On-Demand Providers

  1. uber

    $4.5/mile

Not Available Options

  1. cabify

  2. lyft

  3. grab

  4. freenow

  5. gojek

  6. didi

  7. bolt

Car Rental Options

Well know brands of car rentals are available in Nice. Amongst them we count Hertz, Avis, Sixt, Budget, EuropCar, National, Thirfty. The first three agencies have branches in Antibes, Cannes, and Saint Tropez where you can drop off your vehicle picked up in Nice. One of the attractives of the area is certainly to rent a convertible vehicle and ride along the seaside with the hood down feeling the cool fresh air of the mediterranean sea brush against your hair. Renting a vehicle allows you to stay independent from public transportation. However, finding a parking spot is the biggest tradeoff of this option. Parking in the French Riviera is usually expensive (starting at $1.10/1€ per hour) and in high demand (find your parking spot before there's nowhere left to park). As city parking controls are conducted by a private entity, they are very efficient at checking the vehicles that run out of time on their parking meters or parked in a forbidden area.

The Iconic Negresco Palace Hotel in NicePhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Day Trips Around The French Riviera

Menton

To get to Menton from Nice (or any of the adjoining cities) the best choice is to take the SNCF train which leaves you at a walking distance (0.4 mls / 700 mts) from the Downtown area and the beach. The train ticket from Nice will cost approximately $5.94 (5.50€) per person (one way). An Uber ride will cost approximately $68 (63€). There are several things to do in Menton and places to walk around. You’ll find villas, beaches, gardens and a scenic port.

MentonPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Monaco

From Nice, taking the SNCF train to Monaco is probably the best option. The main train station will leave you 0.5 miles (750 mts) from Monte Carlo or 1.4 miles (2.2km) from the Old Town (The Rock). Make sure to include a visit to Saint Martin Gardens in your travel plan to relax and enjoy the beautiful view. If you want to profit from the French Riviera, a unique way to make this trip more memorable would be to get there by boat. Trans Côte d'Azur offers two departures from Nice port for $42.67 (39.50€) per person the round trip. An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $53 (49€).

Casino de Monte CarloPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Eze Village

One thing that you must take into account is that Eze is spread across the mountain. The train station is the safe option if you want to go to the beach at Eze... However, if you're looking to visit the amazing medieval village of Eze, you want to take a bus that drops you off right there. The climb from the Eze train station to the village is very steep. Take the 82 bus line from the Rue Barla (stops Bavastro or Boyer). An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $35 (32€).

Eze VillagePhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Villefranche-sur-Mer

The Villefranche-sur-Mer train SNCF station is walking distance from the sandy beach of Villefranche-sur-Mer (one of the favourites in the area). Bear in mind the village is built along the mountain so be prepared to climb endless stairs on winding narrow passages of this ancient place. An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $25 (23€).

View of Villefranche-sur-MerPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

To get to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat you can take the SNCF train from Nice and stop at Beaulieu sur mer. It is not a far walk from the train station to the cape and the terrain is flat. Once you're closer, you can as for a free ride to the Villa Rothschild if you were planning on visiting their lavish gardens. Otherwise, you can take the Line 15 from Rue Arson (stop Barla) to the stop Passable / Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. An Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $30 (28€).

Saint-Jean-Cap-FerratPhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

Saint-Paul-de-Vence

There's no cheap direct way to get to the lovely artistic village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The most cost-effective way would be to take the SNCF train to Cros-de-Cagnes and an Uber from the train station. A direct Uber ride from Nice costs approximately $31 (29€).

Saint-Paul-de-VencePhoto by @jeremiaspadilla

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